alabaster ego by Keith-Alan DeFranca

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ALABASTER EGO

BECOMING A COMPASSIONATE ASSHOLE

If a man thinks he is not conceited, he is very conceited indeed.
— C.S. Lewis

Art, as in most everything else in life, can be something that is overlooked or glazed over by social media. Follower count, image likes, and trend following can hinder the beautiful raw simplicity of why art should/needs to be created. It becomes a numbers game and looses it’s soul. When you are able to strip away the numbers and focus on the artwork itself you begin to allow yourself to see past the distractions and gauge the work on a more real and genuine level.

Self portrait work is something that I personally have struggled with for a number of years. I have experimented ever since I picked up a camera even though in those days it was more about “making a cool photo” and it always felt hallow. Part of what was such a challenge was the EGO associated with self portrait work. And the larger question of where does ego fit into art and its creation…

this is me...or is it by Keith-Alan DeFranca

     There are so times when the thing/s about us that we don't show or express become what we identify ourselves with and worry what people will think if they knew what was behind that smiling selfie, upbeat social media, or our artwork. I came across @sugartreebaby post this morning that was a photo of her curled into a ball during a severe panic attack at work. She talked about how this is something that is very present in her life but yet unseen.

you always see me happy, smiling, in love, out together, and laughing with my babies, but what you don’t see is my debilitating panic disorder
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We all battle with how we should present ourselves to the world. It is those things that effect us negativly that we tend to feel like is the "real" or "raw" version of ourselves when in reality those struggles or pain only allow the lovely and joyous moments all the more incredible and real.

This video is an example of my own self-doubt. I recorded this and then went back and forth about whether or not I should re-record it and focus on not saying "umm" so much or change what I was wearing or about 10 other things. The reality is that we are not summed up by our weaknesses. My friend Heather was unbelievably brave when she posted that picture of herself in the middle of a panic attack. What I take from that image and her words is not sadness or pity but a deeper understanding of the character she has and the strength that she processes. Yes, she deals with something that can bring her to a physical and emotional standstill but despite that she still is able to be a talented artist, loving mother and wife, and bring joy and positive influence to those who come into contact with her in life as well as social media. I see that as not a weakness but proof of her strength.

We all have something that beats us down and instead of seeing it as a weakness or a stumbling block it is an opportunity for us to shine a light on the many incredible ways we are able to be positive and humbled by it. Every painful moment or obstacle is an opportunity to see something beautiful because it comes out of the dark places. 

Check out Heather's original post here: 

 

a journey has a beginning by Keith-Alan DeFranca

In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.
— Alfred Stieglitz

        Welcome, this is the next chapter in the journey of my photography, artistic process, and a lot more about who I am. It is so easy to get trapped into a rhythm of what your artwork should look like, what it should express, and ultimately be. When you lose sight of why you create or connect with others you create with then there is no point. This blog is a turning point.

A couple years ago I stated to my wife that "If a portrait does not require some sort of sacrifice then it is worth noting". I am going to amend that statement to this:

"An image is valued not because of its  obvious beauty, its valued because the journey and sacrifice to get to that moment captured in the image is beautiful and priceless"

To often we produce work that is geared to produce "likes" or "follower count". We all are guilty of this whether we realize it or not. For me that all stops here and now. The time, money, distance traveled, stress, judgement from strangers, and strain on personal life are all things artists can understand no matter what medium they use. This blog is my effort to allow the essence of my work to come through. I am humbled and honored to create and connect with the incredible people I do and their willingness to deal with my craziness is a constant motivation for me.

This is a journey after all and this may be the newest chapter in that journey but the journey started along time ago. You will be hearing some of that story as well as a lot of work that no one has ever seen before. Some from years ago and some very recent work that is waiting for the right time to be shared. Hope you enjoy the many posts to come.  I will be posting images of course but also video and audio diaries, as well as art and individuals that inspire me. Enjoy the ride and please never hesitate to reach out. Art is a community more than anything else!