Back in the dark ages when I was studying photography our final year came with a 'research project' where we picked our own topic and had to come up with a series of photos. These were all made into a book and projected live in an exhibition type thing. I'm really good with jargon, this one time I asked a lecturer for "the white thing that's this big and you put your book on it and it puts it on the wall" and he stared blankly at me and said "you mean the projector?". I'm also super paraphrasing what I wrote back in tafe because I'm lazy. Anyways I chose the Seven Deadly Sins. I'm a huge fan of the movie Se7en with a serial killer obsessed with sins and watched it more than is probably considered healthy (I've watched it so often I've literally worn out the dvd and I didn't know that was possible!) so that may have some what inspired the idea.

EnlightenedLikelyAsianelephant-size_restrictedEnlightenedLikelyAsianelephant-size_restricted Some people just shot 10+ photos of flowers so I went out of my way to come up with the most complex idea and for a person who avoided photographing humans for the first two years (I had a major case of sociophobia) this was a big project in more ways than one. 

I did a fair amount of research on the topic between the internet and books and all have very different ideas on sins. The sins are generally used in religious teachings to warn of mans tendency to sin. In Greek mythology, Pandora opening the box is considered the original sin. In the Satanic Bible it embraces the so called sins as they are basic human nature and it tells people not to feel ashamed about having these feelings. They instead have the 9 Satanic Sins which include stupidity and pretentiousness and believe in only showing kindness to those who deserve it instead of love wasted on ingrates. A book by a preacher gave an indepth and rather confusing look into the sins. Anorexia is apparently a sin of Gluttony whereas I would have thought it might come under pride (that's if we really have to label an illness a sin). He also listed scenarios for each sin. For Lust it was considered bad for two people to have casual sex, it was worse to own a porn collection and not have a partner (apparently that makes you selfish) and worse again to commit adultery. Basically, don't have sex guys. 

The general idea for this project was to have two photos for each sin: a black and white image showing the dark side of the sin (or how religion sees it) and a colour image showing a more light-hearted look at the sin keeping in mind that eating a donut is a sin too. This was decided after reading that the Roman Catholic church divided sins into two categories: "Venial" which are relatively minor and could be forgiven through any sacrament of the church and "Mortal" sins which when committed destroyed the life of grace and created the threat of eternal damnation unless either absolved through sacrament of confession (so exactly the same as the minor sin) or forgiven through contrition on the part of the penitent. The general consensus by those critiquing my work (lecturers and professional photographers who came in to judge us) were the black and white photos were great but the colour photos really lacked. When you spend so long working on something you can take offence at all the work you put in, but all these years later they are absolutely correct. It's not the ideas for the photos that sucked but how they were executed. Between leaving tafe and now I've learned alot in terms of putting concepts together, how to use lighting and even my editing.

The 7 Sins are

  1. Lust
  2. Gluttony
  3. Greed
  4. Sloth
  5. Wrath
  6. Envy
  7. Pride

Coming up with ideas for this project was so much fun and rather easy when you realise the most trivial of things is a sin. The sins are everywhere in pop culture in art, games and movies. I had a "mind blown" moment reading that the children in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory represent sins and Wonka himself is Satan. I'll never look at Gene Wilder the same way ever again. Once you get so into it you just see sins everywhere, even in fairy tales. The hard part of the project was picking an idea that I thought would be doable or might come across well in a photo and it was always something I felt I could keep adding too at a later date. The books that Tafe had made for us came out so good a couple of people told me I could sell copies of mine. I always felt like my work just wasn't good enough for that but I guess that's the joy of an artists brain...we like our work for about 5 minutes and then we hate everything! I should really try listening to others on occasion. I'll always remember my projection at the exhibition though. It played to Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy" and was so short and abrupt and in your face I don't think people knew what to make of it!