Blog: Muse

by Ken Pivak // 1 Files //  


// back to blogs

It comes as no surprise, yet I’m at a loss for words, upon how life can offer up a cache of experiences to be played out once again.  During the past summer and fall months, I had been redesigning and organizing my two car garage into a new Photographic Workshop.  A new “legacy space” as I call it, since I did not build it initially, but it’s a perfect fit. My father, in the wake of his passing, had left behind a full carpentry workspace, and since day one, he never used the garage to park any car. This space has always been and will be a playground of ideas, and the executions of visual concepts. When I began my life as a photographer, it began around 1980 during my last years in High School.  My first “muse” and girlfriend at the time, was fearless in where she was placed in a location, clothed or not, and in what she was doing, or how she was posed. It never became an issue; she was game for anything.

This gave me a wonderful palette to create with, and she too enjoyed the visual destinations we created together all those years ago.  It was one of those friendships where in your love letters to each other, you stated things like, “we’ll be friends forever” or “we’ll never loose touch"… stuff like that.  Our friendship has endured now for over 35 years. The Universe does have a way of letting you know that you’re in the right place at the right time.  Lately, I’ve had to live more of my life back in NY, in the very home I started my career.  In a place I once ate, drank and lived my craft, all with the creative partnership of my friend, Sherrin.  And now, all these years later, where I have had to convert this workshop/space in order to create freely, it is she, once again, that is the first model in my new space.

Both she and her husband had come up from Miami for business, giving us an opportunity to work together; not just for me, but also for her promotional imagery, and for her thriving business in the healthcare industry.  So it’s with great honor and with an enduring friendship that we get to create art, as it had existed all those years ago.  She will always allow me to go beyond the levels I had hoped to obtain, and she enhances each idea to where "our image”, takes on a life of it’s own. It wasn’t until I was editing this image did it occur to me how lovely it is not to retouch the eye or remove the grey in her hair.  I knew I wanted the leaf to be a metaphor to her years, yet the texture left by the eye makeup had me thinking how it felt like it was part of some landscape; rather a burnt landscape. Reminding me of the recent fires in California, where I have been living for the past 27 years, and how first hand I was able to walk in such a forest during a shoot I had last year in the mountains of Idyllwild, Ca.
Her lashes and dark make up… (A choice I asked my make up artist to render), seemed like a good idea in contrast to the leaf.  However, it couldn’t become more clear in how this idea grew into something more.  As if the world was watching itself burn, and yet the idea of new life, which grows within our spirit. 

So to be given this time, to create, to renew, to rebuild, all with the partnership of my first muse, my friend; we once again created something more than that of ourselves.  To be able to offer the viewer a glimpse into some reflection of their own, while discovering the abstract of an image; is the very reason why this union is true, and my favorite way to create lasting imagery. I hope you enjoy this image and where it can take you, as much as we had creating it.  It’s one of those images that leave me feeling as if I had not created it, and I love when this happens.

// back to blogs