Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Soul and Sound Series | Georgia.



An individual's personal history can strongly influence their relationship to and perception of music. My latest series titled "Soul and Sound", produced for the We Heart Music exhibition, takes a look at each subject and their relationship to music, whether they are an avid listener or a musician themselves, through portraiture that gives an insight into their personality and emotive expression.

Over the next week or so, I will be posting each of my portrait sets together with a small write-up about each individual, to help give you a deeper look into who they are, why music is important to them and thus why they were chosen as a subject. Unfortunately my health, time and weather were against me in the lead-up to this exhibition, and I had to cut down on the number of people I truly wanted to shoot for this series due to a great deal of rescheduling, but I may choose to continue this series even after the exhibition is finished.

Today, I am writing about Georgia—some of you may know her as daisyhearted on Twitter or Instagram, or daggers on Tumblr. Like most of the fantastic people I have met in my lifetime, Georgia and I were interweb pals long before we met in real life. Funnily enough, we happened to chance upon one another at a different We Heart event in 2011: We Heart Home at the Home Festival, Kangaroo Point and that was when we first met.

Since then, Georgia has dyed her hair all colours of the rainbow, and gotten some pretty adorable tattoos to boot. We have incredibly similar tastes in music, specifically both being really into Death Cab for Cutie—but whereas I do not have one of their song lyrics tattooed on my upper right thigh amongst a gorgeous deer centered by a wreath of flowers, Georgia does, and I knew she'd make a rather perfect subject.

When I asked Georgia what the album cover for "her life" would be titled, she responded, "Everything's Swell". If she had a band, it would probably be called "Unicornication". It's all a reflection of her Peter-Pan-esque outlook on life, her obsession with all that is whimsical like her hair, owning a pastel pink ukelele and buying costumes in the shape of fruit. The hares from the book Guess How Much I Love You and a line from Dr. Seuss' "Oh, The Places You'll Go!" ("kid, you'll move mountains", on her lower left leg) even feature amongst her lovely tatts.

But when it comes to her relationship with music, Georgia writes on a more pensive note:

Music has been the most influential aspect of my life and will continue to be until the day I die. I'm never really happy unless I'm making it or writing about it or listening to it. I could have every word at my disposal and still not be able to describe how much it means to me. It's my only constant in a world of disorder.

I first realised I was passionate about music when I was just a kid. Growing up, my parents used to let us pick out records to listen to after dinner and we'd all just hang out in the living room together appreciating what we heard and our time together. My dad was a Beatles fiend and my mum loved Carole King. I was raised on what my parents listened to and knew a lot of artists from the 60s and 70s from a pretty young age. I'm super grateful to my parents for exposing me to some of the best music ever made. My top picks from my childhood were Elton John's Madman Across the Water, Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, Joni Mitchell's Blue and Neil Young's Harvest. I also remember watching Almost Famous when it came out in 2000 and falling in love with the idea of writing about music for a living.

Music has such a strong capacity to reflect who we are and what our core ideals and values are, but it also has the capacity to influence our perspective on certain aspects of our life and our world. It can change the way we remember the past, the way we look at the future, and how we perceive the present.  For Georgia, there is no shame or glory in liking any one musician or band—everything you like is only an extension of who you are, after all, and why be ashamed of who you are?

My taste in music is ridiculously broad. In that way I think it reflects how music has such a huge influence on my mood, or vice versa. I have a pretty strong appreciation for punk rock, not only because the music is awesome but because the ethics and ideals that accompany it are super appealing to me. At its core, it's unpretentious, honest, fun and raw. The whole concept of going to a local show and just having a good time with your pals is something I love being a part of.

I really do enjoy all kinds of genres though, which I think is extremely helpful when it comes to connecting with other people. I can bond with a teenage girl over our mutual love of Katy Perry or have a moment of solidarity with someone crossing the street wearing the same Extortion shirt as me.

It's always such a shame to see people writing off a certain band or artist because they think it might ruin their image or reputation to be seen liking them. I'm not ashamed of anything that I listen to and I don't really believe in 'guilty' pleasures when it comes to music. If you like it, you like it. Simple.

Music is so often there for us to connect to in times of great difficulty, sorrow, frustration and despair. It has an uncanny, therapeutic ability to help us recognise our emotional turmoil and then give us relief from it, so often able to express with one lyric what we just haven't been able to put into words. That one lyric for Georgia was:

"I need you so much closer." From Transatlanticism by Death Cab (of course). It's always stuck with me because I seem to feel perpetually homesick. I got my Transatlanticism tattoo after I moved out of home and was really struggling to find my feet and feel like I belonged somewhere.

Every time I look at those words or hear that song it makes my heart hurt in a good way. I find it pretty amazing that after all these years it still affects me so severely every time I hear it.

To read more about the other subjects behind the series, keep an eye out on my blog over the next week or so.

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