The following images and conversation is based on Tim Best’s FLASH project. “The story in FLASH begins,” says Tim “with the photographer projecting his gaze on the model. Then the gaze suddenly turns on the photographer by turning him from subject to object. There are additional subtexts as well.
“Reflecting on these images, I see some intimate moments in the middle to later sessions in late 2017 – 2019 that I missed while in the rush of shooting in strange apartments, seedy hotel rooms and public sex spots. One photograph I shot in 2020 (seen bottom, Predicament of The Victim), was with a long-time collaborator, Alex Curington . We have started to shoot in the same or similar outfits and behave like twins in some respects. In August this year, I was asked to exhibit all 352 images from FLASH at Liliana Bloch Gallery in Dallas which was on view for a month. I am currently working on a book with all the images set to publish later in 2021.”
The Demented Goddess: which of these Flash photos were from a pre-arranged shoot – and which, if any, from a moment that evolved into a shoot?
The pre-arranged shoots are mostly the self-portraits like ‘Self Portrait on grass’ and ‘The victim’. Ones like ‘Carly with placed yoyo” and “Irene watching me watch her’ – in those, I planned a shoot with these women, but the images I shot were unplanned and fluid. As I kept shooting for this project, the shoots evolved this way and became more spontaneous.
DG: What does creative spontaneity mean to you?
It comes from a well of adrenaline (or something) from my belly that rises up into my lungs. The feeling opens me up and I become full of energy. Then I can forget about myself and limitations. This all happens in a few seconds. Once this physical process is underway, I start to create.
DG: How good are you at working in a flash?
I love it. The shoots for FLASH were clandestine meet ups in the woods at night in suburban Dallas. We had to move fast because we weren’t far from people’s backyards. The sessions only lasted an hour maximum.
DG: Where’s this motel? What’s the story?
After shooting outside for a couple years, I began to think of other sketchy places to shoot. The model for this shoot let me know what town she lived in, so I found a Motel 6 nearby. It ended up being in a very run-down part of town and there were police in the parking lot when I checked in. The shoot went well, without any problems. It was exciting.
DG: How do you become the subject of your own photograph?
I think of what I ask models to do, then I wonder what it would feel like to have someone ask that of me. It’s not a comfortable feeling. I don’t know how models do it. I have a lot of respect for what they do.
See more of FLASHES at https://www.lilianablochgallery.com/videos
Follow Tim https://twitter.com/timbest_me?s=20