In celebration of the 10th anniversary of www.ALANILAGAN.com, we have posted my last five Projects on ‘The Projects‘ page (thank you Tony!) Way back in the beginning, when I started all of my sinning, ‘The Projects‘ were the impetus for getting online – a repository of written and photographic work that the world could peruse. A decade later, they are still the main outlet for my creative passions, the works where all my energy, anger, desire, joy, and sorrow find release. If you’re lucky, you can find redemption in expression, and salvation in sharing. Like so much of the world, we recall most recent events first, and so the order of The Projects begins with the last project I did:
‘Bardo: The Dream Surreal‘ was a look at everything that fell in-between ~ the space between light and dark, the time between dusk and dawn, the moment between sleep and waking ~ and the tension maintained through the project is what I love most about it. There is no happy ending, no definitive finish, no easy understanding of what is really going on. It takes a very surrealistic look at the worlds we inhabit, particularly those that totter on the razor-thin edge of ambivalence. The photographs are manipulated to make one wonder what is real and what it not, and, like a dream, it feels just real enough to stir and disturb. Though there are hints of impending darkness, I tried to inject enough whimsy and wit into it to keep the loose narrative flowing and floating.
‘A 21st Century Renaissance: The Resurrection Tour‘ was my project from 2010’s travels. For this one, I went back to basics, beginning with the very elements of this world, then fusing the scientific with the artful, melding the constructions of nature with the constructions of art, in an effort to foster a Renaissance of the time when discovery, and the arts, flourished. From the stars in the sky to the particles of sand on the shore, it was a rebirth of sorts of my fascination with how the natural world and its beauty informs the artist, and how the artist in turn creates and reflects such inspiration.
My first, last, and only stay at New York’s infamous Hotel Chelsea was chronicled in 2009’s ‘A Night at the Hotel Chelsea‘. Shot over the course of a single afternoon and evening in the stultifying heat of July in the city, it captured the raw grit of that now-defunct establishment, and the faded glamour of a hotel long since past its prime. Vestiges remained, and friendly ghosts wandered with us through the halls, but for me it was more a sign that my time in such places was coming to a close. I was too old to be okay with roaches and dirty corners and rickety beds. It did, however, make for some wildly textured and moody photographs, proof that the dirtier and grimier the surroundings, the more interesting for a photo shoot. It also inspired some of the more risque photos, because when you’re in the very hotel where Madonna shot part of her ‘Sex’ book, you can’t help but pay homage.
‘The Circus Project‘ from 2008 was the first, and thus far only, work that has the word ‘project’ in its title – and since I’ve been doing this stuff since 1993, give me a break on the creative dirge. Telling the tale of a young man who finds escape in a season with a traveling circus, it’s one of my more structured narratives, combining prose with pictures as the journey across the country, and through the seasons, reaches its harrowing, and questionable, conclusion. I wanted to posit what it would be like when someone who always felt like an outcast joined up with the most outlandish group of outcasts, and still managed to feel apart from it. In essence, what is it like to not belong anywhere? For anyone’s who ever felt on the outside, like they didn’t quite fit in, I wrote this with them in mind.
With the exception of a single parting shot, ‘StoneLight‘ was a collection of black-and-white photography from 2007. Shot in various cemeteries in Albany, New York, and the surrounding area, it was a study of contrasts – light and dark, stone and air, living and dead, mortal and immortal – and was one of my first projects that relied solely on visuals, with nary a word written or spoken throughout it. I like the hushed aspect that gave it, and if you ever just wanted me to shut up and stand still, this is the project for you. Relying on the sculptural aspects of headstones and burial plots, it explored the titular marriage of Stone and Light, and the nuances found there were, I thought, best exemplified in black-and-white images. (On a behind-the-scenes note, this is the project that got me the Gallery Manager position I held for four years, and in a way I attribute it to my coming into the art scene of Albany, NY.)
I invite you – nay, implore you – to take your time with these Projects. Bookmark them and come back if you can’t do it right at this moment – as they are the heart and soul of this website, and they are the work of which I am proudest, the work into which I poured everything I had. Some artists want money. Some artists want acclaim. Some artists want applause. All I ask is that you look, that you read, and that you take a little piece of me with you when you go.Back to Blog