Waking is a long-term portrait series in which I daily photograph myself the moment I wake up from a night’s sleep. I began the project for two main reasons. The first was to examine closer the ephemeral moments between sleeping and waking. At the time the transition between the two was very difficult, even painful, practically leaving me breathless when my body jolted awake at the sound of the alarm. The second was to answer the question, can I take an objective self-portrait? There are some decisions made ahead of time, framing for example, and decisions made afterward in editing, but the moment the image is made, who is it behind the lens? The camera itself has sometimes felt like a mirror, an intruder, an annoyance, or a best friend.
As this project has evolved, I have become more curious about the juxtaposition of dreams and waking reality, which are both in one’s awareness in the transitional moment of waking. The closest I feel I can get to photographing my dreams in a documentary way is to photograph the moment I emerge out of them. Can we see dreams in the eyes of their beholders? Quantum physicists say that time does not exist as we perceive it, that the past, present and future are all right now, at the same time. Continuing in this line of thinking, dreams and waking life may not be consecutive but simultaneous. I have heard it described like two television sets placed back-to-back, creating the situation of only being able to engage with one of them at any given time. If that is true, perhaps this moment of waking is the time when we have the opportunity to witness their precise intersection.