Stillness is important
Somage’s creative, Bel and photographer, Sonny, deconstruct how we establish the idea of what a home is;
the ideology we instill in what defines a home for us individually, within a world of constant change and uncertainty.
They exchange on the beauty of change, while sourcing stability through a mutual attraction to the chaos of their own changing worlds. Ultimately exploring the artistry of photography as a manner of creating a personal portal back to the still frame preserved in time.
Raised in Phillip island, Sonny purchased his original camera on the first day in Melbourne, uncovering his infatuation which has guided his career.
A constant creator, documenter & enthusiast, Sonny begins the conversation by declaring what home means to him.
I don't know. I feel like I like chaos and I like calm equally.
And I find I'm attracted to people when those two associate - calm, you know, like living through.
So I like a large and eclectic group of friends, but I like people who are quite grounded the most. And I find a sense of homeliness in people around.
Is it more people than environment then?
Yes. I think so, I like my environment to change, a dynamic environment. What about you? What's your sense of home?
I think since I spent so much of my life traveling, I haven’t lived in a constant, really, ever.
So did you move homes a lot when you were a kid?
Not really changing homes, but we always travelled so much.
That kind of created this foreign concept that your environment is your home. And I think that instilled in me, really quickly.
For me, it's definitely people that have created my sense of home, but kind of similar to what you're saying - I am really attracted to people that show all kinds of new change.
And like you said, kind of chaos. I love that. It's really interesting that a lot of people come to think of home, to be this really fixed thing where it's really stable.
And maybe it is. Maybe that's what it should be. But when I think of home, that's never been the deal for me.
Always very much been the people around me, but they're so hard to grapple as well, because when you're away from them, is your home with them?
Yeah, I feel like I get worried that I get stuck in the idea that home is a dynamic thing.
And then when I'm locked in the one place for so long with my housemates, you know, the same people.
I kind of get a bit angsty because I'm so used to moving around and having so many more people come into my life.. that it's hard for me to constantly have one thing.
It’s so funny, I always associated home with my mother, the smell of the house, my grandma, the rooms - but now all those things are gone.
It doesn't take away that home, but it's like the idea of home is forever changing.
What do you need from home as well? What's your idea of home and what do you need from it? Comfort, almost always.
It's probably just a space to be yourself.
I was thinking about this a little while ago, to ask you, what is the beauty of a still image? What makes this still image so beautiful?
Well, it's a cliche. It doesn't matter if it's cliche though. It's a cliche for a reason.
Well, you stop time in a way. In a particular format. And time's unstoppable. So you can stop something that happened.
That you witnessed and you found beauty. You stopped it. You chose to stop that one frame. To share. And for someone to be still. To share a moment of stillness.
You share it in a gallery space, say, somebody decades later, can stop and be with you in that moment and feel the emotion that you are trying to convey. Or they don't, you know.
So it's never enough to have a memory of your own? It always has to be shared?
No, not at all. I feel like that is the art form of photography. It completes the circle when it's shared.
With other people, for me, that is like the formality of the art form. And then if it's just for me, it's a different thing. It's nostalgia, it's my memory.
But for instance, I'll still take photos just because. I do a lot of archival having to look through my photos and I'll go back to 2016 and then I see photos of old friends and old places I lived.
I smell the smells, the feelings and see the pain in relationships and everything like that. And for me, that's very touching. But it's a very personal thing. I still take those photos.
It's the emotion, it's the moment
Yeah, yeah. And it's for me in the future. Yeah. But like in terms of photography, it is an art form.
I think it's stillness is important because it's the stillness of a moment. It's never still. And you?
I kind of see it as similar to a photo - like with your memories, with your emotions, it's never tangible.
Like I can tell you, I love you, but I can't ever pass it to you, it's felt in many different ways. But it's similar to music. You can't really hold it. You can't really touch it. And it's a similar thing with photos. It's the closest I can ever get to potentially showcasing an emotion or presenting that.
But in turn, the thing that I really love is if I show you a photo of something, for me, there's an emotion that's attached to it. And it's more than I could ever say with words on how I feel about something.
But if you view it, you suddenly have your perspective of it and you feel completely differently to me, like we could never know what the same color of yellow is.
It's just as valid as the artist.
And it's so beautiful having that moment where you are both feeling something, but it's different, you're doing it together.
I feel like that's a really beautiful part that there's this collectiveness, even though we're both perceiving different things.
It's like meeting in the middle, then being like, I love this, I'm feeling something, we're doing it together, but you're doing it in your own way. And as am I.
Like seeing colors. I couldn't tell you what all of them are in an array array, but I saw them and so did you.
It's like art exists where communication ends.
How do you feel about sharing? Do you feel like, if you're by yourself, is there a moment of sadness that it's not shared?
When I was younger, I was really happy to enjoy those moments on my own. And there was a beauty in doing that on your own.
I think I have learnt that happiness is best shared. It doesn't take away from the moment that you had on your own, but there's something really beautiful about having it together.
There's some kind of sense of immortality to it that you live vicariously in these memories with these other people and you are always with them then too, you know?
So for me, it feels shared. But how about you? What do you think?
Well, it's interesting because I guess, I feel in a way sometimes that I'm the only one here in a weird way. And it's not like it's selfish, you know?
I've always thought the meaning of life is kind of other people and meeting other people and stuff like that. It was a hard reset to be travelling recently on my own. And experiencing some things on my own and being like, wow, it's just me in here.
And, you know, I was born on my own and I'll die on my own. And I would agree with you that those moments are internal or immortal, you know, when it's shared with others.
But just to do things on your own for yourself and experience, something is quite ethereal to see, something happens and not have a choice but to just share it on your own and it's quite humbling and quite settling.
And I think there's quite a bittersweet moment where it's like, Wow, there's no one else. So I had to really learn by myself as well to just take it in, and sometimes I just blink and I'll be like - there we go, I got it.
You know, I didn't get it, but I got it.
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