I Contain Multitudes: Mercia

After our first collaboration, Mercia came up with the perfect title for our exploration of self: I Contain Multitudes. For me this hit the nail on the head, and I could not have described it better. That project was about gender, and it was also simply about the push and pull of internal dualities.

I know I am full of them…
World traveller / Nester with an ache for my own home
Desire to have children / Desire to be a crazy adventurer
Caring about making money / Wanting only to help the world be a better place to live
Thinking and feeling deeply / Loving silly movies that make me feel light
It goes on…

I would like to think that seemingly opposite dualities can get along, taking up space a little here, giving way a little there. Imagining them as different versions of myself with real needs and real things to say helps me facilitate a conversation rather than a fight.

A few weeks ago it was Mercia’s turn in front of the camera, and we happened to schedule our shoot for the day a violent wind storm swept through. We started by playing with a quiet and meditative Mercia wearing a heavy fabric that only the strongest gusts of wind could budge. As the storm peaked and branches began to fly by in all directions, we delved into a wild and fiery Mercia and embraced the chaos of the wind.

We didn’t fully plan out how the two versions would interact in the images later. It seemed to happen naturally, as if both selves were there playing together the whole time.

“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large – I contain multitudes.”
– Walt Whitman


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