Ok, so I admit it…I overthink things. I collect data. I sort through it, categorize it, analyze it, research it, re-sort it, re-categorize it and analyze it again. I draw my conclusions, try to rationalize them, reason my way through them and create harmony with them where none seems to exist.
When I was asked where I came up with the “Red Shirt Series”… and why a “RED shirt” I had no answer. I mean, I know how it all started… with that one photo taken to fulfill a photo challenge theme. But how was I defining what made a red shirt photo? What was its relevance?
I turned to google for the answers. My search for the significance of the red shirt turned up several dozen references to Star Trek. No surprise there. In star Trek, the person wearing the red shirt is quite often someone whose name we don’t know or is someone we have just met. They beam down to the planet with Kirk, Spock and McCoy and inevitably meet an untimely demise. They were important just long enough to show us that there was some form of evil on the planet , that this evil was deadly and that it meant business. The loss of the crewman wearing the red shirt is mourned as senseless but is soon forgotten as it is realized that in his death there were clues left behind that aid in conquering this beast. I did my own Star Trek Themed red shirt photo. At this point I believe it is important to mention that there was no loss of life during its creation. Even though it was fun, that photo will not make the final cut as a printed image… my shirt has to have more meaning than that.
A search for the significance of the colour red and words like strength, power, determination, passion, desire and love turn up. The colour can also cause feelings of anger, agitation, irritation, violence and fear. Again… not the emotions that I hope to convey with my red shirt photos.
Plaid gets its origins from the Scottish tartans and the tartan that my shirt most closely identifies with is that of Rob Roy MacGregor who became known as the “Scottish Robin Hood”. His descendant, Jack McCluskey brought this tartan with him when he immigrated to the Americas. He was friend to the Indian who thought that the bright red in the cloth was made using the blood of people he killed, giving it magical powers. I’m of Irish descent but there are musings that there is also some Scottish blood coursing through my veins. It’s an intriguing story, but still my search continued.
The red plaid shirt is also associated with Paul Bunyan, a fabled hard working lumberjack. I am not a lumberjack. I would probably chop off my own foot if I were to swing an axe.
Finding no distinctive answers on Google (gasp… but google has the answer to everything!!!) I decided to look inward. When I was younger I had a favourite red plaid shirt I used to sleep in. It was soft and snuggly and warm. I wore that shirt until there weren’t enough threads left to hold it together. When I think of that shirt, it brings memories of feeling safe, happy and secure. Now I have a new red shirt. It too is soft, snuggly and warm. It goes just about everywhere with me and sometimes I even wear it! This red shirt appears in a multitude of photos, many more that you will ever see me in. I guess it is an extension of me, my alter ego of sorts. It has become quite popular… it has even been requested to appear in some wedding photos! There is a story that can be written for each photo, a story that is left to the imagination of the viewer.
The red shirt photos continue to evolve. When I first started taking them, I had a set rule on how they were going to be processed, but those standards don’t work on everything, so I let the photos themselves dictate how they will be finished. I can’t wait to see the next journey my red shirt will take me on!