Clay to Consciousness is an intriguing photo series by New York-based filmmaker and photographer Ryan Hayward that presents a surreal depiction of self-discovery. Alluding to the religious notion that man was first formed out of clay, the series begins with an isolated clay hand hovering in midair. With each progressive frame, the viewer is introduced to a new body part being formed by the previously produced disembodied limbs. Hayward illustrates a metaphoric look at self-discovery through a rather literal process of self-creation.
The conceptual photo series is a clever amalgam of performance art and photography. Shooting the images on 35mm black and white film, Hayward digitally composited each print to tell an engrossing story that is familiar to all men and women. It is as much a personal self-portrait as it is a reflection of its viewers. The photographer describes the series as one that “portrays the journey of an individual as they form themselves out of clay discovering the world and who they are.”