Monday, 26 December 2011

Devotion

Devotion by GothicNarcissusInside the heart of every man
There is a lust, you understand,
And I’m just the same.
When all the love has gone away
And passion stares me in the face,
Could I walk away?

Here’s hoping
That you will be there.
Here’s hoping
You’ll help me to be brave.

Devotion, save me now,
I don’t want to stray from the hallow ground.
I’ll turn temptation down,
I’m asking you to take me to safety this time.

Forgive my thoughts when I’m asleep,
Forgive these words I’m yet to speak,
I feel so ashamed.
Right now you seem so far away,
So much confusion clouds my way
And I don’t know which path to take.

Here’s hoping
That you can hear me.
Here’s hoping
You’ll help me to resist.

Devotion, save me now,
I don’t want to stray from the hallow ground.
I’ll turn temptation down,
I’m asking you to take me to safety this time.

Devotion, devotion,
I’m a slave unto the mercy of your love.
For so long I’ve been so wrong,
I could never live without you.

[ Devotion – Hurts ]

The concept for Devotion has been floating around in my head for quite some months now, waiting for the right occasion to see the light. What I needed was to have both a male and a female model to pose with me, with the original plan including the use of the tripod and timer. This photo was the reason I decided to ask Alessio to pose in the first place, as going to Turin to see Briar Rose I knew I’d have a female model for sure. The original idea was having her posing with us, but when the photoshoot started taking a concrete shape and Giulia joined us, we decided that she would be posing and Briar Rose would take the photo instead.
Differently from what I usually do, in particular for the Hurts-inspired photos, I’m not going to write much about the concept: it’s a very personal interpretation of the song lyrics (sorry, Theo!), which is not about a simple, banal love triangle. I can tell you, though, that all and every detail in this photo is strictly connected to the concept, from the colour of the outfits to the poses, the place where we are sitting and what we’re looking at. I think you can get the concept by simply looking at the photo, I tried to make ut clear with it.

Once again, Briar Rose made an amazing work, shooting exactly what I wanted and directing us so that we’d fit my idea (of course, I had little to no control over the poses once I stepped in front of the lens), so a huge part of the merit is hers. Alessio and Giulia also deserve a special mention for doing everything despite the fat that I didn’t tell them much about the deeper meaning of my idea, I just told them where to sit and what to do. But well, our team turned out to work perfectly in the end.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

After The Rain

After The Rain by *GothicNarcissus
[ After The Rain - Katie Noonan & The Captains ]

When shooting in Stupinigi, I decided to leave the photos of Alessio and Giulia together as the last ones. Firstly beause Giulia was quite busy with Briar Rose on her own, secondly (and more importantly) becauese I wanted both to become more comfortable and confident with my new lens and have the models relax and be at their ease, so they could be the most natural and expressive they could in the photos. Thus, I waited till Briar Rose was done with Giulia and I had enough photos of Alessio alone before I had the two of them interacting in front of my own lens.
I must really thank both of them for just bringing all those emotions to life and being so natural and comfortable at posing together despite not knowing each other at all. This allowed me to focus on my own job and try ifferent techniques to catch exactly what they were showing, with amazing results: I think these are among the best portraits Ive ever taken, in particular After The Rain.


Each shoot has a particular story of its own, so I recommend that you have a look at the deviantART pages if youre curious. Meanwhile, I wish all of you a merry Christmas.
Violent Daylight by *GothicNarcissus
Les Amants Du Même Jour by *GothicNarcissus
The River by *GothicNarcissus

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Do You See What I'm Seeing?

Do You See What I’m Seeing? by *GothicNarcissusClouds are marching along,
Singing a song just like they do.
If the clouds were singing a song
I’d sing along, wouldn’t you too?
If you just knew what they could do,
Oh, if you just knew, what would they do?
And if the birds are just hollow words
Flying along singing a song,
What would they do if they just knew
What they could do, oh, if they just knew?

I know it’s sad that I never gave a damn about the weather
And it never gave a damn about me.
I know it’s sad that I never gave a damn about the weather
And it never gave a damn about me.
No, it never gave a damn about me.

I know it’s mad, but if I go to hell, will you come with me or just leave?
I know it’s mad, but if the world were ending, would you kiss me or just leave me,
Just leave me?

[ Do You Know What I’m Seeing? - Panic! At The Disco ]

The first part of my photoshoot with the handsome Alessio La Bella taken in Stupinigi, near Turin, has been published. All the photos featuring Alessio alone are up and now I’m going to publish the second part, which features both him and the charming Giulia Biletta (previously starring as Jezebeth for my Infernal Lords series). As we’re about mid-way, with this photo perfectly summarizing what I meant to represent in this shoot, I think it’s time to spend some words about this whole series.
A bit of background first: I met Alessio totally randomly at Lucca Comics And Games 2011 where he had a kingyo-sukui stand together with a friend, and I immediately thought he’d look awesome in front of my lens. I looked up his Kingyo Sukui Facebook page (which I recommend you to visit if you’re interested in nice gadgets) and added him just in case. When I started planning my trip to visit BriarRose in Turin, I asked him if by any chance he could interested in posing, he agreed and we arranged a meeting. Which became a sort of photography workshop when not only BriarRose joined as a photographer (I initially asked her to help me as MUA and assistant), but also Giulia came to model. But despite things getting a bit delirious (mainly because you can’t expect BriarRose, Giulia and me to be serious for more than ten seconds when we’re all together), we ended up mutually boosting our creativity with brilliant results.
This time, I deliberately chose a model who was totally out of the goth scene because I just wanted to focus on different things. Which is, I wanted to do an autumn-winter fashion editorial-like thing with a shade of emotion in it. Also, I had just bought my new 50mm lens and I wanted to explore its potential by putting more care into the composition and such.
I was quite glad to learn that Alessio had no modelling experience whatsoever, as this would preserve the genuineness of the feelings I wanted the photos to have (it could have turned into him being a bit awkward at the beginning, but I was sure I would overcome it with a good direction if that were the case). This proved to be the right choice: while I gladly found out he could work without having to be strictly directed, allowing me to take care of the composition, his way of posing was so natural and genuine that he added the emotional depth I wanted to complete the fashionable feeling. This can be clearly seen in the photo above, which was actually taken while he was standing up after posing for another photo, but turned out to be exactly what I wanted. Thism together with more everyday-like outfits and the autumn magic of the location, which added either a romantic or a decadent feeling depending on the mood of the photo, I was able to achieve exactly what I wanted, even getting to develop old concepts of mine such as Eliot.

Technically speaking, the main features of this photoshoot was the use of extremely short depth of field to explore the bokeh world, an accurate study of compositions (pyramidal such as in The Promise, use of natural frames such in Looking Outside Inside) and a careful evaluation of lights and shadows in order to make volumes stand out and get dramatic black and whites in postproduction (except for Holy Pool Of Memories and Eliot which relied mostly on colours instead). I also worked a lot with diptychs, often thinking of how two photos would look if matched on two pages of a magazine (even though most of diptych are yet to come). To be completely honest – and I rarely give in to free self-congratulation – when I was done with post-production I was stunned by some of my own photos and wondered, did I really take them myself? It was a bit weird to see how I improved virtually overnight just by buying a better lens which removed several limits I needed to overcome to fully express my ideas. Now I can’t wait to take more photos, I’m eager to further explore what I can do now with a better equipment.
But meanwhile, enjoy the first part of this photoshoot:
Eliot by *GothicNarcissus
The Promise by *GothicNarcissus
Holy Pool Of Memories by *GothicNarcissusSeptembre Et Ses Dernières Pensées by *GothicNarcissusMon Chevalier by *GothicNarcissusLooking Outside Inside by *GothicNarcissus

Saturday, 10 December 2011

The Infernal Lords XVIII: Jezebeth

Can I steal your mind for a while?
Can I stop your heart for a while?
Can I freeze your soul and your time?
Scorpion flower, token of death,
Ignite the skies with your eyes.

[ Scorpion Flower – Moonspell & Anneke Van Giersbergen ]
Jezebeth by *GothicNarcissusCountess Jezebeth is a Higher Demon from the Fourth Level. A former Principality, she was one of the first Angels to be recruited by Duke ??????, whom she’s been following eagerly ever since. The two played a pivotal role in the preparation of the Great Heavenly War, as they used their eloquence to turn several Angels to the cause of Emperor Lucifer. Moreover, together with Count Kobal Countess Jezebeth was the one in charge of distracting Yahweh from what was going on, and the two were successful in their role until the near beginning of the war. Her cunning and great lying ability led Countess Jezebeth to become the very embodiment of deceitfulness and after the Fall she became the Demon of Lies and Falsehood. She is so proud of her mischievousness that, once in Hell, she altered her physical appearance growing a scorpion tail, which also vehicles her elemental power of Venom.
Despite Duke ?????? being an even better liar than herself, she’s the one in charge of the specific use of falsehood as a vessel for Evil in the Sublunar World. Her modus operandi is slightly different for that of many Demons, as she often chooses multiple victims at once, possessing one in order to gain the trust of the others and lure them all to their downfall. Occasionally, she clashes with Viscount Legion over Mortals, as she likes to annoy him by aiming as his same victims.
Her life at Court is one of the most intense. She is part of both Duke ??????’s retinue and Duke Beelzebub’s Order of the Great Fly (due to her Element being derived from Earth), and her mundane, gossipy and chatty manners make her a very popular figure to whom many Courtiers turn for some light-hearted fun, the true heart of many soirées along with her dear friend, Marquise Decarabia. Whether it’s true or not, her gossip, much often provided by Marquis Rosiel, is always very entertaining and she’s so good at lying that she can deceive even those Demons who are most familiar with her lies; many of the falsehoods she passed off as truth become the whispers that animate the chit-chatting behind the ladies’ fans for days and days. Besides Viscount Legion, whom she often pretends to befriend in order to spread gossip about, she’s mostly at odds with Marquis Nergal, who strongly disapproves of her utter dishonesty. But no doubt – he can be tricked by Countess Jezebeth’s stingy tongue too…

Jezebeth: development and symbolism

Credits:
Photo, concept, manipulation, frame design: GothicNarcissus
Model: Giulia Biletta
Styling: GothicNarcissus and BriarRose
Hair, make up: BriarRose
Additional resources: Amptone-stock (textures), BrokenWing3dStock (wings), Dracoart-stock (scorpion tail)

I found out about a Demon called Jezebeth thanks to a friend of mine who played a character on a RPG who was possessed by Jezebeth, the Demon of Lies and Falsehood. Even though this was pretty much all that I could find about the Demon itself (the sources are very scarce), I sort of liked it mostly because of the name and decided it would be one of my Infernal Lords.
Sounds quite neat and easy, doesn’t it? Hell, no. Not only did I have nothing but a single line with no further explanation about Jezebeth, but this Demon was “specialised” in something totally abstract and difficult to represent. On the one hand, this gave me total freedom on how to portray it, on the other I was a bit frustrated for not having much to work on. It was a very though challenge, which I decided to accept anyway.
The only thing I had clear about this Demon from the beginning was that its name sounded very feminine, so I decided it would be a girl (back then there were too few Ladies in the series). At first, I thought she’d have to look very mischievous, so I decided to cast my dear friend ContessaNera with her badass pin up fringe for the role. She wasn’t very thrilled at the idea and, after some pressure, I decided to change her role into one I knew she would love as a linguist: Agares, the Demon of languages.
An early draft of ContessaNera as Jezebeth.
In the meantime, Jezebeth stayed in a limbo waiting to be recast, but at that point I just had no ideas at all and focussed on other Demons. Then I found Giulia, a friend of BriarRose’s. Looking at her photos, I got immediately fascinated by her sweet, innocent looks and decided it was perfect for the Demon of Falsehood: what could be more deadly deceiving than a tender-looking monster? And that was the easiest part.
The though thing now was, how to visually represent the actual concept of falsehood? The right idea came up while I was talking about it with my mother, DamaInNero: a scorpion. The scorpion can be seen as one of the most mischievous animals, as it spends its life undercover, remains hidden but is always ready to attack at the right moment. I could very well recycle the old cliché of the Devil with a tail (a total novelty for my series) making a good-looking one. Insect wings to complete the supernatural visuals, and the general idea was finally there.
On the other hand, when I was at home for the sumer break, I enjoyed watching Agatha Christie’s Poirot on television, which revamped my huge love for the Tweinties and Thirties’ aesthetics. This made me think, what about doing a Twenties-looking Jezebeth? Why not? I’m quite fed up with Victorian aesthetics and such an experiment would bring some novelty to the project. Also, as I knew I would most likely meet Giulia together with BriarRose and the latter is the most gifted make up artist I’ve met and had the pleasure to work with: the thing could work perfectly. I talked with the girls, they loved the idea and we stared thinking of when to schedule the shooting. Side note: I truly have to thank BriarRose for making such a magnificent work with the hairstyle and make up, she really made the difference!
It’s also worth mentioning that the circumstances of this work were quite unique: all my previous attempts to do more than one Infernal Lord at a time (like for instance in the same trip) didn’t work. If I arranged more than one shooting, some of the models (if not all) could not come in the end. This time I also shot Kobal, like, an hour later and then went off to do more shooting with both models; so, apparently the “curse” put on my project took a day off, which I really loved.
I wrote about almost all the symbolism of this work, but I still have to say that Jezebeth holds a fan because women used to cover their mouth with them when they were gossiping, so it represents idle and malevolent talking. Also, I wanted Jezebeth to have an ambiguous, malicious smile to complete the whole work, and Giulia did it perfectly. The seal I used (yes, there is a seal, you just have to look for it) is that of Bune, which I chose because it reminds of an insect or an arachnid, reprising the scorpion motif.
As ContessaNera took red away with her, I didn’t have a main colour in my mind for this photo and I eventually chose purple taupe because it matched the original hue of the photo. Choosing the theme-song was another difficult part and I changed my mind several times over the past months. Eventually, when the scorpion idea stung (pun intended), I opted for Scorpion Flower by Moonspell featuring Anneke Van Giersbergen, for quite obvious reasons.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Affair

Affair by GothicNarcissusRock me on the river,
Where my troubles belong.
‘Cause you know I love you,
But I know it’s wrong,
But your body is all that I want.

Rosy affair,
You took my heart for a little while.
Greatest mistake I ever made, loving you.
Rosy affair,
I gave you my heart for a little while.
I wish I could stay with you tonight,
But I’m going home.

And we danced all night in the shadows,
Alone we stood in the crowd,
But I’m going crazy now you’re not around.
You should find another lover, baby,
Won’t let you down.

If I stay here tonight
There’ll be trouble,
But I don’t want to pretend,
‘Cause I know that we’ll make it.
My heart just can’t take it no more,
But I would rather lose a lover, baby, over it all.

Rosy affair,
You took my heart for a little while.
Greatest mistake I ever made, loving you.
Rosy affair,
I gave you my heart for a little while.
I wish I could stay with you tonight,
But I’m going home.

[ Affair – Hurts ]

Of course, despite the photobook being printed and given to the guys, I could not let too much time before I took another Hurts-inspired photo, so here we go with the beautiful and emotional semi-ballad Affair.
The story behind this photo is somehow similar to that of Happiness: onge again, it was Briar Rose who suggested the general idea, and then my mind found a perfect connection with my favourite muse.
This time, the challenge was to directly quote an existing photograph that Briar Rose particularly loved, for which I fell too upon seeing it. She asked me to find it a suitable title, and after thinking of some minor adjustments to fit the song I thought it was the perfect match to Affair.

The first difficulty to overcome once we were at work was the lack of a chandelier, which added the special touch to the original photo. To fill the emptiness of the upper part, we opted for that particular dress so that its golden pattern would stand out in black and white, catching the eye and makin up for the lack of the chandelier. Besides, I tried to get a somewhat colder feeling by having a looser hugh, as if they were done and Yue was about to go home as in the song.
One thing I really love about this photo is how expressive Briar Rose is despite not showing her face at all: the line of her back, the neck and her hand have something very emotive about them. Also, I love how she did her hair, she’s getting the best hairdresser and make up artist I know personally.

Oh, and the good news is you can expect a new photo for the Inspiration Hurts project quite soon.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Infernal Lords XVII: Leviathan

And I don’t know how to live,
‘Cause I am broken and I fall and fall again.
With this broken skin I try to look like you.
Hope it makes me blend in like reptiles do.

[ Reptile – The Crest ]
Leviathan by *GothicNarcissusThe Grand Admiral of the Sea Serpent, Marquis Leviathan, was formerly a high-ranking Seraph under Duchess Astarte’s leadership and the third Angel to be cast out of Heaven, following Emperor Lucifer and Archduke Beelzebub. He is now the Demon of Envy and belongs to the Seven Satans, the First-Level Demons. He is also the Demon of Water, a power he retained after the Fall, and is the most closely related to his own Element out of the four Elemental Demons. This makes his nature strongly connected to that of marine reptiles, which is made evident by his beautiful, androgynous face half-covered in scales, and his dragon wings, which strangely don’t spoil his good looks. He is also an Astral Demon, with the mastership of the astrological influence of Planet Neptune. Deeply envious of God and his overpower on Earth, he’s always eager when it comes to corrupt men with his Sin, often working by Queen Barbelo’s side, like when the two plotted, with a little help from Marquise Anamelech, that Cain kill Abel to introduce murder on Earth. Among other deeds, he was also responsible for the Delilah and Samson incident, but is mostly famous for the central role he played in the Tree of Knowledge Plot: he was indeed the Serpent who lured Adam and Eve to eat the apple, leading them to their downfall.
Despite being severely consumed by his own Sin to the point of occasionally lashing out at fellow Courtiers, he’s a prominent, popular and well respected figure in Hell and has a good relationship with most of Demons, who have learnt to deal with his occasional bad temper. Beside his close friendship with Queen Barbelo and Archduke Beelzebub, he tags along with Prince Abaddon and Duke
Azazel, both Third Level Demons and Army Generals. He is a Military Chief and a skilled soldier himself, being the Leader of the Infernal Fleet, which is made of Knuckers, Nixies, Kelpies and other lesser Water Demons. He’s also in charge of guarding Hell’s borders along with Marquis Nergal, patrolling the riverine frontier and often using his mastership of Water to drown the intruders in the Infernal River. He greatly enjoys the company of Count Furcifel when he joins them for the patrols.
While not strongly involved in the mundane life at Court, during the events he enjoys associating and courteously entertaining with the ladies, most often with the ever charming Marquise Decarabia.

Leviathan: development and symbolism

Credits:
Photo, concept, manipulation, styling, make up, frame design: GothicNarcissus
Model, hair: Kay Rozencaster
Additional resources: Goblin-Stock (scales), Kuschelirmel-Stock (texture), Nightgraue (wings), Taeliac-Stock (texture).

Among all the “traditional” Demons, Leviathan is one of those whose status as a Demon is most disputed. According to the Bible, most notably the Book of Jobs, the Leviathan is nothing but a sea monster that represents chaos. It’s portrayed as a feminine giant serpent with crocodile features (such as sharp teeth) and he’s associated with the Behemoth (the land monster) and, occasionally, the Ziz (the air monster). Traditions have it that it is to be slain and served as a meal to the righteous ones after Judgement Day.
This vision was partly changed by the Christians during the Middle Ages, when the Leviathan became a serpent-like demonic creature that endangered God’s creatures both by eating them and by threatening them with the waters of Chaos, and was also associated with the Hellmouth, a monster that eats sinners after the Final Judgement.
Behemoth and Leviathan by William Blake (1826).
The first account of Leviathan as a proper Demonic figure comes from Thomas Aquinas, who described him as the Demon of Envy, in charge of punishing the related sinners. This version was further developed by Peter Binsfeld, according to whom Leviathan was the Demon that tempted men with Envy. Sebastian Michaelis described him as a former Seraph and the third Angel to be cast out of Heaven, following Lucifer and Beelzebub. Many sources describe him as the Great Admiral of the Infernal Fleet, and even as the very Serpent who tempted Adam and Eve in Eden. Finally, his figure was further developed in Satanism, where Leviathan is one of the most importand Demons and represents one of the four Elements, Water.

Mammon from Kaori Yuki’s Angel Sanctuary
Such a rich and detailed tradition about Leviathan made it easy for me to notice him immediately; even Kaori Yuki mentioned him in Angel Sanctuary, despite drawing him only in the side notes (for he was too difficult to do) and not giving him even a small cameo anywhere (except cloaked among the other Seven Satans in one scene). Her version is not much different from the traditional one, and Leviathan appears as the silhouette of a huge sea dragon.
With all this material, Leviathan was one of the first names to be written on my Demons-to-do list back in autumn 2009. Similarly to Mammon and Beelzebub, he presented me with the challenge to render his animal-like features without spoiling the good looks of the model. What you can see today is the exact idea I had back then: dragon wings on his back and scales on his cheeks (a small exception to the total absence of monstrous features); I also initially thought of a forked tongue, but it would have looked tacky.
For some reason not even I do know, I had decided that Leviathan should have long, straight, black hair; I looked for a model with serpentine features (and possibly with a nose, unlike Lord Voldemort), but I necessarily wanted him with long, black, perfectly straight hair parted in the middle; I also decided all along that Leviathan’s Seal would be on his forehead. I found a possible model who lived in Turin as soon as February 2010, but when I went there to meet BriarRose and shoot Lilith, he was in London. He said he was interested in the role anyway, but when I tried again to arrange a meeting some months later, he replied thad he did “not have time for my project”. Which was fine, at least he did not reply “maybe, someday” and I could go on with my search. I considered two other people, but was not totally convinced until I found Kay on Facebook. His features were perfect for the role and after talking about what he was going to do with his hair, I decided that the role was his. He accepted and, after a couple of postponements, we arranged to meet and shoot.
As I mentioned above, the final work looks almost exactly how I initially imagined it. The serpentine dagger was one of the first elements I decided to include: I saw it at my dear Ayl’s house, and asked her if she could lent it to me; I decided the dagger was to be included because I see Envy as a rather violent, murderous sin, but in a subtler way than Wrath, and a dagger is a more mischievous weapon than Barbelo’s whip (it was the Borgias’ weapon of choice, for instance). The last element I added to the picture was the jacket: beside his hair, another thing I really wanted for Leviathan was to have a look in-between military and sumptuous, as he belongs to the highest group of Hell’s nobility but is an important serviceman too. When I bought my H&M jacket, beside being amazed by the fact I found my size, I also thought it would be perfect for Leviathan’s outfit, so I decided I would bring it along and lend it to the model. The funny thing is that when I pulled it out of my suitcase, Kay laughed and showed me he had the same jacket, so we eventually used his: it was just destiny; with its military-like but decorated shape, the jacket completed the symbolism of the photo. As Leviathan is not a Goetic Demon, I borrowed his Seal from Eligos, as it really looks like a sea serpent. At a certain point I also wanted to include an apple in the photo, horizontally cut in two to show the five-pointed star in the core, but while shooting I realised the idea just didn’t work.
I think it’s quite clear why I used green as the theme colour for the Demon of Envy, isn’t it? As for the song, Reptile by The Crest (Nell Sigland’s first band) was the perfect fit for the character.
On a side note, due to some postponements this photo was finally shot on November 13th, which is Nell’s birthday. Thus, I want to dedicate this work to her. Nell, I know a portrait of the Demon of Envy is a weird birthday dedication, but I hope you like it anyway (besides, Theo Hutchcraft from Hurts got a photo of me half-drowned, so maybe this is not the weirdest birthday dedication I’ve done).
Once again, special thanks to LunarShore for his precious advice.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Beautiful Decline

Beautiful Decline by *GothicNarcissusFingers of rust gently intertwine
Lace the seams of sacrifice in beautiful decline.
Catalysis of creations of all that was mankind
Pull our corruption towards nature, the state that’s predefined.

All that floats upon the sea, all that hangs in the air,
All that sits in dust or dirt eventually ensnared.
The gentle touch of time will take you unaware,
Pulling all creations down, an elegant affair.

Pleasant patina pulls apart a golden copper shrine
Like gently creeping mossy claws, scarring all divine.
All the things you think you value, including the gift of life,
Slowly, gently fall apart till the world is right.

Rust forms bringing it all down,
Wood rots, and into the ground
Flesh falls; life’s decomposed,
Then nature’s again exposed.
[ Beautiful Decline - Abney Park ]

It seems I’ve post nothing but Hurts-inspired photos lately; which is perfectly understandable, as I was really looking forward to Hurts’ concert and worked very hard to print the book to give them. If you’re wondering how it all ended up, I got to give the book to Adam (as Theo was quicker to vanish into the tourbus), who seemed quite surprised by the type of gift. I don’t know what he and Theo thought about it, but I really hope they had a good time tumbling through my photos.
Now, I think I’m going to take a brak from Hurts-inspired works (also because I’m currently out of ideas and the three I have are currently impossible to take due to several circumstances). In the meantime I went to Lucca Comics And Games, the biggest manga and comics convention in Italy, and had a photoshoot with Francesca and Giulia, two friends of mine who wore those wonderful costumes and kindly agreed to let me shoot them. We took few photos as it was more of a thing for fun among friends, but I loved the results nevertheless. The one above is my favourite from this session, I love how the colours came out in postproduction.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Inspiration Hurts: project presentation

GothicNarcissus Photography presents: Inspiration Hurts (But it feels Better Than Love)
My journey through Hurts music begun with my camera. One evening, a dear friend of mine and I were organizing a photoshoot, and, in the middle of the brainstorming, she sent me the link to Evelyn, asking me what I thought about it and if we could develop her idea of a photo inspired by the song.
Not only it did our minds connect perfectly giving us both the very same image to work on while we were listening, but it touched me so deeply I immediately googled Hurts’ discography. The next step was purchasing Happiness, hitting play and being totally blown away by Silver Lining.

Music is a huge part of my life. Ever since I had a camera and started using it to take artistic photographs, songs became my greatest source of inspiration and most of the photos I have taken in the past five years are my own visual rendition of melodies or lyrics. This happens because through my photography I try to express my inner world; some special pieces of music have a particular resonance with it and I find the reflection of my own thoughts, feelings, hopes, fears, pleasures and pains in them, which echo back to me evoking particular images in my mind. This is how most of my photos are born, either while I’m listening to music, or while I’m shooting and see something that reminds me of that particular song.

One of the things I love the most about your music is the intensity of the connection I feel with them and the vividness of the images I receive back. Silver Lining, the work that opens this book, was already sketched by the end of the first chorus and crystal clear by the last, breath-taking “silver” of the final choir ever since the first time I listened to the song, the exact way you can see it on the paper. Same goes with many other works on this  book, even though they disclosed their images later on or invaded my mind while I was already at work.
Another thing worth mentioning is that I’ve been mainly shooting for the past two years and fell back in love with modelling mostly thanks to these photos. When I conceive the images, I immediately notice that most of the ideas for Hurts-inspired photos feature myself as the subject, despite my general lack of will to crawl in front of the lens. I think it’s because I share my feelings with your song so strongly and deeply that I can’t help but being part of the image myself, it’s almost automatic.

Not all of your songs have their related photos in this book. Some of them chose to leave their secrets Unspoken, for now, and I don’t want to rush or force them; others have already disclosed them, and the images they showed me Stay in my mind, but haven’t found the right moment to be brought to the light yet; and then, there are also some songs which still wait the right inspiration to bloom, be recorded and provide me with fresh inspiration in turn, someday.

As the creative process means a lot to me and I especially cherish every source of inspiration – making art is truly cathartic to me, and the worst periods come when I’m out of ideas – I felt I had to show my gratitude to you, who make the music that inspires me the most in this period. I thought the best way to pay you homage was to print the photos and hand you the book. I hope that by looking at them you may have a glimpse of the feelings your songs give me and how good I feel when I can put them into a new work. Truth be told, it feels Better Than Love.

From the preface of Inspiration Hurts (But it feels Better Than Love).

Friday, 21 October 2011

Wonderful Life & In The Shadow Of Mother Nature

Wonderful Life by GothicNarcissusOn a bridge across the Severn on a Saturday night
Susie meets the man of her dreams.
He says that he got in trouble and if she doesn’t mind
He doesn’t want the company.
But there’s something in the air, they share a look in silence
And everything is understood,
And Susie grabs her man and puts a grip on his hand
As the rain puts a tear in his eye.

She says:
‘Don’t let go.
Never give up, it’s such a wonderful life.
Don’t let go.
Never give up, it’s such a wonderful life.’

Driving through the city to the Temple station
He cries into the leather seat,
And Susie knows her baby was a family man
But the world has got him down on his knees.
So she throws him at the wall, her kisses burn like fire
And suddenly he starts to believe,
And he takes her in his arms and he doesn’t know why,
But he thinks that he begins to see.

She says:
‘Don’t let go.
Never give up, it’s such a wonderful life.
Don’t let go.
Never give up, it’s such a wonderful life.’

[ Wonderful Life – Hurts ]

The Cuga dam in Sardinia is one of the places of my childhood. Not only is it on the way to the town where my mother used to work, but she would often take me out for a ride in her car and a picnic on Sundays, and that served as a location several times. It’s since around 2007 that I wanted to do a photoshoot there, but several circumstances, starting from me needing specifically a cloudy day, going through a fire occurred in the surrounding area which ruined the landscape, and then never finding a suitable moment when I moved out and came home only for holidays.
Well, surely waiting so long proved a good thing, as I got much better at photography and bought a reflex camera meanwhile. When I finally organized the so long desired photoshoot, I had just discovered (and was already totally enthusiastic about) Hurts music, which inevitably influenced me; also, I had already planned to take advantage of the murky sky to shoot Silver Lining there (regardless of the dam itself), so the door was gladly open for other Hurts song to flood my mind.
Both Wonderful Life and In The Shadow Of Mother Nature are photos which were born there and then without any planning. As for the former, I think I associated the location with the concrete platform on the front cover of the single, which made the song to start playing in my mind and urge me to shoot the photo. It was the first period of my new fashion direction, so I decided to tribute Hurts’ posh aesthetics by striking a Vogue-esque pose as if I was showing my goth-dandy outfit for some high edge editorial. Which would have worked, as the contrast between the industrial landscape and the elegant clothes makes them stand out. In The Shadow Of Mother Nature basically follows the same idea, blending industrial and natural elements in the set to highlight the clothes.

I think I’m going to introduce also the other photos from this session, including the nature ones (which are quite rare for a portrait addicted like me), but I’ll save them for another post, as I don’t want to mix them with the Inspiration Hurts project.
On a side note, these photos were not part of a project yet: I decided to do one when I found out I already had enough Hurts photos (taken or planned) to make a theme photobook out of them.
In The Shadow Of Mother Nature by GothicNarcissus
In my dreams I see the life She brings to me,
But I forget Her in the morning.
And I don’t need Her holy blessings to be free,
And I can stand it when She’s talking, talking back to me.

In the shadow of Mother Nature
We find it hard to live our lives,
But we never chose the life She gave us
And we don’t need Her to survive.

It’s no wonder we grow strong while You grow weak.
And that’s exactly how You made us.
And all your violence makes it harder to believe.
And every death just leaves us faithless, faithless in defeat.

In the shadow of Mother Nature
We find it hard to live our lives,
But we never chose the life She gave us
And we don’t need Her to survive.
[ Mother Nature – Hurts ]

Friday, 14 October 2011

Sunday

Sunday by GothicNarcissusThere are times when we question the things we know.
Never thought that the cracks would begin to show.
We both know love is not that easy.
I wish I’d known that it would be this hard to be alone.
Please, come home.

Is this the end of a love that has just begun?
I always hoped that the best, it was yet to come.
So please, come back, don’t you leave me,
We’re both so young, I know you need me too
And there’ll always be times like these.

Loveless nights, they seem so long;
I know that I’ll hold you someday.
Until you come back where you belong
It’s just another lonely Sunday.

If you don’t come back tomorrow
I’ll be left here in the cold.
If you don’t come back tomorrow
I’ll go.

Loveless nights, they seem so long;
I know that I’ll hold you someday.
Until you come back where you belong
It’s just another lonely Sunday.

[ Sunday – Hurts ]

Posing while shooting and directing another model, all of this blindfolded: now, this is the new frontier of self-portraiture! You can imagine this was not an easy one to take, so please forgive my cropped head.

So, here is a new work for my Inspiration Hurts project, the last one I can include in the printed book due to time schedule (I have to send everything to print within this week or I will get the book too late for the concert). If you can’t see the connection between the song and the photo, I suggest that you have a look at the videoclip, as I directly tribute it. I particularly love it, as you have to watch it till the end to get the right perspective on the enigmatically blended scenes and understand it’s a very original rendition of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth.
I was so fascinated by this turning point and its modern interpretation (the mirror door in which Theo/Orpheus sees his Eurydice losing her is pure genius) that I decided to play on that for my photo, building my own rendition of the story with personal symbolism.
I decided to depict the moment of the ascension from the Underworld, with me as Orpheus leading Eurydice (played by my flatmate Giulia) by hand. As you may guess, the blood she’s spilling from her mouth is a direct tribute to the video.
As for me, you will notice two things: I’m blindfolded and holding a microphone.
The blindfold is to avoid looking at Eurydice, either out of anxiety like in the original myth, or accidentally like in the Hurts video; the microphone is simply my musical instrument: Orpheus played his lyre to touch Hades and Persephone with his music, while I am a singer so had to rely on my own voice (technically I can play piano too, but it’d be hard to get my dead wife back by covering Evanescence’s Exodus, which is the only tune I still remember how to play). My new pullover is not strictly part of the symbolism, but is worth mentioning because its truly gorgeous, so just love it as much as I do.
(Naturally I’m taking for granted that you already know the myth. If you don’t, you can find it on Wikipedia.)

Technically speaking, you may notice this work is rather unusual for me. I used a noticeably downward perspective together with a wide(r)-angle to deform a bit the borders and give the photo a more dynamic touch. Overall I’m satisfied with the results, although not being fully in control of everything due to the blindfold and having to deal with a very narrow space of the set was a huge limit. Also, I don’t think I’ve ever looked less manly than here, but as I try to make the best out of my androgyny anyway, it’s no big deal.
On a side note, I wish I could use a Volga car for my photo: seeing all those Russian references in the video totally sent my Belarusian half in orbit.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Illuminated

Illuminated by GothicNarcissusTime waits for no one,
So do you want to waste some time,
Oh, oh, tonight?
Don’t be afraid of tomorrow,
Just take my hand, I’ll make it feel
So much better tonight.

Suddenly my eyes are open,
Everything comes into focus, oh.
We are all illuminated,
Lights are shining on our faces, blinding.

Swing me these sorrows
And try delusion for a while,
It’s such a beautiful night.
You’ve got to lose inhibition,
Romance your ego for a while.
Come on, give it a try.

Suddenly my eyes are open,
Everything comes into focus, oh.
We are all illuminated,
Lights are shining on our faces, blinding.

We are, we are blinded.
We are, we are blinded.

[ Illuminated – Hurts ]

To be honest, I can’t quite believe I took this photo. I mean, that I finally did. The rough idea has been in my head for at least six months now, but never had the occasion to, err, see the light, if you will. So it’s really beautiful to finally see it done.
Illuminated was one of the first three Hurts songs to totally blow me away, and also the third image I saw in my mind while listening, after Evelyn and Silver Lining. At first, though, I put it aside, as I somehow didn’t feel it was mature enough to be shot yet. I focussed on other things, while having it written down among my other modelling ideas and waiting to really feel the urge to shoot it. Which came sometime in July, when I finally understood what the mood of my photo had to be: a mixture of fear and fascination for the illumination, the indecision between letting light blind you or shielding your eyes to remain in the darkness; to quote a couple of fitting lines by Anathema, “the choice between love and fear of pain”, something that I’ve started feeling again only recently (after a long period of utter rejection). I think deep within I knew this photo had to be genuine, so I kept postposing it until I really felt it. To be honest, it took me a while to decide whether I was satisfied with it or not, as I didn’t know if I was expressive enough for what I wanted (I still have huge problems with expressivity), but in the end I saw all that I wanted to represent was there.

This photo was not very easy to take. As I set the black background in a park, I had basically no reference for the focus, so my first, countless attempts just failed. I resolved to ask an old man passing by to just step in front of my tripod so that I could adjust the focus on him before I was finally able to shoot properly. I shot multiple times tying different poses, and this was the best one.
On a side note, this time I tried something completely different for my make up: I didn’t use any eyeliner or eye pencil, and only relied on eye shadow, which I applied using a big Neve brush on the eyelid and a quite small one on the lower part. I love the smoky effect I got, so I’m definitely going to use it again, also in my everyday life when make up is required.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Confide In Me & Tainted Fashion

Confide In Me by GothicNarcissusI stand in the distance,
I watch from afar.
Should I offer my assistance,
Should it matter who you are?

We all get hurt by love
And we all have our cross to bear,
But in the name of understanding now
Our problems should be shared.

Confide in me, confide in me.

And I can keep a secret
And throw away the key,
But sometimes, to release it
Is to set our children free.

Stick or twist, the choice is yours.
Hit or miss, what’s mine is yours.
Stick or twist, the choice is yours.
Hit or miss, what's mine is yours.

We all get hurt by love
And we all have our cross to bear,
But in the name of understanding now
Our problems should be shared.

Confide in me, confide in me,
Confide in me, confide in me.

[ Confide In Me – Hurts ]

As I mentioned in the previous post, I’m writing about these two photos separately, as they are part of my Inspiration Hurts project, which has got a life of its own by now.

Differently from most of the photos from this project, Tainted Fashion and Confide In Me were neither born suddenly while shooting, nor carefully planned before. I can say they’re a hybrid, as I roughly sketched them in my mind but waited to be there and let inspiration flow to have a complete image of them.
The story behind Confide In Me is actually even stranger than that. When I knew the shoot would be set in an abandoned factory, I somehow felt there would be something that would fit this concept. I don’t know why, but I knew it. I thought I’d find an old telephone or something, but that little old phone book was even better, it was just the perfect match for the idea of confiding in an utter stranger. Here you can see a detail of it:
Confide In Me by *GothicNarcissus: detail
Tainted Fashion is a bit the odd one in this project. It’s the photo which has the less direct correlation with a Hurts song, although it’s still somewhat connected. It’s loosely based on the second verse of Better Than Love (in particular visually, with the reference to light and darkness) and on the question whether fashion’s frivolity actually feels better than love and emotions (did someone mention thawing?). Or are emotions even more frivolous than the beau monde, after all? Which one leads to decay first? (Ok, end of the thawing). I basically wanted it to look like some sort of fashion show held in utter decay, stressing on the idea of transience that is common to fashion and feelings, perfectly epitomized by the set.
You may see these two photos especially benefited from the extraordinarily good lighting conditions of the warehouse. Without it, they would have never been so intense. But a big deal of the work was done by Raz and his wonderful expressivity, that totally made the photos.
Tainted Fashion by GothicNarcissus
Another second in the sunshine,
A decade in the dark taking part in a dream.
Have you forgotten what she looks like,
Or do you only see what you want to believe?

Does it feel better than love?
Does it feel better than love?
[ Better Than Love – Hurts ]

Sunday, 9 October 2011

A Post-apocalyptic Scenary

Castle For Clowns by *GothicNarcissus
Abandoned warehouses are the perfect place to take photos in, so no wonder that many (if not all) photographers end up using them at least once in their career. An abandoned factory is usually isolated, you can take your time without other people interfering, has that decaying feeling that completes so many kind of photos, it doesn’t cost a thing (unless you get a fine for entering a private property) and, in particular, has a huge lot of different ideas to offer.
If you consider that I’m attracted to decadence like a moth to the flame and that I have a huge fascination for industrial landscapes, you can easily guess why I immediately got very enthusiastic when Raz Estacado suggested the possibility to shoot in an abandoned factory near Padua.
As I mentioned in the post about Nergal, Raz wrote to me on Facebook asking me if I was interested in collaborating with him, which I immediately accepted, deciding to include him in my InfernalLords project. Of course, meeting him just for a single photo would have been a waste of time and resources, so I asked him if he could suggest a location to shoot in, possibly something industrial (as I’m a bit fed up of old-fashioned monumental places), and he suggested me this abandoned, post-apocalyptic warehouse, showing me some photos he had taken there himself. Coincidentally, I had just bought A Natural Disaster by Anathema, so a bunch of fitting concepts started blooming in my mind, and here is the results.

I have to say I’ve been particularly lucky, as the location had a wonderful lighting. There were several windows which let the bright afternoon light in, allowing me to experiment a lot and, with the right amount of attention, getting a professional-looking illumination on the model, making him stand out from the background in most of the shoots. In other cases, the brighter areas simply provided some additional hues which completed the chromatism of the photos.

Besides the location, though, the real highlight of this session is the model. I really had a great time working with Raz Estacado for several reasons: firstly, he’s a photographer himself, so he already had a clue about how to act in front of the camera and needed just general directions; we also exchanged some pieces of advice and experimented different things during the shoot (although they didn’t work out in the end). But more importantly, he’s one of the most expressive models I’ve had the pleasure to work with, surely the most expressive overall among males. He gave the photos a brand new freshness and intensity, totally different from those of other sessions. I took full advantage of his theatrical skills to add a different flavour to the photos, to very satisfying results. Also, I had the occasion to practice make up on another person, which turned out pretty good for being the first time I do it for photographic purposes. No need to say I’m looking forward to working with him again in the future.

As for now, enjoy the outcome of this fruitful photoshoot. I will include all the photos except Cold Comfort and a couple of shoots which are part of the InspirationHurts project and need a separate mention.
Violence by *GothicNarcissus
Scary, Lonely Dream World by *GothicNarcissus
Brighter Days, Outside by *GothicNarcissusSave Me by *GothicNarcissusElectricity by *GothicNarcissusWyatt Earth by *GothicNarcissus

Friday, 30 September 2011

Cold Comfort

Cold Comfort by *GothicNarcissusI feel what can only be described
As a chill through my every bone,
A gnawing at my sense of home,
An iridescent black and blue.

What you see isn't always what you have
And to hold dear is to never let go.

Yet I still feel well,
Cold comfort to the empty-hearted.
Bound and broken.
Cold comfort, for what was left unspoken
Will have me wishing you were here.

Keep home fires burning,
Spark a yearning for the confines of home.
Keep home fires burning,
Spark a yearning in you to find your way home.

Carried your brittle bones beyond these walls.
All colour bled from banner, hung at half-mast.
Future fire set in stone, ghosts of second past
Feed a licking, harrowing flame,
But you would not be scared away.

What you see isn't always what you have
And to hold dear is to never let go.

Rising up from underneath,
Undercurrent of fiery grief.
I'm cold to the touch.
Ghostly cold is your touch.
[ Cold Comfort - Autumn ]

Autumn, a Dutch metal band which was the first I had a photographic session with, are going to release their new studio album Cold Comfort on November 4th. The front cover and first single of the album were revealed and, as I love their music a lot, I immediately got inspired by both, in particular as I knew I was going to shoot in an abandoned factory. I kept the song in mind, ready to find the right idea that would relate to it.
I found out that, until some years ago, homeless people used to live inside the warehouse Raz and I were going to shoot in, and when they were forced to leave, they abandoned most of their belongings inside the building. While exploring it to look for new ideas, we found where they used to camp, which immediately reminded me of the front cover of the Autumn album. For some reasons, what immediately caught my attention was the flowery cup on the parapet of the stairs; I don’t know, I’m often drawn and somehow touched by such small details, so I decided I wanted to preserve it by taking a photo. Also, the spider webs illuminated by the windows on the back added a wonderful touch, so I set up the manual focus and decided to work with them too. I asked Raz to stay back in order to suggest a blurry human presence, and the image was complete.
This is how this photo, which is a bit unusual of me, was born.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The Infernal Lords XVI: Nergal

I’m getting closer and I’m fully armed.
I’m about to hunt you down through
The big black hole right behind you
And I’m about to cut your wings away.

You don’t believe what all the signs say,
You don’t believe in judgment day,
But you won’t be leaving hear unharmed.

[ Murder – Within Temptation ]
Nergal by *GothicNarcissusMarquis Nergal is one of the Military Generals of Hell and therefore part of the Third Demonic Level. Naturally bellicose thanks to the influence the Planet he masters, he is the Supreme General of the Infernal Police and, even more notably, the Chief of the Secret Police, acting very effectively both in maintaining internal civil order and preventing infiltrations from outside of Hell. As the General of the regular Police, his role is mainly to prevent seditions from Lesser Demons against the Court and to make public life at least liveable, so that the Infernal Empire does not get weakened by internal struggles and mass murders from the most evil Demons. His much more delicate role as the Chief of the Secret Police consists of tracing potential spies and traitors, often under Archduke Beelzebub’s directives, organising patrols at the borders of Hell together with Marquis Leviathan and directing war trials against the Angels who are caught while trying to infiltrate themselves into Hell. As the former Second-in-Command of Dominions, another crucial role of his is receiving secret information from Prince Absinthion from Heaven and reporting it to Archduke Beelzebub and the other Generals to organise the Infernal Army’s schemes accordingly.
As an Astral Demon, beside Princess Lilith he’s the closest to his own nature, strongly in touch with the influence of Planet Mars and willing to spot his planetary symbol on the forehead nearly all the time. This makes his temper authoritarian, suspicious, devious, slightly misogynistic and very combative, much to the annoyance of the most blithe Demons. He’s particularly at odds with the ever-cheerful Marquise Decarabia, the mischievous Countess Jezebeth or such debauched Satans as Duke Astaroth, Duke ?????? and Count Asmodeus, beside being a major supporter of the silent ostracism towards the weird-natured Viscount Legion. His relationship with Queen Barbelo can be described as complicated, as he’s torn between secretly scorning her political and military power, deeming a woman incapable of leading an army and a man like him more suitable as the Demon of Wrath, but greatly admiring her fierce temper nonetheless. At times, his blunt nature clashes with the more diplomatic and scheming Duke Azazel, but both Generals hold each other in great respect. He also appreciates Archduke Beelzebub, being part of his Order of the Great Fly, the militarily skilled Marquis Leviathan and the powerful Count Furcifel, whom he lets join the border patrols. Despite his nature, though, Marquis Nergal can be a very polite Demon and an enjoyable companion… at least in the rare moments when the other Courtiers don’t have to keep some secret from the scarlet eyes of the law.

Nergal: development and symbolism

Credits:
Photo, concept, manipulation, styling, make up, frame design: GothicNarcissus
Model, hair: Raz Estacado
Additional resources: Amptone-stock (texture), SalsolaStock (wings)

Thanks to Kaori Yuki’s Angel Sanctuary, I found out that not only I like Angels and Demons, but also men in military outfits. There are several moments in which some of the characters get to wear a military hat and they all look particularly sexy in it. Thus, when I found out about Nergal, a Demon in charge of some important military duties in Hell, I got immediately fascinated by his figure and decided it could be nice to have him on board. As I once mentioned, the idea of Heaven and Hell being basically two opposite kingdoms with their own court and armies is what intrigues me the most about the Christian conception of supernatural, and Nergal was particularly fitting with this mundane vision. He’s based on a fiery god of destruction, death and war, adored in the Mesopotamian city of Cuth according to the Bible, and when assimilated into the monotheistic system, he was turned into a warrior Demon who, according to Colin De Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal, is in charge of the “secret police” of Hell, as well as being an “honorary spy” of Beelzebub’s.
The Mesopotamic god Nergal, upon which the Demon is based.
The aesthetics for such a character were conceived quite easily and almost everything was already clear in my mind by early 2009, when I purchased a DDR Aeronautics hat for the purpose; I had already decided I would also use the handcuffs I already owned for, well, other recreational purposes. Other details would be a military jacket and some medals; the ones you can see in this photo are my grandfather’s, so original Soviet decorations (70th anniversary of the October Revolution, and 20th and 30th anniversaries of the end of World War Two).
As I really liked this Demon but I’ve never been, like, dying to shoot him, I took my time and waited patiently for the right model without rushing, elaborating even more symbolism meanwhile. This time, it was Raz who found me and proposed me a collaboration, which I accepted; looking at him I thought he would suit the role and we took the photo amidst a larger photoshoot. By the way, I had to provide the military jacket we needed,  so yes, it’s the same that I used several times in the past, albeit it suits him better than me.
One thing I’m particularly proud of in this work are small details, which I put a big deal of care in, most notably on the hat. I did the red gem with the Infernal emblem and the metallic Seal badge entirely in Photoshop, and then took advantage of the slight blur and noise and the sharp light in the photo to try and blend them correctly, making them look three-dimensional. Below you can see a detail of the photo with the hat (which, by the way, was originally grey with a blue border, quite interesting to turn black and red).
Nergal by *GothicNarcissus: detail
Nergal by GothicNarcissus – detail. Click to enlarge.
Besides the outfit, that represents the military side of Nergal, and the handcuffs, that underline his police duties, the rest of the symbolism is indirectly derived from the deity the Demon was based upon via his Greek counterpart: in Babylonian astrology, Nergal was associated with planet Mars, and he found a counterpart in Ares. Thus, I put the symbol of the planet on his forehead and gave him vulture wings, as vultures were Ares’ sacred animals. I also gave him bright red eyes, as I wanted many red details to stand out of a generally murky photo (thus the sharp, lateral light), and thought they’d be scarier and particularly fitting for Nergal.
On a side note, in this work I put the Seal (borrowed from Aim because it resembles an arrow) on a piece of clothing rather than on the model’s skin. Nergal does have his own Seal imprinted on his body and he has it reproduced on his hat as an identification for lower soldiers (as all military Higher Demons do). I decided to do so in order to try something new and because I had to replace the propeller of the original hat, which didn’t suit the fantasy theme.
The theme colour is asparagus, which is widely used in military clothes, and the theme song is Murder by Within Temptation, really fitting for the character.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Henrietta Savernake’s drama

Nausicaa, she thought sadly, would not come again. She had been born, had been contaminated and had died…
Queer, thought Henrietta, how things can seep into you without your knowing it…
She hadn
t been listening - not really listening - and yet knowledge of Doriss cheap, spiteful little mind had seeped into her mind and had, unconsciously, influenced her hands.
[ The Hollow, chapter 2 - Agatha Christie ]

I know so desperately well sculptress Henrietta Savernake’s drama - described so perfectly by Agatha Christie - when, after basing her Nausicaa on a random girl she met on the bus, she accidentally caught, beside the hollow eyes and expression she was looking for, also the pettiness and meaningless of her model, Doris Sanders, a dull, vulgarly talkative girl who kept pestering the poor artist with her useless problems about the wife of the man who gave her an expensive bracelet (although no, they didn’t do anything inappropriate, it was that woman who was paranoid).
All of the above is awfully true for me as well. I noticed am only able to photograph people when I love and keep them in high regard, or when I don’t know them at all. Once I get to know them and find out they’re nasty, empty, petty and useless, they have nothing more to give to my art. The very thought of shooting them becomes anything but attractive, and if I go on and do it, the photos come out empty, emotionless, artificial and banal.
(I can say, though, that I can consider a proof of my own professionality the fact that quite few people seem to notice this: once, when I did so, the fans and critics’ response was overwelming. Either they’re blind, or I’m good enough to hide it).