Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The Water

The Water by GothicNarcissusInnocent, they swim.
I tell them no and they just dive right in.
But do they know it’s a long way down
When you’re alone,
And there’s no air or sound
Down below the surface?

There’s something in the water,
I do not feel safe.
It always feels like torture
To be this close.
I wish that I was stronger:
I’d separate the waves,
Not just let the water
Take me away.

There was a time I’d dip my feet
And it would roll off my skin.
Now every time I get close to the edge, I’m scared of falling in.
‘Cause I don’t
want to be stranded again
On my own when the tide comes in
And pulls me below the surface.

There’s something in the water,
I do not feel safe.
It always feels like torture
To be this close.
I wish that I was stronger:
I’d separate the waves,
Not just let the water
Take me away.

[ The Water – Hurts ]

First of all, this photo is a birthday dedication to Theo Hutchcraft, the vocalist of Hurts, who turns 25 today.
With this said, not only am I going on with Hurts-inspired photos, but also on my experimental trip, whose next step was posing in the water, something I had never done before. I asked my mother DamaInNero for help behind the camera (which she was enthusiastic to do), and we went by the sea near our house in Alghero for a little photoshoot.
As I didn’t want to spoil my make up, I left these two photos as the last ones. Also, as I somehow feel that this song is particularly meaningful to Theo, I preferred to get a bit more comfortable in the water before going for the photo. I wanted to do a very good work at portraying the feelings of this song: the tenderness in the melody, but also the fear, the sense of helplessness and loneliness in the lyrics. This is why in the end I decided to do a diptych: at first, I only thought I would take a photo underwater in which I would seem trapped (like the one on the right), but my mother unexpectedly caught the exact moment of exitation before sinking myself, and I decided that together they worked just perfectly.
The left photo was totally unplanned and unexpected, and I was not even truly posing. I was just worrying and shivering in anticipation of the feeling of being down there, exitating before letting myself sink and feel the water invading my nose; I can say it genuinely portrays the feelings of the song, as in that very moment they were my own. Nevertheless, it came out particularly harmonious and aesthetically pleasent, completing the right photo which is strongly distorted by the rifraction of the water and, thus, more dramatic and not as graceful as the other; that was the idea all along, as I wanted it to suggest a sense of claustrophobia and total helplessness, as if the water surface was a glass that could not be broken through. So, I found out that together, they summarize the whole of the song better than as standalone pieces.
Technically speaking, this photo was a pain to take. I mean, literally: I had to lie in the sea with my head below the rest of the body, so air surfaced all at once due to the awkward position and I got plenty of water into my nose, and gosh, it did hurt; and I also had to take it multiple times before I was totally satisfied with the results. It’s not like I was really afraid of drowning all alone, as my mother was there ready to help me, but soon all that salty water started flowing up my nose and then down my throat, and for those moments I really had a glimpse of what drawning may feel like. I didn’t enjoy it, but at least it helped me acting. And I can be sure I washed my nose perfectly,  as I still spilled salty water about an hour after the photoshoot. But after all, who cares? I would do it again for Art’s sake. You may call it masochism, perhaps!

The rest of the photoshoot will follow soon, and you’ll read more in the next days, I promise.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Never Fall In Love

Never Fall In Love by *GothicNarcissusYou want to be my lover,
You want to be my man.
I am a flower
And I hurt your hands.
Don’t say you love me,
Don’t say you care:
I’m not human,
We will never be the same.

You can carry on like that
I will give you all I’ve got.
I’m not the one you’re looking for:
Roses never, never fall in love.

You could be a giant,
You could be a child:
I’m buried in the ground
And I never cry.
Don’t say you love me,
Don’t say you care:
I’m not human,
We will never be the same.

You can carry on like that
I will give you all I’ve got.
I’m not the one you’re looking for:
Roses never, never,
Roses never, never fall in love.

[ Never Fall In Love – Emilie Simon ]

As anticipated on my Tumblr, here is a brand new work!
This song by the charming Emilie Simon is especially meaningful to me. It is one of my official anthems, as its lyrics totally represent me in this period, so no wonder I’ve been planning make something out of it; finally the time has come. After an anything but relaxing August, I finally managed to get back on track and go further on my self-portraiture path, as well as my new “murky fashion” direction (or “fashion noire”, if you will; I refuse to put the word “dark”, it’s kind of spoiled by now). After experimenting with make up in Blood, Tears & Gold, this time I approached an almost new theme for me, at least as a model: costume.
I am always very careful when it comes to styling in my photos, I leave no part of the outfit (either mine or my models’) to casualty, and I’ve already worked with somewhat themed outfits, in particular for the Infernal Lords project. Nevertheless, this is thefirst time I actually created a costume myself, and for myself as a model. I usually pose in what can be defined my “everyday clothes” - well, it’s not like doll up in lace and brocade to go buy the bread, but I do wear that kind of clothes on special occasions - so modelling with something I wouldn’t normally wear was an interesting change.
The general idea for the photo, which turned out exactly how I first planned it, stuck me suddenly while listening to the song in the airport on my way home (some half an hour before Blood, Tears & Gold actually), and was most likely born on the trail of the Vogue magazine I was reading before. Although this time no particular photo inspired me, I already had it clear that my own would have to look very fashion with a gothic costume including a ruffled black veil and two red roses, and I would have to look very androgynous; basically, something in between a bridal veil and widow’s weeds. While looking at other fashion photographs, I also thought a heavier make up than usual would be useful, and the basic idea was born.
After making up with Kiko Colour Sphere Duo Eyeshadow and adding the thorny swirls with my MAC eye pencil, I started struggling with the veil to get the effect I wanted. Well, it wasn’t much of a struggle, as it only took four or five hairpins to fix it and a couple of hairgrips to secure the rose, and I was ready to shoot (quite cautiously, though, as the whole thing was not particularly stable). After I was done, I was quite impressed myself with the lighting: it was natural from the window, but looks really professional, and that’s what makes the difference and gives the whole photo a fashion look. I asked some friends and they wouldn’t have guessed I was kneeled in my own bedroom in front of a random white bed sheet rather than in some studio, which was very flattering! Again, I relied on timer and manual focus, to very satisfying results.

I can’t promise there will be some works soon (I did after the last photo, and then the whole month turned out quite awful), but I’ll try my best. Tomorrow, my mother DamaInNero will be back home, and perhaps I’ll be modelling for her too, if we get the occasion. I’ve got plenty of ideas waiting to see the light, so I’m not stuck in some creative block or something, I’m just waiting for the actual possibility to take photos. So, let’s cross our fingers.
Meanwhile, here is the first testing shoot of today’s session. I particularly like it, so I want to share it. Click to enlarge:

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Tumblr!

I’m so sorry for getting back to inactivity after promising to be more present, but the last few weeks have been quite rough due to some health problems which let to further ones with my education. I wasn’t either in the condition or mood for photography, so I just preferred to keep a low profile in general.

Anyway, the health part has improved at least, so here I am, back on the web. After much thinking, I decided to open an account on Tumblr beside my deviantART page and this blog. It may seem a bit pointless and dispersive to open a new page, but I felt I needed a place to share the sources of inspiration behind my photos. I thought this blog would work, but I wouldn’t want important posts to slip behind to make room for pretty much random ones. So, I opened a blog on Tumblr with the purpose of sharing the works, people and random stuff that affect my creativity in any positive way.

So, here is my Tumblr. I hope you find it interesting, and perhaps get to know some interesting artist through it. Enjoy!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Silent Contemplation

Silent Contemplation by *GothicNarcissusWords are meaningless and forgettable.
[ Enjoy The Silence - Depeche Mode ]

This photo has been one of my personal favourites ever since I took it, back in November 2009. It is the representation of a totally perfect moment, in which I could recreate my own world in the middle of the chaos of everyday life. Plus, as a lover of oriental aesthetics, having the possibility to shoot such a costume made me really glad, in particular because it was totally unexpected.

The occasion came during the Lucca Comics And Games event, the biggest anime, comics and games exposition in Italy which takes place once a year in Lucca; each time, a lot of cosplayers crowd the streets of the town, ready for a shot between a one stand and the other.
That year, my friend Ieva made this amazing cosplay of a Fox Demon, whose outfit was made out of a real kimono and original Japanese accessories. We’ve been around the town since the morning, and although her cosplay received much attention from fellow photographers, I just didn’t feel like taking some shots myself. First of all because the typically medieval old town of Lucca didn’t fit much with the costume, but mainly because, as I’ve repeatedly mentioned, I truly hate to shoot in the crowd. And trust me, there was a huge lot in there.
Then, when we went for a walk on the old walls in the evening, it suddenly happened: a moment without too many people all around, and the beatiful colour of the sunset which were a perfect match to Ieva’s outfit. When I saw it I was like: “Stop here and now! Don’t move, don’t breathe, just stop!” And here it is.
This photo is one of my best ones when it comes to sudden inspiration: it was not planned at all, it just happened and worked out remarkably. I still love it deeply after all this time, and am truly grateful to Ieva, fate and time for allowing me to shoot it.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Blood, Tears & Gold

Blood, Tears & Gold by GothicNarcissusI never thought I could forget you,
I never thought I’d be the man I am now.
It’s twenty seconds since I left you,
‘Cause I could never be your lover.
I found another girl to mess me around,
So you don’t get to make me suffer.

Look into my eyes:
There’s really nothing left to lose,
But now I know
That I’m never coming back to you.

When love goes cold,
Blood, tears and gold
Won’t make it any better.
I never let you down, baby, baby.
I never let you down, baby, baby,
And it won’t get any better.
Blood, tears and gold.

It’s twenty seconds since I left you
And I remember why I never looked back:
I’ve got no reason to forgive you, oh.
I see it in your eyes:
The suffering, it hides the blue,
But I know that it’s never gonna hide the truth,
The truth, baby.

When love goes cold,
Blood, tears and gold
Won’t make it any better.
I never let you down baby, baby.
I never let you down baby, baby,
And it won’t get any better.
Blood, tears and gold.

[ Blood, Tears & Gold - Hurts ]

Once again, a Hurts song inspired me with one of my personal favourite photos. Far from the dark sarcasm of Happiness, the angelic yet desperate mysticism of Evelyn or the epic powerfulness of Silver Lining, this song is simply a brilliant rendition of a break-up situation through an elegant metaphor. I came up with the idea for a related photo suddenly while reading L’Uomo Vogue, thanks to a photo of Francesca Inaudi with a somewhat teary expression and strass under her eyes. I thought a very simple, fashion-like photo which expressed the concept through a strong themed make up would fit perfectly the song. Add a hairstyle reminiscent of Theo Hutchcraft’s, and this is how the work was born.
Beside my modelling collaboration with Briar Rose, I’ve never put so much effort in doing my own hair and make up before, so this was a total novelty for me. I’ve worked with two layers of make up: my basic one, which had to level my skin and emphasize my eyes, and themed one, more directly relevant to the concept.
I completed my basic make up using a black highly pigmented eyeshadow by Kiko beside the MAC eye pencil, which I faded with a big soft brush, and then I was ready for the golden tears. I used a Deborah Gold eyeliner for them (I had to apply it multiple times to get a good effect, as it was not very pigmented) and some glitter to make the actual drops at the end of the trails, plus my usual theatrical fake blood for the lips. As I didn’t need it to last for particularly long, I did my hair with a rather old Garnier Fructis Style gel I've had literally for ages, even before I let my hair grow, and styled it in a Theo Hutchcraft meets Lucius Malfoy kind of way, and there I was, ready to shoot.
As for the photo, I used natural light and grey fabric as the background. I’m pretty proud of the fact that I succeeded in using manual focus, which I will necessarily have to learn as I don’t have a remote control for my camera and only rely on timer, which makes it impossible to auto-focus on me before shooting.

On a side note, Hurts are playing a gig in Milan next October. I’m seriously thinking of printing a book out of my photos inspired by their music and give it to Theo “Handsomeness” Hutchcraft as a gift. I hope it’d make him happy to know that his music is so much inspirational to a fellow artist.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Make Up

You may have noticed I’ve been rather inactive lately. I’m currently back at my mother’s for the summer break, and as she’s away to visit her relatives in Belarus (which I deeply envy), I am here without much possibility to take or pose for photos. I basically lack either models or photographers, beside transportation to interesting places, and this forces me to a hiatus. Nevertheless, I’ve gathered interesting ideas for some photos I could do on my own, and so I am going to explore the tricky world of self-portraiture.
I won’t tell you which directions there self-portraits will take, but I can say that a very important feature will be make up. As I will be limited in the set, the main focus of the photos will have to be me, and my make up will have to be flawless, often even themed for particular concepts. As I’ve never written about my make up, I think it’s a nice way to break the silence.

Most obviously, my skin is far from being flawless. I’ve long since overgrown puberal acne and such problems, but some pimples occasionally show up, I often have hollows under my eyes, and a generally mixed skin which causes my complexion not to be homogeneous. Of course, this means I have to wear make up when I model, and I do also on particularly important occasions. I tend to avoid wearing any more than a concealer on everyday basis as I don’t want to stress my skin more than it’s strictly needed.
Up till some months ago, I had little to no idea about what making up actually meant. Most often, I would simply try and cover major imperfections with the wrong concealer rendering my skin even less homogeneous, try and apply it all over my face ending up with an awfully thick layer over it, or just causing some other epic fails. Also, I strictly used black eye pencil slightly faded on my eyes, with little to no variation. I must thank my dear Briar Rose for teaching me the fine art of proper make up, which improved not only my actual appearance, but also my rendition in photos, with considerably less amount of Photoshop needed to correct the mess I used to do. Also, she taught me to vary my eye make up and get different effects by combining eye pencil and eye shadow. I call her the official sponsor of my beauty case, as I always end up buying new cosmetics whenever we meet.

Currently, my standar make up consists of:
Kiko Instant Perfection: it levels, smoothens, destresses and hydrates the skin, protecting the pores from being occluded by next layers;
Kiko Skin Tone Corrector, Green: as my skin is inhomogeneous and I have redder spots beside my nose, this helps me correct my complexion making it uniform;
Kiko Full Coverage Concealer 02: I only use small amounts of this in limited spots, such as eye circles and little pimples, as it is rather thick, but the results are remarkable and I wouldn’t need further make up at all after this;
Kiko Skin Evolution Foundation 01 Porcelain: it’s a light yet covering foundation, which perfectly levels the skin without overloading it;
• A very slight veil of powder not to have a sticky skin.
MAC Tinted Lip Conditioner, Petting Pink: it moisturizes and prevents lips from chapping, levels their colour and gives a very slight brilliance; it also tastes wonderful.

I still have to properly experiment with eye make up, but currently the products I use, to various degree of success due to my inexperience, are:
MAC Technacol Liner: one of the best eye pencils I’ve ever used, easy to apply both clear and faded;
Sephora Waterproof Kohl and Liner: it’s very thick and pigmented and useful for a heavy touch on the upper eyelid; I try to avoid using it on the lower eyelid as it tends to be a bit messy;
• I also have a couple of Kiko eyeshadows, but still have to experiment with them.

I use this lovely Neve brush set, which was a gift of my dear Briar Rose, to apply foundation, lip conditioner and eyeshadow, and aftermaths I take everything off with Kiko Eye & Lips Remover, which simply does miracles even with heavy and layered make up such us that of Happiness. It leaves the skin a little greasy, so I carefully clean it with Roberts rose water after I’m done.
So, here is the secret to how GothicNarcissus has such a flawless skin. Well, it’s thanks to Kiko, MAC and in particular Briar Rose.