Monday, 24 December 2012

All I Want For Christmas Is New Year’s Day

All I Want For Christmas Is New Year’s Day by GothicNarcissusEverybody waits for Christmas;
For me it’s New Year’s Day
That’s gonna come and take my blues away.
I’m wishing on the stars for Christmas
And hoping for a better day
When it doesn’t hurt to feel this way.
And everywhere there’s joy around this festive time of year
And happiness has never felt so far away.

All of the bells ringing out for Christmas,
I’m singing goodbye to the year before:
I know that the next one will be different
So much more.
All of the bells ringing out for Christmas,
And I’m not supposed to feel this way,
But all that I want this year for Christmas
Is New Year’s Day.

It’s only seven days till Christmas,
Six more till New Year’s Day;
It’s not a good time to feel this way.
Everywhere the snow surrounds you
And melts your troubles away:
I can only hope to feel the same.
I know that there will be tidings of joy this time next year,
But happiness has never felt so far away.

All of the bells ringing out for Christmas,
I’m singing goodbye to the year before:
I know that the next one will be different
So much more.
All of the bells ringing out for Christmas,
And I’m not supposed to feel this way,
But all that I want this year for Christmas
Is New Year’s Day.

I remember how I used to feel at Christmas.

[ All I Want For Christmas Is New Year’s Day – Hurts ]

This is a quite accurate portrayal of how I felt at Chrisrmas last year. It was not the easiest of periods for me, I didn’t really know who I was and what I wanted to do with my life anymore (with photography being my only exception to an otherwise bad moment) and I was totally out of the festive mood. As I always find relief in music, I was listening ot this song to exorcise my feelings when I got the idea for this exact image with that tiny tricot Chrismas Tree that I had at my mother’s place. Due to the whole ordeal I was going through I could not fly home and shoot it there and then, so I decided to wait. Despite the fact that fortunately things have changed and got better in the meantime, I still loved the idea, so I waited to get back home for Christmas to shoot it as soon as I could. As for Magic Is Coming, it is a self-portrait I set up myself and took with the assistance of my mother, DamaInNero, who made everything much easier.
This is the first photo of the Inspiration Hurts project I shot with my Canon EOS 5D and I’m amazed by how the bokeh came out and how I managed to handle the light. I really can’t wait to take more photos for this project, in particular now that Hurts set a release date for their new album. Let’s cross our fingers.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Sunlight

Sunlight by GothicNarcissusSunlight failed, but only for a while.
In the moonlight pale someone made me smile.
The shining almost took me, but I made it through that night
And, in the morning, life it graced me and I ran for miles
Into sunlight, in a billion dreams that are lost and won,
And moonlight. In spite of all you’ve seen, there’s only one way out:
Say you will love me until I leave the world.

Say you will love me until I leave the world.
In a billion dreams that are lost and won.
Say you will love me until I leave the world.
In spite of all you’ve seen, there’s only one way out.

[ Sunlight – Anathema ]

The first work for my Weather Systems project is Sunlight. I really do hope the photo speaks for itself, in particular if accompanied by the music and the lyrics, but I’d love to spend some words about it anyways.
There’s no particular reason why I chose it to open the project, except I got it ready first. As promised, it is a diptych with one photo portraying the weather phenomenon from the title and lyrics and the other the related mood. Sunlight is a happy song. Yet, I think its more about serenity and optimism than an outburst of joy: that’s why I had Riccardo look content and serene rather than overjoyed. There’s confidence in his pose that expresses trust in the future while I tried to give the photo a generally relaxed atmosphere. On the other hand, rather than banally just shooting the sun with some landscape I tried to take a peculiar photo of it, something that would subtly suggest the sunlight: that’s how I came up with the idea of trying to turn that branch into a candle of sort.
To be honest, the idea was rather sudden, I had it just the day before shooting: at first I wasn’t expecting snow and this photoshoot was supposed to be very grim, but when I checked the weather forecast I was overjoyed because I’d been looking forward to shooting in the snow for years literally. I thought snow would perfectly fit the song because it is luminous as it can be, and here is the finished work.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Weather Systems

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m glad to introduce to you my new long-term project: Weather Systems.
I know I already have a handful of half-finished ones on the go, but you know, ideas stuck at random and I just can’t help it.
Once again, it’s a project inspired by music: Anathema’s latest album (and namesake of the project), Weather System, was released earlier this year. 2012 has been blessed with so many amazing records that it’s really hard to pick a favourite one, but this album really gets close to the title. The amazing blend of beautiful music, essential arrangements, breath-taking lyrics and impressive emotional depth of each song makes Weather Systems a real masterpice and a highly inspiring piece of music. Indeed, once I got used to the songs enough to stop crying each time I’d listen to them (even on a train on my way to interviewing Vincent Cavanagh), I immediately started getting images and ideas for photos, and they were so consistent that I decided to develop them into a proper series.

Weather Systems is not strictly a concept album, yet it has a common theme that touches all the songs. Weather conditions and parts of the day used as metaphores to descrive the “internal landscapes” of people: their feelings, their reactions to particular situations they may go through, their fears, hopes, dreams, even near-death experiences. The emotional depth of each song is enough to inspire a photograph, but this general idea behind the album amplifies it all and inspired me with images that would give a double rendition of it.
The project will thus consist of ten diptychs – one for each song, except one song which will have two – and will feature an image of nature, sky or weather matched with a portrait to represent both the emotions and the metaphore of the song. This is the common ground on which the series will be built and will give it a stronger cohesion than ever.

Currently, I have two works done for the Weather Systems project: one will be released tomorrow, while the other will have to wait a bit (because it’s the second diptych for the song I decided to split). You will be able to see the progress by selecting the related tag on this blog, or by checking the related gallery on my deviantART. I really do hope you’ll enjoy this work, for I’ll be literally pouring my heart into it.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Scheiße

Scheiße by *GothicNarcissusI don’t speak German but I can if you like, ohw yah.

Ich schleiban austa be clair,
Es kumpent madre monstère.
Aus-be aus-can-be flaugen
Begun be üske but-bair.
Ich schleiban austa be clair,
Es kumpent üske monstère.
Aus-be aus-can-be flaugen,
Fräulein üske-be clair.

I’ll take you out tonight,
Say whatever you like.
Scheiße, scheiße, be mine.
Scheiße, be mine (scheiße, be mine).
Put on a show tonight,
Do whatever you like.
Scheiße, scheiße, be mine.
Scheiße, be mine (scheiße, be mine).

When I’m on a mission
I rebuke my condition:
If you’re a strong female
You don’t need permission.

I, I wish that I could dance on a single prayer.
I, I wish I could be strong without somebody there.
I, I wish that I could dance on a single prayer.
I, I wish I could be strong without the scheiße, yeah.
Without the scheiße, yeah.

I don’t speak German but I wish I could, ohw yah.

Ich schleiban austa be clair,
Es kumpent madre monstère.
Aus-be aus-can-be flaugen
Begun be üske but-bair.
Ich schleiban austa be clair,
Es kumpent üske monstère.
Aus-be aus-can-be flaugen
Fräulein üske-be clair.

Love is objectified by what men say is right.
Scheiße, scheiße be mine,
Oh shit, be mine (oh shit, be mine).
But high-heeled feminist enlisting femmes for this,
Express your womenkind,
Fight for your rights (fight for your rights).

When I’m on a mission
I rebuke my condition:
If you’re a strong female
You don’t need permission.

I, I wish that I could dance on a single prayer.
I, I wish I could be strong without somebody there.
I, I wish that I could dance on a single prayer.
I, I wish I could be strong without the scheiße, yeah.
Without the scheiße, yeah.

[ Scheiße - Lady Gaga ]

Scheiße is easily one of my favourite Lady Gaga songs. It’s deadly catchy, blends a whole lot of influences and has extremely clever lyrics, both in the messace conveyed and in the use of the fake German monologue (if you have something to say about it, I’ll be glad to discuss it in the comments). Scheiße is also one of Briar Rose’s favourite Gaga songs, as it’s very meaningful to her. No wonder, thus, if I wanted her to model for it.
This photo really went through much tribulation: the idea is perhaps about one year old, but due to several circumstances it had to wait until now - which did really help, as I finally have a full-frame now. Briar Rose and I discussed the idea and the styling months ago, agreed on the details, but missed most of the occasions to shoot it. Finally, we made it happen and it came out almost exactly how I imagined it, but definitely conveying the message and feelings I wanted it to have.

The differences between the original idea and the final outcome are basically two: first, I wanted a brick wall as the background, but eventually the fence worked much better than it would have; secondly, you can’t unfortunately see the top underneath the leather jacket, which was supposed to be part of the concept. There were other shots that showcased it, but I opted for this one because it has the perfect feeling even without it. The idea was to have a lacey, childish top hidden by the leather to symbolize the tough skin women have to grow in today’s society as opposed to the desire for the freedom to be feminine, but Briar Rose’s expression and pose alone do convey this feeling. Despite the outfit, she’s not a prostitute or anything like that, she’s just a woman who’s trying to shield her own womankind from the world by looking harsh and dangerous.

Anyways, we can’t really stay serious for too long, so enjoy our parody of Llama del Rey’s Ride thingie, which unfiortunately is pretty much the total oppposite of Gaga’s empowering, stand-strong, pro-woman message.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Starstruck

Starstruck by *GothicNarcissusGroove, slam, work it back,
Filter that, baby, bump that track.
Groove, slam, work it back,
Filter that, baby, bump that track.
Groove, slam, work it back.
Space Cowboy, just play that track.
Gaga in the room, so starstruck,
Cherry-cherry-cherry-cherry, boom boom.

Rolling out to the club on the weekend,
Styling out to the beat that you’re freaking,
Fantasize on the track that you’re tweaking,
Blow my heart up.
Put your hands on my waist, pull the fader,
Run it back with original flavor.
Cue me up, I’m the twelve on your table,
I’m so starstruck.

I’m so, I’m so
starstruck,
Baby, ‘cause you blow my heart up.
I’m so starstruck,
Baby, ‘cause you blow my heart up.
I’m so starstruck,
Baby, ‘cause you blow my heart up.
I’m so starstruck,
Baby, ‘cause you blow my heart up.

Baby, now that we’re alone, got a request:
Would you make me number one on your playlist?
Got your Dre headphone with the left side on,
Wanna scratch me back and forth back and forth, uh-huh.
Put your hands on my waist, pull the fader,
Run it back with the original flavour.
Get the breakdown first
Up until the chorus to the verse.

Hey, lil’ mamma, like really-really, is that him?
I haven’t seen you before and you’ve got all them big rims
Into that cash flow, I’m a fan of you, don’t trip,
Shawty say, hand over you signature right here
Like it’s just a dotted line, and I’m supposed to sign.
How she at it, a fanatic, and I think it’s going down.
She so starstruck, the gal all stuck,
I should have had an overdose, too many Starbucks.
Ain’t never seen a baller, paper that’s that taller,
Stunners that let their top back on their Chevy Impalas.
Hummers and all that fully loaded with two spoilers.
What did you call that when you showed up with two dollars?
But that’s another chapter, son of a bachelor.
All on me, just spotted a baby actor,
So please swagger, they’re gonna dagger,
Got what she want, shawty happily ever after.

[ Starstruck - Lady Gaga ]

I might have stated it repeatedly, but even though I kind of consider myself a Little Monster now, I still have a quite scarce feeling with Gaga’s debut album, The Fame. Out of what she’s done so far, it’s perhaps the most canonical work, with really good songs beside banal or even shallow ones. Although I already have at least sough ideas for such songs as Paparazzi, Just Dance and LoveGame, and love others such as Poker Face, I Like It Rough and Again Again, I find it difficult to relate to most of the other songs from that period and therefore draw inspiration from theme, whereas most of the ideas for The Fame Monster and Born This Way are already fully sketched up in my head.
Nevertheless, when inspiration strikes you can’t ignore it, and this was the case with Starstruck. In this case, it was the star-shaped ceiling light at my friend Mari’s house that gave me the inspiration. I immediately asked our friend Valentina to pose for me, which she accepted, and the photo was quickly taken. There were quite a lof of funny moments, as both of us had to climb on ladders and she was a bit afraid of that, with Mari and her flatmates helping us to keep balance, but when we succeeded it was even more satisfying.
So, her expression, the headphones and, of course, the star-shaped light she’s staring at are all meant to represent the song lyrics and the concept of being starstruck. The shiny bracelet she’s wearing is a fashion detail I thought woud add a nice touch to the photo, which it did. I’m quite happy with this photo and I discovered Valentina is really photogenic, so I’m now looking forward to working with her again soon. Also, I’m glad I got such an idea for this song, as I was afraid it would be harder to represent because it’s not among my favourites.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Emptiness in a frame

Emptiness In A Frame by *GothicNarcissusIt’s definitely unavoidable for artists to pur much more of themselves than they intend to into their work. I’ve always admitted that what you can see in my photos is not the real world, but merely my take on it, the way I see it, which of course reflects my state of mind. Thus, I found it interesting to look at my own photos and try to deduce something about myself, in particular analyzing my non-portraiture pictures, those that simply show a place or object without focussing on a human subject.
Well, I noticed that my world appears to be totally empty, almost bleak and sad. I managed to shoot perfectly empty, lifeless photos even in such a lively and colourful city as Venice. This is something that shows even in my portraits – if you pay attention, you’ll se that beside the main subject theres never anybody else, even when we shoot outdoors in such places as Milan’s city centre – but it became particularly noticeable in my latter shoots of such a popular touristic place as Venice. Okay, I shot smaller alleys rather than well known places (mainly because I find no point in shooting the Rialto bridge, Piazza San Marco, Canal Grande or other oh-so-seen-of landmarks) and I also had to wait for the right moment when there were no passers by, but it’s still hilarious to get such images in a city that’s widely known for tourism – let alone the association with the Carnival. That’s simply my style and I tend to get such images pretty much anywhere I go.
Seales Mirrors by *GothicNarcissusSo, looking at my photos one might think deep down I’m a very lonely and melancholic person, that I avoid other people and so on. These last few monochromes in particular could look like the work of someone with manic-depressive tendencies.
The truth is, my photography simply reflects me being a total control freak. I need to be in control of anything thats around me as much as I can and this becomes quite easy when I shape my own world through images. The crowd, random people interacting with a scenery and with one another, are absolutley unpredictable and uncontrollable, they totally escape my mental scheme, thus I do my best to cut them off my world. Emptiness, silence and stillness, they all mean the order and control I constantly struggle to get over my life rather than an attempt to isolate myself from the rest of the world.Time Eroding by *GothicNarcissusParadoxically, I think my whole control issue is the first thing that got out of my hand, so Im trying to work on that so that it won’t keep affecting other aspects of my life. To be honest, right now I’m not concerned about how it reflects in my photography though, as I really like it the way it is, without disturbing elements that spoil the aesthetic order of the image. I don’t really know how I’ll be growing artistically and personally, so this maight change in time, but regardless of that I find myself glad for what photography helps me achieve not only as an artist, but as a human being: express and learnt to know myself.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

When Love Goes Cold & Confide In Sweetness

When Love Goes Cold by GothicNarcissusWhen love goes cold,
Blood, tears and gold
Won’t make it any better.

[ Blood, Tears & Gold – Hurts ]

Oh my God. August has passed and I have shot one single photo in the whole month. Which is okay because weather has been awfully hot, I’m still on holiday at my mother’s with few occasions to do anything and I had plenty of older material from July to publish.
One of the photos from July was part of the fashion photoshoot I had with BriarRose in Burano. Although it kept the summer feel I wanted, it turned out melancholic and contemplative, matching perfectly the Hurts song – which, in turn, was very fitting for some things that were going on at the time. Im quite glad I got to shoot at least one Hurts-flavoured photo when she came over here because for some reasons I find BriarRose a perfect fit fot the Inspiration Hurts project: so far I have something like four photos from the main series and three extras include her. All those ideas, though, require cloudy weather, which is generally unavailable here in summer, so Ill have to wait for the next time BriarRose is around.
As for the only photo I took this month, its a sudden idea I got trying to come up with something cute for Theo’s birthday. Mom brought me that mobile phone-shaped chocolate and I wanted to take a photo of it before eating it, so I decided to combine the two. Perhaps not my best concept, but it turned out nice visually.

Confide In Sweetness by GothicNarcissus
Confide in me,
Confide in me.
[ Confide In Me – Hurts ]

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Fashion

Fashion by *GothicNarcissusI am, I’m too fabulous.
I’m so fierce that it’s so nuts.
I live to be model-thin,
Dress me, I’m your mannequin.

J’adore Vivienne, habillez-moi,
Gucci, Fendi, et Prada,
Valentino, Armani too.
Merde, I love them, Jimmy Choo!

Fashion: put it all on me.
Don’t you want to see these clothes on me?
Fashion: put it all on me.
I am anyone you want me to be.
Fashion: put it all on me.
Don’t you want to see these clothes on me?
Fashion: put it all on me.
I am anyone you want me to be.

Ooh la la la,
We love designer.

I need some new stilettos,
Can’t walk down the street in those.
You are who you wear, it’s true,
A girl’s just as hot as the shoes she choose.

J’adore Weitzman, habillez-moi,
Louis, Dolce Gabbana,
Alexander McQueen, eh oh,
Merde, I love those Manolo.

Fashion: put it all on me.
Don’t you want to see these clothes on me?
Fashion: put it all on me.
I am anyone you want me to be.
Fashion: put it all on me.
Don’t you want to see these clothes on me?
Fashion: put it all on me.
I am anyone you want me to be.

Ooh la la la,
We love designer.

[ Fashion - Lady Gaga ]

The photo for Fashion came as unexpected as the song itself: I had no clue about its existence until I heard it playing from Alessandro Jonah’s computer and totally fell in love with it. Similarly, I didn’t plan to take a Fashion photo during this session - I didn’t even start to think of the concept - but it came out by itself.
I wasn’t even sure if I really liked this photo until I started toying with it in Photoshop to see what I could get out of it and I was blown away. Beside the colours, which were as bright even before I opened it courtesy of the amazing Burano, and Briar Rose who’s totally gorgeous by nature, I love how the dress turned out. You can perfectly see the pattern of the lace and how the light gently draws Briar Rose’s body underneath it. This is everything fashion photography should be about, which is why I give this picture the title.
I’ve also learnt quite a lot about how to handle details in fashion photography from this photo and a little mistake I’ve done (which I won’t reveal, of course!), so it also helped me grow professionally.

Monday, 30 July 2012

The Infernal Lords XXI: Agares

You know this will go out of hand
If we don’t understand.
This confusion of tongue
Feels so wrong.

We’re lost in Babylon, Babylon,
Time is slipping away.
Holding on, it won’t be long
Until the dawn of the day.

[ Babylon – Delain ]
Agares by *GothicNarcissusCountess Agares is the Demon of Languages and Literature, and thanks to her powers she can instantly teach them to any Mortal who conjures her, in exchange for thir soul. She was formerly a Virtue and didn’t belong to the first set of Fallen Angels, those who were cast out after the Great Heavenly War. Due to her intelligence and culture, she was in fact very likely to become the new Second-in-Command of Virtues under Great Angel Raphael’s leadership until the Babel Tower incident occurred. In that occasion, she strongly disagreed with Yahweh’s punishment, as she thought that mankind’s knowledge was too precious to be scattered all across the Earth and fragmented in different languages; so, she disobeyed Yahweh’s will descending on Earth and trying to undo his deed. Together with the positive opinion she previously expressed on the Tree of Knowledge incident, covertly praising Marquis Leviathan for freeing Adam and Eve from the utter ignorance in which Yahweh had forced them to live, this cost her her place in Heaven and she was subsequently warmly welcomed in Hell, where she was offered a place in the Second Level of Demons as the Director of the Infernal Library thanks to her immense knowledge.
Despite the deep grudge she bears towards Heaven, she has never managed, nor cared, to really settle in Hell, preferring to remain with her books and keep nothing more than mere politeness with fellow Courtiers. Her closest bonds are with Count Mephistophel, whom she appreciates thanks to his professionalism in finding her contracts with Mortals, the ever-friendly Marquise Decarabia, Count Furcifel, who was cast out of Heaven at the same time as her, and also Duchess Astarte, whom she still respects since the times the latter was the Queen of Heaven. She seldom leaves the Library, mostly when Duke Astaroth asks her for books (while being too indolent to go fetch them himself) and, in particular, when she’s conjured on the Earth by some human for her powers. While she’s still pretty eager to give her help, she now does so mostly as a mere act of rebellion against Yahweh rather than out of true interest in mankind: this is perhaps the reason why she finds a particular pleasure in teaching profanity and immoral expressions first.

Agares: development and symbolism

Credits:
Photo, concept, manipulation, frame design: GothicNarcissus
Model, hair, make up: ContessaNera
Styling: ContessaNera and GothicNarcissus
Assistant: Fabrizio Shake
Additional resources: Amptone-stock (texture), Solarka-Stock (wings)

Ever wondered why the first things people learn of a new language are swear words? Well, the answer is simple: because Agares, the Demon of Languages, loves teaching profanity! I swear, as soon as I read that part of Agares’ biography, suddenly the whole world of language studies made sense to me!
Now, jokes aside, Agares is a really important Demon to me and I wanted to do him since the beginning of the project. In “real life” I am a language student, so this is sort of a “patron Demon” of mine. Besides, he’s a very important and well defined figure in Christian demonology, being listed as a Duke or even as a King according to many sources; The Lesser Key of Solomon even states to which Choir he belonged before the fall, Virtues, which is quite rare. So the reasons to include him were many and very important.
Agares from the Dictionnaire Infernal.
Nevertheless, once I started developing the idea it appeared clear that I had to take a good steps aside from his popular depiction, not only because of his unfitting portrayal as an old man and the difficulties to include a crocodile in the picture, but mainly because of the model I chose. Although I had tried to enlist her as Jezebeth before, I decided that the part belonged rightfully to my dear friend Veronica Morphine because she’s a fellow language student and attends the same faculty as me, Interpreters and Translators (albeit in another city, unfortunately for us but very luckily for our university careers). Who better than her for that? Thus, Agares became a woman and I decided to rank her as a Countess to tribute Veronica’s nickname, ContessaNera (which means Black Countess). Once Veronica confirmed she was interested in the project, though, we had to wait forever for the actual shooting. Either one of us was always busy with some other stuff and for a reason or another we didn’t make it until last month. Which turned out to be a true blessing in disguise, because I would have probably never had the idea of a pin-up-looking Demon before.
The truth is: developing the visual rendition for Agares has proven an extremely difficult challenge. Languages are a totally abstract concept, so how to put it into graphics? “Dictionaries!”, said Veronica, but although it was a really funny joke… well, just no. So, there I was with no idea whatsoever about what to do, and I decided to focus on a strong visual impact on which to build a deeper concept later on. I knew the pin-up look, combined with a fitting pose and Veronica’s beautiful features and bright red hair, would have helped, so first we styled the photo and opted for the dress you see, which recalls the Fifties for a change. The next challenge was to come up with a visual element that hinted to languages and literature: the best idea we could come up with was parchments, and so we did. However, having already had experience with Mephistophel that actual writings on paper don’t stand out in a photo like this, there had to be something else to reinforce the concept.
Shame on me, the final idea didn’t cross my mind until after the shooting and my collateral modelling session for Veronica; so yeah, basically I shot in the dark and when our meeting was over, all I had in hand was a nice photo with a beautiful pose and a hint to literature given by the parchments. Then, when I was on the train listening to Delain (and after a good nap), the idea struck: a background with one sentence repeated over and over in all the languages I could find. Whoa, that was perfect! I wrote down the sentence on my mobile phone not to forget it, then arrived back home and started asking all my foreign friends for help. Indeed, the work became some sort of group effort for which I have to thank a huge lot of people.
The sentence I chose to include reads, “Knowledge is power, communication is freedom; beware of ignorance’s blessing”. It’s a hint not only to the backstory I wrote for Agares, but also to the fact that what the Church has tried to do since it has become an organised political power is spreading ignorance in the name of God – its “version” of knowledge, with strong resistance to anything that could update it – as though it were a blessing. If you have a close look at The Lesser Key of Solomon you will see that any kind of potentially subversive knowledge has been made into a Demon: mathematics, astronomy, music, art, comedy, and also languages. This is because it is easier to exercise a supposedly divine (actually political and economical) power over people who lack enough knowledge to develop critical thinking and question the the divineness (and thus the righteousness) of said power.
On a side note, the languages I’ve managed to gather are, top to bottom: Hebrew, English, Russian, Greek, Latin, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Belarusian, Japanese, Arabian, Spanish, Hindi, Swedish, Romanian, Catalan, Dutch, Chinese, Ukrainian, Galician, Finnish, Danish, Bulgarian, Portuguese, Icelandic, Slovak, Polish, Breton, Urdu, Croatian, Georgian, Albanian, Korean, Latvian, Hungarian and Armenian, with the Icelandic text turned into runes at the bottom because it looked cool. The order is quite random (I added them as soon as I got new ones).
The main colour is red because it’s Veronica’s favourite ever. The choice of the song is really recent; it’s been extremely difficult to find one about languages, but finally Delain released Babylon and saved the day with a perfectly fitting song.

Special thanks for helping me with the languages go to: Shachar Shed (who really found a lot of them, including the most exotic ones), DamaInNero, Josefine Jönsson, Hein Frode Hansen and Vegard K. Thorsen of Theatre of Tragedy, Ayl Rose, Kira, Ilman Lintu, Ruira, Lili, Mael, Andrea, Eilyn, Kristine, Ördög, all those I’m forgetting right now (sure as hell there must be someone) and all the people they turned to for help. Without all of you this work would have not been possible, so I wish to dedicate it especially to you: this is a proof that people of different language and culture can achieve a lot whenever they unite.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Self-acceptance: a step forward

Peace by ~Cunene & *GothicNarcissus
Contrary to what my work and nickname may suggest, Im not really the self-confident type, let alone narcissistic. I mean, I take good care of my body, put a lot of effort in tending to my hair, always try to look my best, but its not like Im really that in love with muself. On the contrary, I’m really insecure, in particular when it comes to my looks. While Im quite happy with my face, I still have some self-acceptance issues when it comes to my body. I wish I was less skinny. I wish I was more manly, had wider shoulders, a bit of muscles perhaps (not too much, of course!), weighted some 10 kilos more. Although Ive tried really hard to put on some weight, all my efforts are in vain, as I eat a lot to no avail. Which is, like, great, if only I was not some 20 kilos underweight.
This has of course some consequences on my artistic work. I usually try to avoid posing bare-chested, let alone naked, and dress up aptly to hide my too thin bodyframe. The only person in this world who ever gets me to pose half-dressed is Briar Rose. We first made two succesful attempts last year, one in May when we took some Placebo-inspired photos and one in December when we shot outdoors and now I decided to do that again for the Salomé series, in which I would wear a rather revealing (for my standars) outfit. Of course, as I was already in undressing mode, I had no objection when Cunene, the photographer who was to work with us, asked me if I felt comfortable posing bare-chested for some other shots. I got ready, stood under the lights in front of her camera, and there we went.

Besides the artistic value of the experience, which I did expect from the beginning, this shooting brough also something I would not expect. Perhapts “it was the light, it was the angle” (as Nick Cave sings), perhaps its Cunenes amazing skills, but I really liked what I saw. For the first time, I thought: “Oh, that is my body? Wow, I really like it!”. Its a strange form of epiphany in which Ive found out I do look good even naked. No matter if Im too thin or less manly than many other models, I am beautiful in my way (‘cause God makes no mistakes, would add Gaga). It took me six years “in the business” to figure it out, but thanks to Cunene I finally did. I think that, beside the wonderful outcome of the session, the fact that a photographer whos not a close friend of mine (while Briar Rose is) did really appreciate me for what I am helped a lot. It really felt great.
We shot more things before Briar Rose joined us, but for now only these two photos are released. I really hope more are coming, as this photoshoot was a huge step forward for me, both professionally and personally.
Deciduous by ~Cunene & *GothicNarcissus

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Salomé

Salomé I: Longing And Captivity Salomé II: Offering And Refusal
Salomé III: Desire And Disdain Salomé VI: Perseverance And Resistance
Salomé V: Victory And Loss
Salomé VI: The Bitter Fulfillment
Ah! I have kissed thy mouth, Jokanaan, I have kissed thy mouth. There was a bitter taste on my lips. Was it the taste of blood?
Nay, but perchance it was the taste of love... they say that love hath a bitter taste... but what matter? What matter? I have kissed thy mouth.


Briar Rose has recently read Oscar Wilde’s play Salomé, which gave her the idea for a photoshoot. She told me about it and asked me if I was interest to model as John the Baptist with her as Salomé, which I immediately loved and accepted. After some brainstorming, we decided to ask the amazing Cunene if she was interested in shooting, as her painting-like style was really appropriate for the subject, and after she accepted we set up a meeting and went for it.
This series is particular important to me as it is the very first time Briar Rose and I posed together despite the fact we’ve been knowing each other for almost four years now and we’ve meet each other several times. I can say now that the wait was worth, as we modelled for a project we were really eager, inspired by one of our favourite authors.


This shooting turned out to be a real team work as there was a lot of brainstorming constantly going on in her home studio about many details. With Briar Rose being the soul of the series and Cunene actually bringing it to life, I did my part as well by pushing towards a more realistic modelling (like when I expressedly told Briar Rose to just pull my hair for real!), and coming up with the right idea of the perspective for my head in the final shoots so that the beheading would be easier - while Cunene came up with the hair scarf to further hide my neck and add realism. So we basically built up a highly inspired state of mind that brought to us these results, furtherly enhatched by Cunene’s majestic postproduction.

Would Oscar have liked this rendition of his work? I really hope so. We put all our heart in doing it.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Dance In The Dark

Dance In The Dark by *GothicNarcissusSilicone, saline,
Poison, inject me.
Baby, I’m a free bitch,
I’m a free bitch.

Some girls won’t dance to the beat of the track.
She won’t walk away, but she won’t look back.
She looks good, but her boyfriend says she’s a mess,
She’s a mess, she’s a mess.
Now the girl is stressed,
She’s a mess, she’s a mess,
She’s a mess, she’s a mess.

Baby loves to dance in the dark
‘Cause when he’s looking she falls apart.
Baby loves to dance in the dark.
Baby loves to dance in the dark
‘Cause when he’s looking she falls apart.
Baby loves to dance, loves to dance in the dark.

Run, run, her kiss is a vampire grin.
The Moon lights her way while she’s howling at him.
She looks good, but her boyfriend says she’s a tramp,
She’s a tramp, she’s a vamp.
But she still does her dance,
She’s a tramp, she’s a vamp,
But she still kills the dance.

Baby loves to dance in the dark
‘Cause when he’s looking she falls apart.
Baby loves to dance in the dark.
Baby loves to dance in the dark
‘Cause when he’s looking she falls apart.
Baby loves to dance, loves to dance in the dark.

Marilyn, Judy, S-S-S-S-Sylvia,
Tell ‘em how you feel, girls.
Work your blonde Benét Ramsey,
We’ll haunt like liberace.
Find your freedom in the music,
Find your Jesus, find your Kubrick.
You will never fall apart,
Diana, you’re still in our hearts.
Never let you fall apart,
Together we’ll dance in the dark.

[ Dance In The Dark - Lady Gaga ]

Funny isn’t it, how the first truly goth-looking photo I’ve taken in months is inspired by Lady Gaga, who so many metalheads, goths and other sub-culture representatives almost demonise as the very epitome of mainstream, sold-out music. Once again, the truth is she’s such a valuable, multifaceted, amazing artist that the very concept of “genre” doesn’t apply to her work. Her songs draw from and can evoke any kind of imagery, even something as gothic as this photo. This is what a complete artist should do, in my opinion.

With this said, this is one of those photos that really speak for themselves. All you can see, from the dim, grazing light to the messy make up and hairdo, up to Deborah’s outfit and, in particular, her expression and pose, is meant to be representing the song lyrics. The final outcome of the photo is exactly what I had in my mind for theis song, but I have to say it was extremely hard to achieve given our lack of studio light. We had to do everything with the afternoon sun through the window with no control over the intensity of the light, waiting for the clouds that were drifting by to regulate it by themselves. I was about to give up, but as usual, when you have to struggle to get something the result is even more satisfying, isn’t it?
On a side note, I mentioned that this photo is much more goth-looking than most of my current stuff, but it still retains a fashionable touch in it, in particular because of what you can see of the outfit. I consider it a good match point of my older and current work.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Alejandro

Alejandro by *GothicNarcissusI know that we are young and I know you may love me,
But I just can’t be with you like this anymore...
Alejandro.

She’s got both hands in her pocket
And she won’t look at you, won’t look at you.
She hides true love en su bolsillo,
She’s got a halo ‘round her finger, around you.

You know that I love you boy,
Hot like Mexico, rejoice.
At this point I gotta choose,
Nothing to loose.

Don’t call my name, don’t call my name,
Alejandro.
I’m not your babe, I’m not your babe,
Fernando.
Don’t wanna kiss, don’t wanna touch,
Just smoke one cigarette and hush.
Don’t call my name, don’t call my name,
Roberto.

Alejandro, Alejandro.
Ale-Alejandro, Ale-Alejandro.
Alejandro, Alejandro.
Ale-Alejandro, Ale-Alejandro.

Stop, please, just let me go. Alejandro, just let me go.

She’s not broken, she’s just a baby,
But her boyfriend’s like a dad, just like a dad,
And all those flames that burned before him,
Now he’s gonna fight your fight, gonna cool the bad.

You know that I love you boy,
Hot like Mexico, rejoice.
At this point I gotta choose,
Nothing to loose.

Don’t call my name, don’t call my name,
Alejandro.
I’m not your babe, I’m not your babe,
Fernando.
Don’t wanna kiss, don’t wanna touch,
Just smoke one cigarette and hush.
Don’t call my name, don’t call my name,
Roberto.

Alejandro, Alejandro.
Ale-Alejandro, Ale-Alejandro.
Alejandro, Alejandro.
Ale-Alejandro, Ale-Alejandro.

Don’t bother me, don’t bother me,
Alejandro.
Don’t call my name, don’t call my name.
Bye, Fernando.
I’m not your babe, I’m not your babe,
Alejandro.
Don’t wanna kiss, don’t wanna touch,
Fernando.

[ Alejandro - Lady Gaga ]

Alejandro has been the second song by Lady Gaga I really grew to like and put onto my iPod. Back in the day (we’re talking about 2010) I used to be more of a bigoted metalhead and loathed her on the simple basis that she was Lady Gaga. I mean, come on, she was some blonde popstar who made music for selling and sung about meaningless things like going clubbing and screwing, and her music was banal and commercial. The truth is, (like most metalheads) I did never even care to listen one single album of hers. I just judged her on the basis of my prejudices without even knowing what I was talking about. Indeed, those two songs I had on my iPod had such beautiful music videos that I enjoyed watching, thus I did really listen to them and that’s why I was, like, “okay, they do really sound cool”.
As I mentioned in the Heavy Metal Lover entry, it was Alessandro who eventually forced me to give Gaga a true listen (to The Fame Mosnter), allowing her to conquer me completely, so I really owe much to him in this sense and that’s probably why I tend to picture him in many of my Gaga-inspired works.
Anyways, Alessandro was doubtlessly the best choice for the Alejandro photo becasue... well, try and guess why. It was because of the name, of course, but also because I particularly liked the light I saw on his balcony when I went there to shoot Heavy Metal Lover and, for some unknown reasons, I immediately associated it with the song. Oh, and I adore shooting him whike he’s smoking, and with the cigarette verse and the light which would emphasize the smoke it would have worked perfectly.

Alessandro and I did the styling together, then I did his make up (actually just the eyeshadow) and we were ready to shoot. The photo itself did not require much work except for some attempts with slightly different poses and some work to catch the perfect light, but while I was shooting I already knew what the difficulty would be. For this particular photo I wanted a cross-process kind of postproduction with a blue-greenish hue on the shadows and a yellowish one on the highlights. I had to do some attempts because greenish shadows would result in pink highlights, while yellow highlights would turn the shadows blue, but I eventually succeded in what I had to do. This postproduction also perfectly fit the cyan tones of the glass, so I can say I’m very happy with this photo.
On a side note, Alessandro is a fucking lucky bitch: what you can see in this photo is his actual skin with no make up or Photoshop retouh whatsoever. Now, that is luck. I really wish my skin looked that amazing too...

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Long-term projects

Since I’m working on many of them simultaneously and there is often a big gap between the submissions, I think keeping track of my long-term projects may be getting a bit hard for my followers. Thus, I thought writing a post about that could be helpful.
At the moment, I’m carrying five long-term projects, plus one which is just an idea as of now, but which I hope I will start working on soon. It will be quite difficult to carry on, though, as many photos will require rather intimate interations between the models and I’ll need couples willing to do so. I will explain the idea better once I really start working on it.
The others are:

The Infernal Lords. I’m positive everybody who’s been following me for the last couple of years knows what I’m talking about, as I consider it my magnum opus and advertise it quite a lot. If you have missed the presentation of the project you can go here and read it. At the moment, I have done more than two thirds of it and my plans and wishes are to complete it within 2012. With some luck, I think I will be able to do so.
There are plans also for some spin-offs of this project which will be featured in the Evil In The World collection. One, which is about Lilith, has already been made. I don’t know how many of them I’ll be making, as it’s not a really essential part of the project, but if I get some ideas as nice as Lilith’s I’ll surely develop them.

Inspiration Hurts is a series of photos inspired by the music of British synthpop duo Hurts which has turned into my first printed work when I made a photobook out of the photos I had taken up to that point as a present for Theo and Adam. Here is the presentation I wrote for them at the beginning of the book.
Actually, I tend to take many photos inspired by a single band, but for some reason the Hurts-inspired group is quite cohesive and has evolved into a project of its own that has some sort of continuity. Differently from my other projects, this one does not have a set number of photos and I think it will go on virtually forever, as I constantly get new ideas when I listen to Hurts music. The only thing I know for sure is it will have twenty two photos which will bear the title of each song, plus various others inspired by some particular verse, general ideas somehow connected to Hurts music and so on.
As of now, I have taken eleven of the “title-photos” and I have ideas for another eight, while the other haven’t spoken to me yet. I have also taken three verse-related photos and have quite a lot of new ideas popping up in my mind every now and then.

Artpop Generation, a project about Lady Gaga and her music. It follows pretty much the same pattern of Inspiration Hurts, albeit as of now I’m only considering photos bearing the song titles plus some occasional photos that are more of a tribute than an interpretation. I’ve taken Heavy Metal Lover and Amen Fashion so far (plus I Want You Psycho and Just A Holy Fool), but I’ve got a lot of new ideas so hopefully more is coming soon. Oh, and I’ll have to come up with a title too, while I’m at it.

The Murder Ballads, clearly inspired by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ album. This project is kind of on hold at the moment, as I’m more focussed on the others and unsure how to carry it. At the beginning I was supposed to shoot one photo for each song, but the first work, Where The Wild Roses Grow, turned into a mini-series of its own that follows the narration of the song. I think the other works will follow the same pattern, as most of the songs would be impossible to fully express with one image only. This in turn makes it more difficult and demanding as it will really require a lot of work and preparation and I’m not really sure I feel like putting so much effort in that direction now. Anyways, we’ll see what happens next: I may even consider keeping it on hold until I’m done with the Infernal Lords.

• The Aégis Collection. This was actually my first long-lasting project, which I started the day I had my very first photoshoot with my own reflex camera. Nevertheless, I’m not sure if I can really consider it a real series because it isn’t actually one. I shot Poppæa and Angélique independently and then Aœde (they even received their titles after shooting, when I noticed they accidentally fit the song), then Siren (which was the first intended conept of the bunch) and finally I was like: “Oh wow, I’ve made half of the album; let’s do the rest!”. Thus, only Cassandra, Lorelei and Venus were actually shot as part of a cohesive series. This is quite evident, as I put much more care in the details so that the photos would really represent the songs, rahter than just fitting them.
With this said, I still really love these photos and I think they work perfectly as stand-alone works inspired by the songs (including the first three); nevertheless, due to my naive approach to the project, I’m not quite as sure if the series works as a whole: that’s why I’d rather call it a collection. I will be completing it with the missing photo - Bacchante, for which I would like to have Briar Rose modelling, but we have to wait for autumn to have grapes, while I am not sure about Samantha and Virago, the two bonus tracks, which aren’t nearly as inspiring as the rest of the songs - and a personal interpretation of the album front cover, but I don’t really know what will become of it apart from standing there in my gallery. The truth is I’m not dying to keep working on it, which is quite clear if you consider that the latter photos, Lorelei and Venus, were taken in February 2010 and May 2011 respectively. But well, at least Bacchante does deserve a photo, after all.

And this is all about my current long-term projects. Despite the lack of effort I’m putting in the Murder Ballads and the Aégis Collection, I’m quite proud for not having really dropped any of them so far. The Infernal Lords are becoming something of a concern as I’m sort of scared to finish them (I know I will feel horribly empty when I do), but completing that project is one of the few absolutely-must-do things on the list of stuff I have to achieve before I die, so you can imagine how important it is to me. Anyways, I find working on long-lasting projects really satisfying, as each step feels like a huge, long-awaited achievement and the excitement before getting to the next is indescribable. I hope you look forward both to my fothcoming project and to the next installments of the ongoing ones, as I promise the works will be worth the wait.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Amen Fashion

Amen Fashion by *GothicNarcissusDancing in my relevation,
Underground pop civilization.
Concrete poetry to feed my mind,
Old symbolism was left behind.
There
’s no way I could be stopped,
Was taking my best shot,
I had a better plan.
There’s no way I could be stopped,
Was coming for your spot,
I met a better men.

Amen on the runway,
Dressed in his best.
Amen fashion on the runway,
Work it, Black Jesus.
Amen on the runway,
Dressed in his best.
Amen fashion on the runway,
Work it, Black Jesus.

Put it on, Amen Fashion.
Celebrate, ooh ooh, a new compassion.
Put it on, Amen Fashion.
Celebrate, ooh ooh, style your passion.
Put it on, Amen Fashion.
Celebrate, ooh ooh, a new compassion.
Put it on, Amen Fashion.
Celebrate, poh ooh, wear out your vision.

Black Jesus, Black Jesus, Black Jesus.
Jesus is the new black, ow!

[ Black Jesus † Amen Fashion - Lady Gaga ]

The best way to describe this photo is quoting my dear friend Soy Mallika and what she wrote in a comment about it and my own reply to her comment:

Somehow the pose of Alessandro from this shoot reminds me of you from Inorganic Angel. Maybe is also because of the same symbolism of the aura from behind: here the window, there the wheel. Only here, is clear that is has a more saintly absorption, especially because the background is kind of blurry and give this effect of rays all behind the model. All these (and the chair story) to suggest only one line from the song: “Old symbolism was left behind”! Well, as crazy as you were at the moment, was an impressive idea. Turned out better than you expected.
(Actually it wouldn’t have had the same effect if you would have let the background more sharp. The focus pops up the model this way and was a good choice).
I smiled at the “amen for the fashion man!” and “jesus is the new black”. Not to the lyrics of the song, but to the way you depicted these into your work. This new jesus with bolted belt, cut gothic gloves, Turkish scarf and French hat is really a piece of something! A free saint is the new fallen prophet! Bet you didn’t think exactly this way, but Gaga would be proud!

Yeah, these two photos do actually share a connection. The idea is quite similar, although opposite in a way. In Inorganic Angel there was an angel-like model with a mundane kind of halo, here in Amen Fashion is a mundane fashion model with a religious background that makes up the halo. So basically the former represents the earthliness of santity, the latter the misticism of mundanity. So yep, I had also Inorganic Angel in my mind while shooting Amen Fashion, they’re sisters, or at least cousins.

Indeed, Inorganic Angel was thrown in the blender when I came up with the idea of this photo and I immediately imagined how taking a complementary photo would help, but I don’t think I consciously realised how Alessandro’s look did actually define the language of what would come out of this shot. I think, though, that such things did subconsciously influence me to make this image how it is now. I really have to thank Mallika for pointing that out.

Enjoy the story of how this photo was actually realised in the description of its “shadow” sister Like A Boss.
Like A Boss by *GothicNarcissus

Friday, 13 April 2012

A pin-up experiment

Adore by *GothicNarcissus
After such a satisfying and successful series as the Thirties Diva, Deborah Luna and I really wanted to work togther again and experiment with yet another style. So when we met again, we organised a quick photoshoot in a Fifties pin-up style - which suit her very well.
For a whole series of circumstances, I arrived at Deborah Lunas later than expected, so beside the fashion part, I could make an attempt at taking photos with difficult light conditions, namely twilight. The sun had already set when we went out, so I had to work with the scattering light, which gave some of the photos a very soft touch and slight bluish hue I loved. Besides, we did some experiments using streetlight, although only one turned out good (Reverie). I’m quite proud of that photo because I shot it without setting up the tripod or using an excessively high ISO speed, which means I’ve improved with the firmness of my hand.

As “bonus shoots”, we took some photos with pearls back at her place, which turned out lovely despite not being what we were trying to get at the beginning.

It has been an all in all brief session and not only did we get to accomplish less than half of what we had already planned, but I eventually had to scrap quite a lot of photos compared to the ones I could save, but those few ones were worth the effor anyways. I hope you like them!
The Malachite Dream by *GothicNarcissus
Reverie by *GothicNarcissus
Say My Name by *GothicNarcissus When A Dream Starts To Break by *GothicNarcissus

Monday, 2 April 2012

The Infernal Lords XX: Naberius

An artist is what is call’d
The self that the brush holdeth -
Though hath it then caringly caress’d
The Canvas of to-morrow?,
O Canvas! for thee I hold my tool -
Still! passionless it quivereth,
Minding not that my hands are more than apt;
My Muse.

The Devil is as Black as he Painteth -
O Canvas! wherefore?...

[ Black As The Devil Painteth – Theatre of Tragedy ]
Naberius by *GothicNarcissusFormer Throne Count Naberius is a Second-level Demon and a member of Emperor Lucifer’s Entourage. Along with Count Kobal and Count Murmur, he is one of the three Demons of Art, namely that of Figurative Arts, Painting and Sculpture. This makes him a Goetic Demon, who can be summoned into the Sublunar World by Mortals willing to sell their soul in exchange for artistic talent and inspiration. Although he occasionally acts independently and inspires unaware Humans, he tends to do so to a much lesser extent than his two colleagues. He was the one who taught mankind how to draw and carve in the first place, giving mundanity to a craft that was originally designed to only praise Yahweh.
Ever since he was an Angel, he was granted the power to reproduce the world around him with such realism that what he painted or carved became almost as real as the original object. In time, as he drifted further away from Yahweh’s grace, his powers amplified to the point that he has become actually capable of creating things out of thin air by painting or carving them, although their lifespan is limited. His powers proved especially useful after his Fall, as he lost his wings in the fight: despite the loss, he’s able to conjure new wings for himself and fly anyways.
As part of Emperor Lucifer’s entourage, he is His Majesty’s official Portrayer, and also fellow Courtiers turn to him for portraits and paintings. He also works closely with Duke ?????? and the fellow Demons of Art to the entertainment and cultural life of Pandemonium; Count Asmodeus has a particular liking for his talent and patronises him, often in exchange for portraits to give to his countless lovers as a gift. He’s famous for his extravagant lifestyle and bohemian look, which makes him a suitable comrade to the tipsy Decarabia.

Naberius: development and symbolism

Credits:
Photo, concept, manipulation, styling, hair, make up, frame design: GothicNarcissus
Assistant: LunarShore
Additional resources: Amptone-stock (texture), Sxc.hu (wings, halo)

Actually, Naberius (as well as Kobal) was not the first Demon of Art I bumped into: first I found out about Murmur, who set the pattern of an art-related, summonable Demon in the first place, and soon Naberius and Kobal followed. Eventually, circumstances got me to do them before Murmur, but I will complete this sort of “artistic unholy trinity” as soon as I can.
So, once I decided for three “artistic” Demons, one of whom was related to figurative arts, all I had to do was finding him a name. If you browse through The Lesser Key Of Solomon, you’ll see that there are more Demons that “maketh thee cunning in all sort of Arts” (although I guess it is meant as in “crafts”) in there than specks of dust in a beam of sun, so all I had to do was to pick the prettiest name and scrap the others. Naberius was one of those Demons and had the prettiest name of them all, so I downright ignored the “especially in the Art of Rhetoric” part and picked him. On a side note: one of the alternate names for Naberius is Cerberus and he’s depicted as a crane with three dog heads, but there’s no conclusive proof that links him to the Greek Cerberus.
Naberius from the Dictionnaire Infernal.
With this part set up, anyway, I suddenly and strangely found myself with basically no concrete ideas about how to actually do him. The concept of figurative art is just so wide that I did not know where to begin. Then, while generically browsing for wings on Sxh.hu, I bumped into that wonderful stained glass stock and I got the illumination: I would use the stereotype of the French bohemian painter but with that twist. After all, stained glass is just another form of figurative art and a really beautiful one too. So, my Naberius would have a stereotypical French artist look, with a big scarf and a beret, but glass wings instead of some painting or stuff like that. I further developed the idea after I found that circular stained window which would work perfectly as a halo, beside highlighting the beret, and decided that, of course, he would hold a magical brush with whom he would paint in thin air.
I chose Alessandro as the model because that kind of bohemian-chic look really suits him and I knew he would look incredibly handsome in my beret, which turned out to be true. LunarShore was assisting us and after some Theatre of Tragedy playing in the background, the music changed and produced the totally crazy backstage photos you can see below (which I even initially considered as the official one, but that would have been too out of context in the series).
On a side note, I originally wanted every sort of things to magically spark from the brush as luminescent shapes, like butterflies, flowers and other figures, but while I was editing the photo I soon realised that the stained glass was very rich on its own and adding more details would have overloaded the image; so I decided that his seal painted above his free hand would be enough. Speaking of which, I don’t really know what the hell was going on in my mind. Naberius is in the Lesser Key, so he does have a Seal of his own, but while I was gathering material for him I apparently failed to notice that and gave him one of the two alternate Seals of Bune instead. I found out about Naberius’ own Seal only after the work was finished and, honestly, I was so pleased about how I blended it that I did not want to change it. I don’t believe either Naberius or Bune will be pissed off about that anyway.
As for the rest of the work, the main colour being pink was a direct consequence of the stained glass stock. On the other hand, I’m totally positive that the theme-song being Black As The Devil Painteth by Theatre of Tragedy does not need an explaination, does it?

Saturday, 31 March 2012

The way they see us

The photography world is a cruel one. Lenses are cruel because people are cruel, and they dont always, if ever, tell the truth. A lens, a camera, they are nothing but a mechanical prothesis that allow people to enhatch one of their ability: sight. It gets enhatched so that people can actually freeze and preserve what they see.
A photograph is never a portrait of reality, its a frozen moment of what someone can see of the world. Some people can see the beauty in it and therefore their photos show beauty; some people cannot, and their photos are unpleasent. Same goes with portraits.

People, you must never think youre not beautiful because of a photo. Whenever you look ugly in a photo, that does not mean you really are, that only means that someone, a single person, has not looked deep enough to see how really beautiful you are; the problem lies in their eyes and how they fail to properly use them on you, not in you. If you look very ugly, well, then they probably hold such resentment to end up making a monster out of you; a monster which is only in their mind (thats how many “ugly celebrity” pictures are born, which is the thought that sparked this post in the first place). Then there are photos in which you look stunningly beautiful: thats because whoever took it sees the beauty in you, appreciates you and how you make the world around them more pleasent.
And then, there are some photos you just like, no matter what, some photos that you see and realise, “oh wow, thats how I truly am”. Thos photos do tell the truth because they are taken by somebody who cares for you to the point of seeing the real you. And you will most likely end up loving those photos forever, for whoever shot them really loves you.
So, just cherish those people and hold them very dear.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Heavy Metal Lover

Heavy Metal Lover by *GothicNarcissusI want your whiskey mouth all over my blonde south.
Red wine, cheap perfume, and a filthy pout.
Tonight bring all your friends because a group does it better.
Love is down with a dance: let’s have a full house of leather.

Ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-who, ooh-ooh-ooh,
Ooh-ooh-who, ooh-ooh-who,
Heavy metal lover.
Ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-who, ooh-ooh-ooh,
Ooh-ooh-who, ooh-ooh-who,
Heavy metal lover.

Dirty pony, I can’t wait to hose you down.
You’ve got to earn your leather in this part of town.
Dirty girls, in a patch Follow the Remington Rebels.
Let’s raise hell in the streets, drink beer and get into trouble.

Ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-who, ooh-ooh-ooh,
Ooh-ooh-who, ooh-ooh-who,
Heavy metal lover.
Ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-who, ooh-ooh-ooh,
Ooh-ooh-who, ooh-ooh-who,
Heavy metal lover.

I could be your girl-girl-girl, girl-girl-girl,
But would you love me if I ruled the world-world-world?

Ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-who, ooh-ooh-ooh,
Ooh-ooh-who, ooh-ooh-who,
Heavy metal lover.

Whip me, slap me, punk funk.
New York clubbers bump-drunk.
Dark like liquorice, bar slam.
Move it, this is your jam.
Wash the night with St. Jameson
Like a baptism,
Heavy metal lovers play,
Baby we were born this way.

[ Heavy Metal Lover - Lady Gaga ]

Oh yes, folks: this is yaoi and totally Lady Gaga!
First of all, let me introduce to you the model: Alessandro is a friend of mine and he’s the one who made me love Lady Gaga. Like the average metalhead, initially I utterly despised her, then I found out a couple of her songs were a guilty pleasure to me, and then Alessandro basically forced me to really listen to her, which totally conquered me. Heavy Metal Lover is currently my favourite Gaga song and is also one of Alessandro’s favourites. All of the above, combined with the fact he’s one of the hottest boys I know, made him the perfect choice for my co-model in this shot.

Now I’ll introduce to you the photo. I had the idea last September while having dinner at the Chinese right after listening obsessively to this song for the whole afternoon. Suddenly, while I was humming the chorus waiting for my noodles, the image as you see it stuck in my head (except for the model) and I knew I had to do it. Everything, from the poses to the make up, accessories, lighting, hue and Impact font title was there in my mind, so I just texted it on my mobile not to forget it and then transcribed it to a txt file on my computer.
It is interesting to say that I had largely neglected that song for months before I suddenly started obsessing over it and got the inspiration. I subsequently realised that part of it came also from The Fame Monster promotional shoots taken by Heidi Silmane, most notably the frontal light, golden hue and the chains, but that’s unsurprising, given that everything about Gaga is inspiring, from her music to her visuals and character.
Perfect, the idea was there, as clear as day. The problem now was finding a model. I could not ask just anybody randomly because I needed a certain complicity with my “heavy metal lover” in order for the photo to work: basically, I knew that if we did not feel at our ease with each other, the photo would come up totally fake and passionless. That, and I would not have dared to pose (half) naked while hugging and snogging and almost fucking a perfect stranger. I decided to ask Alessandro because we get along well (at least when I’m not trolling him) and after we met for the first time I found out he had much more sex appeal face to face than in his Facebook pictures. I had to work a bit to convince him because of the bare-chested part, but in the end he agreed and we shot.

The shooting was, like, hilarious. I did Alessandro’s make up and hair with much complaint both from him and from me, as I dreaded his indomitable hair but ended up yelling at him after I found out that it was easy to comb (he even had a natrual wave) and he simply never did it. Then I dolled him up with the fetish accessories, with Heavy Metal Lover looping from his laptot all the while. Once again, LunarShore was there to help and assist us. He acted as my “double” while I was setting the camera on the tripod so I could be sure I would not end up out of the frame, and as my “remote control” pushing the button with my settings while I was posing. As you can see from the backstage pictures, there was a huge lot of laughing because I eventually scratched Alessandro, bit his collar, we lost balance multiple times and could not be serious in those making-out poses for more than thirty seconds at a time. Then we decided to shoot the Heavy Metal Barbapapa thing after LunarShore’s idea and that was the end of it all. Fortunately, the photo I wanted had been taken and we were done with the whole ordeal anyways.

So, this is my first serious and openly homoerotic photo and I’m really glad I could finally get it out of my mind after six months. I really have a bunch of such photos written down and patiently waiting for their turn, but some require an ever closer bond between me and the other model, so they’re, well, on hold indefinitely. On the other hand, I’m developing a lot of ideas based on Gaga’s songs, so perhaps that will be my new project, in parallel with the Infernal Lords and the Inspiration Hurts series. I just have to find it a name.

Diva

The Wait by *GothicNarcissus
Deborah Luna and I have been knowing each other for quite some time now. We initially got in touch via Facebook because we have many photography-related friends in common, but we found out we really get along well and quickly became friends outside of the photography world. We met a couple of times when I went to Milan and decided we had to definitely work together. We gathered so many ideas that we had to choose what to do when, and the first project we decided to develop was the Diva one.

In my opinion, Deborah Luna is not your typical gothic chick: although that style suits her, I think the early Twentieth Century styles suit her better. Thus, I proposed to her a photoshoot in a Thirties-inspired outfit in the beautiful Art Dèco setting of Milan Central Station (its marble part, as opposed to the steel canopies I exploited for the hooligan session with Shinichi). What I wanted to portray was a mundane and glamorous diva of the past, totally different from the ethereal, tormented gothic damesels I used to portray a couple of years ago, but also “unreachable” if compared to the more “everyday” girls I’ve been shooting in between.

Once we set the day for the shooting up, Deborah Luna did the make up and hair, then we decided the outfit together and we were ready to go. The architecture of Milan Central Station is quite complex and creates an interesting play of the light that provided the photos with a lot of variety, some being bright and colourful and some being more sombre and gloomy. Also, despite the general glamorous mood shared by the whole series, some turned out to be emotionally deeper, such as the tender naivety of Come On Down or the murky melancholy of Mourning Air. Others were lush, playful and sensual, with the architecture enhatching the retro feeling given by Deborah Luna’s outfit, such as Fever Pitch, Femme Fatale, She’s So... and Luxury’s A Right, which were taken to showcase the model’s sensuality. I even designed some of the photos like advertising for jewels and clothes, most notably Fleeting Instant and The Wait.

I’m really proud of this series as, despite having a strong, glamorous continuity, each photo feels unique. My personal favourite out of these nine is The Wait, as it summarizes all the aspects of this shot, both the glamour and the emotions, the fashionable and melancholic side of a diva who’s, first of all, a woman with a heart.
Come On Down by *GothicNarcissus Mourning Air by *GothicNarcissus
Luxury’s A Right by *GothicNarcissus She’s So... by *GothicNarcissus
Diva by *GothicNarcissus
Fever Pitch by *GothicNarcissus Fleeting Instant by *GothicNarcissus
Femme Fatale by *GothicNarcissus