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.