Monday, 26 August 2013


Americano by GothicNarcissusI met a girl in east L.A,
In floral shorts as sweet as May.
She sang in eights and two barrio chords.
We fell in love, but not in court.

Aaah, America, Americano.
Aaah, America, Americano.

Mis canciones son de la revolución,
Mi corazón me duele por mi generación.
If you love me, we can marry on the west coast
On a wednesday, en el verano en agosto.

I don’t speak your, I don’t speak your
Language, oh no.
I don’t speak your, I won’t speak your
Jesus Cristo.

Aaah, America, Americano.
Aaah, America, Americano.

I will fight for, I have fought for how I love you.
I have cried for, I will die for how I care.
In the mountains, las campanas están sonando.
Todos los chicos y los chicos están besando.

I don’t speak your, I don’t speak your
Language, oh no.
I don’t speak your, I won’t speak your
Jesus Cristo.
I don’t speak your, I don’t speak your
Language, oh no.
I don’t speak your, I won’t speak your
Jesus Cristo.

Aaah, America, Americano.
Aaah, America, Americano.
Aaah, America, Americano.
Aaah, America, Americano.

Don’t you try to catch me,
Don’t you try to catch me,
No, no, no, no.
I’m living on the edge of,
Living on the edge
Of the law, law, law, law.

[ Americano – Lady Gaga ]

I had this photo in my mind for one good year so far.
Americano was one of those songs which didn’t really catch my attention at first, but with which I fell in love after many listens – and I’ve listened to Born This Way countless times so far. And after falling in love with it, I got the right idea for a nice visual rendition.
I heard about Argentiera, a former mining village on the north-western coast of Sardinia, from my mother years ago, who did a trip there with a friend. She told me about this semi-abandoned village with mining wells, a lot of bare wood and abandoned machinery, and that it had this distinct frontier feel which would have made it the perfect set for some western movie – there was even a saloon-like bar. I kept this idea in the back of my mind aftermaths, until I truly gave Americano a chance, and bam!, there I was. I had never visited that place myself, but I knew it was the right one for shooting this photo, a western-inspired photo of me wearing a cowboy hat I bought some ten years ago during a school trip to Eurodisney.
In time, the village changed: the few residents tried to turn it into a more mainstream touristic place, so most of the old buildings were renovated, the sinkholes were closed, an old mining well building was all painted a horrible white and completely emptied of the original wooden pillars, so the feel was mostly spoiled. Yet, some parts survived as they were, and when mom and I went there at last, they looked exactly how I imagined them, perfect for the photo!
Beside the very unique location I chose for this set, which required a trip while I was at my mother’s for the summer break, another reason for the long wait was purchasing a graphic tablet. The song has a vibing, ironic feel I thought could be best represented with an ironic photo with a “scribbled over” effect done with the tablet. As usual, the wait paid out and the final effect is exactly what I wanted. Yay!

Thursday, 22 August 2013


Gemini by GothicNarcissusWhatever I feel for you,
You only seem to care about you.
Is there any chance you could see me, too?

[ I Love You – Woodkid ]

Sign of the Messenger
Element: Air
Secondary element: Wind
Planet: Mercury
Alignment: Light

The first work from my brand new project called The Zodiacs is my own star sign, Gemini.
A Light-aligned Air sign best represented by Wind, derived from the constellation of the Twin Brothers, Gemini is called the Sign of the Messenger because, due to its element and its ruling planet Mercury, perfectly embodies the bridge between worlds. Usually playful and outgoing, if not downright mischievous, it is prone to several mood switches because of its dual nature.

You can read a much more detailed description of my star sign on The Gay Boy’s Guide to the Zodiac, from which I drew inspiration for the whole project, but we can basically say that the main things on which I built the symbolism for this work are there.
First of all, the problem with representing Gemini is that, well, they are two. Since I want to keep this project as much “photography only” as I can (unlike the Infernal Lords in which the digital part is much more prominent), this was the first major obstacle I had to overcome – I did not want to place a photomanipulated “second me” somewhere there, and a mirror or any other reflecting surface was out of question due to its infinite banality. Digging deeper, I found that Gemini are the most communicative sign of the Zodiac (something I apparently seem to be often forgetting about), which of course includes all electronic devices. This is why I decided I would be holding a Macbook (Electricity is most often regarded as a secondary element of Air, too), which gave me the idea to put the “second twin” as a photo showing on screen.
Pollux and Castor were twin brothers, but somewhat opposite – Pollux was immortal while Castor wasn’t – thus Gemini has this kind of polar opposite thing in it: while one of the twins is contend, playful, light and extroverted, the other is somewhat murky, contemplative and introvert (showing the backside and in a “defensive” pose). Beside that, I aptly waited for a windy day with scattered cumulonimbus to give the connection with my element. And this is how the aesthetics and symbolism of the photo was born.

I was lucky enough to have my mother’s help for this work: she drove me out of town, then we went into the wild, and she helped me taking the photos under my direction after I set up all the stuff.
On a side note, this is my very first true nude as a model. I thought I would never pose fully naked because, despite what it might look like, I’m the shy twin and am very self-aware about my body. Yet, for one thing I already know it will be difficult to find all the models for this work, so I was in no position to shy around; for another, I must thank the Guide for pointing out that my extra-slender body frame is most often associated with Gemini, which was of much comfort and took me a step further towards accepting my body the way it is. In many ways this work was cathartic and I am very proud of what I have accomplished. It went very smooth, so I hope it will bring me luck and make the rest of the project go on just as naturally and easily.

The Zodiacs

Perhaps, with about five or six other projects still going on and not even close to be finished, I should have not embarked in the umpteenth long-term, difficult project. But as I said once, inspiration strikes in the most unexpected moments and forms, so here we go, once again.
This time, I got the idea reading The Gay Boy’s Guide to the Zodiac, an amazing and amusing blog which explains astrology from the perspective of a gay boy, specifically about how zodiacal signs work on gay boys. I had a lot of fun while reading it, and bam!, the idea struck: I’m going to make a series of works about the zodiacal signs.
Well, I admit that’s a very common and not so original subject, but while I was reading, I kept having images about how I could do my own zodiacal signs so, perhaps, I though, I might have my say too. The idea of seeing the zodiac from a gay boy’s perspective feels quite thrilling and has a lot of visual potential, so why not? And this is how I got back to reading the blog from the beginning and started noting down the most defining traits of each sign to try and elaborate a visual image out of each of them. The idea for The Zodiacs was quickly born.

I guess everybody knows how the Zodiac works, but here’s a small recap: there are twelve Signs based on the twelve constellations that the Sun crosses during its apparent journey along the ecliptic. When the Sun crosses one sign, all the people who are born in that period of time will have traits, character and often physical, linked to that sign. This traits are mostly derived from three things: the mythological background of the constellation, the element associated with the sign and its ruling planet.
The twelve Zodiacs are grouped in four elements, three for each: Fire, Earth, Air and Water. Each sign has its own secondary element, which helps further define its character along with its ruling planet.
The Moon and the other planets, too, cross the signs during their apparent journey around the Earth, their position at the time of one’s birth affects their characters too, as well as the Ascendant or “rising sign”, but since the Sun is considered the “planet” of the self, it is its position that defines most of the traits of one person.

With this said, I will shoot one themed photo for each of the twelve Zodiacs. The aesthetics will be closely related to the description of said sign and will include its dominant element as well as a handsome young man who embodies the main traits of each sign with his looks, pose and attitude. Oh, and each boy will be naked.
This is indeed my first long-term project including nudity. As you can probably reckon, this will mean it will be a long, difficult and slow project, since finding twelve boys who not only are preferably born under the sign they’ll be representing, but are willing to pose naked too will be a very challenging process. But I guess we all know by now I love challenges, so I’ll give it a try.

The first photo from this project will be published very soon. Meanwhile, here are some questions about the project you might ask me at some point:

• Why the nudes?
• It’s symbolic. Whereas the ascendant is meant to represent one’s projection to the outer world, the sun sign represents one’s inner personality, without masks or covering. The zodiacal sign is metaphorically “one’s naked self”, no more, no less. I have always had a very complicated relationship with nude photography and it took me long before I did my first nude shootings. I did them only because I had some concepts I could not represent otherwise, some images in which nudity was strictly functional to what I wanted to express. This project is quite like that: the concept requires the use of nudity.

• What about astrology? Do you believe in that?
• This is a thing I really want to clear out. Most people who know me know I am in-between agnosticism and atheism and I am a huge astronomy lover. If I don’t believe in any given god and am so much into the scientific side of the study of the sky, fat chance I can even believe in astrology, right? Well, not quite that.
For one thing, my mother is very interested in astrology, so I grew up being quite interested in it too. I don’t say I strictly believe in daily horoscopes and such things, but that does not mean I don’t like playing with the idea of natal charts and how people reflect the traits of their signs. The thing is, astronomers are very quick to dismiss astrology as nonsense on the basis that planets have virtually no influence whatsoever on Earth, that astrology lacks any scientific foundations and so on. On the other hand, astrologers have never made any claim about astrology being scientific in any way and consider it more of an art. An interpretative art. It’s not like they believe that planets emit some kind of energy that affects mankind differently according to which starry background they stand in front of: it’s more like watching the apparent position of the planets against the zodiacal portion of the sky and interpreting it to try and divine mundane things. It won’t surely give you an answer about what’s going to happen next, but it might give you the caution or the confidence you need to undertake things on a given day. As for natal charts, it’s not like astrologers tell you who you are going to be, how you are going to behave, what you’re gonna do in life and stuff. Zodiacal signs are simply archetypes, they map out people’s possible worths and flaws, which allows them to work on themselves to become better. There’s nothing scientific in it, but it’s still very fascinating. And honestly, I know very few people who do not fit their own sign (and casually most of those either fit their ascendant until you get to know them better, or have some group of planets that heavily influence the main sign). So, honestly, astronomers can give up their fight and let astrologers alone, one does no harm the other.

• What about Ophiuchus, the thirteenth Zodiac?
• Bullshit. There are only twelve zodiacal signs, period. Basically, this is the thing: in modern astronomy, the term “constellation” does not define the “pattern” that stars make up, but rather an area of the sky that’s assigned to said constellation in order to easily catalogue deep sky objects. Of course, this includes a much larger area surrounding what “we” call the actual constellation. This new official definition of “constellation” is not older than the 1920’s, while the division of the sky was made in 1930 and was largely arbitrary. It so happened that an area of sky in which the ecliptic lies, and which is very close to the Scorpio asterism, was assigned to Ophiuchus rather than Scorpio: this is how all of sudden there were thirteen zodiacal constellations. It was arbitrary, it could have been Scorpio instead. And as you can see here, the area that lies between Scorpio (bottom right) and Sagittarius (bottom left) does not even contain the asterism of the Ophiuchus. So, given that, a) the Sun doesn’t even enter the “constellation” of Ophiuchus as traditionally defined, b) as stated above, astrology is a totally different thing than astronomy and it has been so for the last five or four centuries, c) the whole symbology linked to the number twelve is millennia old and rooted back to the Babylonians, and d) the thirteen zodiacal constellation claim derives from a mere agreement rather than any scientific observation, there’s no point in introducing a thirteenth zodiacal sign in astrology. Is it?