Thursday, 24 September 2015

Swimming

Swimming by GothicNarcissusI was swimming across the sky,
Clouds and angels by my side,
Then I realised that I was lonely
And it wasn’t such a good thing.

I was flying in paradise,
In that ocean of dead lights.
I was looking for your smile in the wind,
But there was nobody there this morning.

I believe in your smile everyday,
But I know that you’re far from my way.
When I talk to the moon I can hear you:
In the dark I can see, I can feel your light.

[ Swimming – Emilie Simon ]

I remember distinctly I started listening to Emilie Simon right after moving out of the student dorm into a real flat, which was five years ago around this period. One of her songs that caught my attention first was Swimming, which is still one of my favourites today. It evoked the image you can see almost immediately when I heard it, so I can say I’ve been gestating this photo for exactly five years. Just like that, the very way you see it. A friend of mine, to whom I showed the photo earlier, asked me why it took me so long to do it, then. Well, I’ll be damned if I know.
The idea per se is quite simple: floating in a very still pond which reflects the sky and clouds to convey being swimming across the sky, with no shore in sight to give the idea of vastness and solitude. Fairly immediate. Why five years, then?
Well, I guess back then I was aware I wasn’t nearly artistically mature enough to pull out the photo as good as I needed it to be, especially the reflection. It took me some observation to learn how the light reflects or scatters in the water and which conditions are best for what I needed: grazing light or even shadows, shallow water with as little ripples as possible, a very low point of view so the water is more reflective than transparent to the lens and, of course, the right amount of clouds. In the meantime, I upgraded my equipment to include a full frame camera and a telephoto lens, which would give a great technical help to the photo. Now the problem was the right place and time: of course I needed the clouds, but it had to be in summer so I would not freeze to death. As for bodies of water with a clear view of the sky and shallow enough to make a good reflection, well, I had no idea where to look: I either kept coming across forest ponds, which reflected the green of the foliage instead of the sky, or places where the water was constantly moving and rippling, which didn’t reflect enough. At some point this year I even considered some lakes near Trieste, but I could not arrange to get transportation and assistance there, so I shelved the idea for some time.
As my dear friend ContessaNera put it, you go all “I need a location that doesn’t even exist in the computers of the Noah graphics”, then you find it in your own basement. In this case, while shooting a month or so ago, I found out that the coastline near Alghero hid some really nice tide pools which were shallow and enclosed enough to reflect the sky perfectly under the right conditions. All I had to do was wait for the right amount of clouds and go for it, except, as I noted while discussing Noisy Awareness, is easier said than done in such a sunny place as Alghero.
Well, yesterday was a very rainy day until it cleared late in the afternoon. As soon as I saw there were some leftover clouds, I grabbed my camera, my tripod, my mom and rushed to the nearest pool to set everything up. With some precious help from my mom, the shooting went smoothly and there it was, the photo I’ve been dreaming of for all these years.
In these five years, this song has become incredibly meaningful to me and so has the photo. I can say I’m exactly in this situation right now, floating on my own among unrealistic things with a strong sense of yearning, which helped me add a layer of depth to the image. I can say this photo has come in the due time, as my photos always do.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Noisy Awareness

Noisy Awareness by GothicNarcissusYour unconscious, scarred, little space
In time’s old horizons.
Unlocking swooning voracity,
You raise obsession in between.
Sometimes you wither enchantment
In intimate gardens.
Each step of reserved delusion
Fertilises your fantasy.

You may enslave,
You may disgrace,
My will your fury may obtain.

In a rainy summer night
You’re making me nervous.
Through tomorrow, through my fights
You’re making me nervous.
In a wedding summer night
You’re taking the summer.
In a wedding summer night
You take me.

So wake up and forget the self
And you will fear nothing.
Cut anything out of your life
And you will fear nothing.
Be aware of risky transactions
And you will fear nothing.
So chase for abduction of duty
And you will fear nothing.
 

You may enslave,
You may disgrace,
My will your fury may obtain.

In a rainy summer night
You’re making me nervous.
Through tomorrow, through my fights
You’re making me nervous.
In a wedding summer night
You’re taking the summer.
In a wedding summer night
You take me.

[ Noisy Awareness – Leandra ]

The downside of battling depression (which I’m currently at open war with) is a drastic reduction in artistic productivity, which has been particularly noticeable in the past months. The silver lining is it gives you that kind of haunted look which makes photos like this one stand out. So, at long last here’s a new work from my Morphine series, specifically the Metamorphine half.
Noisy Awareness was the first song by Leandra I ever listened to back in 2008, and which made me fall in love with her music. While it already gave me a couple of bursts of inspiration even then, in time I came up with the mental image you can see above, closer to the story behind the song which Leandra wrote about a stalker. I’m pretty sure I already had this idea before 2013, when I decided to make a series out of Leandra’s two albums, so I included it directly into the poject, waiting for the right time to put it into action. The greatest difficulty, which delayed the photo until today, was the location I chose: I wanted the photo to be somewhat claustrophobic, so I decided the perfect place would be one of the alleys in the old town of Alghero. Heh, good luck finding a rainy summer afternoon to shoot it. Cloudy or rainy days, which would provide the diffuse light, are hard to come by in Sardinia during summer time, which I needed not to catch a pneumonia while shooting outdoors all wet. I also didn’t really have any suitable male friends left here to play the stalker which, while blurry in the background, was a pivotal part of the photo. Well, today it finally rained (cats and dogs, I would say) and I had a co-model to work with, Davide of Atelier Davis, whom I already shot earlier this summer. After a brief delay due to an unexpectedly sunny morning, the afternoon finally provided the right weather, so I set up the tripod and shot the photo.
Beside the obviously literal depiction of the lyrics, I’ve put some effort in the symbolism of this photo: firstly, the stalker is only a blurry shadow in the background to increase the feel of unease. Secondly, the main character in the photo is soaked in the rain while the stalker is safe under the umbrella to put the stalker in a less exposed place and convey a sense of vulnerability for the victim.
While I have no idea when I’ll be able to work some more on this project, I’ll leave you with the wonderful sketch I did yesterday night to show Davide what my idea was. Feel free to roll on the floor laughing your butts off!