Wednesday, 26 October 2016

So, it’s been ten years…

My very first “photoshoot” ever… wasn’t very much of a photoshoot at all, to be honest. At least not at the beginning.
Basically, on an October afternoon, back in 2006, a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to grab my compact camera and go out take some pictures of him to impress a girl. Who was a mutual friend, so why not taking some photos together, too? And since I would be all dolled up, I thought, why not striking a pose or two and look pretty all on my own? So I wore my then-favourite striped green sweater, some really questionable jeans and shoes, I put on some make up and off I went.
The initial results were a mixed bag: a handful of photos of him, some terrible, some almost decent, considering I barely knew what I was doing (except absolutely NO-BACKLIGHT); a few photos of the two of us, which were a good practice for placing the camera on whatever available surface; and a few selfies before it was cool.

A Prince In Green by GothicNarcissus
Seriously, it’s just a selfie.
And then, something happened.
Being very camera shy, my friend was okay with just a few pics; the rest of the afternoon we spend with me bossing him around to help me take some photos. Because as soon as I could put the camera on whatever windowsill or step I could find in front of interesting places, or tell my friend how exactly I wanted him to shoot me, more and more ideas kept coming up.
Having already seen my share of bloggish gothic imagery, I had discovered a few more serious artists, following whom I kept occasionally popping up and lurking around deviantArt; the thought of trying something of the sort had been growing in the back of my mind for quite some time and I don’t know, that afternoon I finally tried to do just that. With barely any idea of what I was doing (because come on, a striped sweater, messy hair and a line of kajal is definitely not gothic imagery), try I did.
Or maybe I wasn’t so clueless, after all. As I mentioned several times, my initial thought was to go into a more digital direction, which was all the rage back then; my postproducing tools consisting only of Ulead PhotoExpress, though, I was pretty aware I could not just cut myself out of a blank background and put me onto something different, so I had to work with some interesting environment to begin with. And the historic centre of Alghero happens to be a 16th Century walled town with plenty of nice spots to use, so I thought I could work something out even if it didn’t look like I was lying in some dimly lit underground temple or some cemetery at night time. Also, having zero control over the camera, which worked strictly in automatic mode and was mostly managed by my friend, meant that I couldn’t take extra dark photos to begin with, so… well, I had to try and make something out of it through my own expressivity.

Let Live, Let Go by GothicNarcissus
And then, I muted the colours to make it look more gooothic.
Even though the most I could manage was looking unconvincingly brooding, I can kind of say I came up with a moodboard on the spot and the shooting as a whole, outtakes included, has a sort of cohesive theme. Evanescence’s The Open Door had just recently come out and, well, to say I was obsessed with it would be an understatement. My obsession included the promotional pictures for the album, so I ended up posing in front of whatever ancient-looking door, window, gate, fence, balcony, architectural structure I thought was cool. And even though the poses were awkward, silly or downright second-hand (a few shots were an attempt to copy Amy Lee walking on the fountain in the My Immortal video, except I was walking on a well), I did try my best to look thoughtful, whimsical, lovelorn or dramatic. I really wanted to express something with those photos, be it just my admiration for some cool music without realising yet the full potential of actually working on a concept like that to create a true synesthesia between songs and the images.

Let Live, Let Go by GothicNarcissus
Dramatic pose and a fancy window. This is what got me here.
But yes, the embryo of what would become the cornerstones of my artistic endeavour were already there. I really do look back fondly at those photos, however naive and raw they are: had I not gone out that afternoon, maybe I would have tried anyway to express myself through photography, sooner or later, but it’s nice to see I had sensed what road suited me best from the beginning.
Eventually, a few of those photos made their way out of my computer: when I joined deviantArt exactly ten years ago, on October 26th, I found them expressive enough to share them with artistic purposes, and it all snowballed into… today, packing up to work three days of commissioned shootings at a cosplay convention. And yes, there is also one particular photo from that afternoon which I think really worked and I decided to “remake” as a sort of celebration. Here we go with the Evanescence-themed The Only One, 2006 and 2016:
The Only One by GothicNarcissus The Only One 2016 by GothicNarcissus