Friday, 4 August 2017

Pi

Pi by GothicNarcissusTemporary like a prism,
Being involved and being ignored.
But your broken glass charisma
Is my one and only source.

Circularly, you remember
Maybe you or me or both.
Sorry you, sorry me,
Proudly fail, resume indoors.

Distance closes our throat.
Be so sweet can’t replace.
Miles unconnectable,
Time is improvable.
Contradictions you say,
We’re so ignorable,
So your static, empty words
Just wish a syllable.

Our bodies are paralysing us,
Selling our souls otherwise.
Feed crippled mind and fertilise,
Selling our souls otherwise.
Our bodies are paralysing us,
Selling our souls otherwise.
Feed crippled mind and fertilise,
Selling our souls otherwise.

Free our horses, my pretender,
Don’t you let them go astray.
Colours flash, the only minded.
Colours… fade.

Distance closes our throat.
Be so sweet can’t replace.
Miles unconnectable,
Time is improvable.
Contradictions you say,
We’re so ignorable,
So your static, empty words
Just wish a syllable.

Our bodies are paralysing us,
Selling our souls otherwise.
Feed crippled mind and fertilise,
Selling our souls otherwise.

Step into pain circles,
Enter the whispering.
Wash out your construction,
Fragments of rain.

Our bodies are paralysing us,
Selling our souls otherwise.
Feed crippled mind and fertilise,
Selling our souls otherwise.

[ Pi – Leandra ]

Pi has always been a tricky one in my Morphine project: while I absolutely love this song, the lyrics are quite abstract and all over the place with their imagery. I could pinpoint the general theme – working out a difficult romantic relationship – but it didn’t give me much to work with visually.
The music, on the other hand, has always evoked me a dynamic image of a couple somewhere in-between a dance and a fight: something coreographic that could encompass both a feeling of separation and an attempt at reconciliation.
With so little in mind, I sort of shelved the song to the back of the project to focus on more approachable concepts… until this happened.

Basically, when I had my nice shooting with Knajfer Wintermere and his handsome real-life boyfriend Riccardo, I mostly allowed them the freedom to just act naturally in front of the camera and be the beautiful couple they are. At some point I attempted to set up another Morphine photo which didn’t really work out, got frustrated over that and just let them fool around a little on their own. When I focussed back, there they were: Riccardo is a very atletic boy and was doing splits for the fun of it with Knajfer. There was just something about the intensity of their gaze that hit me in the face with all the power of the piano riff in the second half of the song, and I instantly knew this was what I wanted Pi to look like in my project. There, out of the music itself.
The prism / icosahedron was a last-minute postproduction idea I had to give a further link to the song lyrics and because sketches surrealy overimposed on the photos are a recurring theme of sort in the project.

And so, that’s it: Knajfer and Riccardo basically pulled me over a potentially huge hitch in my project just by being an adorable couple. Which is precisely the reason why I’m saving so many photos for people who truly have feelings for each other: some things you cannot act, they have to come from the heart.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Surrender

Surrender by GothicNarcissusSurrender, surrender, oh.
Surrender, surrender, oh.
Surrender, surrender, oh.
Surrender, surrender, oh.
Give me that sweet
Surrender, surrender, oh.
Give me that sweet
Surrender, surrender, oh.
Give me that sweet
Surrender, surrender, oh.
Give me that sweet
Surrender, surrender, oh.
Give me that sweet
Surrender, surrender, oh.
I’ll be released, I’ll be released, oh!

[ Surrender – Hurts ]

Speaking of Hurts songs that are difficult to nail, Surrender (the title track of the third album) doesn’t give much to work with: it’s a one minute and eighteen second intro with basically three sentences in the lyrics – and they’re quite vague, too. But musically it’s a powerful song despite its simplified structure: the gospel-like choir is incredibly energetic and makes it quite emotional – even epic. I always thought of a picture with very dramatic light and a welcoming mood of sort as, despite the title, the lyrics are quite optimistic. And that’s pretty much what I got by having Knajfer and Riccardo posing in front of the setting sun.
I thought this scene could fit the idea I had, but again, it’s their expressions – something out of my control – that really give the photo its impact.  know it’s sort of weird of me to just go with the flow when shooting, especially when it comes to my long-term projects, but it’s a really nice way to keep the creativity flowing and ready for the more structured, difficult photos in the series.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Ecstasy

Ecstasy by GothicNarcissusFall back and touch the night
And reach for the blinding light.
‘Cause everybody says that we’re too young to see.
We know that we’re brave enough to be –

In the state of ecstasy,
In the place we’re meant to be.
In the state of ecstasy
There is only you and me.

Break through from the other side
And lead me to Paradise.
‘Cause nothing but love can take us away from here.
Ever time I close my eyes, we disappear –

In the state of ecstasy,
In the place we’re meant to be.
In the state of ecstasy
There is only you and me.

[ Ecstasy – Calvin Harris feat. Hurts ]

Now, technically Ecstasy and Under Control are Calvin Harris songs featuring Hurts, but I like them enough to include them into the Inspiration Hurts project nevertheless. Ecstasy, in particular, is a pretty little ballad with a romantic undertone which I wanted to shoot, given the occasion, with a real life couple.
This photo just happened: my dear friend Knajfer and his boyfriend Riccardo were just fooling around and being adorable, and they kissed behind the furry overcoat thing long enough I could snap a picture. Which happened to fit perfectly the song retroactively: it has its ecstatic, romantic mood, has the closed eyes thing from the lyrics, and the furry thing cutting away the actual kiss gives it that sense of intimacy and “only you and me”.
Yeah, this photo just happened and it turned out a really charming addition to the project, that’s it.

Monday, 17 July 2017

If You Follow

If You Follow by GothicNarcissusAs we met we didn’t know of yesterday,
Anything that wouldn’t paralyse your system.
Set a day I can break free,
Set a day on what you think I’m not existent.

Would you stay until the end?
We are growing older,
Every moment that I spend
Laying on your shoulder.
Would your fear contain the loss?
Would you ever regret?
I’ll forsake my second life
If you follow.

I apologise for what you’ve done to me,
And truly, I’m upset for giving up the distance.
Time collects its space to show me how to see
How deep in you I dwell – the deeper is my promise.

Would you stay until the end?
We are growing older,
Every moment that I spend
Laying on your shoulder.
Would your fear contain the loss?
Would you ever regret?
I’ll forsake my second life
If you follow.

Should I lose my mind instead?
Should I give you answers
If you forget to question fate?
We might be lonely dancers
Erasing any doubt,
And if your fear is stronger,
Disconnect the roots, find out
Where you belong.

[ If You Follow – Leandra ]

So, what do you do when you’ve got a bunch of long-term projects that have slowed down lately, a few photos from said projects with a romantic undertone and a real-life couple posing for you? You sqeeze the hell out of it! That’s how I ended up with two photos for my Inspiration Hurts project and another two for Morphine. Come on, you don’t let a good occasion go to waste.
Basically, I had a nice shooting with my dear friend, fellow photographer and insanely pretty, photogenic boy Knajfer Wintermere (of Lullaby fame), and his real-life, equally pretty and photogenic boyfriend Riccardo. Among the couple photos I had sketched out and wanted to take was If You Follow: the basic idea was having one of the two in a more static pose and the other inviting him in some way, pretty basic and sticking to the song.

My original idea had the two of them posing on the oppisite sides of the beam, one facing away and the other going all “follow me” on him. I even have a couple of takes like that, but during this shooting I allowed much freedom to Knajfer and Riccardo because I wanted them to act as themselves, and one of the later takes on the photo ended up as what you see, with the two of them engaging each other while still being on opposite sides of the beam. And that’s what caught my eye: my basic idea was still there, but there’s such an exchange of energy in the picture that it trumped the more static vision I had in mind. Also, I like that it’s a bit ambiguous who’s inviting whom and who’ll follow.

So here we are, with a new work from the Isomorphine part of the series. Coming next, one from the Metamorphine side. Enjoy!

Friday, 14 July 2017

Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope by GothicNarcissusThere was only ever you and me
And there was only ever history
Holding us back, holding us back.
But that night, we stared in wonder,
Wide-eyed but scared to wander.
The landslide fell silent all around.

And it was the same scene from a kaleidoscope dream.
You got me spinning. No, no,
You didn’t wake me from my kaleidoscope dream.
You got me spinning in your love,
Spinning in your love.

Do you remember when we used to see
White flamingos gliding on the breeze
And there was only ever you and me?
In this neon jungle, you fed my hunger and
That night we stared in wonder:
The black sky turned technicolor
And your eyes surprised me when you smiled.

And it was the same scene from a kaleidoscope dream.
You got me spinning. No, no,
You didn’t wake me from my kaleidoscope dream.
You got me spinning in your love
And you hypnotise me like no other,
Mesmerise my mind with colour, so
Let the night bring us together again.

[ Kaleidoscope – Hurts ]

Unpopular opinion: I don’t exactly like this song. Hurts have an impressive musical catalogue with emtional, inspiring songs and this one… is okay, I guess, but it falls a bit flat. I find it generic compared to other Hurts tunes both in terms of music and lyrics. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t give me much in terms of visual ideas other than “there’s gonna be a couple”: if I included it in the poject at all was because I’m obsessive-compulsive and having a song out would bother me to no end.

Now, fun fact: there’s a lot of material I’ve gathered throughout the years which I’m saving for shooting with real-life couples rather than me and a friend, or two friends, or two random pretty people who’re willing to roll with it. Part of the reasons why I’ve slowed down considerably on many long-term project is just that: the photo needs that kind of genuine emotion to work. That’s what makes the difference between a pretty picture and one that really tells a story.
This approach paid out big time on Kaleidoscope and it’s pretty much what got me out of the tight spot it would have put me in once I was done with the rest of the series (eh, someday) and I had to deal with it. The fact I pulled it off now and in a satisfying way is pure luck and all thanks to my dear friend Knajfer Wintermere and his real-life boyfriend Riccardo.

So, when we organised the shooting, I dusted off a few ideas from my “Ho!Yay photos kept for better times” file (yes, that’s its actual name) to have a basic outline, but left many details, such as the location choice, to Knajfer and Riccardo, who are locals and know better than me where to go in Milan. The park they chose happened to have this sort of… err, porch thing, which happened to be painted with that geometric motive in bright colours. Mmh, I thought, I have a couple, I have something that sort of recalls a kaleidoscope or, more generally, the colour / neon / brightness theme in the lyrics, might as well see if I can cross this photo off the list here and now.
During the shooting, I gave Knajfer and Riccardo some directions for what I had in mind on certain photos but I generally left them free to be their cute selves in front of the lens. Here I just let them come up with the pose without any interference whatsoever (other than building a nice geometry with the bacground) and it ended up matching the mood of the song perfectly. All on their own merits, they cleared me the greatest spanner in the Inspiration Hurts works.
On a side note, the colours from the murals turned out particularly bright against the dark wood background, and that added a really nice touch to the photo. That, combined with Knajfer and Riccardo’s emotional intensity, really did the trick. Hurray, love did really save the day this time!

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone by GothicNarcissusIn fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
Juliet is on her knees:
She shoots to kill and aims to please, oh.

And you can see it in her eyes,
It’s not something that she likes,
But she can’t stand being alone.
So you thank her for her charm
And you take her in your arms,
But she just won’t let you go.

She said her daddy was an alcoholic
And her mother was an animal.
Now she’s living like a rolling stone,
She said that the law will never take her alive
If they take her home.

In Belarus she was a vespertine,
She danced the go-go for the bourgeoisie.
Now she’s here and she is on her knees, oh.

And she won’t apologise
For the cheating and the lies,
But she can’t stand being this way.
And you can see it in her eyes,
She would kill them if they try
To send her back to her grave.

She said her daddy was an alcoholic
And her mother was an animal.
Now she’s living like a rolling stone,
She said that the law will never take her alive
If they take her home.

[ Rolling Stone – Hurts ]

Rolling Stone is easily one of my favourite songs out of Hurts’s latest album, Surrender. The lyrics are a bit too melodramatic, but it’s a very emotional song which painted a vivid image in my head since the first few times I listened to it. Also, it was released as a promotional single and I found the accompaining artwork very inspiring. I decided to take some cues from it, such as the red dress, and who could possibly look better in red than my dearest BriarRose? Also, I wanted a gun in it to give a connection to the whole “my way or burst” theme of the lyrics, and she happened to have one for her Misato Katsuragi cosplay. In short, taking this photo was only a matter of when, rather than how.
To be honest, though, my original idea was more reminescent of the single artwork than you can see: I thought of having BriarRose hold the gun to her chest (not pointed to it, just lying there as a reminder she has control and a way out), glance sideways, and I thought I woul crop the photo below her chin or slightly above the lips to keep the focus on the chest. The problem is, I find it difficult to exclude the models’ faces because I feel like I’m de-humanising them, turning them into mere props for my shooting. Which, in a way, is sort of what I already do, since I have them play a part in a story I want to tell rather than be themselves, but that still makes me a bit uncomfortable. Besides, BriarRose is just so expressive that cropping off her face is a waste of her talent.
Anyway, after I tried some different croppings of my original idea which were kind of good too, BriarRose asked me to shoot a few simple portraits because she liked the look. One of her poses proved so effective that we both agreed to re-shoot it with the gun and keep it as the actual Rolling Stone. Indeed, having her firmly engage the viewer with her gaze, and ready to shoot in the dark if necessary, made the photo all more dramatic and achieved a far better result: the more contemplative side view, with or withoout the close crop, made for more of a victim of circumstances, while the frontal pose puts the character in charge of her own destiny in spite of everything, like the lyrics suggest. Well, that’s why I love working with BriarRose: our creative synergy always brings something fresh to the mix.
Also, one of the “simple” portraits I took turned out so amazing I decided to publish it too, because it fits another, non-Hurts-related idea I wanted to develop. You’ll be seeing it on my Facebook and deviantArt tomorrow!