funny…just saw that in 2014, I’d said that the reason I didn’t attempt a lot of self-portraits was because I was the one person that I was least in a position to take a photo of. (in just a small note about a selfie.) now, the (improvement and fine-tuning of the) selfie camera on phones has not only made this no longer the case, but it’s almost made the opposite true – at least concerning head and shoulders portraits. we may now be our own most accessible subjects.
“All your life /
You’ve been waiting to be free /
Trade your pride for ecstasy /
That’ll make you /
Reach the sky” – Sadeness (Part II)
What do you think? …I’ve noticed both the song and the music video have had mixed reactions from hardcore fans. I don’t know how to to talk about music, so I won’t say anything about the song. Some fans have asked if there’s a version of the video without pixelated-private-parts. Well I haven’t come across one. I guess I could start claiming that that’s actually just what I look like naked.
The story in the music video has two characters – a dark, brooding monk and a mysterious seductive woman. You’ll notice that I played the latter. At first the mysterious woman is a luring temptress.
The monk takes her to his decadent den of dark desires.
Now the woman is a prisoner.
There is some inevitable running away and chasing.
And an ultimate fight between good and evil.
And in the end, it turns out…well, I shouldn’t spoil it. So I guess you should just watch the video.
© 2016 Baloo Music S.A., under exclusive license to Polydor/Island, a division of Universal Music GmbH Continue reading
Ah, memories of this Icelandic adventure with Dave Rudin and Nadine Stevens…send shivers down my spine. 😆 Because of the epic scenery, of course.
The clang of the age-old god speech /
May it forever play, young and free /
Under the northern lights…
I’ve been away from posting for a couple of weeks (in part because I was away from home for a few days recently), so I’m coming back with a couple of photos of a couple of models in Iceland – Rebecca and Nadine.
These were made during my 2014 trip to Iceland, and I’ve posted some photos with Nadine there previously. However, on the occasion of these photos, I was working with Rebecca for the first time. She had been planning to visit Iceland from her home in England and very kindly arranged her schedule so that she could work with me for a couple of days.
The location is a well known waterfall located near one of the major towns on Iceland’s south coast. As Rebecca had only arrived to meet us late in the morning, we had to make our photos here in the…
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These two things are important to remember. The logical conclusion of ‘cultural appropriation’ is solipsism. And talent isn’t fair.
Can there be a culturally appropriate art? There is no shortage of activists arguing for one, and they are arguing for something new and sinister, in free societies at least.
Let me be clear about the stakes. Artists reflect the ideas of their times, and nearly all Western novels and dramas now treat, say, gays and lesbians sympathetically. They are a world away from the thrillers of the 1970s in which the lisping homosexual was invariably the villain. Such stereotypes are not the issue today. Nor is the argument about whether a male novelist can create convincing female characters or vice versa or a white novelist create a convincing black character or vice versa. Readers have always been able to complain that a novelist has produced inauthentic work. Rather than an argument about what is said, we have an argument about what right artists have to speak…
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Wow – an awesome list painstakingly compiled by Kajzh Hamm (fb.me/brambleroots) of many examples of the cultural phenomenon of locked hair across all six inhabited continents of the world:
> Indians (called jata, seen on sadhu and sadhvi; also seen on fakirs)
> Rastas (called dreadlocks)
> Polish (called kołtun)
> English (Shakespeare called the early stages of freeform knotting fairylocks)
> Gaels (called glibbes)
> Cree (Chief Pitikwahanapiwiyin/Poundmaker, Chief Little Bear, Baby Jack, and He Who Shows His Blood had them; exact name for it unknown)
> Mojave (Chief Inétabe had them; they were called hair rolls)
> Himba (called ozondjise)
> Nazarite (as per the Nazarite Vow in the Bible)
> Egyptian (Tutankamun was discovered to have had them upon his exhuming; many wigs show locked hair)
> Tlingit (a shaman named Tek’ic was photographed with them)
> Mbalantu (called eembuvi)
> Hamar (called goscha)
> Contemporary diasporic Africans (called locs after the 1990s)
> Aztec (described in the Durán Codex, the Codex Tudela and the Codex Mendoza)
> Chilean Pre-Inca Waris (had no writing system, so we don’t know what they were historically called — though mummies survive)
> Nyamal (name unknown)
> Tibetans (called “ralpa changlocan,” part of tantric Vajrayana practice, seen on ngakpas)
> Pima-Maricopa (Chief Tashquinth “Sun Count”)
> Sicilian (Gna Vanna’s locks were indisposable to her witchcraft)
> Bishari (name unknown)
> Aboriginal Australians
> Mongolians (shamanic practice)
> Maori (loose freeform locks called “rino makawe”)
> Ethiopian Tsemays
> Papua natives
> Fiji natives
> Angolan Mwilas
> Rarotongas of the Cook Islands
> Ni-Vanuatu of Tanna Island
> Kwaaymii (Wa Amaay Kwakas aka Paints the Sky Yellow, aka Yellow Sky had them)
> Drokpa Nomads (located in Tibetan Plateau and Himalaya)
Not that anyone asked, but Leonard Cohen was a kindred spirit to me for the following reason. I felt that he was someone who had a predator spirit, but was clearly self-conscious about it, just like me. I felt that his songs spoke to those like me who are susceptible to making other humans their muses, to deriving ‘inspiration’ from humans they find beautiful, to roving and waiting like hungry wolves. Sometimes I see what I am and I say that I and my kind are a pestilence upon the innocent earth (Radiohead’s ‘creeps’ and ‘weirdos’ lol). But Leonard Cohen taught me to meditate on my objectifying instincts to make them into self-aware acts dignified enough to be shared with the muse, in principle or in practice. ‘We are ugly, but we have the music,’ he said. I guess he took this sublimation to its logical extreme in ‘If It Be Your Will’, making an act of admiration into a form of totally submissive worship. At the other end of the spectrum, he taught me not to overstate inspiration (‘that’s all, I don’t even think of you that often’). To me, the same thread ran through all of his lyrics about desire – a painfully strong intention to say, and to only say, something true. His comments on the mundane and the sublime are cut from the same cloth.
I’m not entirely sure what made me start writing this but (and now I apologize for possibly turning this into another boring-ass 2016 socio-political facebook fart) it might be because I believe it’s easier for me as a woman to be confessional about my predatory spirit (I’ve never been chastised about ‘the female gaze’), and I do like to speak up (if and) only if I can say something I think other people aren’t saying. Of course, I can only speak for myself. But I think what I mean to say is that Cohen, among others, has helped me deal with my masculinity, and for that I’m supremely grateful.
My job means that I’ve regularly worked with (mostly male) photographers and artists for most of the last decade, so the male gaze has, for better or worse, ended up being one of my primary objects of casual study throughout my adult life, haha. ‘Let me see your beauty broken down,’ it says to me during my typical working day, ‘as you would do, for one you love’. I’ve learned to deal with this request with more compassion as I recognize with increasing sensitivity that the roving poets and I are the same creatures. It dawns on me anew every day that, despite what people like to say about male desire being ‘simple’, which perhaps it is, I’ve nevertheless been fortunate enough to discover the sheer variety in the relationships men have with their desire – one of the most complex and fascinating things I’ve come across in nature. I’m grateful that Leonard Cohen shared this aspect of his nature with with such clarity.
So thank you, Mr. Cohen for teaching me to handle inspiration with dignity, to take my subject matter seriously and not myself, and to strive for truthfulness at all costs in my ongoing attempts to convert my human desires and longings into something worth sharing.
My pink polka-dot jumper is sadly no longer with us – although its remains do live on in tiny pieces, for example in the form of some home-made buttons for which I was on the receiving end of cruel teasing from at least one of my siblings (though not as cruel as the teasing I was subjected to over the actual sweater, during its heyday). These photographs from 2013 by Ronnie The Dux Medal are special because you can see here the origin of the item’s demise – the fraying armpit (which, at the time, provided a convenient viewing window for when I wanted to show people my armpit’s first hairstyle involving the presence of hair).
images © The Dux Medal | May 2013
model, hair, make-up, styling by me