Saturday’s shoot with Brent satisfied a few of the aesthetics I’ve been wanting to realize for a while. In the span of a couple hours, we cycled through several distinct iterations of my artistic vision. From pinup to madonna to wizened thaumaturge, I got to be all my favorite versions of myself. So I’ll be posting the photos in parts, each corresponding to a different theme. In these shots, I’m paying tribute to my girls Bettie, Dita, and Joan. For extra-retro seduction, I’m wearing a blouse hand-sewn by my great-grandmother.
Sometimes I just don’t feel right without pagan bling, crinolines, and a big ol’ fascinator. I’m Hot Topic incarnate, right down to the black lipstick and early-’90s Polaroid vibe. I’m playing a character in this shoot, deliberately channeling a very specific feeling, but deep down we all know it’s not really a character. Who among us didn’t have the Spencer Gifts/Inkubus Sukkubus/”you’re not my real dad!” phase? (Who among us ever really left it?) I still headbang to Voltaire doing 70 on the highway. I still keep The Satanic Bible front and center in my bookcase. Too bad I missed my era. I never got to take those 3emo blurred Polaroids for real. Is it unbearably inauthentic if I try to recreate their look in Photoshop?
Josh, bless whatever passes for his heart, bought me this dress form last month. I love dress forms. They’re delightfully eerie and they have a practical use. One day, knock on wood, I’ll have a whole collection. I need to design more photo shoots with them. They make such creepily evocative props.
Y’know, I was nervous about posting these. It’s hard to be shitty in the name of doing good. It’s hard to make deliberately bad art and hope people make note of the deliberation. But even harder than trying to be polished is letting oneself not be polished. I think these photos fit the mood I’m trying to convey. And that’s because of, not despite, their terrible, terrible quality. They remind me of the humble, awkward selfies Agent Starling finds in Fredrica Bimmel’s room.
I got back more shots from Saturday’s shoot. I did two main themes that day: “broken open” and “Persephone”. The latter was entirely improvised: Brent happened to have a pomegranate sitting on his counter, and the rest is (ancient, mythical) history.
Copyright Brent Gould 2012.
I call these “Persephone defiant” and “Persephone obsequious”.
This one is delightfully anachronistic, what with the nose ring and the bright red lips and the golden nails. It points to how timeless mythology really is.
This is my attempt at telling a story about madness. I really like how it turned out.
This dress is old. Really old. Proper vintage. It’s pretty much coming apart in the back. I liked the effect of the stiff, fraying material sliding down my chest. Something that was once grand and hasn’t quite realized it isn’t anymore. I think of this series as a sequel to the last one I did with Brent: the burlesque-dancer shoot. She’s since fallen from her heyday. The slightly dirty knives were a really cool complement.
This, right here, is what I love about modeling. The sheer raw theatre of it. Each shot is like a still from a play.
Copyright Brent Gould 2012.
What I love about this one: how the full-body shot looks kind of pensive and artsy, but the cropped version looks absolutely anguished.