To understand this blog fully it is advisable to read the pictorial storyboard called Addiction and Dependency, you can find it here at http://www.mrspider.co.uk/?p=1146.
Stories and songs, where do they come from? well I don’t really know but Eastern cultures will tell you the Void, the core of creativity. All I know is that for decades now stories and songs have appeared in my head, mostly in the waking hours of the morning. Songs were simpler in a way as the music was easier to create and make solid then bring into reality. Stories not so easy, my command of the written word is woefully poor, as is my singing voice. However whilst I can write songs I have the leisure of getting someone else to sing them, not so with stories, in there I lack the control of story writing, I can grasp the sword but I cannot make it fight. And so I use whatever means I can to get the story across for stories must be told, they demand it with a fiery passion and a relentless pressure.
Therefore when it came to my biggest shoot of the year I had a story in mind, a story of lust and reliance, escapism and reality, sex and money….but more importantly it was about the reality of dependency and the craving of addiction. And who better to act out this story than Chrissie Red and Artemis Fauna. I gave the girls a brief outline of the idea but not very much, I suspected that to make the story look real then it was important for them to go with the flow of the moment, let the nuances of the story unfold itself during the shoot. It was only when I picked them up at Chrissie’s flat that I told them the whole story and described in some detail what was to be done. Both of them needed to play their characters without over thinking it. This is how I felt anyway and I think I was correct because the story did indeed unfold almost exactly as I hoped for, it was definitely a team effort. Chrissie plays the part of Sue Linn and Artemis plays Penny.
Anyway, we started off with the end…as you do, the farewell shot.
The loss of a farewell and the promise of a return.
The story needed a strong submission element to it, it needed to show the absolute reliance and dependency required to keep both of them alive, The submission of Penny is symbolized in the use of light bondage, the story needed the element of restrained freedom in a very visual way. And the double edge sword of reliance and fantasy as Penny tries to gleam some sort of escapism from the life giving shackledom of the drugs. At the same time the story needed to show the grittiness of the need for money and the basic human survival that comes with the use of money. All very fantastical yet in a way very very real. So I decided to shoot the whole thing in a comic book kind of style, dark, grainy and moody…Sin City style.
The furtive approach of Penny….
The grubbiness of ‘cash in hand’
I’m not going to republish all the images here or re tell the story but needless to say the characters were brilliantly played by Chrissie and Artemis. Once we got going and everyone got into the story it all seemed to come alive for me. Behind the scenes Chrissie was worried about using the knife so close to Artemis as it was very sharp, these girls are great friends so her concern was genuine. However simple adjustments meant we could get the shots we were after safely. the other problems were getting both models lit properly in the studio. The technical aspects of lighting were quite tricky as the whole scene was important and not just one model, lighting tended to be a bit more critical than normal. Each scene had to be checked on the laptop to see if it was correct before moving on to the next, this was the most precise shoot I had ever done and if one scene was incorrect then the whole story would fail. In fact we nearly missed out one crucial scene altogether!
Pill and Knife
Then just as I get the lighting correct on the floor scenes we do oil and water! and everything needs to be readjusted accordingly to avoid over heavy reflections on the skin.
And of course the ‘preparing to leave’ scene, this was easier than I expected to shoot, no flash was used and because all the scenes were grained I didn’t have to worry to much about high ISO noise so I used natural light in the studio.
In conclusion this was quite a different shoot for me, one in which the story was more important than camera club or ‘acceptable’ technical standards. In fact those type of technical standards weren’t even considered, this shoot was a Blues rather than a Symphony, it was about feeling and emotion rather than precision. And in its creation I used some eyebrow raising elements, for which I am not ashamed nor apologise for, it was outwith my normal mode of photography but I will use whatever is necessary to be creative. Indeed this shoot brought some interesting reactions when published and whilst I do not intend to pursue the genre of erotica or fetish I will not hesitate to dip into it again if the need arises. Meanwhile I will return to Art Nude as my preferred choice.
Also a lot of praise must go to Chrissie and Artemis for their understanding and willingness to do something different, true professionals both. Without whom this story would not have had the same dramatic content.