Of the two images above the preferred one for me is the top one, it has a nore biblical feel to it which makes it more dramatic. I have kept the little shrine to the sun god and the candle as a symbolic element.
“Leap the bonfire for purification and renewed energy. Ritually, use mirrors to capture the light of the Sun or the flames of the fire.”
The quote above is about the midsummer festival known to Pagans and practioners of Wicca as Litha. The Sun God is at the peak of his powers on midsummers day, after that he starts to weaken until he is finally overcome by autumn and ‘dies’ until the following year when he is once more reincarnated.
It is this element of trying to capture the Sun God while he was at the peak of his powers on Midsummers day that I wanted to create in the photographs. I had a candle in the middle of the flowers to symbolise the sun’s energy. not too successfully though as it kept blowing out. I think the whole thing just looks a bit too pretty. I liked the idea with the mirror though, think I will develop that one further.
The next idea was to use the horse as as symbol of masculine energy, that didn’t work at all! It completely moved away from what I was trying to achieve. Both horse and rider were on edge as they didn’t really know what was going to happen, the lawnmower that fired up in the next field didn’t help either, the horse nearly jumped out of his skin, and so did his rider. Heather and her friend Vicky, who kindly gave up her time to help out, did a great job of keeping him calm. Vicky is just outside the shot holding the other end of that long rein.
Time is a big issue for Heather and she did a great job with the limited time she has. Asking her to model again would be an imposition because she is so busy. Shame we didn’t quite get it in one shoot but such is life.
I remember Richard talking about Rembrant et al painting backgrounds in very dark colours and painting the main subject in far more vivid colours. I can’t say that I consciously tried to recreate that look when I created the set for the Mabon pictures but maybe I was influenced by it. I can see similarities between my pics and this and other Rembrandt paintings. My God!! Me and Rembrandt in the same sentence!!!! I think his pictures may have a little extra something, haha.
Rembrandt The Night Watch (1642)
“The Goddess in this sequence takes on a far more prominent role at this time. As the Sun’s influence over the world declines the Moon’s light and energy become more dominant. The Goddess, in her aspect as both grieving consort and also pregnant Earth Mother, must now stand by and watch the old God slip into the other world and take his place in the cycle. She is the bringer of life and the child she carries now will, come the Spring, be the next incarnation of the Sun God. At this time of year her aspect is bright and clear but she has lost her partner and must stand alone .”
This is the autumn shoot that I did with Tiiu. What a great model, mind you she used to model professionally and it shows!!
Here are a couple of pics from the shoot.
Finally managed to get all of the shoots finished, The spring shoot with Sarah, a new model, was yesterday.
I have never met her before, she came to me through Debbie Hardy of Studio 25 Photography who I went to for my industry advice. Sarah is a beautiful girl who was perfect for the shoot, she turned up with two friends which was absolutely fine, until one of them whipped out a camera! I was a bit put out by that but never mind.
Sarah was great but I think that she was a bit put off by her friends being there as on a lot of the pics she averted her gaze at the last second and she is looking at them rather than at the camera. Darn it! Still think we managed to get the final shot though.
She was joined on the shoot by a chap I know called Brian, who was to be my horned god. The horns ( Hollywood quality, I was assured) looked a bit comedic so I decided not to use them. Brian, bless him did exactly as I wanted him to, but I’m not terribly happy with the result.
The idea with this shoot was that Brian, the horned god, has his wicked way with the virgin in the woods. This extract from an article I found on the internet explains it better.http://www.bbc.co.uk/bradford/lifestyle/faith/2005/paganism_beltane.shtml
“The Beltane rite is, in fact, the Pagan version of the modern marriage ceremony. We call it ‘Hand Fasting’. On Beltane Eve, a very long time ago, the young men of the village would go into the woods and don stag horns and skins in a kind of ‘play fight’ with the rutting stags to see which was bravest. The man who got the better of the stags (a kind of Old English version of the bullfight) would take on the roll of the Stag Lord for the Beltane revels on May Day. This is still called the ‘Stag night’.
The Goddess, at this time of year is dressed in white, her head wreathed with May blossoms and with a veil hiding her face. This aspect of the Pagan Goddess represents the young maiden who is about to become the Mother.”
I can’t decide if Brian looks like he’s in the mood for love or like a stalker in this pic: you decide.
Today I am shooting autumn again with my professional model. I forgot to tell her she has to be pregnant!
Well, after all my preparation, I made a gown Christian Dior would be proud of, scoured the shops and car boot sales looking for a mirror, got the candle, and all the other props together. Battery for camera, check, refector, check – you know the drill.
One hour before the planned summer shoot ie requiring bright sunshine, the heavens opened, the wind blew, it got very dark and then it thundered.
Trying to convince myself that it was only God washing the dust off the grass for me, we set off for the shoot.
Our horse had been bathed, chalked and had his mane plaited neatly especially for us but the weather didn’t get better and the horse was decidedly skittish because of the thunder so we decided to postpone the shoot.
But see, Orion sheds unwholesome dews;
Arise, the pines a noxious shade diffuse;
Sharp Boreas blows, and nature feels decay,
Time conquers all, and we must time obey.
Ode to Winter (l. 85)
This is one of the dead trees in my field, it doesn’t look terribly spooky by day so I went out one evening with a flashgun and ran round it flashing (ooh, Mrs!!) while the camera was set to various long exposure settings. The blur in the top right hand corner of the bottom pic is me.
Suddenly realised I haven’t posted any pics from my winter shoots last weekend