Dangers Untold and Hardships Unnumbered

19 Jan

I’d planned to post this blog another time but then we lost David Bowie and the title couldn’t be changed- it was too perfect. This is probably the worst time to admit I hate the song Space Oddity, but I did love Labyrinth even though I didn’t actually see it until I was eighteen. I watched it in a friend’s paint-splattered mystical box-room in art school halls of residence, where I was sleeping to avoid hearing the Bedspring Symphony next to my own room.
Why didn’t Sarah just leave the wailing baby and stay in Faerieland with Bowie??  (And could we have him back please, Death? We’ll give you Donald Trump…)

Anyway… I was in London a few days ago and I saw this genius advert for the Tate Britain.
What a way to advertise an art gallery- no actual art, but an intriguing backstory. So much for a picture being worth a thousand words! Then I realised I not only knew the picture but had posed for an interpretation of another of Bacon’s Triptychs! I just didn’t know what they were about.
Here’s the one in the advert:

And here’s the one I posed for, with the result underneath. The painter is Nelson Aquini.

I found the original pictures creepy (that’s not a bad thing) but didn’t like or dislike them. Looking again and knowing what inspired them… I wouldn’t hang any on the wall but can appreciate the achievement as art: Bacon managed to paint what being consumed by horror and screaming grief feels like. Now, if only I could do that with words! 😉

Another piece of art I like because of its backstory is “Rock Drill”, by Jacob Epstein, and it used to look like the picture on the right. It had begun as a celebration of the industrial age… and then the First World War happened. Epstein ripped the sculpture apart and worked in a more classical way from then on!
12576180_10156749502595221_1690077777_n.jpg 220px-Rock_Drill_by_Jacob_Epstein

I started thinking about some of my favourite pictures and the effort, pain and strange stories behind some of them. There are some I’ve blogged about before (check out “Death Becomes Her“, “Welcome to Rivendell” and “Adventures After Dark“) but of those remaining, these are probably my top three:

1) Girl on the Moon (photos by Calvato)
Calvato had warned me that this spectacular several-storey gutted warehouse was full of dust. Not a problem at all- I had fun pretending to be an astronaut stomping in slow-motion sending up clouds around me (nobody ever said I was cool, okay?)… BUT as I was coming down with the flu, I was feeling like the lovechild of Gollum and a wet blanket. Yes, I wanted the desolate hunched-over look here but I’m not usually a fan of method-acting! I absolutely love the pictures even though I was bedridden, shootless and delirious for the next three days. I then realised an hour before my coach left for Berlin that I couldn’t find my keys. Cue lurching to the train station with a bad drawing and a “have these been handed in?” sentence courtesy of google translate.
MIRACLE: They were in the station and I got my coach. 😛

2) Face-Off (photographer is Chicproduction)
This photo is from one of my first ever photoshoots!! I was nervous and my face was a little sore from a make-up artist’s insistent scrubbing at me the day before. When the (different, nonviolent) make-up artist for this shoot touched my face with her brush, my cheeks swelled up like a hamster’s!! Being new to modelling, this was the most catastrophic thing that had ever happened to me at a shoot. After a pep-talk from the very understanding photographer, we carried on and got THIS! Looking again, there is some Bowie in there, I swear… 😀 (and I learned not to let people scrub at my face.)

3) Miranda. (Photographer is Magpie Tommy, designer is Orchid Corsetry)
I’ll blog the whole set soon…
123A3364 copy.jpg
I’m going to tell you the whole story in another blog but it entailed a 5am start, an army-style crawl through the bushes, two ticks, some broken French and the threat of capture. 😉

Other times of course, shoots go as smoothly as possible, even outdoors in the cold. I was amazed that photographer Digital Caress had not only a Plan A, but B and C too when I worked with him during a trip to Holland. Plan A (a wildlife sanctuary and ruin) worked just fine though!
As usual, a story came into my head (another to add to the archive of plots) as soon as I picked the final shots to post here: A story about a person who had hidden from the end of the world. On emerging from the space she’d lived in, she found everything was dead and at a loss what to do, turned her back on the cold deadness around her and made the ruins beautiful in her own way until she felt the sun on the stones. Turning around, she saw one tree still in green and made her way to it, farewelling the rest of the world. She’d stay there, unmoving until something grew again…


As my ‘flash fiction’ blogs tend to be very popular with you all, I’m writing some more. Stay tuned for mini-tales to accompany some of my pictures… 😉

For now though, it’s 1am here in England and my hot water bottle calls!



9 Responses to “Dangers Untold and Hardships Unnumbered”

  1. Tony Segura January 19, 2016 at 10:02 pm #

    Love you blog, and really love your Trump comment.

  2. projectshadowlondon January 21, 2016 at 12:02 am #

    Another great post, I see!
    Spotted that Neil Gaiman had placed his short, The Thin White Duke, up as a freebie on his site, in relation to the earlier part of the post. It turns out it’s a magnificent tribute. What’s your favourite Bowie song then, if you are not a Space Oddity fan?

    And speaking of stories, I had an idea for a later project I should like to discuss with you some time! You’ll see why when I mention it, but it also relates to something we were talking about on a previous post of yours 🙂

    • roswellivory January 21, 2016 at 11:56 am #

      Thankyou! 🙂

      Ooh, I haven’t read that yet- I’ll go have a look when I get a sec. My favourite is probably Suffragette City or Heroes.

      Oh, that sounds interesting! 🙂

      • Russell Smith January 22, 2016 at 5:35 pm #

        Good choices! Though there are of course so many 😀

        Basically a writing idea I had. As you’ve got a filter on replies, I’ll chuck you my email address and tell you all about it when I get back from this weekend. Projectshadowlondon@gmail.com. You can double as encouraging me to speed up my writing projects so I can get on with this idea !

        • roswellivory January 26, 2016 at 11:08 am #

          Oh, that’s interesting. You can mail me through my website contact page if you would like.

      • projectshadowlondon January 25, 2016 at 1:25 am #

        I think my last reply got eaten! However, I was going to say I’d be very hard pushed for a favourite song there so well done for narrowing down!

        Also, yes, where best to drop you a message? Or post you a letter – I have a few I need to write this week and some fancy(ish) new paper 🙂

        • roswellivory January 26, 2016 at 11:09 am #

          Ah- no, I was just a bit behind on replies. I’ve replied now. 🙂

          • projectshadowlondon January 26, 2016 at 10:15 pm #

            Yeah, my iPad went and did a strange thing so it told me I’d been logged out without telling me if I’d sent it, so wasn’t sure. Going to stick to the laptop, way easier 🙂

            Right then, I shall do just that! Thank you 🙂

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