There is a certain song that we sing, sometimes without realizing that our voice escapes our clenched throat, that vibrates through the air, noiseless, until it beats against the place it was meant to find. The lyrics are without words yet speak to a place inside where the voiceless booming of magnetic poetry carves itself in deep. Words are not necessary in this song. It is a pounding mystery. The ocean beating rocks against one another, or the crack of thunder. It carries inside itself a booming melancholy, or a rich light, and when we hear it (for only we can) we know it to be true. Such is the way with certain places. We release a song and hear nothing until it hits hard the place that makes it sing. Such is the way with humans. Such is the way with the soul.
Iceland – June 4th 2015 – 9:00pm
We arrived at the lava rocks with both joy and sadness. It was our last stop for our 5-day adventure together. The friends that I loved would be departing the next day and right then, in those few hours, we would spend our last moments creating art together. I stepped out on the rocks for the first time and bounced. I felt like a child, touching and smelling something for the first time. We rejoiced at so many things that evening – the way the clouds continuously changed, each calling to one another to look in different directions, each of us in awe. We jumped from rock to rock, holding hands, calling out, and laughing. We each strayed off by ourselves for brief moments, taking it all in. And I went with one of my best friends to shoot a private series.
The cold lessened that evening more so than the other days. We felt warm with life and excitement and so creating art nude and exposed felt easier than other times – more comforting. Soon enough we were barefoot, letting the moss tickle in between our toes, and I was glowing with inspiration. When I was photographing my friend, I wondered if the power that we felt would translate in a single image. There are times when I wish I could bring the viewer to the shoot, make them (you) feel the air and touch the ground and let your heart beat to the rhythm of that creativity. But in the moment, knowing there is no way to translate such a feeling, I had to settle for doing the best I could with what I had – a powerful woman nestled in the heart of all hearts, the soft ground covering the dangerous lava rocks in the land of fire and ice.
And so I created five images in a series, making her body look like the landscape. I photographed the first image and asked if I could keep going, changing my angle each time to create a triptych of the same model in nearly the same poses from three different angles. I photographed one pose of her reaching for the camera. At first it spoke to me as someone who needed to be rescued, but the more I looked at her reaching there in that place, I felt she was beckoning to me. Pulling me in and telling me to stay forever in this place where my heart sang more than ever before. Finally at the end of the shoot the inspiration fever had caught on, and Jen asked if she could join the shoot, which I was absolutely delighted about. And so I ended the session with both of them there in that powerful place, a finale to a poetic and emotional day.
Model, Images 1-5: KD Stapleton
Model, Image 5: Jen Brook