One Of My Better Ones

I have ideas, you see. Well, it’s only to be expected – I’m retired and my mind is not required to worry about other people’s money or health – so I’m free to fret about my own.

But I don’t.

I have long realised that mostly it all proceeds on an even keel if you do not go to excess in anything. I’ve even cut down on my moderation. It’s meant a loss in income for the gin joints and the gals of easy reputation, but on the other hand I can spend the money on toy cars and model airplanes. The lady at the hobby shop is starting to wink at me as she operates the till…

Now back to the idea. I have a collection of model airplanes on model airfields. I know a number of flashy females who dance, pose, and generally glam it up all round the shop. So I have decided to combine the two by making the ladies into WWII ” nose art ” on the airplanes. There’ll be an exhibition in June at the belly dancing convention and then I’ll post the pictures on the toy and model photography pages.

Already I have 8 images completed and I haven’t even started shooting the fresh material – good glamour is ageless and older pictures are just as good as new ones when you make them into posters.

Of course, there are sacrifices. I am now compelled to go to the hobby shop and buy more model kits so as to have enough noses for all the girls. I shall have to spend my waking hours chained to the model bench or the studio shooting for the exhibition. I will only take time out to eat, drink, sleep, and read racy novels.

After all, I have a duty to culture, eh?

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So What’s Nouveau With You These Days?

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There was a time  when you could not turn round in the street without getting your leg caught in a tendril – and not just a passing vine either – it was generally some cast-iron decoration from that week’s art nouveau decoration or advertisement. For a while there is seemed that everyone was making Mucha ado about nothing…

Groan.

I actually benefitted by this and the revival of interest in the style in the 60’s and 70’s. Not at the time, as I was a very staid young person, but just a few years ago when I took the idea for a photo exhibition using my fiends in the costume societies and the belly-dance community. I had a ball.

The idea of an exhibition had developed a few years earlier at the WAMED week. I got permission to put a print exhibition in the foyer of an art venue in the center of our city. It was a nightmare – costly, messy, and awkward, but it was exposure and I loved it. I used belly dancers exclusively and did classical dance poses for them. I was new to exhibitions and it showed…I can still recall trying to get the damned prints to stay stuck on the frames when the temperature dropped. I did not succeed.

Years and exhibitions went on and I started to go further out with the themes that I used : Notorious Women – My Fair Ladies -Art Deco. I found ladies other than belly dancers to add to the variety. In 2009 it was time for the Art Nouveau theme to come out. Here are a few of the results from that.

The images you see are, of course, all digital. I have progressed so far as to be able to display them in the foyer of one of the WAMED venues on a computer system. They may not be as big as I would like to see, but I have the advantage of being able to show them as a continuous slide show and run appropriate music in the background. And they have the distinct advantage of not falling off the display frames!

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The Lure Of The Goddess


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Ceres – Goddess of the harvest

Every woman likes the idea of being a goddess. They like the power and the mystery and the glamour of it. What better way to get a group of willing models for a photo exhibition.

This one was in 2010. The WAMED show was coming up on the Foundation Day weekend – indeed it is coming up in June of 2013 very shortly. I asked for my traditional spot in the foyer and rigged up the iMac to show the slideshow and play the CD’s.

Of course there had to be some traditional goddesses in the mixture- I’ll show you Aphrodite in her nightie in a later post – and there was Athaena with her book and spear…and these were fine glamorous ladies – well used to the studio lights. I did find out some slightly more obscure goddesses that would let my other friends be part of the action. It isn’t every day you get to  see what Algia, looks like – fortunately you only have to encounter her once a month.

So here are the seven divine creatures. There will be more in the future.

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Morrigan – Goddess of battle

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Hestia – Goddess of the hearth

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Algia – Goddess of the menses

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Incendia – Goddess of chili

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Goddess of wishful thinking

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Felixia – Goddess of cats

The Hills Are Alive – With The Sound Of Mucha

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This whole post is being written to justify that headline…don’t be shocked by it – William Randolph Hearst used to start wars to sell newspapers so one little post is not that bad. Besides, you get to look at girls.

The ladies posed for me in 2009 so that I could have a new electronic exhibition for the WAMED markets here in Perth. The Western Australian Middle Eastern Dance association holds a three or four day festival around the start of June each year. There are numerous shows at nightclubs and halls for belly dancing of various sorts – which I never get invited to – and a big open market and dance show on a Monday that I do get into. I provide a photo exhibition in the foyer of the hall where they hold the markets and I get to photograph the show inside. It is a lot of fun.

Over the years my exhibitions have progressed from the big 12 x 16 paper prints on matt board to a slide show on a computer screen with music accompaniment. The initial print exhibitions were colourful but the mounting and hanging of the prints was a nightmare – the specially constructed frames and stands were hard to transport and the matted prints warped and fell off the racks regularly. I tried a number of solutions over 4 years but really only felt happy when the display could be automated on an iMac. Of course it is not as big, but it is every bit as colourful, and the sound can be whatever I choose for each image.

Don’t get me wrong – it is not son et lumiere stuff – it is just an iMac slide show, but I get a lot of lookers and they take my professional cards away as advertising.

Over the years it also progressed from just basic belly dance poses for various troupes to themed exhibitions. I remember ” My Fair Ladies “, ” Notorious Women “, ” Goddesses “, ” Art Deco” , and ” Art Nouveau “, as well as an individual tribute to one dancer called ” Bunz In Your Face “. Miss Bunz and I are proud of that one…

Here’s a few from 2009 – ” Art Nouveau ”

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Of course these are images derived from the Art Nouveau period but that was the idea. Costuming for a lot of this was easy as Mucha seemed to favour ladies who were wrapped in flowing robes – bedsheets are a pretty good substitute. Please do not ask for sewing patterns as most of these gowns are formed with terry clips and gaffer tape round the back where you can’t see it. Of course there was a scramble for jewellery but there is a pretty good supply of costume stuff at the studio and the ladies I know all seem to have chests of dance jewellery anyway.

I must say the key to getting good images in this genre is getting the right model. There was a litheness and grace about the period illustrations that really characterises them, and you need to find bodies and faces that can approximate it. The languid eye of the 1890’s is sometimes found today – there is also a relationship between the nose and upper lip – a sort of shortness and upturn – that is seen in many western European and American illustrations such as those of Mucha and Gibson. Once you see it, you never forget it.

One thing that is necessary is hair – all the period illustrations have masses of it up or down. If it is not on the face you find, you’ll have to resort to a wig.

What is on the cards for this year? Another monograph on a single dancer, I think. I have a decade of one particular dancer and figure model and I think that it will be enchanting. I am not sure what music will accompany it as the lady in question is also a presented at a radio station – perhaps I should let her burn her own CD of favourites to accompany her images.

Note about the WAMED. I have jokingly referred to it in the past as the WACPOTMED association ( Western Australian Certain Parts Of The Middle East Dance association )   as there seems to be a significant part of the Middle East that never seems to get a show on stage. I can’t remember ever seeing anyone dance a hora at any of the venues, as colourful and entertaining as that might be. Perhaps that will change – I noted recently that KULCHA, a local night club and social stage venue, had a couple of nights of a klesma band from London. We can only hope.