Nymph – Kurios
I really don’t care that The Simpsons regularly make fun of it. Or that a lot of people make fun of it, for that matter. I really love Cirque du Soleil. And when the touring show comes through town, I usually go more than once. And I usually do a bit of prop shopping as well. The handmade headpiece that the lovely Nymph is wearing, is from the Kurios show that I attended last year.
Nymph, or Gwendolyn Jane, if you’re out having dinner and, “…and Nymph will have…,” is just too odd for you to verbalize, looked me up when she was passing through Chicago about a year ago. In fact she has the distinction of being my last art model shoot in Chicago before I relocated to Los Angeles. I was aware of her work through mutual model friends, but I’d never met her.
Still in moving transition, she braved a makeshift studio I built in the garage. Having spent the previous day sweeping and cleaning, I was 99% sure I had removed any spiders or remnants of their garage squatting, and I’m happy to say, we had no surprise visitors during this shoot.Nymph has a ballet background, which means she is a joy to photograph. Dancers have such a wonderful command of every limb, fingertip and toe. I shoot all types of models and actors, but I’d have to say ballet dancers are some of my favorites. Really brilliant collaborators.
It was at the end of the shoot that I brought out the Kurios headpiece to see if Gwendolyn wanted to see what she could do with it. Happily she was game.
I’ve seen lots of beautiful circus themed work by the likes of Parisian-born Veronique Vial, who has photographed Cirque du Soleil in the past, as well as Mary Ellen Mark and her Indian Circus photos. I wanted to make a photograph that had a rich, dark b&w feel to it, like images I had been inspired by in the past.
And of course, Gwendolyn and her beautiful pose of dancer perfection made it happen. Everything from the symmetry of her hands, to her beautiful makeup, to her lovely expression. I was quite pleased with how this one turned out. It does have a sublime Kuriosity to it.