I lift the pages of this book to my face and breathe it in; it’s sat at the bottom of a forgotten box for all this time. The smell transports me back to myself at 17-years-old when I read it for the first time. I am reading The Pink Hotel, a book about a young girl who finds a box of love letters at the wake of her long-lost mother’s funeral and goes on to discover her a through the men who loved her. It’s simple yet beautifully descriptive with prose so rich you feel you’re right there with her on the sandy roads of Venice Beach, craving memories of people she and I never knew.
Reading this book, amongst others back then, inspired me to write short stories, which is why I am re-reading it. I still write stories and poetry and often find my messy scrawlings on random pages of notebooks intended for entirely different purposes.
After I shared some of the visuals from my recent shoots, a client of mine said they are like short stories for him to uncover, each of them setting scenes he has never lived but could vividly experience and each evoking questions he doesn’t know how to answer. Admittedly, I’d not consciously thought about my photography through the lens of storytelling, but I suppose I must have on some deeper level. I invest a significant amount of time on my brand and photography, and I now recognise the stories in each of them. The beautiful suite, the smell of leather, wearing nothing but soft peony perfume, my elegant paws, you.
Being photographed is incredibly erotic for me. I am an undeniable exhibitionist, and being on camera is one of the most visceral ways to experience this. To be watched, corrected, directed. My most recent shoot was paid for by a client, which formed part of a long weekend away. This was the second time we’d invited a photographer to one of our dates and having him there made it even more decadently revealing. He was on hand to undress and re-dress me between looks, dropping to his knees in front of the photographer as I stepped into white fishnet tights or nude stockings. Him delicately placing my manicured fingers into gloves or drenching my body in oils before I danced slowly in front of him for the camera.
I am an incredibly private person. My tendency to live a double life is probably something I should be working through with a therapist, but frankly, it’s currently working to my financial benefit, so I don’t. Just kidding, kind of. But through photography and this second self I have unleashed I can explore sides of me that I simply can’t in the real world. To be a fan girl and quote the Countess in American Horror Story “We have two selves. One the world needs us to be, compliant, and the shadow. Ignore it and life is forever suffering.”
The following images are some of my favourites from my most recent shoot. Rather than simply telling you the stories I see in each of them I encourage you to find them yourself. They might awaken memories of times we’ve spent together already or open a window to what could be.