Goo portraits

Okay, so I have this ludicrous idea for some photographs. I want to cover people in goo and then make portraits of them. An image of someone covered in blood fell into my head a few weeks ago. From there I had the idea of getting pictures of people covered in all sorts of different things. Obviously real blood is a bit of a no go area but apparently corn syrup makes for good fake blood. I’ll use that then. I’ve asked a few people if they’d be willing to model and some people have said they’d be up for it but most people have looked at me as if I’m mad. Comme ci comme ca, huh? I guess I’ll have to to do the modelling myself. This means I can’t take the photographs myself. This isn’t such a bad thing as my housemate is a lighting cameraman with ten years’ experience. I’ll probably learn a thing or two by watching how he sets shots up.

The different things I plan on covering myself in are as follows:

tar and feathers (marmite and feathers)
different colours of paint mixed up
blood (corn syrup)
mud and sticks and the occasional stone
peanut butter
powder paint
sequins and glitter
hair (I have a bag of my own hair available)

Possibly try all of them in one messy mixture.
I like the idea of glitter and sequins in the mud.

I’m not really sure what the point of all of this is but I want to see the final images. I want to see them and think about how I can move them further. Largely because I think they’ll be strog images. One thing I’m tempted to do is make a project inviting people to send me their own mess self portraits and then exhibit those. I think it could be a fantastic series of photographs and I like the participatory aspect.

Another thing I have been thinking is that I want to present the photographs as a film of sorts, where at some points different photographs are layered on top of each other. Different images can fade in and out of view. I like the idea that each one of these images represents something of a person and that that person can be more than one of these things at any given time. Maybe the ones of mud and clay and blood will be ugly. But hopefully the ones of paint and glitter will be quite lovely. I am especially hoping the one of paint will be glorious. I think it could be.

Thinking of artistic precursors, the only person I can think of immediately is Gottfried Helnwein. Though I’m not so committed to being bloody miserable as Helnwein. Not that Helnwein’s intentions are necessarily making dark work. I’d e pleased if these photos could attain anything like that level of focus though. There’s a sense of intimacy with the viewer in some of his pictures, especially the ones of children. They look back at you and seem to contain more than they do. This gives them a peculiar power. That’s a good thing.

This is really one of those things I want to do for the sake of seeing how it works and then building on it.

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