The Mistress: Behind The Lens.
The Mistress Collection has undoubtedly become a signature body of work for me as a photographic artist. The rich mid century aesthetic coupled with the narrative style has helped solidify my position as a creator of collectible images with rich critical value.
It was perhaps the first collection I created with a ‘story telling’ approach. I’m fascinated by human relationships and nowhere do the human conditions of vulnerability, insecurity, egotism and betrayal come together more vividly than in the midst of the complex relations of secret lovers.
I storyboarded the images as instalments representing the evolution of a relationship; attraction, courtship, the illicit union and in this case denial, discovery and the ultimate end of the affair.
It’s a story of ‘Liaisons Dangereuses’ set somewhere in mid 20th Century and I think so many viewers can identify with the images. Either through personal experience, a possibly bitter sweet romantic memory, or a sense of “There but for the grace of god…” :)
This collection was all created during a one day shoot. My approach now is to spend a little longer than one day building a story :)
Image 1: The Waiting
Here I wanted to try to tap into the uncomfortable, awkwardness experienced when two people discover a mutual attraction. The final act of innocence before a line is crossed. I deliberately left both of the protagonists faceless to leave the viewer to cast them as the feel…
Image 2: The Gift
Invariably there are gifts :) Tokens perhaps, incitement’s. How easily we are all swayed by material things, mistaking possessions for actual love and tenderness.
Image 3: He’s Not here
The denial. It strikes me that this act of refusing to acknowledge the truth when confronted causes just as much damage and hurt as the unfaithful act. Knowing that the person we love is lying to us over our most precious trust, can hurt just as much as the fact that the betrayal took place. I think this image and the next capture the most poignant aspects of this collection….
Image 4: It’s For You
The moment when the dam breaks :) So may collectors have acquired this image. The body language of the male figure, the role of the female clearly depicted in her costume. I wonder if they all sense that same moment of discovery that I set out to create. I feel like the male protagonist just cannot turn from the window…to do so, is to face a future he thought he could avoid. The acceptant body language of the female, offering the phone with almost a shrug of the acceptance of the inevitability of it all.
Image 5: When The Cards Fall
This is a really popular image with collectors! Almost as popular as IT’S FOR YOU. This image and the next were both shot as closing frames…but I could never choose which one worked best :) I like the wordplay of the title of this image…but without the male protagonist it lacks a little poignancy I feel. But there is a mid century perfection about the body language and the setting that just works perfectly as a stand alone image.
Image 6: Hello Uber?
:) I love this image! My only regret is that the model is wearing the same outfit as the opening frame :( Bad shoot planning on the day. But again, as a stand alone image I think it really really works!. I wanted to sum up that moment of “It’s Over” to capture that “Get me out of here” moment. Maybe I did that in a way that works in other contexts too :)
You can browse the prints available as part of my Launch Collection here
The Mistress 2: The Discovery
So yes I’m in the early stages of creating a follow up to this collection. The characters won’t be the same but the essence will. The setting will be more grand and the narrative will be a little darker. Let me know your thoughts on the concept! What stages of an affair are the most poignant to you? What aspects of dangerous liaisons should I try to capture? I’d love your input. Thanks for reading :) JW
As an artist, I feel compelled to create work that has a…fourth dimension? A subplot beyond just making pretty pictures. I’ve spent so long in the commercial realm simply creating images to sell products that now I revel in the opportunity to try to give my audience something to reflect on, something to discover that speaks only to them. I hope I’m succeeding :) But It’s only through your feedback that I can measure my success :) Please feel free to share with me your experience of my work, tell me what YOU see. I hope you will stay with me on this journey as I seek to grow as a photographic artist. Your support is invaluable.