- Pomegranate Symbolism and Power
- Persephone’s Dilemma
- Persephone in the Underworld
- Winter Solstice
- Every Woman’s Dilemma
- Persephone’s Choice: A Slideshow of Selected Images
- Persephone and Her Choice Now at Amazon
- 2016 Moscow International Foto Awards
- Persephone at Berlin Foto Biennale 2016
Persephone in the Underworld
Persephone in the Underworld – how would you imagine it? I don’t mean when she was initially violently abducted from her beautiful springtime world on Earth by Hades, with the consent of her father, Zeus. I mean more when she returned year after year, as wife of Hades and Queen of the Underworld, at a time that would be Winter on Earth.
So many variations exist regarding that part of the myth that I felt free to pick anything I wanted. Some versions have Persephone despising Hades forever, but those are not the more common versions. Interestingly, many versions note that of the Greek god and goddess couples, they were the “most faithful” to one another, for whatever that is worth.
By most versions, Persephone and Hades did not have children together. Persephone had two, maybe three children, with two generally reported to be the result of rape by her father, Zeus. One more example of violence against women from world literature. It may be that ultimately her time in the Underworld with Hades in Winter, in the role of wife and Queen of the Underworld, was a welcome relief from wondering when and where her father would appear in her life on the beautiful Spring on Earth. Who knows?
Most note that she performed the entire range of her duties as Queen of the Underworld well.
So, was Persephone a beautiful trophy wife for Hades, but one in whom he had little to no interest beyond owning her once he had her? Did Persephone despise him every moment she was in the Underworld, counting every day until she could leave for the cyclic return to Earth? Did they fall into some kind of known routine, like old married couples, where they knew each other and what to expect, with a generally acceptable accommodation toward one another? Given artistic license, I’ve chosen to interpret the relationship through my imagination. And, at least in this post, I am not going to address her first Winter in the Underworld after he abduction by Hades. In this post I am looking more at her subsequent Winters, remembering that in earlier posts she chose to eat the pomegranate seeds, knowing she would be bound to Hades as his wife and required to return in a yearly cycle. The flip side of that coin is that she also knew she would have time each year on her own, as Goddess of Spring, with none of the duties of Queen of the Underworld. I said it in an earlier post, but I’ll say it again – I think of Georgia O’Keeffe’s marriage, and her time away on her own in New Mexico.
I have chosen to represent Persephone, after the first Winter in the Underworld, as in a fulfilling relationship with her husband, in the choice she made. (Call me Pollyanna.) These images are my representation of Persephone in the Underworld.
8 Replies to “Persephone in the Underworld”
I like the first image a lot!
Hi, Tim. I’m glad! I gave a lot of thought to that image and whether or not to post it. I felt like it really belonged, and it makes me very happy that you like it!
Like Mr Price, my favorite picture is the first one.
Of course I like it because of its photographic qualities, composition, balance, use of this texture which adds some mystery and perfectly conveys at once the notion of passage from one world to another, this atmosphere is palpable.
We can envision both the notion of fate and choice, she holds the fruit in her hand firmly, she is marching towards the place she has to, but not reluctantly.
I like the model’s attitude which is a determined one at first glance and when you you stay watching the picture for a longer time, you happen to wonder if she is not going to turn round, not because she has changed her mind but in order to appeal to the one who is watching, the one who witnesses the scene (but I’m rambling there !!!!…..and more rambling : I can see a shape in the structure on the right, a kind of face observing her or ready to close the door behind her once she has entered the underworld…)
I admire the way you worked with your model to succeed in conveying those ideas in one single photo.
Congrats again 🙂
Marie-Claude, thank you so much, and especially this time for studying the first image in such detail and then commenting on it. The face interpretation of the hanging pomegranates on the right is very interesting, and I am going to have to give that some thought. Although most versions of the myth have Persephone and Hades not having children together, I put it there as a symbol of fertility, which the pomegranate is, but also as a symbol of more global sexuality. An Ob/Gyn can almost imagine the birth of a baby there. 😉
I cannot say too often how wonderful Kelly Angerosa, my model for this series, was. I knew from a casual cell phone pic she had attitude and a fabulous profile. Although that is all I knew when I asked her if she would be my model for this series, it was enough that I knew I really wanted her to be the model. But, even I could not have anticipated how easy she was to work with, and how she understood everything about the shoot, and how she gave more than I ever could have asked for.
Now I’m rambling…
Thank you again for your continuing interest and input in this series! 🙂
Susan, great series…I like the visual beauty, ambiguity and mystery. It’s casual and allows one to reflect in depth. Essay does a fine enhancement of possibilities before viewing photographs. Five Stars.
Thanks, Jim. I have enjoyed this more than any “work” I have ever done. I have worked harder and longer than on any other photographs I have done before.There are one or two more posts to come in this set of the series, and then I have to figure out what I am going to do with them all. I’m glad you like them.
Top image is breathtaking! I love them all, to be honest. Beautiful work and interpretation, Susan!
Mel, I really appreciate your input here. This series means a lot to me, and your “approval” (not the right word, but I cannot think of the right word at the moment) makes it that much more special. Thank you.
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