- 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
Ten images from the Persephone series. I hope you enjoy them.
1. No Matter Which, I’ll Be Blamed
2. Power and Symbolism of the Pomegranate
3. My Fate, By Choice
4. Fire of Passion
5. Persephone, Queen of the Underworld
6. Turn, Turn, Turn
7. By My Choice
8. I Need Knowledge, Too
9. Why Must I Choose?
10. I Choose Both, Free as a Bird!
Persephone, in this series, represents an archetypal Woman resolving the Mind-Body dichotomy dilemma of human females, for herself and not as defined by Society. The dilemma is part of a collective unconscious expressed in many myths, and this series incorporates images from a variety of myths. Here, the pomegranate is symbolic for the feminine body and sexuality, while the apple, from the story of Eve and the Tree of Knowledge, is symbolic for the mind and feminine wisdom.
Humans have a unique division of labor by sex not found among other mammals. Although details vary cross-culturally, Society’s and societies’ definitions of Woman tend to keep them subservient, defining appropriate behavior for both the mind and body of women. In myth, women are often seen as the root cause of so much human misery. Persephone is at least partially blamed for Winter, because she ate the pomegranate seeds, requiring her return to the Underworld for part of the year (does anyone ever blame Hades or Zeus? No. Demeter, the mother, is given part of the blame, but never the guys who really caused the problem!). Eve, with the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, is blamed for getting us all kicked out of Paradise, the Garden of Eden. The Mind-Body dichotomy, and its control in and by human society, has been a dilemma for women for ages. This series explores an archetypal Woman’s resolution of the dilemma for herself.
This series has special meaning to me for many reasons. One is that the images as composited contain so much of my world in Albuquerque: the split pomegranates I photographed for days in the fall; sunset over the Sandias; the many birds, all of which I love for one reason or another; the Blood Red Total Lunar Eclipse of September 27, 2015, a perfect day for viewing and photographing, and an event unlike any other I am likely to see again.
Model Kelly Angerosa and I have plans for new work in the spring, and I am looking forward to a new adventure. But I wanted to share in a slightly different way the images from what became a grand adventure in so many ways this past fall.
10 Replies to “Persephone’s Choice: A Slideshow of Selected Images”
Thanks for sharing these, Susan. I like the one with the birds and balloon — a lovely touch of whimsy. Also the effect in the one where Kelly’s back is to the camera is lovely. It would make a stunning book cover. Hugs!
Teagan, I want to especially thank you for the comment and the content of the comment. Those two are my favorite as well. The one with the birds and balloons contains so many things I see out my back door – sunset over the Sandias, and the various creatures. I didn’t exactly plan it that way, but I know you know, after reading the character interview from your book,”Atonement, Tennessee,” our characters often take on parts of their creators, and that is true here, too. :-).
Thank you again!
So beautiful. Love all images.
Maria, thank you so much!
Wow ! This is great Susan ! I’m discovering the ones I missed while I was away in a wonderful way, this slide show is simply wonderful.
The tones in the last one answer the color of your model’s eyes perfectly and there are so many things to “read” in this picture ! Fantastic work, bravo !
Marie-Claude, thank you! This is a project I truly enjoyed doing, from the moment I started thinking about how I might do what I wanted to do, up to now. This particular set of images represents such a small part of the story, and there are so many other parts to think about. The feedback you and others have given on this series of images certainly encourages me to think about continuing on with other parts of the myth and how I might do that.
Just coming back this morning for the sake of it, taking my time to watch each picture again. When I see the expressions on your model’s face, I’m amazed at what a “portraitist” you are ! And you found the right person. One can read on her face, you have directed her in a wonderful way.
I’m looking forward to discover what you’ll make of the other parts of the myth which is a very interesting one.
By the way the music is fine too.
Have a nice day,
Marie-Claude, thank you again! I really appreciate that you came back to look at the images again! Once the idea had entered my head, this project was something I *had* to do before I could rest. Kelly, “Persephone,” just appeared one day as I was wondering how I was going to implement what was in my head. I knew that she would play the part perfectly. There was a lot of luck in how things fell into place, but I will also say that the passion was there. It had been a long time since I had felt so driven to do something, and it made me feel alive. So, again, I cannot thank you enough for your interest and comments. ~ Susan
Thank you for “Persephone’s Choice”, it captured my attention and made me think about more interesting things than the news. I have a long interest in mythology but rarely have the opportunity to give it sustained (or organized) thought. I’m afraid I may be no wiser on the inner dialog of the archetypical woman’s mind body dichotomy and her acceptance of choices but I am at least now at least a little more aware of my ignorance. Your images are “haunting” in the way they hint at things beyond my understanding. The progression of the images and the resolution of the dichotomy when Persephone realizes she is as free as a bird made me think of stanza VII of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, “Come, fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring The Winter Garment of Repentance fling: The Bird of Time has but a little way To fly – and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.” Thanks again for an such an engaging project.
Also: I like your Kieth Richards/Spock post. Made me think of the Dionysian/Apollonian relationship. Reading about Dionysus I discovered the story of Zagreus. That sure must have affected Persepone’s Choice as well as her feelings about her fellow immortals. Also thought the imagery of the serpent was an interesting connection between the pomegranate and the apple. Again thanks for opportunity to “think outside the tube”.
Hi, Bob. Thank you! I think I had better explain up front that this inner dialogue became more about me and my view of myself than about the pure myth, which was the stimulus for the thought. I mean, I started out, early on, to adhere to the myth. But, before I even worked with my model, the project had begun to morph into something different. I’m working on a little bit longer write-up now to explain the series, and I’m beginning to realize how much anthropology and especially the year I spent at the University of Chicago at a time when French Structuralism affected how I approached this. I have friends now who have taught me a bit about Jung and the collective unconscious, which in many ways parallels the thoughts of Levi-Strauss on language. As I was writing about these things, life events that I had not thought about in years suddenly reappeared. This series, and all the peripheral work surrounding it, is tying together all the loose ends of my life in a way I never could have expected. It has been a real joy – as well as a lot of work! – for me.
When you take the time to write a comment like the one above, I don’t think you can know how rewarding that is to me. I *love* the reference to the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam here!!! All these wonderful thoughts from literature are finding me now at this age, and it is so wonderful that friends are pointing them out to me.
I’m also glad that you enjoyed the Richards-Spock post. It made me laugh the first time around, and this seemed a good time to pull it up again.
Thank you for the comment, and for the time and thought you gave to its writing. ~ Susan
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