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.
2015 ANMPAS – Annual New Mexico Photographic Arts Show
2015 ANMPAS, the Annual New Mexico Photographic Arts Show, will once again be held in the Fine Arts Building at EXPO NM. It is open to the public December 6 through December 27, 10:00am – 5:00pm, except December 24 and 25. The show is free to the public throughout. Some days, particularly the weekends, EXPO may charge a parking fee. The opening reception is December 5, from 2:00-4:00pm.
This is a juried show, and artists participating must be residents of New Mexico. All artwork is for sale, and may be taken by the buyer at the time of sale.
I have enjoyed participating in ANMPAS and the related InSight shows over the years. These are the brainchild of organizer LeRoy Perea, who has watched the submitted entries grow in both quantity and quality over the years.
I am thrilled that for 2015 ANMPAS, the jurors selected three images from my series, Persephone.
Those of you who have followed me very long know that sunflowers are frequent photographic subjects for me, as are butterflies. I grew these sunflowers, and they are from the second crop of 2015. I really liked the structure of the sunflower plant in the “Heart of the Matter.” My son appreciates structure, especially in black and white images, and I converted the image immediately.
My son liked it as much as I had hoped.
I showed that image to a friend, Jim Stallings, with whom I have corresponded over the past couple of years and whose input has influenced some other photographic work, such as “The Observer/The Observed,” which I decided to show after Jim wrote a short poem. He wrote in the context of activities of autumn, after seeing the sunflower image:
…it is that ancient mythic time for the daughter Persephone of the Earth Goddess Demeter to return to the Underworld and stay there until the return for Spring. So all that feeds into the unconscious…the separation of between life on the surface of the world of fall and winter and waning and yet returning light and another go at renewal and new life. It must be motivating in your photographic subjects as well.
It is true that my fall images, even of bright flowers, tend to be dark.
I had not read mythology in a long time. As I read some of the stories of Persephone, I was struck by the fact that she did not seem to be constantly miserable in her months in the dark Underworld with her husband, Hades, who had first abducted Persephone with the permission of her father, Zeus. Mythology is full of plots and subplots, but I decided to create this particular series using some of my favorite subjects – flowers and butterflies – around the theme of hope in a dark spot.
Butterflies have multiple meanings to me. They are a symbol for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus – “lupus” – an autoimmune chronic disease with multiple manifestations, with treatments but no known cure. One of the manifestations for some people is the so-called “butterfly rash,” and thus, the butterfly as a symbol.
The particular butterflies I chose to use in this series have special meaning to me. The butterfly in “Heart of the Matter” is a tiny hair streak butterfly photographed at the Corrales home of friends Tim and Laurie Price: special friends, special place, special day. People who have brought hope to some of my dark places… The butterfly in “Awakening” is a glass wing butterfly photographed at the Albuquerque BioPark. The butterfly in “Emerged” is a red lacewing photographed at the Tucson Botanical Gardens.
I was asked to write a brief description of “Heart of the Matter:”
Persephone, goddess of Spring, was abducted by Hades to become his wife in the Underworld. Her mother, Demeter, goddess of the Earth and of the Harvest, in her anger and grief, caused the earth to go barren in her daughter’s absence, our dark winter months, and to bloom again upon her return in spring. This series is about the annual descent into the underworld of the darkness of Winter and rebirth into the light of Spring. “Heart of the Matter” represents the potential for rebirth – from any dark situation – in the developing bud (the heart) of the sunflower, and in the butterfly (with its heart shape), showing the strength, delicacy, and light of hope.
I have been asked whether there will be more in this series. Persephone’s story is one full of plots and subplots, all very stimulating for this photographer. These particular three, tell one of the stories I wanted to tell. There are many more I look forward to telling visually, but I do not anticipate black and white sunflowers with colorful butterflies as the vehicles of the next set or sets.
The Persephone series that will be shown at 2015 ANMPAS means much to me on a very personal level, and I thank LeRoy Perea and the 2015 jurors for selecting these three images for the 2015 show. I hope those of you in the Albuquerque area will come out for the show in December.