Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tension & Strain: Chris Topel by LightWeaver

'It is always by way of pain one arrives at pleasure.'
Marquis de Sade

Last Sunday I introduced FH readers to Jay Rickard's (LightWeaver) latest work with model Chris Topel. (Have A Seat) The wooden stool Chris was sitting on, so central to that first set of images, takes on different feel and degree of risk in the second part of the series. Although they had not worked together in awhile, when Jay purchased some interesting props off E-bay, he wanted to created one of his character's based around them. Jay remembered that Chris loved the macabre and darker themes as well, so he immediately came to mind to bring to life the concepts spinning around in the artists imagination.

As regular viewers of FH know, my tastes often run towards what some might consider rather the tame side. I have been enjoying however, challenging my own boundaries from time to time and one of my challenges has been when the theme of bondage arises within a set of images. I sort of know why...I mayve have a connection to my feelings about choice and control, but I have come to realize that is my own misconception and assumptions about the practice.

Some of my favorite pieces over the last few years to put together, have ended up including bondage as a central component. There are just certain emotions, and levels of raw vulnerability that have been beautifully translated through not the loss, but the giving up, of control. It wasn't the first time Jay has used this theme within his work, but he does think it was the first time it became this dark.

'I've used light bondage in shoots before but Chris really took it to another level by giving it the pain and pleasure element using tension, body language and facial expressions. He approached it from an acting perspective, which is really what a photographer wants from a model no matter what the tone or goal of the shoot.'

'The wonderful thing about working with a model multiple times is that you build a rapport and the trust increases. So when we were planning the shoot and I ran the concept by him he immediately was on board. He knew he could trust me and that everything would be above board even though he'd be in a position of vulnerability. You don't meet a model for your first shoot and put him in that position right off the bat. At least I would never dream of it. The trust isn't there yet and I believe you'll see that in the images. So he took the elements I threw at him and he ran with it with gusto.'

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