Thursday, October 23, 2014

Consumed: flanero by Dale Pierce Photography

Earlier this summer I came upon the work of photographer Dale Pierce. I felt an instant connection with Dale as soon as we started communicating. Not only did I love his work, Dale provided me such in detail about his process and stories about his work. The first piece we worked on was a profile focused on his work with model Michael Annese. (The Promise) Michael is an up and coming model with an incredible look. His star, in my eyes, is definitely on the rise in the business.

It was not however Dale's images of Michael that first led me to contact the Syracuse photographer. It was instead images of another model, naked and draped over a cemetery monument that had me wanting to connect with the artist behind them. There was such intense emotion within the images of model flanero reaching out to Stephens, a soul once clearly an important part of his life, now forever gone and out of his life forever. flanero's need to connect, not through the stone, but through the vast realms of life and death, is both beautiful and also heartbreaking, being consumed with a love now eternally lost.

The shoot spoke to me on a number of levels. First, simply the location itself. Location is such an important piece of so many of the images and so many of the artists work I choose to feature on the blog. In the eight years of FH, I believe this is the first shoot I featured within a cemetery, and knew it would be a perfect piece to feature as Halloween draws closer. Whenever one spends time in a cemetery there are connections made between the living and the dead. You can't help but read the names, the dates of their death, and the circumstances that surrounded both their death, and the live that preceded it's ending.

Cemetery's bring about mixed emotions from many. When I was child, they were a place to be feared. I was dragged there several times a year, usually at Christmas time. I lost all 4 of my grandparents before I reached 5, so my main memories of them are six feet under, going along with my parents to visit, and put wreathes of remembrance on their graves. When I was a teen, cemetery's took on a more fun, and spooky fun feeling as I remember many summer nights playing hide & seek and other games with friends. They started with the sun above, but ended in darkness after the sun had set. As an adult, I grew to love the quiet cemeteries provided, and the two near my home became favorite destinations for myself and my dogs. With each walk though, there was always another grave to read, another fact to learn, another family to wonder about. I remember my mother once saying it was disrespectful to walk my dogs in a cemetery. I never responded to her. I just know that if I was spending my eternity somewhere, I would welcome visits from anyone, or anything, especially a dog.

Dale had known that falnero had shot with a good friend of his over a year ago and knew he was open to artistic nude shoots so planned on giving him a call. Life got busy and the call never got made. In that 6 degree's of separation, another good friend of Dale's had met falenro socially and on his picture to Dale thinking they would work well together. This time Dale didn't pause and called him right away to set up a shoot. 'Oakwood Cemetery is a very old, beautiful cemetery. Very large with beautiful monuments. the advantage for me is that there are areas that are private and perfect to shoot in. I have shot there over a period of ten years or more.'

'We were meeting for the first time on the day of the shoot. It was a Sunday, the sky was overcast, perfect lighting situation. Just before he arrived I saw a sign announcing a tour of the cemetery that day!!! When flanero arrived, cars were asking directions to the beginning of the tour. It was funny..I assured him that the tour would probably not be in the hilly areas of the cemetery.I always suggest my models wear loose fitting clothes and sandals or flip flops. easy to get in and out of. flanero is a sweet, quiet young man but deeply committed to the work. The only time he was a bit cautious was when I asked him to lay in a patch of ivy. He asked "how Long" and I assured him it would be five minutes tops, so being the good sport he is he did it. His his slender body was ideal for the monuments . I was able to position him on top of one, which was marked "STEPHENS". flanero was graceful, the the body of a dancer. We had a wonderful time!'

'To Say I was surprised at all the beautiful images we collaborated on is putting it mildly. when I am shooting everything is in the moment. I check for light and composition,then continue. Going through them later that evening I felt so fortunate to have had this wonderful day. We are planning another shoot together over Thanksgiving. flanero has suggested body pain... should be fun.'

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