Monday, May 22, 2017

The Departed: Gareth by Virgin Islands Pictures

'Nature is a haunted house--but Art--is a house that tries to be haunted.'
Emily Dickinson

There are many ways to tell a story, and when I'm putting together an artist profile for FH, the images usually direct the way the story is focused. Often, the story I tell is the process of how the shoot all came together. Information about the model, the artist and comments about the shoot itself. Other times, the shoot is already story focused, with the images laid out to direct the viewer through the visual tale the artist chose to tell.

For me, the most interesting stories to tell, are the stories my imagination creates while spending time with an artists work. After completing a piece on Virgin Islands Pictures work with Rush Firestone in March, VIP's Calder Van Gough sent on a large folder of images featuring many of the models and themes he has been exploring over the last few years. The first theme that grabbed my attention for a story was the checkered cloth.

The second thing that grabbed, and held my attention, wasn't a theme, but a model. Within the folder there were many images of Gareth. Gareth is incredibly photogenic, with a tall, lean and fit body and a beautiful strong face that I find extremely sexy. I love the shape of his face, lips and nose. Gareth's face is also beautifully expressive, something that helped inspire the start of the imaginative story to begin.

Many of Calder's images of Gareth were couple shots. Given his look and tall frame, Gareth was perfect half to any duo. Within each of the couple shots, Calder also made a point to shoot each of the pair separately. In addition, Calder used his creative and editing skills to play with some of these images, creating a sad, longing almost haunting feel.

One of the shoots took place in an old abandoned home, a house Calder shares was built back in 1795. Many of the shots were straight forward couple captures, colored shots of a man and a woman, clearly by the poses, in a passionate relationship. It almost looked the pair was newlyweds, capturing moments in the new home they just purchased, a beat up old 'fixer upper' they got for a really great price.

New houses are full of hopes and future dreams. No one buys a home without picturing what their lives will be like once the have moved in and put their own mark on each and every room. This house was obviously in need of a lot of work. It was also going to take a ton of their time, but that was something the couple thought they had plenty of.

When the couple is together, they appear deeply in love, yet very serious as if they're beginning to see the darkness on the horizon. Soon, they are separated, Through both distance and dimension. It is not clear to me who departed. The images let you decide.

It could be, that she is gone, leaving Gareth alone in the huge house that was to be their future. He stares out windows, his sadness overwhelming. He drinks to much, walking the rooms day and through the night, his sanity always teetering on the edge.

Or, it could be that it was Gareth who actually departed. His new wife, still in the house, putting it all together and getting on with her life. Gareth's spirit remains in the house in the state it was purchased, run down, barren and lifeless. He can feel her presence, but no matter how hard he tries, is never able to cross over or connect with her again. Either scenario, either story, can be imagined through Calder's images.

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