Its been awhile since I last posted in the Old Saw. My apologies for the gap in posts. Its been a chaotic couple of months since I last posted.
Anyway, I’m back and the set of photos I have today is one of my favorite I have had the opportunity to do.
They are based on the novel “Invisible Monsters” by Chuck Palahniuk. Specifically the main character of this particular novel of his. Before we get into it Id like to take some time to tell a little about the author, Chuck Palahniuk.
Weather you are familiar or not with him and his work, allow me to indulge. Most have come upon his most famous writing, “Fight Club”. Yes, yes the fantastically gritty story of a middle aged man going through a bit of a mid life crisis. Adapted to film starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. On a personal note, if you have seen the movie I recommend still picking up the book and reading it. The way Palahniuk uses words and weaves sentences together is something you cant get from watching. You have to read it.
The first thing I was drawn to upon reading my first Palahniuk novel was his talent with words. I know sounds silly, “of course he has a way with words, he is a writer”. His talent is different though. He has the ability to make one sentence just dance in front of your eyes or sink down your throat and sit in your gut. My personal copies of his novels are riddled with highlighted and underlined sentences. one liners, if you will. I cant begin to count how many of those sentences fill my mind with visuals instantly. It creates an urge in me to get these visualizations out into some sort of physical, tangible sense.
If his magic with word tangling doesn’t grasp your attention maybe his characters will. Palahniuk creates and has created the most unique and original cast of characters I have ever had the pleasure of discovering. I am under the belief that ANY character from his novels could be plucked out of their stories and be made into a feature length film by themselves alone. Regardless of the supporting cast. The people he chooses to spotlight are commonly perverse in some manner with a very natural real human appeal to them. Often living in slightly tweaked worlds based in strong reality. Some may find his brash sometimes crass subjects and opinions to be hard to swallow. personally I find the blunt, at times vulgar subject matter to be refreshing and appealing.
Palahniuk Does not apologize for the worlds and characters he creates. He allows them to live and breathe in a space free of boundaries within the pages he writes. This attitude is what I find refreshing about his work. Some areas of life are seedy and gritty. As a society we tend to put those things into a corner and obstruct our view of it. When there is beauty in some aspects of the dark spots. I think they should be exploited more often. Placed in front of our eyes more frequently. Let our eyes drink it up and our tongues will follow. Allowing discussion and ultimately finding beauty in the ugly.
To pull it back around to the photo set being presented. The novel “Invisible Monsters” was my first exposure to Chuck Palahniuk. Given to me as a gift I soon became engulfed in the pages rather quickly. I completed it in little time and my hunger for his writing hasn’t stopped since.
“Invisible Monsters” is in the words and point of view of a former model who has recently lost her jaw. yes, her jaw. Shot off from a gun blast , she is missing her entire lower jaw. Below her upper lip is nothing, just her tongue which hangs freely. The story follows her life post jaw incident with her two friends Princess Brandy Alexander and Alfa Romeo. Both of whom have multiple aliases throughout the book, as well as our main character. Who I will refer to as Daisy St. Patience seeing as this is my favorite of her personas she takes throughout.
Brandy Alexander is the dominate of the group with Alfa acting as her personal assistant and Daisy playing a similar role. It is clear early on that Daisy is in awe of Brandy Alexander. Idolizing her and her beauty. Alfa has a similar attitude towards Brandy. He kisses the ground she walks on. Without diving into plot too much the story mainly follows these three as they travel around finding large houses for sale. They approach each house and Brandy acts as the potential buyer. She gives the impression she’s a celebrity of sorts while Daisy and Alfa act as her personal assistants. Alfa will distract the real estate agents as Brandy and Daisy
raid the rich home owners medicine cabinets. Taking whatever drugs they can find. Brandy reads the names off the bottles as Daisy tells her what they are taken for.
The story covers a wide range of topics from fashion industry, the effect of television, homosexuality, the effects of self perception, drug addiction, feltching, etc. Overall creating an addicting read.
I would love to one day visit creating my vision of each three main characters some day but until then I have visited Daisy St. Patience in this set. The model is my dear friend Allison Martin. Taking just a glance over my range of work would show you we have worked together numerous times. She’s a wonderful person to create with and makes my job as easy as possible. Allison was the one who gave me “Invisible Monsters” so it seemed even more natural to create this vision together.
Because Daisy is missing her jaw she often hides her face as best as possible. Using large sun hats and wrapped tulle to hide her face. Being a model up until this incident she is clearly self conscious and uncomfortable with her new appearance. With that in mind I wanted to create a situation where Daisy, post accident, would have felt comfortable revisiting her modeling roots. I imagine Brandy would have been the one to do the convincing. Building up Daisy until she agreed to it. With certain concealers still in place of course.
I imagine the three of them visiting a mansion for sale just as they would have before. Brandy Having a short, intellectual conversation with Daisy while driving. All about how Daisy needs to find her beauty again, to give a big fuck you to a missing jaw. In typical Brandy fashion minimizing the impact of Daisys
situation. Daisy as usual is impacted by Brandy’s words. They arrive at the house and begin with their routine. Upon reaching the home owners bedroom Brandy notices a camera and convinces , on the verge of demanding, Daisy to let her take pictures. For Daisy to own her condition. All of this while Alfa asks menial questions to the real estate agent , having nonsense conversation until Brandy gets her fix.
These photos are what Brandy would have taken of Daisy.
A down and out woman realizing her beauty again. However fleeting the moment may or may not have been. Daisy being a former model goes through the struggle of finding new identity. She was a model, that was her identity in her mind. I like to believe in this purposed scenario through these photos that she got the opportunity to feel whole again. She got to reclaim her identity in order to continue on the path of creating a new one.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed creating them. If you have never read “Invisible Monsters” , I think its clear I strongly recommend it. If you like what I do with a camera, you clearly like things a bit different. Thats why if this is the case you will love “Invisible Monsters”. Then go read the rest of Chuck Palahniuk’s novels. I promise this Character of his is far from the last I will visit in photography.