According to the dictionary, the word muse has many different meanings, but it originally signified any of the nine daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, each of who presided over a different art or science. From this meaning derived the modern connotation of guiding spirit and source of inspiration, normally embodied in a woman who inspires an artist/poet.
I can rightfully say that I’ve found a muse in my dear friend Sebastian, whose role doesn’t limit to simply submitting himself to my weirdest photography experiments without batting an eyelid, as he also inspires and guides me in creating different work with his insightful observations and ideas.
My collaboration with Sebastian started in a pretty standard way: at the time I had just moved to London and I was looking for people to photograph; he already posed for a photographer friend of mine, so I asked him if he minded to have some pictures taken.
He didn’t mind, but he wanted to try something different from my usual “passport photo” kind of portrait and we arranged to meet up to discuss ideas.
Our first shoot was inspired by a picture by Lennart van Oldenbergh (from one of my favourite books of all time, Ghost in the Shell – Photography and the Human Soul, 1850-2000) that shows a young man with a serene expression in his face regardless of the layers of skin that are peeling of it.
We decided to try to recreate that effect with glue, food coloring, flour and God knows what else, also incorporating some sheet of music to the mixture to try to create the rather cheesy effect that he had music under his skin (I have to admit it, it was my idea, shame on me).
It didn’t work out exactly as we expected, but we got some decent images and our creative relationship started.
After that shoot, I “used” him as a guinea pig for my experiments with coloured filter and black and white film…
…we shot some nude pictures in Hampstead Heath, inspired by Gusinde’s famous photos of the Ona…
…we played with colour gels to create light colour blocks in the studio..
…and I took pictures of him and his boyfriend (who is absolutely stunning as well, I can’t believe my luck) in a couple of occasions.
I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while and yesterday, while I was covering a scantily clad Sebastian with snow to get the kind of picture that I wanted, it struck me that it’s about time that I pay homage to him, so, well, I love you Seba, thanks for putting up with all my silly ideas and for being such a good model