Photography and Text by Alexis Masino, Copyright 2017
L’Eau Des Hesperides. A scent by Diptyque. Named after the Hesperides: mythological nymphs who guard Aphrodite’s garden and its golden apples of immortality.
Nymphs in a garden protecting a forbidden fruit which promises eternal life. The scent and the story surrounding it is enticing, sensual, erotic.
The use of leaves and apples in my photos is self explanatory; This is what awaits in the garden. The subject is engaging with the objects in atypical ways, creating an odd juxtaposition and sort of sensuality. The colors of the vegetation adds to the earthy feel of the pallette and the idea of a garden.
I decided to shoot through a large glass panel, which I sprayed, steamed, and held up for each shot. This gives the photos a hot, steamy, wet surface, which in and of itself is erotic and here creates the feel of rain, keeping the earthy theme of the shoot. The glass also allows for direct contact, as if the subject is touching or even licking the lens and by extension, the viewer.
I took the photos freshly out of the shower, nude, and in the comfort of my own living room (in which I set up a temporary makeshift studio). This added to the rainy, earthy feel and allowed for no inhibitions which might have been faced in a public studio space.
The decision to use myself as the subject and turn this into a series of self portraits was for multiple reasons. Most importantly, I knew for this particular theme it would be easier to enter a realm of sensuality with myself better than with a model. I also had very specific visions for the photos I was unsure a model could properly execute to my exact desire. But since this was my first erotic assignment, I ultimately thought it was most ethical to confront my own sexuality before trying to understand or display (without exploiting) that of others.
About The Author: Alexis Masino is a freshman enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2020. To access additional articles by Alexis Masino, go here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/alexis-masino-fashion-genderless/