Le serpent qui dance

For the past few weeks I’ve been completely caught up in finishing a collection of photographs for an upcoming exhibit at Itakos. The exhibit, The Dancing Serpent, inspired by the poem with the same name by Charles Baudelaire (Fleurs du Mal, 1857), is curated by Akim Alonzo. The opening is this Sunday, May 14, at 1:30PM SLT.

Baudelaire’s poem Le serpent qui dance is playful, filled with erotic symbolism and metaphor; it is an ode to desire and longing, no doubt, sexual and otherwise. It consist of nine parts. As the themes for my ten photographs I picked one sentence from each part, as well as the name of the poem itself. There are at least twenty translations of Le serpent qui dance; I ended up choosing the version by William Aggeler, translated in 1954.

Putting together this exhibit led me down a path of self-examination. I came up against content issues where I questioned my use of the female subject as a nude. I realized finally that adding a male subject in some of the images would add a much-needed tension. Also, during the weeks that I worked on this virtual world project I simultaneously had several deadlines in real life that needed to be met. I had to seriously consider the importance of time and how it was spent. I reached the conclusion that the process of creativity, regardless if in real life or virtual life, could only aid me in the sense that it provided a welcomed escape from too much thinking. Lastly, I questioned the meaning of the virtual world Flickr photography itself.

About virtual world Flickr photography then. I showed my ten completed photographs to several friends, all of whom I respect in part because they are talented virtual world photographers who I know will not hesitate to offer constructive criticism. I was pleased with their feedback and, yes, relieved, because like so many others, I never really know if my work is any good. I then showed the images to a friend who is a real life photographer, but does not himself have a Second Life Flickr account. He simply refused to comment. Once I got over his frustrating lack of response, I started pondering what some of his reasons for not commenting may have been. He did not want to offend me with negative feedback, could it be that simple? His only observation, which was something like “everybody on Flickr will love it,” referred to the fact that nude virtual world images receive a disproportionate amount of attention on Flickr? Or could it be that he had actually failed to comprehend that a photograph is a photograph, regardless if taken in real or virtual life? I don’t think I will ever know, but I believe this perhaps nicely illustrates a common reluctance of “real life” photographers to embrace and accept the newness and, yes, modernity, of virtual world Flickr photography. If I sound defensive, it is because I am. But it is not about my work, it is about feeling protective of virtual world Flickr itself. Because rarely in my life have I seen as much creative talent in one place as I have seen there.

This post ended up being much longer than I thought, lots of rambling here. Thank for reading all the way through if you did. Also, and finally, thanks to Akim, an excellent curator, for asking me to show at your beautiful gallery. Thank you also very much to Tutsy Navarathna and Huck Hax for posing; I honestly can’t think of two more patient posers. Thanks to pose makers Del May (Del May Poses) and Olivia LaLonde (Le Poppycock) for your incredible poses, without them, these images could never have been produced.

Poster created by Akim Alonzo

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two exhibits

There are two excellent exhibits on the grid, both opening later today. The first one at dathuil, me_you, by moon Edenbaum with Hillany Scofield, curated by Lucy Butoh and Max Butoh (and a little bit by me), takes place at 12 PM SLT. We find here thirteen large photographs in color depicting subjects in various scenes that offer a glimpse into the lives of three characters in a story. moon notes about the exhibit that [a] woman and a man meet. they get closer, eventually they become lovers, but soon their inability to communicate leads to their split. The exhibit is a collaboration between hill.s and moon and next month we will see hill.s’ perspective at dathuil as well. This is a great, fresh concept; the images pull the viewers in and leave us wanting more. The photographs are gorgeous and in the typical, and at this point so recognizable, Edenbaum-style; realism at its best. Come join the opening today, and if not possible makes sure to visit before the exhibit closes at the end of the month.

The second outstanding exhibit opening today is at the Itakos Gallery, Subtle Scents of Solitute, by Imani Nayar and curated by Akim Alonzo. It opens at 1:30PM SLT. Let me just mention here again how much I enjoy the layout of this gallery; the austere and non-intrusive space is incredibly suitable for the display of photography (read more here). The exhibit itself consists of thirteen color as well as black and white photographs depicting single subjects. The talented Imani succeeds in combining composition, avatar posing, hues of color and shades, as well as blur, to create a tangible sense of loneliness and/or of solitude in every single image here. Describing her exhibit, she quotes the author Kent Nerburnloneliness is like sitting in an empty room and being aware of the space around you. it is a condition of separateness. solitude is becoming one with the space around you. it is a condition of union. loneliness is small, solitude is large. loneliness closes in around you, solitude expands toward the infinite. loneliness has its root in words, in an internal conversation nobody answers. solitude has its roots in the great silence of eternity. I don’t think I am alone feeling touched by Imani’s work. Her photographs just feels so acutely real.

Photographs by Kate Bergdorf

Maloe Vansant at Itakos Gallery

Rumor on the street has it that there is a new exhibit by Maloe Vansant. We searched and found that her show Little Pieces of Me opened a few days ago at Itakos Gallery, curated by Akim Alonzo. We had never heard of this gallery and soon realized that it had in fact only recently opened it’s doors to the public. We teleported over and found ourselves in front of a large gray building. The build, by Gully Rivers, is outstanding; the layout, the vast space, the textures, and the minimalist decor provide the perfect setting for a gallery. Currently on display here is Maloe Vansant on the ground floor, Akim Alonzo on the first floor and Imani Nayar, ARnnO PLAneR, Paola Mills and MM (Mysterr) on the second floor. There is an elegant wine and piano bar on the top floor as well. The photographs are beautifully mounted and the space is easy to navigate; one is left with the sense of visiting a gallery or a museum. Bravo Akim, every aspect of this is so very well done.

The images by Maloe I believe have never seen before, whereas the work by the other photographers have all been seen on Flickr. We lingered a bit longer on the ground floor taking in Maloe’s photographs. Her images pull the viewer in, its hard to look away.

[07:28] tutsy Navarathna: both in quality of treatment, light or inspiration and quality of model i love
[07:29] Kate Bergdorf (KateBergdorf Resident): yeahh me too, maloe’s pics are usually strong, all of them
[07:29] tutsy Navarathna: all details are very well thought out
[07:30] Kate Bergdorf (KateBergdorf Resident): the photographs also fit well together here
[07:30] tutsy Navarathna: she is a great photographer and she does a great postproduction
[07:30] Kate Bergdorf (KateBergdorf Resident): the display is beautifully done
[07:30] Kate Bergdorf (KateBergdorf Resident): great gallery, for sure
[07:30] Kate Bergdorf (KateBergdorf Resident): i think it is safe to say we are impressed lol

We joined the Itakos Gallery group inworld to make sure we don’t miss any future exhibits. You should too; I think we can expect more great exhibits from this new kid on the block.

Photographs by Tutsy Navarathna and Kate Bergdorf