Blood Moon, Total Lunar Eclipse, 2014

TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE by Valérie Morignat. Night Photography, New Caledonia, 2014.

"Happy are the pure in heart..." Matthew 5.8

KIMBERLY STEFFEN photographied by Valérie Morignat. Underwater portrait, New Caledonia, 2014.

Water Graves
Reflections on the Illusions of Drowning in Art by Taylor Schwartz

"So Orpheus then received his wife; and Pluto told him he might now ascend from these Avernian vales up to the light, with his Eurydice; but, if he turned his eyes to look at her, the gift of her delivery would be lost. They picked their way in silence up a steep and gloomy path of darkness. There remained but little more to climb till they would touch earth's surface, when in fear he might again lose her, and anxious for another look at her, he turned his eyes so he could gaze upon her. Instantly she slipped away. He stretched out to her his despairing arms, eager to rescue her, or feel her form, but could hold nothing save the yielding air." Metamorphoses, Ovid

"Perhaps the most tragic of Ovid's myth, the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice encapsulates the strength, devotion, and misfortune of young love. Determined to resurrect Eurydice from Hades, Orpheus played his most cathartic music to gain access to the underworld. Even the bloodless ghosts themselves wept. He was allowed to take his wife from the underworld under one condition—he could not turn around to look at her. Inevitably he did, and she died a second death.

In Valerie Morignat's photograph, water is the medium by which Eurydice reenters Hades. The disturbed surface of the water shows that the photograph has captured Eurydice mere moments after Orpheus looked back. Morignat interprets the young bride's second death as a drowning. Not only does the water engulf Eurydice's body, but it also consumes any memory Orpheus had of his bride. In stage productions that include the retelling of this myth, such as Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses and Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice, on-stage water is used as a symbol of forgetfulness. In both productions, Orpheus is doused in water as memories of his beloved Eurydice gradually wash away—a baptism. In essence, this is what Morignat captures in her photograph. Orpheus, unseen, reaches for Eurydice as she sinks deeper and deeper into the water, her reflective porcelain flesh the only visible semblance of her existence."

© Taylor Schwartz, The Barstow School. 2012


Eloquentia Nativa, Self-Portrait with a Rose

"Les Diamants et les Pistoles,
Peuvent beaucoup sur les esprits ;
Cependant les douces paroles
Ont encore plus de force, et sont d'un plus grand prix."
"En disant ces mots, il lui sortit de la bouche deux roses, deux perles et deux diamants"... Charles Perrault, Eloquentia Nativa, ou les fées.