Style Points: Strange beauty

Sometimes Inspiration Has To Percolate Before Whatever You Are Going To Make Takes Form.

Let me nutshell this: So several years ago I saw some ancient marble sculptures in Italy. They depicted women; serene and otherworldly, gazing mysteriously through wet, draped fabric. The official tour guide told us sculpting in this manner, creating this believable and magical illusion, indicated the highest mastery level for sculptors. He called it, “Drappeggio Bagnata (Italian for wet drapery). I registered his words drifting around behind me without taking my eyes off the art. That was in 2005. In the meantime, I never, ever forgot how they looked and how I felt about them.

Strange Beauty

I had an idea a year or so ago that I wanted to take photos that were evocative of the sculptures but with a modern twist. I started collecting the materials as I saw them in my favorite thrift stores. Irregular yards of gauzy cheap polyester, single orphaned sheer curtains, bits of Elizabethan ruffles and other notions. I collected them in a little broken clear tote where they could sit and wait for me.

Recently, I moved houses. And I saw the little broken tote. And the fabrics inside. It was time. I knew how to take the photos. I knew who would pose for the photos. I had everything I needed. So one day last week, my friend Heather Atkinson came down the street and into my living room and allowed me to do her makeup and hair and also slop wet yards of weird old fabrics around her head. When she assured me she could breathe through one type of fabric after I wet it…I replied, “Oh, that’s good. I hadn’t really even considered your ability to respirate.” She’s a true muse.

As far as the photos go, I used a Canon 60D. No post-production editing software was used.

Visit my blog to view other photos and projects I have created, or follow me on Facebook and Instagram (@CatalogTKA). Photos copyright Tonya Kehoe 2013. For permission to use these images, email me at