The story of Psykhe is complex, hence the borrowing of the name for our scientific words which describe the perplexities of the human mind. Her tale is one of jealousy, mystery, deceit, shame, humility, kindness, justice, love—a long adventure which mirrors the woes and trials that women have faced over history.
Summarizing a lengthy story, Psykhe is hidden away, and entered into a fake marriage with a man whose body she cannot look upon (the god Eros, aka Cupid) due to her beauty stirring ire in the goddess Venus. From here she is further mistreated by others, as her sisters conspire against her, which ultimately leads to her being made a servant to Venus, who abuses the poor girl.
What appeals to me most in Psykhe’s tale, are the tasks that Venus sets upon her, and how Psykhe prevails each time. This tenaciousness, however, is not always through Psykhe’s resolve to prove herself, as she often is depressed and suicidal. Her survival is due to the kindness of strangers, who continually encourage and aid her despite Venus’s daunting challenges. As time goes on, through loss and gain, Psykhe grows.
In many ways, I see myself in the stories of Psykhe—struggling with depression, brought on from abuse by others, but pulling through suicidal thoughts because of the genuine goodness of acquaintances, friends, and many times, complete strangers. Her evolving storyline as a human (adolescent to adult, wife to mother) is probably the most real of the myth.
While, the end, is a classic “happily ever after”, with Psykhe being made a goddess so that she may officially wed her lover, Eros, it is everything in between her encounters with Eros that is most inspiring. Before Psykhe can have true happiness and love, essentially, she must learn to be herself.
Images published in Gilded Magazine's 21.2 Issue. Copies available at:
Sometimes people ask me how I come up with my ideas for shoots. It usually goes like this:
Affordability came into play, as I used materials that I already had on hand—paper. Yes, it’s made from paper flowers which are attached to paper plates. I also had a bit of leftover fringe on hand, and of course ribbons.
Texture comes about in the technique I used to create the hand-rolled paper flowers. I wanted swirls, with glints of gold highlighting the edges. Also, I wanted texture in the background of these images. Again—adhering to affordability—I happened across deeply discounted rolls of deco mesh at Joann’s after Christmas. These lent themselves greatly to creating a unique textured backdrop for the shoot.
Now, I hadn’t had an artist in mind when we did the shoot. In fact, I was just going by color, texture, and what my wallet could afford. I was also coming down with a cold that week, and sadly, by the day of the shoot, it hit me full force. Powering through the sore throat and grogginess of Dayquil, I focused on the colors and textures both before and during the shoot. Then came after…
As I scrolled through the images on my computer following the shoot (after a much-needed nap and more cold meds), the colors reminded me of Gustav Klimt’s paintings. Now, I didn’t look at his work while pulling materials for this shoot, but I have looked at it in the past. As a teacher, I’m a big believer in the more input, the better output. To be a creative, you need to continually be viewing works of art.
Studying art history, theory, and techniques outside your chosen genre is a wonderful way to improve your abilities. So, this is something that I do as a daily practice. In fact, I wouldn’t be doing photography, if it weren’t for all the genres of art (most outside photography) that I have viewed and studied during my life. I certainly wouldn’t be designing headpieces if I hadn’t learned a variety of crafts (painting, jewelry making, knitting, etc.).
Keeping in mind the color and faming of subjects in Klimt’s works, I went forth with my post work—using this inspiration for my cropping and color adjustments. Which this now leads me back again to color. In post, color is everything for me as I will emphasize it using curves, gradients, and hue/saturation.
These 5 points are my inspirations and what shapes my thought process. Ok, there are more than just these, but in it’s simplest form: Color, Affordability, Texture, Artist/Genre, Color.
Photography: Jeannie Nadja
Model: Kristen Walters
MUA/Stylist: Jeannie Nadja
Wardrobe: Dress by Tygerian Lace and Headpiece by JNS Designed