portrait

The strange love of Lina Ivers

The strange love of Lina Ivers

I was on vacation, photographically investigating only the tropical scenery. I was in my beach house in Guadeloupe enjoying a beer in my veranda, eating a spicy carribean curry and watching with some friends a favourite film noir, “The strange love of Martha Ivers”. And then Mathieu, my faithful housekeeper, brought me the bottle. A bottle that was washed on the beach a few seconds ago, right in front of my house - a bottle with a message. My employers always know were to find me - because I let them of course. The message contained some clues about my next subject. One of them was her name, Lina. I was ready to send the bottle back to the Caribbean sea - I was on vacation after all! But some details of my subject’s description and the mystery that surrounded her caught my attention. And once that happens to a photographic investigator, there is no turning back. But I was going to stick to my plan for the night. I was going to call my assignment “The strange love of Lina Ivers” and that would only be the first part of her story. To be continued…

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The Woman in the Tower

The Woman in the Tower

She was born and lived most of her life in this place called the Tower. It was a dreadful place that everybody had heard of, but very few had seen. Except for those who lived in it. A stone prison that gave to the most weak of it’s “residents” a certain kind of security and protection. But to the free humans who found themselves there it was nothing but a prison. Recently though a strong -some called it “supernatural”- lightning storm had destroyed the Tower. Everyone was free. Either they wanted to or not. My assignment was to photographically investigate the survivors, the free ones, the ones who had managed to walked away from the debris. She was among them. Some said that it was her actions that provoked the destruction of the Tower… But it wasn’t my job to find out.

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It's a dream, I AM the dreamer

It's a dream, I AM the dreamer

A photographic investigator sooner or later realises that she creates her world by her inner conversations and that it is only what it is done now that it counts. Now is the accepted time. Even though it’s effects may not be visible until tomorrow. The events and relationships of her life are her word become visible. She changes the dream willingly, changing herself. So she changes the world.

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Winter lights

Winter lights

Born investigators do not look for subjects. Born visionaries don’t ask for visions. William Blake could see into the spiritual world, but how would a photographic investigator possibly grasp what he saw? Waking up this smallest day, this longest night, it was William Blake’s “assistance” that I seeked. But alas! It was a bleak poem that I found, “To the winter” it’s called. I guess it’s appropriate for today, the longest night of the world…

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The return of Vapalight

The return of Vapalight

Vapalight, as you all know, is a special kind of light that follows a specific subject, also known as the Vapa model. The Vapa model always sits against the light with the intention to avoid being photographically investigated. Which of course is not possible. All these vain attempts of my subjects to avoid me have made my affection for them to become stronger and in an inexplicable way, urge me to favour them… Don’t ask me why, the world of a photographic investigator is a mystery that has to be faced to everyday (even by them)…

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"Newblood"

"Newblood"

Newblood was the name of a nano-device that was injected in the blood and roamed around the body through the circulation. It’s objective was hidden from the public - we -the photographic investigators- though, knew that it was designed to intercept our access to the true essence of our subjects and thus make our assignments useless. They didn’t know off course that we had already devised an “antidote” -the nature of which I am not allowed to reveal (for obvious reasons). So, no harm done…

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WiFi

WiFi

Most of the times a photographic investigator investigates subjects that are looking for something that is already -or always- available to them. We don’t complain, since this quest is what makes them “photographable” -all this wasting of energy likes to be captured- but sometimes we wonder “What if we told them that the wifi password that they are looking for is written in the blackboard behind them…?”. We haven’t come to a conclusion yet…

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Archangels

Archangels

Photographic Investigators very often need special protection due the extreme dangers that they are exposed to daily. Each and every one has a special connection with an angel or archangel, without the help of which they would never survive the strain. Sometimes archangels are caught by the camera in the form of a bright light. To remind us that bright lights should always be looked upon fearlessly…

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Transformations

Transformations

It was a beautiful day in Venice, I was investigating a beautiful woman and her transformations. A trained photographic investigator ends up -sooner or later- realising that beauty is an energy and not a concrete, tangible thing. But her presence cannot be denied once it is perceived. That is why, very often, the most successful investigations are the unexpected ones.

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Medusa

Medusa

I was hired to photographically investigate another strange Venice creature, another dangerous subject. Her name was Medusa, she also belonged to the infamous secret circle of Il Mister (although not so secret anymore after my numerous investigations and revelations) and, what a surprise, I wasn't told (again) why she was dangerous or why she went by that name. Well, Medusa had the ability to turn men into stone with her gaze -if that as the clue that i was supposed to figure out- but I wasn't a man. And even if I were, well, it would be an interesting turn of events, to end up as a stone statue in one of the most beautiful courts of Venice. She looked at me. I don't think I turned into stone. But then again... 

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Nightfall

Nightfall

She wanted to play Anne Bancroft's role in Jacques Tourneur's film noir, "Nightfall". She knew she could pull it off and so did her producer husband. I had investigated her many times in the past, but this time the investigation had taken an almost metaphysical "colour". "Things that really happen are difficult to explain"  her character says at one point in the film and this is how it works. Of course, what is real and what is not, is another investigation altogether... 

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Luana in the garden part I

Luana in the garden part I

It was the day of the summer solstice and it was obvious that she was hiding. But not from me. My assignment was to investigate this beautiful woman who denied her divine nature for an obscure reason. She thought she was just a beautiful model but the way the garden embraced and protected her was more than eloquent to the contrary. it wasn't my job to reveal secret stories and I didn't try to. 

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Nicoletta's magic part I

Nicoletta's magic part I

There are many magical women in Venice and they excel in magic potions or spells that could make you instantly rich or famous or internationally admired. And although many people believe in them and visit them every year to renew the effectiveness of the magic they bought, I systematically avoid them because  there is nothing about them to be photographically investigated. But there was one venetian witch that had captured my interest -and that of my employers, obviously- because she made magic dresses and corsets that could bind or liberate, depending on the wishes of the client. And she was beautiful. Of course I was the witness of pure magic in her presence, as I saw her magically changing outfits while being investigated. This was the first one... 

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Juno

Juno

"Juno, the latin version of the greek goddess Hera, rules the month of June, and being the goddess of domesticity, makes June the most auspicious month for weddings". I read that in an old datebook that was sitting on my desk. I like browsing in old datebooks (both for inspiration and perspective) and that's what I was doing. It was a Llewellyn's Witches' Datebook of 2010. I always resented writing a journal, all my thoughts and feelings seemed always funny and ridiculous when I read them later on. So, no. What I liked to do was noting "headlines" about the day (some days, anyway). Like, "Today extraterrestrial weather, dust from the desert makes Athens look like Mars" or "I love him" or "Announcement: I am the new editor in chief"... Things like that.  I "accidentally" opened it in a July page and since there was no headline in that page and it was the middle of June, I went back a little and saw the Juno entry. A very dear friend and beloved model of mine got married a few days ago and I knew she was protected and blessed. I love June. It's the month you can have a glimpse of the goddess Juno strolling around in a garden, or sitting on a bench, relaxing. Earthy and divine, at the same time. No doubt about it: "I love June" - this could be a new headline, by the way. 

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Little China girl

Little China girl

It was one day before the opening of the Venice Biennale. Only journalists were allowed, so I used one of my fake identities. Not so fake really, since a photographic investigator's job is not so different from that of a journalist's. Anyway, she also pretended to be one. You come to know those things after 2-3 decades of pretending. But she made my work very easy and I was thankful to her not only for this, but for her beautiful smile as well. She knew she was being investigated, but she allowed it. I made a mental note to look her up. A very interesting partnership could be in the horizon.

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The gardener

The gardener

There was a mysterious gardener in Villa Herriot, in Venice. He appears in the mornings and talks to the few visitors of this magnificent place, but none of the residents is aware of his existence. He never appears in a company of more than 2 people and he always talks about the marvels of the garden and about other, mystical, hidden garden treasures in Venice. I saw him and I talked to him while passing through, but sadly, I didn't photograph him. When I talked to people of him, everyone looked at me like I was crazy... "Gardener? What gardener?", they said. I scheduled a photographic investigation in the Villa hoping to capture a shot of him. Of course he did not appear. My subject was beautiful and full of grace though... Her name was Ramona, and she had also seen the gardener. Maybe some gardeners can't be seen by everyone, I thought. Especially in Venice... 

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Claudia

Claudia

I don't know when Chucho Valdez wrote Claudia, but I first heard it in Paquito d'Rivera's album, 'Reunion", with Arturo Sandoval. One of my first latin jazz albums and surely one of my favourites. But then, I always had a soft spot for boleros... When a photographic investigator is in between assignments, they like to experiment connecting people and faces to songs. This one was an instant match. And it served as well as a realisation that, sometimes, the best photographic investigations happen during a break... 

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Shooting in Arcana

Shooting in Arcana

Very often in Venice, spies like to disguise as fashion models. And it's a good disguise because it allows them not to avoid photographers while hiding. One of the paradoxes of the ingenious venetian spy web that I have come to know so well in the last years. The only clue that I had about the place of this photographic investigation was a word: Arcana. At first I though that it had to do with tarot cards (and started cursing because I had forgotten my tarot deck in Athens), but then I remembered  Corto Maltese's "Corte Sconta called Arcana" in his adventure "Fable of Venice". Of course I was one of the 5 people who had the key to this secret place. There are no coincidences in the photographic investigation business. He was there, waiting. I did my job, as  I always do. 

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The dark mirror

The dark mirror

She always had it in her purse. The dark mirror. A little mirror that would remain dark unless her partner and soul mate was around. This mirror had been dark for a long time since this man was missing -somewhere in Sierra Nevada. It was too dangerous to try to contact him, so she was letting her instinct lead her to nearby destinations in the high mountains of California. She was hiding in the shadows and secretly picking at the little mirror. My assignment was to steal it from her, but I let her suffer by it's darkness a little more. Maybe like this she wouldn't miss it so much afterwards.

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Night in Vrindavan

Night in Vrindavan

I once bought a perfume in India, called "Night in Vrindavan". It was very exotic and "indian" -only those who have been to and loved India know what I mean- and it's name stayed with me for more than 25 years... I thought it had to do with some romantic notion, but I found out, by chance, that it had to do with the local belief that every night, in the Nidhivan forest, Lord Krishna appears, performing the divine dance with his consort, Radha. A really mystical, divine act that can't be witnessed by ordinary people, as it can drive them mad.  Vrindavan is the childhood place of Lord Krishna, a holy place for the hindus. My subject was making open plans for a trip around the world and had just purchased some new clothes. Written in the label of the most beautiful blouse was the word "Vrindavan"... She told me that her first stop would be India. This subject had to be further studied, I thought to my self. To be continued... 

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