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Leda's dance

Wanting to be more experimental and choose from the wider world of paintings to blend into photographs, I combined a painting I sourced through the Internet, The Threatened Swan by Jan Asselyn (17th cent), together with a very flexible nude model I shot in the Sussex countryside. I am enjoying how the Surreal Fashion series progresses; I am also becoming inspired by illustrations, continuing in my fascination for the way humans depict animals and creatures both real and mythical. That illustrational appeal came out in my final choice for monochrome here, having initially been torn between colour and b/w versions.


I have admired the way swans in particular play different roles in Tim Walker's work: as cutouts, as figurines, even as fashion hats. And then extending my research to swans in paintings, a bewildering amount of sexual images popped up. I later found out that they all allude to the Greek myth of 'Leda and the Swan'. Reading up on the story and sordid symbolism of the swan, I thought about how my own image could play a part in referencing the swan imagery of the Leda story together with the swan's other connotations: ballet, grace and elegance.


Amidst the editing, we very aptly had Sunday lunch at a pub called the Swan. I took my iPad so I could examine my first edited draft whilst eating my beef roast (with perfectly cooked vegetables may I add - and almost enough gravy), so I could examine the beginning of the image's shape and composition before progressing with the detail. I smiled when I went to the toilets and saw 'Pens' and 'Cobs' on the two doors, with bafflingly generic pictures of swans on each that gave no clue as to their sex, standing hesitant at first which to enter till I figured it out. So I learnt a new fact about swans that day, as well as about the myth of Leda.




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Taken on June 6, 2012