The Blades of our fathers. This is one of two of my Driver family swords borrowed from my uncle to create with Bee Wood of Take Delight Photography. We were tasked to create images of love, romance and passion. To start the topic subject seemed rather broad, and at the time I was exploring deeply my own lifetime cynical take on these, love and romance, what did they mean to me? I spent my life protecting my heart from attaching near enough to allow another to cause me pain, guided by my mother to fortify such guards. Trouble is, love and romance do not exist without vulnerability. Years in a pragmatic relationship left me longing to cultivate my passions within the context of love and romance, but this does not simply pop up between two people. I had thought myself better off without it, but without it my soul suffered. I came to the conclusion I would rather have the joys and experience of romance along with its pains than spend a lifetime securing these experiences would evade me. Cultivating and enjoying romantic passions require certain attractions be in place, but also lifestyle to encourage sustainability of the connection. Where is a safe place for passion? Passion and love, neither are “safe”, but some people are safe for us and some are not. The gut may indicate upon initial meeting. The first thoughts that came to mind on these topics for this shoot were notions of being undone: nudes? No there were other ways to communicate “undone”. Certainly more than one person needed to be in the shot. At the time I was nourishing a friendship near and dear to my own heart and journey. I knew we needed to invite my modeling partner, Gravy. He agreed to be game for whatever I came up with to communicate the topics, even if his take on them and means of communicating in imagery differed.
Love: two people. Romance: what is more romantic than the Renaissance? Thankfully layers of clothes were back then worn, so looking undone would be as simple as dawning a shirt, and I had those. Passion, how to communicate passion? Sword play is passionate. As I thought about love and romance, I likened the presence of these partners as the biblical phrase states that iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another. I was exploring polyamory at the time, but ultimately could not remain in the lifestyle as my ultimate embodiment of love and passion exist within exclusivity of monogamy. Months of reading and experimenting, at the time of this shoot I was in the cusp of preparing to act on polyamourus theory. My mental exploration in large part took place in the throws of my relationship with this very man in the photos. From the start, he challenged my thinking and I challenged his. We loved each other very much, but a full on partnership was not in the cards. Lifestyles. They would never match up. But at the time of this shoot, and until the day I realized I could never maintain a poly lifestyle, Gravy and I were consistently vulnerable with each other. Our conversations strengthened one another’s resolve in life to fight from the heart, even if that meant strides in opposite directions from a life together. We grew by leaps and bounds during our ten months of emotional intimacy. We used our vulnerabilities and connections to challenge and sharpen one another. So many couples choose to cut down and make each other bleed. Who wants to remain in a situation such as that? Gravy and I made each other better. We both had other relationships which sliced our hearts in different ways. We sought and looked to each other for new perspectives and answers. We did not find certainty and we did not find a life together, but we fought from the heart and inspired one another to continue that fight. Our lives each improved. Now we stride in opposite directions. I, having discovered resolve that my heart is worth the fight, and in my heart resides fight for the lifestyle I want till end of days. Thank God for respect and cordial interaction. Intimacy with other humans can house love, passion and romance…control of these is breathtaking and rare. We each are powerful when we fight from the heart, live from the heart and spar with others to do the same. I thought love and romance equated tragedy. The real tragedy is living without them.
Model: David “Gravy” Castillo
Wardrobe and props: shirts and corset made by Daze of Laur; swords borrowed from the family; headpiece from my personal collection; roses provided by photographer