Monday 20 October 2014

Inside Cronenberg's Mouth

Meme (def.)
1. A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.
2. (Psychology) an idea or element of social behaviour passed on through generations in a culture by imitation.
3. A cultural item that is transmitted by repetition in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes.

Photographing David Cronenberg (Telegraph Magazine, 1999)

I knew I had a very narrow window of time. Before the sitting I was invited to a preview of his new film 'ExistenZ' and I immersed myself in Cronenberg's back catalogue.
As I watched his films, a painful, hard lump approximately 2 cm in diameter appeared under the skin on the bottom of my foot; it became increasingly sensitive until it was impossible to place any weight on it; days before the shoot I was using a crutch; I was one of JG Ballad's characters from Crash, fascinated and aroused by my disability. At the sitting, I was fully possessed with the ‘Cronenberg gene’ and asked him softly to put his fingers in his mouth and show me the inside of his mouth. He did this silently for three frames, when asked he pulled harder to expose more of his inside. In ExistenZ, the assassin’s weapon was made from his own flesh and teeth.
After the shoot, the hard oval lump disappeared and has never returned.

An extract from ‘Consumed’, David Cronenberg, (4th Estate, 2014)

'Arostigui turned to her and pulled his mouth open to one side with his index finger, the effect was grotesque. “Into the very mouth of the cannibal, don’t you want that picture?” Naomi began shooting, she changed lenses quickly; an extreme wide angle lens now and continued snapping getting very close. Arostigui played it seriously and intensely, his gums and teeth completely exposed on one side and somehow, perversely naked. The photos were very disturbing.’ – 

David Cronenberg, 1999 © Richard Ansett / National Archives of Canada

Detail from David Cronenberg, 1999 © Richard Ansett / National Archives of Canada

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