Following on from this research into religious fugue and spiritual ecstasy, I decided to try something a little different for my next Jesus portrait. This is another kingly portrait, this is when he enters Jerusalam, where Judas betrays him and he is sentenced to death. I want to shoot my model in a state of religious ecstasy so I set up various things before his arrival.
I persuaded him (not that he needed much persuasion) into taking substances that might somewhat alter his perceptions of the world around him, something that might slow down his responses and the speed at which he lived, so he would feel as if he was swimming through the air. I won't say what it was, but it definitely wasn't marijuana (nudge nudge wink wink). Of course this made him late to the studio, but that is just something I had to deal with.
The studio was very dimly lit, with loud religious music being played, like it was some bizarre church. My Jesus seemed confused by it all at first, but I helped him into his costume and led him to where he should sit. He was much more susceptible to suggestion than normal. As he sat there having his picture taken, I could see him start to zone out, to inhabit a world inside his own head, and when he did this, his face relaxed into the most beautiful expression, it was pure serenity.
Later I hit on an interesting idea of having him close his eyes for a number of shots and then open them suddenly and snapping a picture of them looking lost and confused, brought suddenly back to reality. I am very pleased with these images, and it just shows me that this was definitely the right choice for Jesus.
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