In classic Hollywood films, the moment a man and a woman kiss often signifies the beginning of a monogamous "happily ever after." For photographer Marta Soul it's a little different. Her images capture a series of climactic kisses between one woman and several different men. The Madrid-based photographer tackles subjects like the roles of identity, sexuality, culture and the importance of appearance in her work. In this series entitled Idilios
(a lyrical Spanish word meaning "romances"), the photographer's alter-ego is caught locking lips with different men in idyllic scenarios.
Soul's intention with this series appears to fit right in line with her primary topics of interest, including the significance of aesthetics. Though we never see the woman's face, her fiery red hair contains a personality in its own right. The period setting, the location, the fashion and costuming all work cohesively to build a story. There's a wonderful 60s vibe in many of the images that adds a romanticized consumer lifestyle to the photos that bares a likeness to the time period depicted in the television show Mad Men
. Similar to tactics in advertising, the photos create an almost fairy-tale-like story around a kiss. Everything from the clothing to the set design play into this fantasy.
If you're interested in seeing the romantic escapades of this one woman, Idilios
is currently being exhibited at Kopeikin Gallery
in Culver City, California until December 24, 2011.
We were lucky enough to get in touch with Soul to ask her some questions about this captivating series. Read that exclusive interview, below.
Your Idilios series is extremely captivating. What was your inspiration for the series?
I have experienced some personal changes in my life during the last years. However, I am not interested in telling people about them. I mean, there is nothing special about them. I try to watch my own experiences from the outside, like an observer. This is why I prefer to find a way to represent them, not to tell them.
Conceptually, the books that I read, for instance, are also part of these experiences. When I started the Idilios
series, I was interested in authors like Peter Sloterdijk or Zygmunt Bauman (Liquid Love
). Aesthetically, stereotyped images about romantic love have interested me, too: postcards, film posters, films from the 40s, 50s and 60s, etc.
My understanding is that the red headed woman is your alter ego. What was the process like? Was it ever awkward?
It was actually more difficult for the male models than for the female model. She is an actress, a friend of mine since long ago and we understand each other. None of the boys were professional models. I came across them and, since I fancied these guys, I asked them if they wanted to kiss a red headed woman for one of my pictures. Most of them said yes, but during the shooting they felt awkward. It was really Sara, the actress, who sorted out these situations.
Aside from the excellent composition of the two people kissing, the color and background of the shots really caught my eye. Where did you shoot and how much thought went into each location?
In the beginning, I was looking for locations with the purpose of putting in relationships about emotions and money. Then, I realized that I actually was looking for a place that should be able to captivate me. Like a place able to take me into an ideal moment. Many times, the places did not achieve my expectations. I invested a lot of time and work into getting this moment, but then, when I was there, I did not feel fascinated by the location, so I decided not to take the picture. When I find it, I do everything possible to get it. Thus, this series represents to a great extent my own relation with art creation. Trying to find a location has actually taken a lot of time in this work. I have traveled across Spain, Portugal and Northern England.
What's next in store for you?
I am still working in portraits, carrying on with projects started some time ago. Before I start a new project, I need time for research, thinking and for letting myself go. This is the process that I am living through now. Things like money, role-playing and appearance still grab my interest. Something new is emerging from those ideas."
Marta Soul's website