all images by Paul Saturley
I have posed for Paul Saturley since the Fall of 2006, the year I moved to Edmonton. The first shoot was in an old house he lived in, whose dank bricked basement featured a random red wardrobe box, heavy silver pipes and a ghostly notice board upon which was tacked a faded picture of the late Chuck Schuldiner. I had never really modeled before, apart from serving as photographic guinea pig from time to time for a photographer I later posed frequently for, Karen Moe and taking self-portraits. Working under Paul’s direction I learned how to shape my body into a tighter, harder, more sprung entity around which the light could form a more poetic, expressive image. And to gradually, through the shoots we did in 07 and 08 for his Edmonton shows, Cortex, Demi-Gods & A Picture is Worth a Thousand Bucks, and onto the Victoria, BC shoots we undertook after he moved to the coast & I returned home, for shows including Pictures for the End of Time & Pandemonium, to take more risks, both with my physical gestures and expressions, and with the materials and elements we often utilize as subject matter. With Paul, I have played dead, wrapped myself in chicken wire, endured freezing rain, enveloped myself in a sandy canvas shroud, contorted myself in strange shapes, climbed slippery rocks, hair-whirled for an hour, hung off rusty pipes and clambered on damp bunker roofs from trees. We both seem to feed off the energy that results from the tension between our concepts, the strictures of the environments we are in, and the possible creations that emerge. And perhaps our shared Catholic upbringings have a little something to do with all this aesthetic penance too 🙂 Regardless, the past six years of being an art-model for Paul have been immensely compelling, instructing me in another form of seeing myself and the world, leading me to take up photography myself as a practice beyond simply a hobby, encouraging me to continue with weights/pilates to stay fit, and enabling me to model for other professional or casual photographers, among them Jeremy Edward Reid, Kafir Judas, Chris Matzigkeit, Jacquie Bissell, Wai-lee Delaney Reid, Warren Dean Fulton, Karen Moe, Monique de St-Croix and Patrik Jandak. I used to be, and can still be though to a lesser extent, self-conscious, shy, awkward and highly critical of my flaws. Modeling for Paul has driven me to be otherwise, at least before the lens, and in the process, has enlarged my existence in ways I never envisioned.