Visiting Joey Leo at Midsummer
Patrick Michael Hughes Senior Fashion Editor/ Men's Fashion Writer
JOEY LEO, Photography and Art Direction
Fabricio Bittencourt, D Models Athens
ATHENS: Midsummer 's approach to the longest day of the year and the shortest night in many civilizations is steeped in the traditional rituals of the celebration of life and love. The balance of conception, birth and the commencement of the new. The Greek goddess Hera (Juno Roman) blessed the season with happiness. In the era where love is love, authenticity, pride and identity are acknowledge we can pause and take notice of the solstice's illumination. It's the halfway point of the year and prudent to remember there are still tests, happiness, truths, obstacles to face and fear to conquer.
Shakespeare's celebrated play told of a Midsummer's Night Dream in Athens. A comedy filled with deception, intrigue, puckish humor, virility and Lysander's poignant reflection that "the course of true love never did run smooth" (Act 1 Scene1). In a collection of photographs created by Joey Leo a new age multi-artist based in Athens is a tale of love lost. "Hers Now Mine" is a series of bare images captured through an observational and reflective lens highlighting form and decoration. The photographs are a range of intense close up to soft focus twilight and at times moon glow haze. A male model's ponderous reflection and body provide an erotic and sensual backdrop for jewelry linked to an energy shift within a power dynamic.
The prolonged gleam of midsummer's love, according to mythological allegories is magical, complicated, intoxicating, it has connections to supernatural forces. Similar themes are the thread in Shakespeare's play where love is an intricate lace between earthly and mythological spheres. All of the players face desire and aspiration, themes which are is not always connected to reality. The luminosity of the dream challenges reality and by the end of the night, forces all of the characters to question their romantic dreams. The telling of the story played a role in the education of an early seventeenth century audiences about the complexities of love and romance. The narratives were a far reaching branch anticipating later stories shaping popular taste and expectations in romantic tales.
In Leo's "Hers Now Mine" the jewelry is wonderful connecting element to the photographic narrative. The use of apotropaic talismans has a range of protection and symbolism. Featured in the images are golden pieces inlaid eyes to fight off evil spirits to vibrant blue ancient scarab, the symbol of renewal and rebirth. The jewelry's supportive presence continues with a exquisitely carved coral stone ring highlighting vast mysteries of the oceans mythical sea creatures of past, present and future. The pieces are all from the Lito Fine Jewelry Athens.
Lito Karakostanoglou draws inspiration from the sacred and ancient. Her use of moonstone a symbol of femininity and cyclical change and new beginnings to indigo tanzinite a legendary heart stone connected to longevity and purity are just a small part of her globally recognized, elegant and modern work. She founded her Athens atelier in 1999.