Feature: Sarah of Sasphoto



GGotW: What styles do you enjoy?
S: I like so many. Usually, it depends on my mood. I like all the different underground subcultural styles. I like fashion, erotica, fetish, glamour, theatrical, etc... I'd like to experiment with them all.

What led you towards goth?
S: When I was a little girl I was at this amusement park and I saw these crazy goth girls dancing in the rain and it looked like they were having more fun than anyone I have ever seen in my life. That made me realize that life doesn't have to be boring. Later on I got into metal and then deathrock and goth music and felt like I could connect with the "darker" side of things I guess and it's just always been a part of my life.

GGotW: From what you sent us it sounds like your a photographer first, model second. Is that a correct assessment?
S: Yes, I would say so because I only really photograph myself.

GGotW: What got you started in photography?
S: It kind of happened by accident because I never had a deep interest in photography and knew absolutely nothing about the subject. When I was about 20 years old I noticed I had an eye for composition when I took photos with my crappy point an shoot camera. Then my interest in modeling took it a bit further and I started taking photos of myself and my friends and just kept at it until I got better. Once I learned some editing tricks in photoshop, took a few photography classes, and got some better equipment my photos got better and I guess I just got hooked.

GGotW: What kind of photographer do you classify yourself as?
S: Experimental Portrait Photographer

GGotW: Why did you put yourself in front of the lens?
S: I put myself in front of the lens because I was always interested in modeling but never really dove into or got involved shooting with other photographers. I figured I could just do it myself and have total control over everything. Not all of my self portraits come out exactly how I would like them to but I'm pretty satisfied with them considering I do it all myself. I always feel really good after finishing up an image of myself that I'm happy with. Sometimes I don't see them as me, but as different characters.

GGotW: Where do you hope to see your modeling or photography take you?
S: I'd like to actually make money with it one day but for now I'll just keep improving and experimenting.

GGotW: Have you worked with any other photographers?
S: I've modeled for Barbara Wegner and posed for the Unscene-tv Goth Calendar 2005. The best was posing for two Lori Earley paintings! That's about it though, I never really had a chance to work with many photographers.

GGotW: Who inspires you?
S: Filmmakers and musicians inspire me the most. I'd say the majority of my inspiration comes from movies. I love David Lynch, I'm obsessed with the dark seedy lighting in most of his films and I love John Waters, Gregg Araki, Harmony Korine, Jodorowsky, and a ton more. As for photographers I love a lot of the pinup and erotic photographers I find on the web.

GGotW: What do you do when you're not modeling?
S: When I'm not photographing myself I'm photographing my friends, editing photos, assisting a really awesome artist, watching tons of movies, working out, and trying to stay positive.

GGotW: Do you get out to the clubs in your area?
S: Not usually, but once in awhile I'll hit up QXT's

GGotW: Where can you recommend a visitor to go in the Jersey area?
S: I would just recommend go to NYC for clubs and bars but if I have to recommend places I guess Jersey City & Asbury... there are some cool bars/venues and art galleries there and Red Bank has some really yummy restaurants and some awesome shops. It really depends on what you're into.

GGotW: As a model who would you like to have shoot you?
S: If someone I was a fan of asked me to pose I would do it in a heartbeat but I'm honestly not expecting to model for too many photographers.

GGotW: As a photographer who would you like to shoot?
S: I want to shoot so many girls, it's just a matter of meeting them. I totally want to shoot Raquel Reed someday and I think Mosh is the most gorgeous fetish model out there today.

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NY Times gets Goth

Photo by: Daniel Levitt

Front of the fashion section in Thursday's New York Times was a full page article about Goth Fashion and its role over the last twenty plus years.

We're re-posting the whole article here, so that it can be archived on the site, not to steal it. We give full credit to CINTRA WILSON who wrote it and the NY Times for publishing it. We'd love to hear your thoughts on the article in the comments area below.

DON’T know how it happened. It felt more like a gradual, irresistible drift, but in retrospect, it might have been a sudden, overnight conversion. Maybe our local video store rented “The Hunger” one too many times.

Perhaps one teenager too many lay awake after midnight, unable to get Edward Gorey’s disturbing Black Doll image out of his head. Maybe a girl with 14 piercings in each ear sang Siouxsie and the Banshees’s “Cities in Dust” to her cat enough times to warp the entire light spectrum.

But there was a distinct point in San Francisco, in the late 1980s, when all the postpunk wardrobes of my extended tribe — a lower Haight-Ashbury aggregate of motorcyclists, college dropouts, would-be artists and nightclub workers — turned as abruptly and completely black as if a wall of ink had crept up from the Pacific and saturated everything, save for occasional outcroppings of little silver skulls.

Secretly I nursed grandiose ideas that my funereal vintage attire aligned me with beatniks, existentialists, Zen Buddhists, French Situationists, 1930s movie stars and samurai. (In reality, my style could probably have been more aptly described as “Biker Madonna with mood disorder.”)

We were all young and poor: If your clothes were all black, everything matched and was vaguely elegant (especially if you squinted). Entropy was a thrifty, built-in style; if your tights ripped into cobwebs, that, too, was a look.

We lived in squalid tenements and worked until 4 a.m. Goth was a fashion response to doing infrequent laundry and never seeing the sun. A Northern California anti-tan could be an advantage if you made yourself even paler. On the bright side, our new monochromism was helpful to community building: We were able to recognize our neighbors as well as if we had all adopted regional folk costume. You knew you could rely on your blackly attired ilk to answer questions like, Hey, where should I go to get my 1978 Triumph Bonneville repaired/get green dreadlocks/get the word Golgotha tattooed in five-inch letters across my back/buy jimson weed/cast a reverse love spell for under $14/(insert your vaguely but harmlessly sinister demimonde activity here)?

“ ‘Gothic’ is an epithet with a strange history, evoking images of death, destruction, and decay,” the fashion historian Valerie Steele writes in “Gothic: Dark Glamour” (Yale University Press), a new coffee-table book, written with Jennifer Park. An exhibition of the same name, curated by Ms. Steele at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, unpacks the evolution of goth in fashion from its early beginnings in Victorian mourning to its most current expressions.

“It is not just a term that describes something (such as a Gothic cathedral), it is also almost inevitably a term of abuse, implying that something is dark, barbarous, gloomy and macabre,” she wrote. “Ironically, its negative connotations have made it, in some respects, ideal as a symbol of rebellion. Hence its significance for youth subcultures.”

But goth fashion is not just for maladjusted latchkey kids. A recent proliferation of Haute Goth on the runways of designers like Alexander McQueen, Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh and the spidery crochet webs of Rodarte (not to mention various darkly inclined Belgian designers) suggests, once again, that black still is, and probably always will be the new black.
black still is, and probably always will be the new black

The goth subculture, however, for those who live it, is more than the sum of its chicken bones, vampire clichés and existential pants. It remains a visual shortcut through which young persons of a certain damp emotional climate can broadcast to the other members of their tribe who they are. Goth is a look that simultaneously expresses and cures its own sense of alienation.

This sentiment was echoed by Wendy Jenkins of Powell, Ohio, whom I contacted via a goth group on Facebook. “To me, Goth is like an escape,” wrote Ms. Jenkins, who is 18 and attends Olentangy Liberty High School.

“No one really judges each other,” she continued. “It doesn’t matter if you are tall, short, black, white, heavy, thin. Goth can fit everyone! I think it is a great way to bond with others who are different and who are just like you at the same time! Because we are wearing black most the time we are EZ to find!”

Missy Graf, 20, of Edmonton, Alberta, became fascinated by the goths at her Catholic high school. “One of the goth girls was in the choir with me,” she wrote in an e-mail message, “and we talked about depression and God’s apparent absence from her life. It was one of my first encounters with the world outside of the ‘Christian bubble.’ ”

“I guess I slowly became (eh-em) ‘goth’ starting a year and a half ago,” she added. “I was afraid of what my mom would think (she is still convinced that goth is associated with Satan-worshipping and that dying my hair black is one more step into the oblivion ... oh mom! You dye your hair red. Don’t you know that Satan panties are red, not black?). Whatever. Eventually I got to the point where I stopped trying to make people accept me.”

The Bay Area was home to a number of influential goths. Courtney Love successfully introduced the kinderwhore look: filmy Victorian nightgowns with fright-wig doll hair and heavy makeup. The band Specimen kept an apartment in the Mission District strewn with artificial cobwebs. Diamanda Galas frequently gabbled in demonic tongues on concert stages with her grand piano. I was privileged to direct the poet/performance artist/goth icon Danielle Willis in “Breakfast in the Flesh District,” her candidly hilarious, autobiographical one-woman show about working in the Tenderloin’s strip clubs as a self-styled vampire.

Ms. Willis, who embraced goth the second she saw Tim Curry’s “sweet transvestite from Transylvania” in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” used to write great articles on the ironies of goth fashion, like “Lord Damien Stark’s Makeup Tips for the Bleak” (originally printed in Ghastly Magazine):

“Whiteface should create the illusion that you really are that pale, and not that you have a bunch of makeup from Walgreens caked all over your face. Done badly, Gothic makeup can look painfully stupid. After spending money on a decent base, take the trouble to apply it evenly. It’s appalling how many Goths overlook something so basic and vital to their entire aesthetic. Equally bad and unfortunately just as frequent is the tendency to overpowder and the tendency to end one’s pallor at the jawbone. I can understand someone having difficulty with liquid eyeliner, but some mistakes are just inexcusably stupid. Don’t make them.”

I just wore black, but Danielle Willis was a Satanic blood fetishist who had her own 19th-century phlebotomy kit, permanent fangs dentally bonded to her eyeteeth and serious drug problems. I once teased her about her decorative penchant for red velvet chaises, heavy curtains, ball-and-claw side tables, stigmata and other forms of morbid opulence, saying that they didn’t necessarily mean she was goth, just Italian. She clocked me pretty hard.

THE origins of contemporary goth style are found in the Victorian cult of mourning.

“Victorians had a joke when women got into fashionable mourning dress — they called it ‘the trap rebaited.’ ” Ms. Steele said, showing me one of the highlights of the F.I.T. exhibition: a 1905 Victorian cult-of-mourning gown by Desbuisson & Hudelist that was off-the-shoulder, had a plunging neckline and was covered with matte-black sequins.

The paradigm of the Gothic man is a dandy vampire aristocrat
The show also makes a healthy foray into what Ms. Steele calls the “diabolism, dandyism and decadence” of Dracula. “Just as the devil is the prince of darkness, the dandy is the black prince of elegance,” she explained. “And the paradigm of the gothic man is a dandy vampire aristocrat.”

The vampire introduces the idea of the “erotic macabre” into gothic fashion. There are stunning examples in the show of vampiric sex appeal — e.g., a voluminous blood-red gown by John Galliano for Dior, printed with a Marquis de Sade quotation: “Is it not by murder that France is free today?” (Which, accessorized with its huge chain and cross made of railway spikes, would inspire even the Easter Bunny to absinthe and Emocore.)

One display acknowledges the fetish culture’s influence on goth (“kinky nihilism,” as Ms. Steele describes it): buckled PVC corsets and other snazzy bondage accouterments in addition to the usual Morticia Addams styles.

But to Wendy Jenkins, vampires represent more than just a hot batch of spooky formalwear. They provide a romantic narrative for sympathizing with her own perceived abnormalities. She wrote to me: “I think vampires are freeking sweet because they have such true emotions that no mere mortals can express! I too at times think I am a vampire being with my hate of garlic and how my eyes r sensitive to light.”

This sense of bathos-dripping, emotional fragility draws no small ridicule to the idea of “goth.” The word still brings to mind Anne Rice à la Renaissance Faire, moody bodice-ripper connotations, as well as ruffled shirts, tarot cards and sad girls who wistfully change their names to Pandora and Esmeralda (a tendency finally ridiculed to death in the “Saturday Night Live” sketch Goth Talk, with its teenage hosts, Azrael Abyss, “Prince of Sorrows,” and his friend, Circe Nightshade).

Nocturne Midnight, a k a Josh Klooster from Millet, Alberta, a 17-year-old student at Leduc Composite High School in Edmonton (and another goth in the Facebook group), prefers “a suave gentleman style,” he wrote. “Dress shirt, dress pants, top hat, spiked collar, light make-up. It makes me feel like an aristocrat.”

Tia Senat, 15, a sophomore at Ellsworth High School in Ellsworth, Kan., identifies her goth-influenced style as “emo.”

“Some Goth people seem different, but really they’re just normal people hidden behind a sort of personality ‘curtain,’ ” she said. “Emo is being extremely sensitive and showing your emotions.

“What drew me to it was because it basically explained how I acted. You can’t just decide to be. It really just happens. Many people believe that all teens such as me participate in self-mutilation, or cutting, and that they whine about their life and how bad it is compared to other people. Not all Emo kids do this unless something very very traumatic happens, believe me.”

Mr. Midnight takes exception. “Emos tend to take themselves far too seriously,” he said. “Every emotion they have is one extreme or another. Extremely happy, crushingly sad, screaming rage. Just too much emotion. All the time.”

Looking back at my own experience, it seems that black clothes were a response to certain catastrophic influences that came up with terrible regularity. We had all lost, or were in the process of losing, friends to AIDS, addictions and accidents. There were always disappointments in romance, and no surplus of mental health or functional families. Boots, black and leather provided a certain group with a certain emotional exoskeleton, a blustering attempt to express an edgy, careless willingness to hurl ourselves into oblivion. But the writing on the collective black flag, for all our reckless posturing, may have been best articulated as: “Ow, I’m hypersensitive. Please don’t hurt me again.”

Nocturne Midnight explains the importance of being goth: “It’s a part of who I am,” he said. “Nothing else worked. Goth just seemed to fit. I suppose Goth invokes in me a feeling of happiness, of belonging.”

Later Wendy Jenkins wrote to tell me: “Case you didn’t know, I am in a wheelchair.”

Sometimes the most sympathetic character in a story is the villain.
There are certainly worse ways to misspend a youth than living it in a vampire costume. After all, sometimes the most sympathetic character in a story is the villain.

But being goth doesn’t mean you have no sense of humor.

“Gothic style should be as opulent, decadent and individual as possible,” Danielle Willis wrote. “If you’re not up to making the effort necessary to carry off this most high maintenance of affectations, try wearing plaid shirts and listening to Nirvana instead.”

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Music: Kerli

kerli - walking on air

For your pleasure we present Kerli. If you know anything about this artist please leave a comment below.

Feature: Jessica Nova



GGotW: What started you modeling?
JN: I actually got into modeling because a friend of mine was doing a lot of trade show 'booth babe' work and I found a modeling ad on one of her links as I was searching for trade show work myself, and just fell into modeling. My first shoot was a tiny tiny bikini shoot. As for fetish modeling I fell into that as well, but a little more deliberately. Fetish allowed for more freedom of style, hair color, genre, and all sorts of things like that. No limits, and it's like playing dress up every day!

GGotW: What/who got you started making clothes?
JN: Making clothes just sort of happened. A friend of mine decided along with me that we were going to attend an anime con. We picked our favorite characters and tackled the task of altering and hot gluing to meet our deadline. All we had for a basis of knowledge was hand stitching patches on our jeans and fixing holes in our shirts. I have never had any formal training, just going about it and learning as I go.

GGotW: What is the story behind the name Jessica Nova?
JN: Hahaha oh the story behind Jessica Nova...I wish there was more of a tale. I literally was sitting at work one day, bored as I could be, and thought about all the things I wish my name could be. I was too proud to change my first name, and decided that Nova would be a good congruent to it, it was short, easy to say, and the name just stuck. I have friends now that get real pissed when they find out months later that it isn't really my last name.

GGotW: What hobbies do you pursue outside of the fetish and modeling realm?
JN: I wish I had more time for hobbies. I used to play my keyboard a little. I write a lot. I also co host on an internet radio show called Just Push Play. I play with photoshop, and do all the watermarking and site stuff for my friend's art page. I like to think I have a knack for crafting, playing with fake flowers, putting nails in picture frames, designing new costumes. Yeah I also really like to read, but rarely have time for it.

GGotW: What kind of modeling have you not done that you would like to?
JN: I would love to do some Rubber Doll/latex style shoots. I absolutely love latex but it cost a pretty penny. My goal is to get a full vinyl wedding dress in red styled like Lydia's from Beetlejuice, and a Harley Quinn outfit in vinyl would also rank high on my wishlist. I also love doing death fetish work. I love the gore of it but haven't been able to really dabble in it too much.

GGotW: Tell us about Kill Everything Clothing.
JN: Kill Everything Clothing, actually the company just merged with Studio Psycho and we are in the process of possibly dropping the original name. The name came from a joke between a friend and myself dealing with the phrase 'Kill Everything' which was code for 'let's get the fuck outta here' in any given situation. Our clothing, even with a name change, is edgy, weird, and straight out of comic books and horror movies with a little lsd thrown in for color. It's really aggressive and not something you can overlook. It's not about simply creating something new, it's about taking what you've got and making it original and artistic.
Cosplay Deviant
GGotW: What's your connection to Alice Malice?
JN: Alice Malice and I are friends. We do some fetish work together, we are on a site together, and we are both into similar things haha

GGotW: Your pictures show a lot of Cosplay, is that something you pursue?
JN: Yes I love Cosplay, as a costume maker and fashion designer I love trying to take things from cartoons and trying to make them appear real. I try to stay away from the obvious material choices and make it look more like clothes than a costume.

GGotW: What attracts you to anime and the world of cosplay?
JN: Well I don't just cosplay anime, I do a loooot of comics. I love comics. I guess it's the same thing that attracts me to many of my enjoyments, it's the fantasy element, the ability to be more than just a regular human. It's the same reason I like vampires and old folklore, it allows for the ability to travel beyond the current state of being.
I have always chased faeries and had invisible friends, I always loved cartoons and playing make believe. My first anime was Sailor Moon and my first comic was Batman. My first cosplay was actually a Sailor Moon villian and my first comic cosplay was Poison Ivy. No one really got me into it, though I seemed to drag most of my friends into the scene.

GGotW: Tell us a bit about the Goth scene as you see it in Florida.
JN: The goth scene at least in my area of Florida doesn't really exist. I noticed this especially when I lived in Tallahassee, we had no clubs, and my brother and I were the only ones that seemed to own eyeliner and black clothes. I've always seemed to be one of the extremes that stayed within the goth realm, others that could classify as goth seemed to also attach themselves predominately to another field, such as the juggalos and juggalettes (fan-base of Insane Clown Posie), emo, or something similar. I myself have had to branch out into the industrial portion in order to actually be able to meet people with similar interests. Even our 'goth' clubs play very little goth style music but cater more to the raver kids.

GGotW: Who got you into the scene?
JN: I have been 'dark' for as long as I can remember. I haven't always worn eyeliner or owned all black, but I was always weird, strange, and creepy to other children. I think the first thing that made me feel okay with that was watching The Craft in 4th grade and seeing Fairuza Balk and going 'oh my goodness, I want to be her, she's crazy and I'm crazy and wow'...so as silly as that may sound, seeing someone else that was a total psycho weirdo made me feel better.

GGotW: What drives the scene in your area?
JN: What drives the scene here? Individuals, we have to create the scene ourselves and as far as I can tell there is little availability for togetherness outside of random nightclubs.

GGotW: What is your favorite event?
JN: My favorite event in the goth scene here I guess would be the Masquerade at one of the local clubs. The music isn't great but the costumes are generally a lot of fun.

GGotW: If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be?
JN: If I could go anywhere in the world I would probably move to London. I love Europe and London is so classically gorgeous and almost fairytale like but at the same time utterly tainted, gloomy, and cold. It fascinates me.

GGotW: What is the weirdest thing you've ever done?
JN: Weirdest thing I've ever done? Hmm, I'm not sure that's a story that'd I'd want floating around on the interwebs haha.

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