Muses, Models and Power

A Talk with Anna Fox – Held on Saturday, October 23rd at 6:00 PM, Photographers Robert Taylor and Anna Fox came together to discuss the relationship between subject and photographer, hosted by Haley Drolet.

Pictures of Linda

Pictures of Linda, is a personal project made in collaboration between Linda Lunus and myself. Linda and I have known each other since the early 1980s when I first photographed her at a local, small town party. I was captivated by her stunning beauty and dramatic Gothic style. I continued photographing her and her band, Fashionable Living Death, for various press usage including an anarchic music magazine called Zig Zag. We continued shooting until 2015 six months before Linda tragically passed away.

Pictures of Linda is a collaboration; Linda wanted to be photographed as a record of herself and her style, I wanted to photograph her because she was astounding and a style breaker. Her refusal to conform blasted a fart in the face of the social controls that our society has imposed on women and was a breath of welcome fresh air – especially as we both lived in the rural south of England where conservatism is rife.

At times, Linda bullied me to photograph her, constantly desiring images of herself; for the band, a modelling portfolio or simply a record of a new outfit. She perused charity shops on a weekly basis and created outfits of her own by borrowing, chopping and joining, I had never seen such extraordinary finery. I’m not a big music expert but most of the music Linda made was too wild for me to comprehend – there was one track I liked called “Ban the Law”, I can still hear that ringing in my ears.

In the 1990’s Linda became ill, she was diagnosed with a bi-polar disorder and spent some time in hospital. During this time she called me a lot, at all times of day and night asking me to go in and photograph her. I didn’t want to go, I had never been inside a psychiatric ward. Eventually I went and filmed Linda as she wanted to be seen. When she came out of hospital and her condition stabilized Linda and I looked through all the material; she was shocked, she had never seen herself like this and she decided that the work should not be seen. Months after seeing the hospital films and photographs Linda decided the work was important and that she wanted her history recorded and that this was a part of it. We edited a short film together that included the hospital scenes as well as many of our photographs.

Linda recovered and we continued working together on the portraits. The costumes that she wore were created to be worn and were not just for the photographs. For the last photograph we took, in 2015, Linda invited a make-up artist to decorate her face, somehow it was less wild that how she would have done it herself but the enormous pink, fluffy eyelashes made up for it. She has black angels wings on her back and the sky looms dark behind her, it was made at the end of my garden.

Pictures of Linda Lunus is influenced by the chain of artists who have worked on questioning the construction of femininity in contemporary society from Cindy Sherman and Katy Grannan in the US to Pushpamela in India and Jenny Saville in the UK.

Linda died in 2016, through collaboration we shared our ideas and anxieties, we didn’t expect to end the series.

Glenn, Linda’s husband continues writing and playing.

Lola Flash

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Zanele Muholi