Persephone Photoshoot

Persephone: Bringer of Death (Goddess Series)

Hello everyone and Happy Saturday! Last week, I had the first shoot in a series that I will be working on based on different goddesses! First up is Persephone, Goddess of the Underworld, Bringer of Death. For this Persephone photoshoot, we went with the traditional pomegranate theme, but with a twist! But we’ll talk about that in a bit 😉

Maybe She’s Born With It

Before Persephone was taken to the underworld by Hades and was just Demeter’s daughter, she was known as Kore, Goddess of Spring, whose name means ‘daughter’ or ‘maiden’. After her kidnapping and subsequent marriage to Hades, she was known as Persephone. The name Persephone has dark connotations, which makes sense for when she was basically sentenced to half a life of darkness in the Underworld. I feel bad for her, because she had the misfortune of being beautiful and turning Hades’ head so he thought “cool, she’s hot, imma take her”. The fuck?! He literally opened up the Earth, grabbed her up from his chariot, and went back down as the Earth closed up! How insane is that?!

Persephone being carried off to the underworld by Hades, terra-cotta plaque from the sanctuary of Persephone at Locri Epizephyrii, first half of the 5th century BC; in the Museo Nazionale di Taranto, Italy.
Persephone being carried off to the underworld by Hades, terra-cotta plaque from the sanctuary of Persephone at Locri Epizephyrii, first half of the 5th century BC; in the Museo Nazionale di Taranto, Italy.
Pluto and Proserpina, marble sculpture by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1621–22; in the Borghese Gallery, Rome.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini: Pluto and Proserpina
Pluto and Proserpina, marble sculpture by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1621–22; in the Borghese Gallery, Rome.

Seeds of Misfortune

After Kore was snatched up from the field where she was picking flowers with Nymphs, Demeter lost it. She was despondent, searching the Earth for her daughter, all while her duties were forgotten and the land was neglected. Hecate brought torches to help Demeter search for Kore, and when Demeter went to Helios for help, he told her what happened. She also learned that Zeus had seen what happened, decided not to anger his brother, and ignored it. Fucking Zeus. See below. Demeter was furious (as she should be!) and demanded that Kore be returned. Zeus agreed, but with the stipulation that since she had eaten several pomegranate seeds she must stay in the underworld for 6 months out of the year. Yay, compromise! Right…? This legend explains why during autumn and winter the land is barren, for that is when Persephone is in the underworld.

Hades and Persephone in the underworld, interior of a Greek red-figured cup, from Vulci, c. 430 BCE; in the British Museum, London.
Hades & Persephone
Hades and Persephone in the underworld, interior of a Greek red-figured cup, from Vulci, c. 430 BCE; in the British Museum, London.

Can’t we just move on from the Greeks??

I know society has put a huge amount of focus on the Greeks and their literature & mythology, but come on. They were SERIOUSLY fucked up!! First off: Zeus. Called the Fuckfather of all Fuckboys by Julia and Amanda on Spirits, he is just the worst. (If you’re not listening to Spirits, you’re really missing out) Zeus messes with humans and animals alike, continuously incurring Hera’s wrath because of his fuckfather ways (never being punished), and generally is a selfish ass.

Second: the amount of non-consensual relationships or dalliances in Ancient Greece is staggering and completely unacceptable. Those two things alone should be enough to have schools rethinking how much effort they put into Greek mythology. I completely understand that classic literature like that from Ancient Greece is important to understanding how modern society was formed, but so is learning about other cultures and how they helped affected the world! (Ahem, Asian history and mythology, colonialism in Africa and the West Indies, history and forced assimilation of Indigenous peoples across the world…there’s a lot to choose from!!)

Tell me more! But not about Ancient Greece…

So for this photoshoot, we decided to do a twist on stereotypical shoots inspired by Persephone. Reagan’s makeup was glam, with one side adorned with pomegranate seeds. It’s such a cool concept and I couldn’t WAIT to see it!! If you didn’t realize before, pomegranates symbolize Persephone’s imprisonment in the underworld, so I decided to use it with the makeup, instead of just as a prop. And it’s so siiiiiick!!! Check out the photos on my Creative page!

Reagan in the parking lot before the shoot with the pomegranate seeds on her face.
BTS photo from the shoot!

For the location, I wanted somewhere woodsy where it was dark and dank, but also with enough light to shoot. After researching several parks and outdoor locations in Portland, I found it. It’s called Tryon Creek State Natural Area and it’s beautiful!! I couldn’t wait to go see it and after rescheduling a couple of times, the day finally came for us to meet and execute our vision!

This Persephone-inspired photoshoot was so much fun!! Keep your eyes open for the next installment in my goddess shoot series with Reagan! (Hint: She’s another Greek figure who was also victimized by one of the three brothers. I know, it’s so specific 😉 )

If you’re interested in seeing more of my work, check out last week’s blog post about a recent spooky shoot! If that doesn’t satisfy your interests, head to my home page and explore from there!!

Again, Happy Weekend everyone!! Relax and enjoy the nice weather 🙂

xx Taryn

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