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Enjoy the Silence

By MichaelBilottaPhotography    
The day of this shoot was not an easy one. Most of the time, I get what can be described as the photographer's equivalent to stage fright on the day where I have to work with a model. I don't know why - given my track record of getting at least something from every shoot I've done, except one, I should revel in the confidence of those odds, and be excited by each shoot and regard them as a new opportunity to create new images.

But no.

It does help when I have worked with models in the past, and the second or third session has a much needed air of familiarity to offset the jitters, but I also think it's healthy to work with new people, to try new faces, new ages, and find something in all of them. And, to their credit, except for a couple sessions, I have had very pleasant and supportive people in front of my lens - many of them new to modeling, and all of them have literally bared all to a stranger hours after meeting me.

All this to say, the days and hours leading up to this shoot found me tired, frazzled, and even getting a speeding ticket from a cop at a speed trap a mile from my home, just 30 minutes before this shoot. I also have been at this, my work, my art, pretty heavily for 18 months now without so much as a week's break. And so I did the shoot, without the props I intended, without the ability to shoot what I wanted to, with a new model I have never worked with before.

And it was good!

It worked, and largely the reason for it working was the disposition of the model - eager to do something good, willing to do anything, giving everything he had even if I was less than my best. Once the shoot was over, and the day turned to evening, and all calmed down, I went to my home office and put my feet up, Wacom tablet in my lap, and looked at the shots. I focused on two of them right away, and strangely, the day's chaos and the last few month's weariness found their way into the theme of the first two, and I knew what I wanted this one to be about immediately.

The title says it all, and it was always my favorite Depeche Mode song, and the idea of the lyric is one near and dear to my heart. It seems the older I get I shy away from chaos, from frenetic energy, from noise. I have always been acutely sensitive to noise - it does not take much to aggravate me - a car horn, a gaggle of screaming kids, a motorycle, a city. Having lived in a city for most of my adult life, I am glad now to be away from it, and wish our lives were more reverent, more silent, more contemplative. Maybe there is a term for this condition, but it doesn't really matter - I have it regardless of what you call it. But it also seems that most of us fear silence, are afraid of the space of it, do what we can to avoid it. I find it to be the space where I get my best work done - where I can filter out everything else and focus.

This image doesn't immediately scream "Enjoy the Silence" but then again, neither did the video of the song in the 90s! It's hard to convey silence in an image, but I enclosed a key to his mouth, and wires into his back that seem at first torturous, but I choose to look at them as siphoning out the sludge, the noise, the chaos from his body. I imagine he is undergoing a procedure of silence against his nature, and succumbing to its healing properties!

Model: Luis Gabriel Nunez

Luis is available for modeling and you can contact him at:

lyrics to "Enjoy the Silence:"

Words like violence
Break the silence
Come crashing in
Into my little world
Painful to me
Pierce right through me
Can't you understand
Oh my little girl

All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm

Vows are spoken
To be broken
Feelings are intense
Words are trivial
Pleasures remain
So does the pain
Words are meaningless
And forgettable

All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm

Enjoy the silence

Tags: Specialist and abstract Digitally manipulated Digital art Portraits and people Flash and lighting

Voters: MattB1987, JackAllTog, RWPhotoGraphix and 10 more

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