all photos by michelle gemma
35mm film that i developed and printed at the greenman collective darkroom at taugwonk spur, and later in the darkroom in my backyard in mystic.
check out the root of twinkle volume 6 issue one summer 2020 here on portfire, plus the back issues to see more photographs of mystic life.
An international day to celebrate the life and work of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, held each year on 14th May, the anniversary of the date when Under Milk Wood was first read on stage at 92Y The Poetry Center, New York in 1953.
“International Dylan Thomas Day gives us a chance each year to celebrate Dylan Thomas’s achievements. There is still the enthusiasm for a national day to mark my grandfather’s life and legacy and we want to keep May 14th as a prominent date on the literary calendar.
Dylan Thomas’s writing has travelled through time – it is as relevant today in our troubled times as when it was written sixty-five years ago. It continues to travel across the globe reaching new audiences everyday. His poetry lives on.
We invite you to tell us about how you are going to mark the day and encourage you, wholeheartedly, to get involved and to love the words.” — Hannah Ellis, Granddaughter of Dylan Thomas
The photographer Rollie McKenna was at this 92Y reading of Under Milk Wood, to photograph Dylan Thomas, and she writes this in her autobiography, Rollie McKenna: A Life in Photography (Knopf, 1991),
“Dylan Thomas’s career didn’t truly take off until he ‘hit’ the United States. Readings at the Poetry Center and tours throughout the country where–in his own words–he ‘boomed and fiddled while home was burning,’ all but devoured him. The money he made, so necessary to support his family, passed through his fingers like water. The praise, so addictive, was fleeting. Still, he wanted to read again to his vastly appreciative American audiences and, above all, to write the final ending to his play for voices, Under Milk Wood.
Frenetic reading tours, sycophant-laden parties and late-night bar-hopping exhausted him, and just an hour before rehearsing the actors for the first New York performance of Under Milk Wood, Dylan was in particularly bad shape. On arriving at the Poetry Center, he vomited, declared that he could not possibly go on and collapsed in the green room. After half an hour, he was shaken awake. Pulling himself together, he directed for an astonishing three hours, urging the actors over and over: ‘Love the words. Love the words!’ I was so dumbfounded by his recovery that I almost forgot to shoot.
When the night of May 14, 1953, arrived, the theater was packed. The audience, silent at first, then tittering, finally exploded into laughter on realizing that this was no highbrow affair but a loving, ribald tribute to a village. Dylan took fifteen curtain calls as tears slipped down his face.”
featuring Model: Liz Walz
Stonington, CT USA
Photograph by Michelle Gemma
for the series “Personal Universe”
New Moon in Aries 24 March 2020
featuring Model: Lehla Cheyenne
as my Aries
First Sign in the Zodiac
First Shoot in my astrological series Personal Universe.
Welcome to the Terrordome:
“I got so much trouble on my mind
Refuse to lose
Here’s your ticket
Hear the drummer get wicked”
Photograph by Michelle Gemma
Stonington Borough, CT USA
“Don’t Take The Ring” draws from an admonition spoken by Agent Cooper to Laura Palmer in a dream sequence in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. The focus of this series is upon choices made, once the ring is taken.
We are drawn into the young blonde model’s world:
she has chosen to stand at the threshold-
she considers what lies beyond,
and then she enters the mansion.
She wants to explore,
and we ride along with her
And then it has been decided
that the consequences have already unfolded before her
as she meets her shadow self- the brunette model.
It is the casualty of her decision-
to cast one’s lot with the angels
that resonates with the audience.
We are rooting for these models to succeed
because we see ourselves in them.
We understand the platform of complication,
but we want them to rise like the phoenix,
and speak to our own immortality.
It is all about the work.
“Laura Is The One”
All Photographs by Michelle Gemma
featuring Models: Piper Meyers and Julia Farrar
locations: The Haley Mansion, Perkins Farmhouse before it was demolished, woods off River Road, Mystic, CT USA
The LAST QUARTER MOON occurs on Thursday, November 29th, 2018, at 7:19 PM EST.
Thursday evening, the Last Quarter Moon is exact, when the Sun in Sagittarius forms a square with the Moon in Virgo.
The Last Quarter Moon phase points to some sort of crisis of consciousness.
Outtake from “The Balance of Power”
a new photo narrative featuring Model: Jane Alice
as my LIBRA
for the new series: Personal Universe, an astrological study starring the model stable of Michelle Gemma (2017-2018)
Photograph by Michelle Gemma
27 July 2018
Stonington Boro, CT USA
Full Moon Lunar Eclipse
Although I have not run into you around Mystic in a very long time, I am sure you remember me since in the past you took photographs of Maria.
I have been meaning to call you, but usually do not remember until it is too late at night to do it.
As you know, Maria’s father was not at all pleased with the pictures of Maria.
Since the art festival is quickly approaching, I am emailing to ask that you absolutely do not use any photos of her in your booth this year or in any future years
– or show them at any other local events.
We have a friend who seems to go out of his way to check your booth each year and report back to her father, which always sends him into a tirade about how it was never the right thing to do.
I truly think it would be best if you destroyed all negatives of her pictures. I know some were exhibited at the Wayne Richard Barbershop when it first opened, because someone else mentioned that at the time also.
Sorry this did not work out well.
Thank you for your consideration.”
note: the photographer’s father was protective, also.
“The dream has gone
But the baby is real
Oh you did a good thing
She could have been a poet
Or, she could have been a fool
Oh you did a bad thing
And I’m not happy
And I’m not sad”
—-the Smiths, “This Night has Opened my Eyes”, from Hatful of Hollow, a compilation album released 12 November 1984, Rough Trade.
featuring Model: Liz Walz wearing a handmade dress by Susan Hickman for Crocker House FashionShow
Photograph by Michelle Gemma
“Since the most ancient of times numbers and numerology have been believed to conceal secrets and messages. For some, numbers have very special significance, with the ability to conceal true meaning from all but the initiated. To some, certain numbers can convey that something of particular importance lies within the text under their study. Such numbers needn’t even be written to convey the presence of a hidden code within a sentence or paragraph, only that the sum of letters included adds up to a particular number.
No number holds more esoteric significance than “33.” The number three is significant in all major religions. There is a Trinity for Christians, and a Triple Goddess for the ancients.”
“In the written words attributed to Shakespeare, to Francis Bacon, to Spenser, Dante, and others we can find hidden code words and paragraphs that use this number to alert the initiated reader that something important is connected.
In the works attributed to Shakespeare there are many phrases and passages referencing the number 33. Julius Caesar is stabbed 33 times. The body of work shows a mastery of numerology. The number 33 reflects the interface of the familiar world with the higher spiritual realm. In Hamlet, the Ghost is represented in the first scene with an entrance described in a sentence with 33 characters. And Horatio addresses the ghost in 33 characters as he leaves. “Stay: Speake, speake, I charge thee, speake.” In Julius Caesar, the ghost of Caesar visits Brutus in a passage that starts with a 33-character sentence, “That shapes this monstrous apparition.” Brutus recovers from the shock and addresses the ghost in a 33-word sentence.”
“From Iraq through Phoenicia to Phoenix Arizona, whether by design or coincidence, the 33rd parallel passes through some very significant places.
The ancient city of Babylon was very near the 33rd-degree latitude line while modern Baghdad is on the 33rd parallel. This area was once thought to be the Garden of Eden. Heading west, the line passes through Damascus, Beirut, and onto two Templar castles one exactly on the 33rd latitude the other at 32.71. The light of the sky is embodied by the Sun with the solar year divided by the sun’s cycle of 11.06 years, equaling 33. The Sun, defined as a circumference of 360 degrees divided by 11, equals 32.72.”
Crossing the ocean, the 33rd parallel brings us to Charleston, South Carolina. This city is the original site of Scottish Rite masonry in U.S. Charleston’s Fort Sumter is the location of the first shot fired in the Civil War as that state succeeded from the Union.
Coincidence or not, Dallas, Texas, was of course where President Kennedy was assassinated. Not only is it on the 33rd parallel, but also the date of 11/22 adds up to 33. During Kennedy’s administration Papa Doc Duvalier of Haiti was upset because aid from the U.S. was cut off. He claimed to put a curse on JFK, which caused his death on the date of those powerful numbers.
While writers on this subject often include Roswell, New Mexico, we’ll go on to Phoenix, Arizona. This was once the center of the Hohokam culture. The largest site, known as Snaketown, was only five miles from the 33rd parallel and the observatory called Casa Grande is five miles from the line as well. Here this advanced ancient culture built 500 miles of canals irrigating 25,000 acres.”
“Despite the reputation given to such beliefs by organized religion, science in modern times has come to understand the concept of a body clock, the effect of the lunar cycle on animals, and most likely people, and the reality of circadian cycles. Ancients might have known this as well. There are 33 vertebrae in the spine. In India, it is believed a vital energy is needed to awaken the spiritual energy located at the base of the spine. This coiled-up energy is known as Kundalini, and through Yoga energy it ascends to the brain and beyond. Both Hindu and Tantric arts seek this awakening.”
“The spinal column is often referred to as Jacob’s ladder, or the Serpent. It is also compared to the caduceus symbol of Mercury, Thoth, and medicine. Did the ancients also know there were 33 turns in a complete sequence of DNA? Could the Caduceus symbolize the two intertwining snakes apparently reflected in the 33-sequence, double helix DNA ascending a vertical pole, which could be the 33-vertebrae spine?”
“When the two threes are put together facing each other they offer a design that is said to represent the ancient Hermetic maxim ‘as above, so below.’ ”
Photo Narrative featuring Writer Royal Young on location in Great Neck, New York
Excerpts from the article, “33: The Magic Number, Why Is This Number So Important To So Many?” by Steven Sora, Atlantis Rising magazine, March/April 2015 Issue #110
Photographs by Michelle Gemma