Usually the inspirations for shoots come from songs I’d been listening to in the weeks prior to heading to a new location, but the song that lended itself to this sexy shoot with Sasha K. only entered my head the night before. My friend Matt, who was staying with me in Lviv, had Ukrainian MTV on and a rather cute, cheeky track called “Meine Liebe” by ТІК came on. Despite its title in German, it was sung in Ukrainian. Neither languages are my forte but I wanted to use the song, so I hoped that somewhere in the lyrics there’d be something appropriate, something that could lend itself to a visual-photographic story.
After putting the lyrics through a translator and getting Matt to proofread Google’s work, the line that struck me was “Серцю дуже хотілось любові, aле тілу хотілось гріха” [My heart so wanted to love, but my body wanted to sin]. Perfect. I wasn’t quite sure how I’d use the line, but I’d find a way.
(By the way, check out the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSyUpc1Fjz4)
When I began the nude shoot of Sasha K, after he stripped his clothes off, I kept focusing on the crucifix dangling around his neck. Even when you strip a man naked, the cross remains, as if it’s just as much a part of his body as his hair or skin.
Now I don’t want to suggest at all via the lyrical title of the shoot that Sasha is in any way sinful. Certainly nudity is as beautiful and natural as anything, but there are others who see it differently. There are those people who consider nudity as absolutely connected to sex, and therefore almost automatically as connected to sin, e.g. via fornication, pornography, what-have-you. But really it’s a bit of a playful title, not a political or ethical statement.
Perhaps it does make you think, but the truth is (and I’m not afraid to give up notions of artistic grandeur) that I chose this line because I wanted to include this sweet song on the Elska (01) Lviv Mixtape. And it was that cross next to Sasha’s naked body that reminded me of that particular lyric.
See more of the Sasha K. shoot and more of Lviv in Elska Magazine Issue (01), available in select shops or online at www.elskamagazine.com
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