An interesting area of study is the Art behind the music albums artwork. It has been a very enriching experience for me to watch the covers and booklets and I can assure that it´s one of the points to deceide me to study Art History. I met Pre-Raphaelism, Symbolism, Art Nouveu for the first time in artworks of gothic music. I found not only these 19th century styles but many contemporary artists that use the cover design to spread their art. So, in this post I want to talk about one of them: Daniel Faoro and his photography “Medusa”.
Unfortunately Daniel Faoro is not a very wellknown photographer, he has worked in underground musical scene participating in covers for bands like Play Dead or Elijah’s Mantle. He has also participated in some collective exhibitions in the gay scene.
The photo I present belongs to the cover of Elijah’s Mantle “Sorrows of Sphia” album (1995). This album is completely dedicated to female godesses from diverse religions and cults and it´s an enhancement of matriarchy as the first state of the humankind. Just “Medusa” it´s the most celebrated song of the album and just because of it this image appears in the cover.
Elijah’s Mantle is a project rooted in the french Symbolist movement of 19th century. The music is based in orchestral instrumentation that loops again and again, over whom appears the solemn voice of Mark Ellis that sings as he would be reciting poetry. No doubt Elijah’s Mantle is one of my favourite music projects. Unfortunately Ellis stopped making music some years ago.
The decadent halo of the music makes us to view a Medusa whose first attribute is beauty. But the Faoro’s beauty is androginous –it remembers me the faces of Fernand Khnopff-. I want to emphasize this point: Medusa is beauty. Though the artistic tradition has represented her sometimes terrifying, as a monster –I quote Caravaggio’s “Medusa”- the Ovid text Metamorphosis describes her as a divine being, of original supreme beauty, but a malediction transforms her in a monstruous gorgon with terrifying face and serpents as hair.
Faoro’s photography combine two aspects: the original beauty of Medusa and the serpents hair. It brings us to the moment in which Medusa’s look converts to anyone she watchs in stone, even when she is beheaded. To represent it, Faoro has chosen sepia colour, and this gives the photography a halo of eternity: Medisa is an archetype, she has no present, she stands forever. The election of the tone enhance the photo.
I have extracted this photo from its original context to give it the importante it deserves cause in my honest opinión this photo should be contemplated much more than a cover of a music album.