I had been wandering around the world for two and a half years. During that time I had written one novel, Metropolis, in Australia. In 1979 I returned to the U.S. and my old home in California. Inexplicably I found myself unable to write. One day I took out my old Minolta camera. I set up my own darkroom. I was making a living in those days by designing and creating women's clothing. I had a small shop in Riverside, a nearby city. I designed the dresses, chose the fabrics for each, made the patterns, and sewed them together on my late mother's treadle sewing machine. I did everything with the dresses, I often said, except wear them. Some of the women who bought dresses from me seemed interesting. I began asking them to model, often wearing the clothes I had made. If I couldnt create art by writing novels, I thought, perhaps I could create art with photography. After a while I realized I was doing a photographic exploration of the Muse. I was trying to turn these women into archetypal figures. The Muse, I felt, had deserted me—that was why I was unable to write. Or perhaps she had grown impatient with me and was now demanding a different kind of attention. Perhaps, I thought, if I could explore her nature with my camera I would soon be able to write more novels.

These are some of my first forays into photography, using several different women who came into my dress shop, which I called "ffantasy." I have scanned the old prints and optimized them a bit in Photoshop. One can see a theme emerging here. These women are not simply pretty girls. They are preternatural creatures, provocative and challenging: armed and dangerous.




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