The temple of Isis at the island of Philae in Lake Nassar, Egypt. Photographed by Stevyn Llewellyn in 2010. Click image above to view art prints for sale.
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The short film Huntress Dreaming is loosely based on a story from Greek mythology. Atalanta the huntress is required by her father to marry unwillingly. She finally agrees that anyone who beats her in a foot race, will become her husband. Atalanta was an extremely skilled runner, and outran many potential suitors. Hippomenes was victorious by using his intelligence rather than his speed. By petitioning to the goddess Venus, she gives him three golden apples to distract her. By pausing to pick the apples up, she lost the race and Hippomenes won her hand in marriage.
This focuses on a sequence which illustrates the ambiguity of the unconscious mind, and in the case of Atalanta, it prefigures a future event. This film is not intended as a retelling of that story, but utilizes these elements to create a world of archetypes. This is inspired by my interest in symbolism, ancient ritual, myth, and the mystery of the wilderness.
Nature symbolizes the primordial unconscious, idealized as an unsullied pure land, a space out of time. Atalanta represents the human interpretation of this wilderness, the logic discovered in a dream. The golden apples symbolize a tangible link to the realm of the gods, and ultimately lead to a spiritual awakening.
I created this short film with the intention of making something pure and visually beautiful. Rather than focusing on the character in the literal world, she is depicted in a dream state, luxuriating in nature. The film centers on exploration and discovery. The journey itself is one of blissful exploration in the wild. Nature is depicted as a benevolent presence, the character as an archetype. The wilderness also conveys the importance of our symbiotic relationship with it, revealing the importance of our future stewardship of the natural world, and it’s interconnectedness with us. Time is negligible in a dream state, so the use of time-lapse sequences integrated with real-time footage further separates the scenes from traditional narrative. The film can be seen as a loop of sorts, where the dream is separate from reality, in which it is all contained within the mind of the dreamer.
The film uses entirely original footage and imagery, the majority of the sequences filmed within a two month period of June and July of 2010 in various natural locations. The sequences near the beginning were filmed in the mountains of Colorado, a temple in Egypt and tall grasses viewed above from a balloon. The majority of the film was made in various parks in the New York area. Some of the sequences are intentionally filmed blurred and ambiguous, to evoke an ethereal world of dreams. Simple dissolve transitions are utilized throughout, highlighting the flow of the scenes and to create a basic camera effect to illustrate the disappearance of the apples towards the conclusion. The use of a blue screen for the temple sequence was necessary to create the moment of the character in the presence of the gods, illustrated by the temple appearing from the natural surroundings. Three cameras were used in the creation of this film. A Nikon P-5100 was used for the time-lapse cloud and mountain sequences. The Nikon D90 and a Panasonic video camera were used for the majority of the scenes. The software used was Final Cut Express and Adobe Photoshop. The intention was not to overly use special effects, and to rely more on simple camerawork and transitions to tell the story of Atalanta’s dream. The music in the film is all public domain, and classical pieces were selected to add emotional weight to the narrative, as well as indicate key moments of the journey of discovery. -Stevyn Llewellyn 2010
Here are a series of photographs I took over the summer of 2010, which feature the model as the Greek Huntress Atalanta. These served well independently as stills, yet were also documenting the short film which I spent the month of July working on. Here, Atalanta is luxuriating in Nature, in rapturous connection with the gilt apples of the goddess Venus.