If you’re into Greek mythology, you’ll know exactly what the River Styx was all about—the mythological river that formed a boundary between earth and the underworld. And the word “stygian” relates to that mythical river, conjuring up a forbidding, dark abyss.
Letting mythology completely spark her imagination, globally renowned educator Tracey Hughes named her latest collection STYGIAN, and collaborated with Bernard Gueit of Melbourne’s Bernard Guest Studios. In this collection the spiritual balance of simplicity is haunted by an anti-utopia feeling, blending culture, technique and social reality. In Gueit's mind, there was a perfect opportunity to consider mythology and history, and how that would impact the eventual shoot.
"When Tracey suggested that her new collection is to be titled STYGIAN my thought process went into overload. Drawing from Greek mythology of the River Styx in the underworld of Hades, I immediately knew that it had to be shot in black and white but playing artfully with light,” Gueit says. From there, he began his creative process—working to working to frame with lighting the dark and mysterious atmosphere. He wanted his set to go against the myth and lore of what a possible futuristic Hades would be.
“With stark images and clean lines, the hair—the hero of the story—will come into sharp focus. My approach was to frame the subjects in light but maintain depth, mood and tone in the shadows,” says Gueit. “I used a single light and several reflectors and deflectors to illuminate and highlight the strength of Tracey’s creation and her vision to capture ‘dark light.'"