Muse as The White Witch, 2006

While trawling through DeviantArt looking at stock images of witches for this week’s post I found this photo, which I recognised immediately.

The photo is of Muse, an English model “with a difference,” who has her own web site called Image of Muse. Muse believes that “the figure of woman in every shape and size is Mother Nature’s ultimate masterpiece; to hide it is an insult to the creation of beauty”: ergo her site has over fifteen hundred images of herself, naked, in an astonishing variety of poses, costumes, and locations. (Many are also available via her DeviantArt gallery).

The photos are of a very high professional standard and are absolutely gorgeous: terrific examples of the nude body as art. Muse is a very talented woman and it is well worth your while to visit the site and read what she has to say (and follow the links to SuperBeauty.Org). I particularly liked her warning: “If you are prohibited to view nudity, or you are of a small minded nature, I suggest you turn back now and throw your Shakespeare, Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Degas, Cezanne, Van Gogh etc all in the bin …”

The shoot below is of Muse as The White Witch, aka Her Imperial Majesty Jadis, Queen of Narnia: beautiful, “but white like snow or paper or icing-sugar, except for her very red mouth” as C. S. Lewis describes her (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (London: Collins, 1980), 33). Although The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe takes its inspiration from the Bible, and Lewis was a “blatant and naive” Christian apologist (this according to his friend, J. R. R. Tolkien), sex is everywhere in the novel. This may be because Lewis imagined all beautiful and powerful women were evil (indeed that all women were evil) and that the source of their evil was their beauty, but he certainly believed all witches were evil and so he made The White Witch extraordinarily, enchantingly beautiful.

The following photos of Muse are a perfect realisation of all that Lewis wrote, and feared.

[UPDATE 25 April 2009: I have been asked by David Charles, the very talented photographer responsible for the images previously posted here, to remove all the photos of Muse (except the one above) from this site.

As I said in January 2008, when asked to remove all images of the magnificent Dita Von Teese, many blogs (like many fan-sites) walk a fine line between (free) advertising for the people/books/films/etc that they celebrate and infringement of copyright. My belief is that the people/books/films/etc that are mentioned on this site only benefit from this site's use of their images/stories/creations and that each post presents such a tiny fraction of their intellectual property as a whole that it would be covered by the "Fair Usage" provision of the Copyright Act. That is, I am doing the equivalent of quoting from, rather than bootlegging, entire films, books, sites etc.

When I put this to David he replied that "The images you've used are from Muse's members only website and should never have been in the public domain" and so "I must ask you to remove them." I hope my regular visitors enjoyed the images while they could and will understand why I removed the images as soon as requested.]

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