"As Laura Mulvey so eloquently states, 'In a world ordered by sexual imbalance, pleasure in looking has been split between active male and passive female. The determining male gaze projects its fantasy onto the female figure which is styled accordingly. In their traditional exhibitionist role, women are simultaneously looked and displayed, with their appearance coded for looked-at-ness.'
I had a very unorthodox upbringing, with very strict, conservative parental figures whose religion disagreed with every form of self expression I so craved to traverse. Not having the tools or support necessary to openly express myself, led to many pressures and misconceptions about sexual identity in my own home. Being on my own for the first time, I was free to explore and investigate both my identity and sexuality, as well as how those two can intertwine without the crippling guilt from shame. For the past three years, I have focused on an intimate studio practice, which is an exploration and collection of personal and optical fantasies projected onto my subjects, allowing me to essentially create my own visual pleasures. Most recently, in an attempt to make the work even more intimate, I have chosen to explore every facet at my disposal. I have delved into painting, collage, writing, and eventually turned the camera onto myself to better analyze and probe my personal surroundings and how that explains my history. ‘It is said that analyzing pleasure, or beauty, destroys it.’ This further pushes my comfortability, adding an individual layer of scrutiny to these visual pleasures."
Mona Cordes is a London based photographer, stylist and designer. Mona goes into detail, "VIVAL VIRTUEZ is especially meaningful to me since it’s my first collection straight out of university. It has been created in my first and own studio, which I have a years sponsorship for with SET. Since being created in COVID-19 it feels like my emotional outburst of creativity and emotions. The theme started of with a mind map ‘FEELS’ which was brought up from a feeling of uncertainty in the end of 2020. I had all these feeling swirling around my brain and was trying to make sense of it all. I had recently finished university, in September 2020, and wanted to keep creating and making fully new pieces as part of a new collection.
The 7 deadly sins are in some way emotions and feelings which each of us has."
‘VIVAL VIRTUEZ’ is based on the theme of 7 deadly sins. The focus of my looks lays on each of the sins character traits symbolized through print and color. The contrast between emotions as there are f.e within characters pride vs. acedia is a main focus of the shoot and collection itself. Other sins center on envy, vainglory and wrath.
Photographer - Mona Cordes @mona_co_photos
Wardrobe/Design: - Mona Cordes @mona_cordes_
Muse: - Pia @aulforms
Facial prosthetics: - Sophie Gouk @mackerelmonday