Greek Myth Series: Demeter

January 6, 2023

Welcome to my Greek Myth series! If you’re new here, this series is my absolute favorite because it combines my childhood love for mythology with my passion for creative portrait photography. I began this series in the beginning of 2022 and I am so excited for it to continue into the new year. Without further ado, here is the myth I chose for this shoot:

Demeter is the Greek goddess of the harvest, of agriculture, of grain. The ancient Greeks considered her a “Great God of the Earth” because she provided protection through the harvest. She was kind, and called the “Good Goddess.” But she was also a suffering god. She knew pain, because her daughter Persephone was taken from her not once, but every year to be sent to rule with Hades in the Underworld. So, Demeter’s sorrow for her daughter caused the crops to decay, thus beginning fall and winter. Though she was a happy Goddess of the harvest, during the winter it was clear that she was altogether different – just like how the crops suffer.

I decided to depict this emotional side of Demeter because it is her most human side. The feeling of loss is insurmountable in her case, and so I wanted her depth to be more widely understood by audiences rather than simply “the agriculture Goddess.” Therefore, there would be no wheat or the typical icons associated with Demeter, and the shoot would take place during fall, noting the end of the harvest.

I chose a location similar to what I’d always imagined a Greek temple is like. In the myth, she travels the Earth for nine full days and nights, so I wanted to illustrate her exhaustion toward the end of her search. I chose an all-black wardrobe with a lace veil, nodding to the modern twist that I like to incorporate in my photoshoots (because fun fact, the ancient Greek color of mourning is actually white!).

If you made it this far, thank you so much for following along and taking some time to learn more about what goes on in my mind! I can’t wait to share more of my Greek Myth series with you.

Model: Pauline Phan

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