Photographer Rob Rusling has released a new photo book called PIERROT, photographing model/artist/muse Jazzelle Zanaughtti in an exploration of the traditional pantomime character, Pierrot.
Published in a limited run of 175, PIERROT explores the historical character of Pierrot, the sad clown, with Zanaughtti interpreting different facets of Pierrot's costume and story. Pierrot has been a fount of inspiration for many over art history, with different art movements including the Modernists, Romantics, Symbolists and Decadents claiming him for their own; and Picasso, Björk and David Bowie using him as muse over time. Pierrot's pantomime story centres around love lost and the idea of the forlorn artist; the clown pines for the object of his affections Columbine, who leaves him for another (Harlequin).
Designed by Paul Hetheringon, the project and resulting book shows a collaboration between rising stars in the fashion industry, with costume and styling by Flora Huddart; and hair by Alfie Sackett, and a foreword written by former SHOWstudio staffer Lara Johnson-Wheeler.
Rusling's images explore the lines between extreme emotion and melancholy, and Johnson-Wheeler shared a snippet of her foreword to give a taste of the project:
'Think of the melancholy you feel, the morning after the night before. Think of that beauty, left to sit in the void of trauma, enacted in the early hours. Think of the humour you can’t express, the potential of a laugh, caught in your throat. Is it a sob? What does it taste like? Can you smell it? Here, we see it. Rob Rusling’s imagery is shaped by Pierrot - a figure expressing love lost and its subsequent performative emotion. Jazzelle Zanaughtti is his protagonist, made-up in the midst of disaster.'
Johnson-Wheeler said of her contribution to the book: 'To write the foreword, I worked with Rob's descriptions of the collaborative process between himself and Jazzelle, as well as trying to understand the initial conversations about sadness and laughter he had had with his partner, Victoria. They each had unique perceptions of the Pierrot character; it was great to try to forget my own and take on what they had each projected onto the images.'
Rusling and Zanaughtti both have a SHOWstudio connection too, as Rusling previously assisted Nick Knight and Zanaughtti's modelling career was launched after being discovered by Knight on Instagram.