J.R. Blackwell Self Portrait

Adora

Adora - Armor in Gold

Adora – Armor in Gold

As a kid, I never saw She-Ra. I was aware of the cartoon, but I didn’t watch it. A couple years ago, a friend got the box set and showed me the first couple episodes.

On one hand, it’s an adorable kids show. On the other hand, the plot is about a kidnapped princess who works for a technologically advanced para-military organization who conquers a planet where the native population primarily fights with swords. It’s pretty easy to imagine a much darker narrative under the kids show.

“You know what this looks like?” I told my friend. “This looks like the propaganda that’s shown to children to tell them why Mommy and Daddy were drafted into the revolutionary forces.”

It was then that I decided I wanted to do a photo shoot with a “gritty” she-ra – the real one behind the kids propaganda. She would be dirty, sweaty, scarred and bloody, with only hints of the she ra of the cartoon. So recently, when I started constructing armor for a photoshoot, I decided I’d let She-Ra be by inspiration. It’s not exactly like the cartoon, I did want something different, dirtier, battle scarred.

I would love to go out into a natural setting, put some blood on my face and do another shoot with the full costume. I suspect I might need another photographer to help me out with this one. It’s one thing to do self portraits inside with a collection of lights and tripods, it’s another to take the camera outside and try to be the photographer and the model at the same time. Either way, blood and swords, coming soon.

Memoir of a Revolution

Memoir of a Revolution

 

A bit of fiction I wrote to go with the photos:

Traitor, terrorist, or true heir to the throne? Is Adora a lost Princess come home to save her people, or an alien opportunist seeking to exploit a resource-rich world?

In this memoir, Princess Adora speaks about her kidnapping, how she learned the truth about her identity, the revolution that changed our world and the bloody road to freedom.

Gold Armor

Gold Armor

As a child who attended public schools, I’ve watched hours of propaganda on our Queen of Power. But despite the clear evil and good dichotomy presented on the revolution, I’ve always held questions about the stories we’ve been told. Why do we accept the word of an off-worlder, who arrived as a general in an army set to conquer us? Was there really a twin sister to our King, or did he make a deal to secure the freedom of our planet from technologically adept outsider?

This memoir claims to answer these questions, detailing what the propaganda of our childhoods glossed over. Yet I still find myself left with questions. Why has so much blood been shed over Greyskull, a desolate castle on a desert scrap of land in our otherwise lush planet? If what Adora writes is true, we are told to accept the right to rule in a monarchy of magic users, who place themselves higher than the people on the basis of birth and magical ability.

For all we seen during the revolution, I still wonder if the magical abilities of our ruling class are innate, as they claim, or are some technology we do not yet understand, gifted from a far off star.

This book tells us that the revolution was a success – but the bigger question remains, have we traded life under one heel for another?

 

 

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