Playing for Keeps: The Battle Within – 2007
This piece took four and a half years to create. There are approximately 189 different photographs montaged together to create one image.
It was created as part of a series where I explore religious ideas and concepts from different religions. This piece examines Christian ideas with some of my own thrown in.
There is Heave (top) and Hell (bottom) with the chessboard in-between representing earth. The white and black chess pieces are the same people, representing choice on earth. We aren’t simply good or bad, we are both good and bad and must choose between them. The battle represents The Battle Within that we all must fight to choose between good and bad.
Heaven and Hell represent eternity, and the people in the top part of the piece are the same people as the bottom part of the piece. This is because we are both good and bad, not one or the other. This is also to represent that we do not simply make the choice to be good or bad once and we’re done. We must constantly make this choice every minute of every day. Every situation provides us with a new opportunity to choose between what is right and what is wrong and the battle will continue into eternity.
I believe strongly in equal rights for all, and am therefore a feminist. You will notice there is only one male on in this piece and that is the king on the chessboard. I have always found the game of chess interesting in that the queen is the strongest and most powerful piece on the board, while the king is the weakest and least powerful piece next to the pawnThe queen will go out and fight, while the king runs and hides. The queen is also the only female piece in chess. This is the opposite of roles for men and women based on societal views of the sexes, so I made all of the chess pieces (the fighters) women, except the king.
Religious doctrine from most religions are interpreted and written by men, and typically men of power. As men of power interpret and write doctrine, it seems to the norm for women to be less than men in every way and subservient to men. Women also get blamed for the evil in the world in many religions.
For all we know, God is a woman, and that is another reason why I only used women in this piece. Including the angels in heaven and the Godhead.
Click thumbnails to view full images
Playing for Keeps: Pandora’s Box – 2012
This piece took five years, to the month, to create and contains well over 200 images montaged together to create one image.
This piece was created as part of a series where I explore religions ideas and stories from different religions. This piece examines Greek Mythology, which of course, was a strongly believed in religion long before it became considered mythology. Also, there are people today who still worship the Olympian Gods and Goddesses, so technically we could still call it a religion and not mythology.
Religious doctrine from most religions are interpreted and written by men, and typically men of power. As men of power interpret and write doctrine, it seems to the norm for women to be less than men in every way and subservient to men.
I chose the story of Pandora’s Box because, like in many religions, it blames women for all of the evil in the world.
According to Hesiod, when Prometheus went to Mt. Olympus and stole fire from the Gods, Zeus was angered and took vengeance on Prometheus, and mankind, by ordering Hephaestus (the blacksmith) to create the first woman on earth and named her Pandora (which some translate to mean, a beautiful evil.)
Hephaestus created Pandora using water and earth. The Gods and Goddesses endowed her with many gifts. Athena clothed her, Aphrodite gave her beauty, Apollo gave her musical ability, and Hermes gave her speech. Zeus gave her a pithos (jar) containing all of the evil of the world and instructed her to never open it.
Zeus then took vengeance by presenting Pandora to Prometheus’s brother Epimetheus knowing that he would not be able to resist her. Zeus stated that her offspring would plague men for eternity, as her offspring would all be women. In other words, Zeus punished man by creating women.
Pandora, of course, opened the jar containing death and many other evils which were released into the world. When she realized what she did, she hastened to close the container, but the whole contents had escaped except for one thing – Elpis (usually translated to mean “hope.”)
I decided to have Aphrodite cover herself. Aphrodite was the perfect female, very conceited, and would never cover herself. I decided to do this a reference to the Christian story of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were free of sin and did not know they were nude until they partook of the forbidden fruit. The forbidden fruit, which Eve tricked Adam into biting and therefore releasing sin into the world. The Christian version for why it is women’s fault that we have evil in the world. So, when Pandora opened the Pithos, like when Adam bit into the apple, Aphrodite realized she was nude and felt ashamed and covered up.
Clint Saunders © 2015