Everyone once in a while a simple gesture opens the door to a big experience. My relationship with Joe Wehner began the day he sent me his video for Cake Magazine’s Issue #3. All Joe hoped for was that I would feature the editorial and video on AOC.
Finally Joe Wehner has his response — probably more than he expected — because he agreed to take the plunge and play some games with me. It’s a crap shoot between us, one that came out differently than even I was expecting.
Word Games | Tell Me In 20
(not intended to make sense)
After watching several of Joe’s films, I gave him 20 words asking for a 5-7 words stream-of-consciousness response in phrase or individual words. The purpose of Anne Unplugged | Talk To Me is to enter into a fluid exchange where both of us remove the familiar need to make immediate sense of our thoughts.
Joe says his talents are visual not written, but I think he did very well. Admittedly, I’m most interested in trying to help photographers who don’t answer the word ‘light’ with a technical list of terms; Joe didn’t let me down in his responses.
Sensuality: texture, sounds, movement, nourishing, illusions
Dawn: insomnia, promise, hope, fear, balance
Light: nature, god, peace, contrast, energy
Empathy: dwindling, important, virtue, help, envy
Religion: hypocritical, inspiring, guilty, freedom, misinterpreted
Photographer: voyeur, thief, fraud, friend, accomplice
Female: powerful, beauty, grace, compassion, love
Fashion: pretentious, seductive, temporary, addictive, worthlessness
America: arrogant, ignorant, free, beautiful, caffeinated
Sound: eMinor, laugh, silence, concentrate, life
Waves: systemic, powerful, soothing, unalterable, underestimated
Touch: presence, focus, soft, vast, chilling
Angle: low, high, wide, right, 90
Crowd: loud, chaotic, energetic, unsustainable, anxious
Quiet: happy, peaceful, buzz, rejuvenating, morning
Bang: reality, startling, instance, shy?, anxious
Future: unknown, unattainable, soon, never, hopefully
War: pain, misery, aggression, repression, unending
Fairy: not, sure, about, this one
Man: awkward, confused, tough, lucky, stubborn
OMG, I just realized I didn’t give him a sex question. ME!
Anne’s ‘Impression’ of Joe Wehner’s Film & Images
As a professional design and development executive for Victoria’s Secret and ideator for agencies and clients, I’m trained to think spontaneously and out of the box. My suggestion to Joe was an immersion in watching his films, after which I would write an ‘impression’ not a ‘critique’. How did I — as a woman with a unique mindset — respond to his creative vision? Others would have a difference response and it would be interesting to compare them.
Watching Joe’s films make more meaning of my ‘Impression’. Note: more films will be featured on Wednesday, in my Sensually Yours column.
Original, compelling, vigorous, masculine, truly fierce, varied, ebb and flow, variations, Sybil women, great music but like musical theory, discipline and structure to the sequencing of the images, rigor, discipline and technical mastery … all mixed well for a poetic outcome.
A photographer who loves women, empathetic, intrigued with female self-expression. Joe leads, not commands. She spins into authenticity out of trust. His women are real — even if they are faking it. Great gift.
So much variation in his themes and approach. Love Joe’s ability to express artistry on so many level. Hard and soft. Very romantic in one film and staccato madness in another. Love how he slices and dices up the woman into the totality of her being. Complex … lots of complexity in his vision. You can tell that ideas are in his head, not just technique. Poetry dances with lens craft.
The dark comes alive with light. Uses contrast very effectively. Light/dark… conscious/unconscious … truly psychological shoots. He digs deeply under female skin. So good at capturing sexuality but Joe then puts the teapot on the stove. The cup, the wrist, the details. Pure poetry.
The woman is not performing for him … she is being herself. Therefore he is connected and in her sphere, not just another egotistical photographer not really in her world. Joe gets what he wants by giving her a lot of space, rather than directing her every move. Mature male ego; solid sense of self and confidence in his craft.
Masterful sense of female sensuality. Not afraid of intimacy in his images. Wide range of sexual understandings about women’s worlds.
His indie spirit women are political, mad, no resistance putting a fist in your face. Joe loves personality as much as body. His women are total, not body parts.
Retro glamour and grit is his mood. He takes me back to the seventies, which is a theme today in fashion but also the time of struggle. We got nowhere, now that we are going backwards. Great cultural sensitivity — very New York in the early seventies. Superb use of music. He kills me with the sounds, captures the fury of women then, makes me believe it’s all possible again when the sky is falling on our heads and we didn’t turn out so authentically liberated after all. I don’t have to tell him the world’s a f*cking mess. He gets it.
Sara ‘Gimmie Danger’
Water appears in several of the films. Water is the female unconsciousness and Joe taps into it superbly. Love the Cake #3 editorial. His talent shines here in the attention to small details. Female sensuality is like a cat. He notices all the nuances of real femaleness, not Sex in the City, I am the sum of my stilettos style.
Now things get dicey. When Joe first contacted me, I watched several videos before responding with an interest in his work. Not inclined to back a one trick pony, I wanted to see the range of his talent. Totally uncomfortable with the film, I could not finish A Trophy Wife’s Tale. “It’s brilliant but I can’t watch the film, because I hate violence, including sex play that involves real violence or the suggestion of the ultimate act of sexual revenge.” I wrote. ‘Maybe it’s all a joke, but I can’t handle it after 90 seconds “
The end of my ‘Immersion’ experience surprised even me, as I’m sure it will you. I will propose to Joe that we use the film as a writing exercise for AOC readers. It would be interesting to read the responses of others — their own ‘Immersions’ in Joe’s works — in the comments.
My stream of consciousness takes off now, into orbit we go.
A Trophy Wife’s Tale
He nails it with ‘A Trophy Wife’s Tale’. Ok, I must watch the damn film to the end this time. I hate sexual terror films unless Sharon Stone has the lead. He owns me now, watching this film. How successful is that! I am in his control, my attention and emotions high jacked unless I just say f*ck it and slam down the computer lid, like I did a few weeks ago.
I detest physical assault but I will watch it because the topic is the one I own as a professional constantly dealing with male/female relations.
Besides, I owe it to Joe, because I can’t relate to him if I don’t watch his best work. What good is Anne Unplugged | Talk To Me, if I don’t go all the way? This is not a virginity test; there’s no judge and jury. But I will watch it between my fingers, so that I can run away again in a second from this psychological crime against humanity.
We’re in raw, total talent zone now. This girl’s on top and we’re not play acting. This film kills it. There is so much intellectual horsepower going on in these three minutes that it could be discussed at the New York Film Academy or in a human psychology class at Columbia … or at an Annie Sprinkles / Candida Royalle sexuality conference.
One eye is covered and the other peering onto the screen … but I can see. Not a word is heard but volumes are spoken. Volumes of lipstick rage … a new feminine manifesto.
I remember my dream now … the first of my truly profound ones. My husband was lying dead in the back of the church …. the crowd had gathered around him as he lay on marble with only a loin cloth. I saw blood streaming from his chest . . a wife-beater looking like an innocent Jesus Christ.
Blood, blood everywhere coming out of the walls as I climbed each step out of the tomb that was my marriage. The blood was all over me … until I reached the land of Cakewalk 3 … a pure, verdant landscape with no violence, no shouting, no being ordered around. I was walking high on the retaining wall in this green Shangri-La when I saw the policeman.
“Sir,” I asked. “What’s going on back there in the church?” Looking down at my clean skin and manicured hands, there was no trace of blood, no more blows, no signs of revenge, no shattered glass.
“Why are you asking me that question, when you know the answer? Barry G has died of a broken heart, and you killed him.”
I did not, of course, kill my former husband. But this film invades my inner sanctum, my macho man private hell. With such strong reserves as mine, only the most talented artists can sneak up on me like that… or persuade me to walk back into psychological territory that I vacated years ago, refusing to pick up the knife.
Nagging thoughts … small voices whispering… shut up. It’s over. No wait, a bit of history … unconscious to conscious.
OMG, I did pick up a knife but I didn’t drive it in his chest, even though I screamed for him to get his hands off my throat, as he banged my head against the floor for over-cooking this New York boy’s favorite vegetables — brussel sprouts. What does that tell you! And they say women are temperamental. Our friends restrained him, ending the dinner party ahead of schedule and taking me away for good.
Instead of picking up the knife in an act of revenge, I started a short-lived magazine ‘The Gospel According to LIlith’, Adam’s first wife, the one who got thrown out of the Garden of Eden for thinking she was Adam’s equal. Lilith was replaced by the more submissive Eve, causing yet another rewrite of human history.
I shot the cover of my beautiful glossy that contained Cindy Sherman photos inside. Having just discovered my own artistry, I snapped a pottery pitcher filled with only red flowers and a bloody knife — one just like Joe’s — for the cover, calling it ‘Bouquet from My Husband’.
Here we are, many years later and Lilith is back at Anne of Carversville. She came full circle in my life last night. Mind you, I’ve written about Lilith but not within this deeply personal, psychological context. This is the impact of films and images on our psyches, whether we no it or not.
Well done, Joe Wehner. If the fashion world doesn’t recognize your true talent and value, there’s always indie filmmaking. Clearly, you’ve got the gift. Anne
Joe Wehner | Up Close & Personal
Born on Feb 9th, 1979. Didn’t pick up a camera until i was 22 years old, giving me a later start than most in my profession.
Always loved movie making but got started in fashion photography through a friend who i assisted for many years. He taught me everything that I should have learned in school.
After shooting my own work for a bunch of years, I moved into shooting video early 2010, bringing more success in the last year of my life then all the previous ones combined. Would love to shoot a feature film one day. Am working on a few short films at the moment so I feel like i am going in the right direction, we’ll see. Joe Wehner
Come back tomorrow for new Joe Wehner videos in my Sensually Yours column and his Cake image editorials. Here’s Joe’s website which I’ve already told him doesn’t do him justice. Ahem, we’ll be working on that. Anne
Lastly, I gave Joe two fill in the blank questions and he answered both.
1) If I didn’t care about the future of my career, I would say: (Joe) “No, but thank you” to many more people than I do now.
2) Because I do care about my future career, I want to say: (Joe) “I wish I was at the point of my career where I could work only on what inspires me. But ‘til then my email is Studio@joewehner.com.”
Update: See four more sensual films from Joe Wehner in Anne’s Sensually Yours column.