Marissa: Siren on the Rocks

I had another shoot with the lovely Marissa this weekend. She’s so beautiful, I just want to follow her around with my camera like a puppy dog attached to someone who just fed it. An artist herself, she understands what I want and helps achieve it without having to receive a lot of direction.

For this shoot, we were very loosely replicating the story from Greek mythology about the Sirens, beautiful yet dangerous creatures who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island.

Odysseus was curious as to what the Sirens sang to him, and so, on the advice of Circe, he had all of his sailors plug their ears with beeswax and tie him to the mast. He ordered his men to leave him tied tightly to the mast, no matter how much he would beg. When he heard their beautiful song, he ordered the sailors to untie him but they bound him tighter. When they had passed out of earshot, Odysseus demonstrated with his frowns to be released.


Some post-Homeric authors state that the Sirens were fated to die if someone heard their singing and escaped them, and that after Odysseus passed by they therefore flung themselves into the water and perished.

It is also said that Hera, queen of the gods, persuaded the Sirens to enter a singing contest with the Muses. The Muses won the competition and then plucked out all of the Sirens’ feathers and made crowns out of them. Out of their anguish from losing the competition, the Sirens turned white and fell into the sea at Aptera(“featherless”), where they formed the islands in the bay that were called Leukai.

The term “siren song” refers to an appeal that is hard to resist but that, if heeded, will lead to a bad conclusion.

Sirens continued to be used as a symbol for the dangerous temptation embodied by women regularly throughout Christian art of the medieval era; however, in the 17th century, some Jesuit writers began to assert their actual existence, including Cornelius a Lapide, who said of woman, “her glance is that of the fabled basilisk, her voice a siren’s voice—with her voice she enchants, with her beauty she deprives of reason—voice and sight alike deal destruction and death.” Antonio de Lorea also argued for their existence, and Athanasius Kircher argued that compartments must have been built for them aboard Noah’s Ark.

Christian Tobias Damm speculated that the Sirens must have been excellent singers, and divesting the fables respecting them of all their terrific features, he supposes that “by the charms of music and song they detained travellers, and made them altogether forgetful of their native land.”

The Sirens were called the Muses of the lower world, classical scholar Walter Copland Perry (1814–1911) observed: “Their song, though irresistibly sweet, was no less sad than sweet, and lapped both body and soul in a fatal lethargy, the forerunner of death and corruption.”

Of course, Marissa is a modern siren of the best type. The song she sings is one of beauty and artistry. She’s a very talented artist. I encourage you to check out her work.

By doing these photo shoots, I guess I am a bit like Odysseus. Curious to hear their song…

Information for this article sourced from Wikipedia.