November 27th, 2010: Iris Ophelia


When I visited Paris, I found that I was particularly drawn to photographing statues– the fall of stone silk along a cold stomach, the delicacy of a carved lace mantle lapping over a white throat, the gracefully bowed postures that would outlive me. I would take pictures from various angles, zoom in on the more impressive textures and details, even in the process of being hustled along by an impatient crowd. I had been in Second Life for several years, and I could pinpoint my fascination easily enough.

I don’t see things of remarkable beauty from day to day without seeking them out. I see cars that get numbers to the gallon, people who will never let go of their denim jackets, and the kind of bland architecture that makes me wish I lived in a country that was more than a couple centuries old.

I became interested in Second Life and in Asian ball-jointed dolls at roughly the same point in my life. I found in both hobbies the meticulous pursuit of a kind of beauty that has very little place in modern reality. There are subtle aesthetic cues that flesh and bone don’t seem to support anymore, and these blank models capture them so easily. I have a hard time explaining why it takes me an hour to dress my avatar, and it’s just as hard to explain myself as I’m cautiously accenting the dips and curves of a blank resin body with a fine brush. The result is more Hadaly than Galatea. There is no life there, only a reflection of our most beautiful traits cast in artifice.

Frankly, that’s good enough for me.

I’ve begun to press flowers between the pages of a fairly substantial hardcover biography of Chairman Mao, another attempt to distill the signs of beauty. It’s a crude way to do it, and as a result it’s been somewhat hit and miss. The delicately arching white lily I had secured just before The Long March was a disappointment, but my more successful efforts sit nestled in the middle of the Cultural Revolution.


Iris Ophelia is a long time Second Life fashion blogger who really doesn’t like talking about herself. In RL, she is having a hard time adjusting to not being a student for the first time in 18 years.


One Response to “November 27th, 2010: Iris Ophelia”

  1. Rowan Derryth Says:

    I love this piece, it makes me want to have a coffee and a chat with you. Preferably in Paris.

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