Pin It
Jazzelle Pierrot
Photography Rob Rusling

This Pierrot-inspired photobook explores the melancholy of solitude


TextAlex Peters

Photographer Rob Rusling teamed up with Jazzelle in a series of images that capture the sadness in the memories of times before

“For me it is the feeling of melancholy, that feeling of vacancy after you have been sad that I found most interesting about Pierrot’s stories,” says photographer Rob Rusling on what it is that draws him to the classic sad clown who acted as the impetus behind his new photobook Pierrot. Taking inspiration from his passion for the pantomime character and Goddard films, the fashion photographer teamed up with Jazzelle for the project, capturing the model in a series of evocative images which loosely tell the story of that feeling of remembering the night before.

Lyrical and contemplative, the dreamlike photos draw on those feelings of melancholy and sadness, “the feeling afterwards when you’re sad but not sad,” Rusling says, to explore the emotional states between the extremes. “The real extremes of the emotional scale are pretty obvious and well understood, happy and sad. What about the feelings that come in between and afterwards though? They’re really important and much harder to describe or explain,” says Rusling. “There’s beauty in all emotion and I hope these images sort of show that.”

For Jazzelle, who came to the project mostly unaware of Pierrot but left a fan, the character is a symbol of unrequited love, representing the timeless story of love and love lost, of passion and heartbreak. “Love often makes people, myself included, feel like fools,” they say. “You can’t choose who you love, and you can’t make people love you back. He represents the feelings of sadness and frustrations, while also a kind of innocence I think.”

Presenting the images as a photobook was important to Rusling who says he has always held an obsession with the format, believing it to be the true place of belonging for photography, a place where the images really have a chance to breathe. Collaborating with Paul Hetherington, who he met while working as Nick Knight’s assistant, Rusling saw the opportunity to make a book out of the work which he says he and Jazzelle initially just made for the joy of it. 

While the images were made pre-lockdown, they are eerily pertinent to our times, speaking to the emotions we are currently experiencing in isolation. “Obviously at the moment we’re all living a new kind of normal and I think the solitude, the sadness, the melancholy, the memories of times before.. all these are things we highlight in the work by chance happen to be the reality we’re living right now,” Rusling says. “We didn’t make it knowing of course and the work offers no answers. But hopefully in being able to find a beauty in the solitude and emotion of our pictures people can also find that beauty in their own situations right now.”

Photography Rob Rusling; model, make-up and creative Jazzelle at Storm Management; styling Flora Huddart; Hair Alfie Sackett; concept direction Victoria Sestier; book design and custom lettering Paul Hetherington.

Read Next
Alice Dodds POTW
This Pat McGrath Labs palette is the king of all highlighters Product of the Week
Erika Lust
This company has given its employees 30 minutes a day to masturbate Beauty news
Cara Delevingne
Cara Delevingne is selling an NFT of her vagina Beauty news
Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish went platinum blonde because of a fan Beauty news
James Charles
James Charles breaks his social media hiatus to discuss lawsuit against him Beauty news
Botox, TikTok
Exploring the toxic Botox wars playing out on TikTok Beauty Feature
Euphoria makeup Zendaya Hunter Schafer
A24 is launching its own beauty brand Beauty news
Isamaya
Isamaya Ffrench’s new YouTube channel offers a BTS glimpse into her life Beauty news
Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus’s next hair evolution? The fauxhawk Beauty news
Butt implants spiked in popularity during the pandemic
Butt implants spiked in popularity during lockdown Beauty news
Vagina health and myths on TikTok
A deep dive into the wonderful and worrying realms of VaginaTok Feature
DB PotW (CDG Rouge) Article Cover
Comme Des Garçons’ ROUGE fragrance is a seductive escape from mundanity Product of the Week
Roll Flower Tattoos Carrie Metz-Caporusso
These flower tattoos are designed to celebrate body rolls Beauty Feature
Degree Inclusive deodorant
Degree Inclusive is the first deodorant designed for disabled people Beauty news
Taurus_Stars(1)
Midway into sensual Taurus season, here is your May 2021 beauty horoscope Horoscopes
Chlorophyl Water
Investigating the rise of chlorophyll water as the latest wellness drink Beauty Feature