Originally posted December 14, 2013, on Tumblr.

Johanna is one of those great models, totally at ease and comfortable with her body in front of the camera. I first saw her ten years ago in Butow Maler’s amazing nudes. She was definitely his muse. I speak with authority: I know a muse when I see one, via a pre-installed app with which I was born. :)

Lover of palaces, Muse of my heart, O sweet,
When hailstones fly from January’s frosty sling,
On snowy nights amid black ennui, who shall bring
A cheery log to thaw your violet chill feet?
Shall you warm your wan mottled shoulder with the wing
Of bleak nocturnal beams that soar from the dank street?
Knowing you have no coin in purse nor bread to eat,
Shall you rake gold from blue arched skies for harvesting?
To earn your daily bread as the dense nights grow denser,
Shall you play acolyte and blithely swing your censer,
Chanting faithless Te Deums; or a moment after,
A famished mountebank, sell the charmed mysteries
Of laughter bathed in tears that no man ever sees
To rouse the rabble herd to fits of obscene laughter?

—from Fleurs Du MalCharles Baudelaire

Later she began submitting her own self-portraits, along with other works, always challenging us with bold eroticism, sometimes shocking, always beautiful and intensely feminine, establishing herself as a fine artist in her own right. Her name, for a couple of years, was one of the main search terms that brought people to PIXELS from around the world.

I have always been proud to feature her work on PIXELS.

Her self-portraits possess an undercurrent of vulnerability with hints of an abiding melancholy, I think very well reflected in this alternate version of Mein Herz Brennt …

Update 2021: Johanna has given up her self-portrait work for some time now. She is baking amazing vegan pastries, pies, and desserts, bringing the same level of artistry she brought to her photographic work to the cupcakes.

Johanna did consent when I asked her if I could feature some of her work in the upcoming “PIXELS AT AN EXHIBITIONthe emergence of a new art form on the world stage” book. I’ll have some actual announcements about this project in the next two or three weeks.

Mein Herz Brentt (My Heart Burns) by Rammstein

I posted the other official “full score” video for this song some months ago on the old Pixels site. It seems that they re-shot/re-edited the video and you can see it here. There is also a twenty-minute movie about the “making of” the Mein Herz Brentt video that I found fascinating. These guys are operating on a different level of art from most current pop/rock acts.

This version, with piano accompaniment, was shot on the same location, a long-abandonded East German medical facility, intensely romantic and melodic and so so so German – I find this to be the greatest evocation of the oceanic undercurrent of sadness in their music.

Here are the lyrics in English:

Now, dear children, pay attention
I am the voice from the pillow
I have brought you something
I ripped it from my chest

With this heart I have the power
To blackmail the eyelids
I sing until the day awakes
A bright light on the heavens
My heart burns

They come to you in the night
Demons, ghosts, black fairies
They creep out of the cellar shaft
And will look under your bedding

Now, dear children, pay attention
I am the voice from the pillow
I have brought you something
A bright light on the heavens
My heart burns

They come to you in the night
And steal your small hot tears
They wait until the moon awakes
And put them in my cold veins

Now, dear children, pay attention
I am the voice from the pillow
I sing until the day awakes
A bright light on the heavens
My heart burns

I watched Mein Herz Brennt (My Heart Burns) a couple of times and then thought I should post their “Piano” version video. I never get tired of it. These guys just blow my mind sometimes.