Rescuing Beauty

What power in the universe compelled Christine Presco, Jon Presco, and Michael Dundon to take a walk out on the Venice pier at 2:30 A.M. will go down in fashion and art history – for starters – for if we had not gone down to the sea, we would not have rescued Rena Christiansen, one of the most beautiful women in the world, and the archetypal Rosamond woman that made my late sister famous.

Rena was our Muse, who like Andromeda was put in peril so she could be rescued by a son of a god, Persius, the progenitor of the Persian people. I have long suspected the Stuttmeisters were Persian Jews. Being a follower of Meher Baba whose parents were Persians, makes this rescue of Beauty a godly event.

“The Queen Cassiopeia, wife of king Cepheus of Æthiopia, was beautiful but also arrogant and vain; these latter two characteristics led to her downfall. In some source she was daughter of Coronus and Zeuxo. Her name in Greek is Κασσιόπη, which means “she whose words excel”.

The boast of Cassiopeia was that both she and her daughter Andromeda were more beautiful than all the Nereids, the nymph-daughters of the sea god Nereus. This brought the wrath of Poseidon, ruling god of the sea, upon the kingdom of Ethiopia.”

Rena had become separated from her boyfriend who drove his lover from Nebraska. For nearly an hour she huddled in the dark doorway of a bar on the Venice boardwalk. She was petrified with fear, not able to move. When she came out of that darkness, I saw the most beautiful and brave woman I had ever beheld. Bravery was written on her face. She believed her action was an attempt to save your life.

“Can I walk with you?” she asked – bravely.

Andromeda means; “she who has bravery in her mind.” There is no face more beautiful then the face of a brave woman.

“Andromeda is an Ethiopian princess from Greek mythology who, as divine punishment for her mother’s bragging, the Boast of Cassiopeia, was chained to a rock as a sacrifice to a sea monster. She was saved from death by Perseus, her future husband. Her name is the Latinized form of the Greek Ἀνδρομέδη (Andromédē). The traditional etymology of the name is “she who has bravery in her mind.”

When I first talked to Rosemary about the death of Christine, she muttered, then spoke in her traditional code;

“Like Virginia Woolf, she filled her pocket with stones, and walked into the sea.”

My mother was mistaken for the actress that played Cassandra in the movie Helen of Troy, and thus adopted the role. That is all I could get out of her, the strong hint Rosamond was a suicide. When I read this in Pierrot’s webpage, I began to ask questions;

“Though death came early to Christine, it was not hastened by
her as many arround her feared it might be.”

Did Patrice and Heather Hanson read this, and wonder? Surely I would not want to interfere in this tragedy, or, cause Rosamond’s brother take his own life by taking away his child and grandchild. Was I considering jumping off a cliff, also, like Snyder suggests;

“At thirty-two, Christine was still unable to sustain a
relationship and her art at the same time, often to the detriment of
others who poured their energies into moving her abilities forward.
Was she a client who would jump over the cliff?”

A world famnous female painter is captured at the edge of the sea, chained to a cliff, and I have come to rescue the Rose of the World. Can you count how many have tried to stop me?

Garth Benton revealed the secret of Rosamond’s success;

“Christine worked almost exclusively from photographs and
figures she cut from magazines like Vanity Fair and Vogue and
Glamour,” Garth recalls. “That’s why the women in her middle period
were so exquisite – the inspiration for them came from elegant
magazines that set the standard.”

This paragraph backs up what I have been saying all along, that Rena was responsible for Rosamond’s success, because her three older sisters were models, and I painted Rena from a photo she sent me, now lost – as is this painting. However a photo of Rosamond beholding my painting, exists. Snyder says Rosamond also used family photographs.

“Almost entirely self-taught – and nearly always painting in
solitude out of fear of criticism – Chrsitne used photographs and
family snapshots as resources from the very beginning.”

While on the pier I looked down at the waves and said goodbye to my previous Muse, my first girlfriend, Marilyn Reed. I then asked where my new Muse was?
I did a painting of Marilyn using a slide made by the famous fashion photographer, Steven Silverstein, who did shoots of famous Beauties. Steven says he was inspired by Sarah Moon, who another imposter, Sara Moon, ripped-off Rosamond’s style. Capturing Beauty is the name of this ancient game, then tying her to a rock by the sea for the monster to devour. That is Marilyn on a rock by the sea with long scarf.

Then there is the aritst, Philip Boileau, the son of Susan Benton who is kin to my niece, Drew Benton. Philip captured Beauty and put her on the cover of famous magazines at the turn of the century.

Virginia Woolf’s mother was a Pre-Raphalite model. This is a very big, and very beauty tale I have to tell – with the help the gods and the Muses.

Jon Presco

Copyright 2012

1. emily Patterson    December 8, 2010
Hi. I stumbled upon your beautiful site and thought I’d share some random information. After researching a print that my mom gave me by the artist Christine Rosamond.. I found out that Sarah Moon was so inspired by Rosamond (who passed away) that the style is now attributed to Moon. Here’s the kicker: Sarah Moon was really an Iranian man who made a fortune off of Rosamond’s legacy.
jdm-art    May 16, 2011

Emily, that is so incredibly unfair, and inaccurate.
To be clear, the photographer Sarah Moon, who’s work is shown here, is NOT the artist, Sara Moon (note the H in SaraH). The photographer is an ex-model who found her fortune the other side of the lens – and is well worthy of it for sure. ‘Sara Moon’ is the professional name of the Iranian born, German National, artist Bijan Djamalzadeh who was commissioned to paint in the style of Christine Rosamond by Red Baron Publishing in LA. Within two years he moved to Verkerke and his work became markedly different and is very different again today. The two, Bijan and Christine were competing for gallery space at the same moments in time and so no ‘legacy’ yet existed.

And anyway, very often, more than one person adopt similar styles and each make their own way and (if they are lucky) make their own living: Rosamond/Moon, Dylan/Donavon, Elvis/Cliff, Bush/Amos and so on.

Throughout her life, Woolf was plagued by periodic mood swings and associated illnesses. Though this instability often affected her social life, her literary productivity continued with few breaks throughout her life.

On 28 March 1941, Woolf put on her overcoat, filled its pockets with stones, and walked into the River Ouse near her home and drowned herself. Woolf’s body was not found until 18 April 1941.[26] Her husband buried her cremated remains under an elm in the garden of Monk’s House, their home in Rodmell, Sussex.

Virginia’s mother Julia Stephen (1846–1895) was a renowned beauty, born in India to Dr. John and Maria Pattle Jackson. She was also the niece of Julia Margaret Cameron née Pattle, the famous photographer. Julia moved to England with her mother, where she served as a model for Pre-Raphaelite painters such as Edward Burne-Jones.[2]

Steve and Ann discuss their distinctive styles of editorial photography as it pertains to Steve’s fashion work and Ann’s lifestyle images. They also talk about the dynamics of working with art directors, stylists, and directing talent.

Steven Silverstein
Stylish and striking images for the world’s leading fashion magazines; inspiring instruction at fashion photography workshops.

Ann Elliott Cutting
Versatile advertising and editorial photography of children, sports, lifestyle subjects and large scale conceptual creations.


By the time I was a teenager I was on to other things like school, cars and sports. Then, in my late teens I re-discovered photography.  I completed several years of college and wanting a more intense photography education; I applied to and got into Art Center. It was an important part of my life, learning key technical aspects of the craft.  After a year, impatient to get to work, I left Art Center and lived on my own surrounded by roommates and friends who were either artists or aspiring actors.

I landed a job shooting large-format still life photography for a company that produced catalogs for department stores. One day they called and said the photographer who was booked to shoot a fashion layout had cancelled. With a high-priced cover model on her way in from New York, they asked if I would step in. Of course I said yes!  The only problem was…I wasn’t sure what I was doing since I had never photographed fashion before. Luckily the model told me where to put the light. I followed her advice and thanks to her, I pulled it off!  This was my first taste of fashion shooting and I realized it was the direction I wanted to take.

Shortly afterward I had the opportunity to go to Paris with a French stylist, Anne-Marie, who was a close friend. I thought it would be an interesting experience and a way to possibly further my career. It was an awakening to another culture and photography in the fashion capitol of the world. I didn’t work because I was too inexperienced and intimidated by it all. And worse, my cameras were stolen!  Yet being there sparked a fire in me that was to shape my career for decades. The Parisian environment was like a “finishing school” and I was highly influenced by the great photographers who had been there before me…Guy Bourdin, Helmut Newton, Sarah Moon, Barry Latigan, Barbieri, Toscani, David Bailey and others. It propelled me to the next level in my photography and set the stage for my return to Los Angeles to complete a portfolio.

I was broke when I returned but a month later got a call from Sarah Moon whom I had met while in Paris. She asked if I would help her crew with a production in Los Angeles. With the money I made, I bought a new 35mm Nikon and launched the testing I hoped would take me back to Paris. I worked hard at it, working twice a month with two models, Amy and Pam. To support myself I took a job as a waiter but was so bad at it I only lasted a week! As luck would have it, the very day I was fired, I got a call from Warner Bros. Records to do an album cover. I started picking up freelance jobs with more record labels and magazines – A&M Records, Capitol, Playboy and others.

Review: Beauty and Fashion Photography from L.A. to Paris


Sarah Moon – Life and Work
Sarah Moon was born in England in 1940.  She was born Marielle Hadengue to a family of French origin.  Moon studied drawing in art school.  In 1960, Sarah Moon was a leading fashion model.  Moon started with fashion photography in 1966.  Her work was noticed at the Modinsolite Exhibition of Avant-Garde Fashion Photography,
Arranged by Delpire Gallery, in Paris, France, and sponsored by Kodak in 1968.  Sarah Moon became known for her impressionistic style.  She photographed for Vogue, Nova, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar (Great Britain), Marie-Claire, Votre Beaute, and other magazines.
In 1968, Sarah Moon introduced soft-focus visions or illusions as personifications of new drooping fashions with a turn-of-the-century silhouette.  Her work generates a sense of mystery.  In 1981, the title of Moon’s retrospective, Improbable Memories, captured the essence of fancy, luxury and nostalgia manifested in her work.  This distinctive quality was heightened by the distressed surfaces of her prints, which looked as aged as the settings they depicted.  In 1985, she gave a personal interpretation to girl heroines like Little Red Riding Hood by directing adult models in sequences.  Her most recent gallery exhibition, displayed her re-imagining of another children’s story, The Little Match Girl.
Although the photographer never speaks about her childhood, it definitely influenced her artistic style. Some of her photos suggest a potentially troubled childhood. Today, her unique photos are recognized all over the world. Moon often captures her subjects in motion, giving the shots an ethereal look. The faces of her models are often erased or blurred, their eyes closed. Some are even amputated or dismembered.
Since 1980, Moon has done more than 150 clips and advertising films for such clients as Bally, Barney’s, Courreges, Danone, Dupont, Essel, Purina, Revlon, and TWA.  She has also done regular fashion campaigns for Cacharel.  In 1990, Moon was an honored guest at the Fashion Festival of Budapest.  In 1992, Sarah Moon had a solo exhibition at the Staley-Wise Gallery, in New York.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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