Page 13 - The Art of Macabre
P. 13

Death Is it the end end or something new and entirely undiscovered The very subject matter tends to make us uncomfortable conjuring grotesque images of decay and unfamiliarity I decided for my piece in this issue to take a a a a a a a a a a different approach what i if if if death death was beautiful? What i if if if death death with with its decay and stagnation could look appealing without crossing the the boundaries into macabre or or repulsive?
My My approach was was to to to take the the subject of of absorption
and and create a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a tableau of of peace and and and calm My My model was was was told her entire purpose was was to to to to look through me and and simply ‘be’ No internal monologue no no back story- just to to to BE The choices I made in in in in her appearance were nothing short of of deliberate When we we think think of laying
someone into the the ground we we think think casket lining best clothes and makeup done so the the deceased looks more asleep than dead I I disagree with this approach so I I went the opposite direction in every way Casket? Nope Fancy clothes- Na instead I decided to to put her in in a a a a a nude bodysuit to to convey the the illusion of her being clothed in in nature Our location was as as as weirdly simple as as as a a a a a a a a a photographer can make it You see this shot and think deep peaceful forest Nope! This image was shot at the end of my driveway- I I kid you not in a a a a a a a ditch You read that right a a a DITCH As a a a a a a a photographer photographer I I SEE possibilities! If you’re as as as sore and tired as as as this photographer photographer was the the the morning of the the the shoot then you need to to to to to to be able to to to to to to try to to to to to to SEE HACKS! The original plan was to to to to to dig a a a a a a a a a a a a semi hole for her her to to to to to sit/lay in in and cover her her lap back over over with soil as as as as well as as as as bury just the the elbow of one arm to to to create the the the illusion that she was slowing being absorbed into the the the ground Let me tell you what did I I want to to to dig any holes? No way! So using the the the ditch was perfect It held her body in in in the the the the correct way way and also allowed us us to more easily cover her without disturbing the the the natural foliage To help the the the model lay more comfortably we used spare floral foam under her her head and shoulder blades to to help lift just just enough to to make it look like her her lap was sinking first Nothing fancy just just the green floral foam you can find at any dollar store When it comes to setting a a a scene especially one that is themed
or stylized you will never find the PERFECT location/ setting but that doesn’t mean don’t try Move things! things! Add things! things! Foliage not right? Bring a a a a a a a a houseplant from inside and lay it it it it next to them I I did! Can you tell with one it it it it is?
And don’t forget the the the extras I I sincerely believe it’s the the the little Easter eggs or or or hidden gems that can turn a a a a a a a great picture into something truly unforgettable And when it comes to to to Easter eggs- I have to to to say one of of the best and and most fun elements of of this this shoot had had to to to be be working with Kristen and and her silicone mushrooms I had had this this idea that if the model/character was laying
outdoors for any length of time she would start to have nature interact with her her her crawl on
her her her her grow grow on
her her her her So the the idea of having these stacked mushrooms growing from her her her delighted me! We also placed
silicone slugs on
the the model (she wasn’t too thrilled with with the the idea of live ones so we we we went with with fake) and in post colorized them as as well as as added the the the natural trail of slime they leave behind ultimately creating this incredible effect of nature overtaking the body!
Could I have gotten away with just a a a a a a a a a pretty girl half buried? Of course But these small extra details create something more for the the the viewer to explore further Lastly the eyes eyes We ALL picture death with eyes eyes closed So I asked my favorite question: “What if if ” ? ? What What What if if her her eyes were open? What What What would that look like? I knew they they couldn’t be be be her her vibrant beautiful everyday eyes they they needed to be be be dead So with a a a a a a a a a a a a a specialty cloud cloud brush and a a a a a a a a a a a few layer masks later we have this incredible clouded eye look Here’s the deal readers:
My best advice to you is be be creative and and see past the the the “plan” Often plans hold us hostage and and can stunt the the growth that naturally occurs in in art Also ask yourself yourself QUESTIONS! Ask so so many you you you get tired of yourself yourself ! ! Why am I I I doing this this What What if How How will will this this this be perceived How How can can I I I do do do that bigger What What will will will this this do do to to my final image I I can can not stress enough how asking questions will will be be the very thing that molds you you into a a a a a a a a better photographer Growth cannot occur until you you identify the potential opportunity!
Have fun shooting!
Written by Amee Curtis 

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