Ceri Williams, the girl with the face, had an idea for a shoot that we'd put off for a really long time because we didn't have the necessary equipment or location.
Eventually, we decided we were going to give it a shot anyway and use what we had.
The original idea came from a character that Ceri played a long time ago in a popular roleplaying game called "Vampire: The Masquerade".
I asked Ceri to sum up what was the concept for this image and here's what she said...
"Summer was originally a character from a Vampire: The Masquerade game. In life she was introverted, socially detatched, curious in a child-like way, until she was kidnapped and killed by a Malkavian vampire. The vampire made a practice of scarring his clan name into the skin of his creations, but unlike most 'sires' he then abandoned Summer. She was later found and taken in by another group of vampires, and one among their number was able to remove the scars from her arm. But later she became terrified that her unknown sire would discover this betrayal, and she took a knife and inscribed the letters back into her arm."
So here we are.
Now then, Summer actually initially was a blonde, child-like, tie-dye wearing, tom-boyish type but for the sake of turning this into a more generic vampire image that people could better relate to, we decided to make her a bit more girly and a bit more obviously vampiric. To get this look, we roped the wonderful and very talented Hannah Lonergan on board for the make-up.
Now Hannah has already done some amazing work, including turning herself into the Corpse Bride and Edward Scissorhands flawlessly and so we also knew that, above and beyond her normal beauty make-up, she would be able to create the scars and handle the bloody task at hand.
We headed to Raven's Nightclub (the same location as the 'Destruction' shoot) and Hannah started working her magics on Ceridwen.
Ceri was getting all made up here and I was fretting about lighting in there...
The problem we were having was that we wanted to shoot indoors here but we had no lighting. Slow shutter wasn't much of an option for it and we were concerned about how the images would come out.
Now, at the time, I didn't have a flash gun, something which has since been remedied but at the time, I had to try with the built-in flash without getting a 'snapshot' style shot. I took a few pictures and played around with the settings a little before going back to find out how the girls were getting on.
Hannah had found a dandy place to hang her bag:
...and Ceri was looking much paler and in need of blood. Which was good. :)
Now it was time for some bad-ass scarring...
Look at those welts! I was very chuffed at these. I think Hannah did a bloody brilliant job of it...
... Now then. Following the make-up job, we got Ceri into position and effectively covered her in fake blood from the forearm down.
As this was being done, we all had this Malkavian vampire in mind and were running with it. We wanted a modern gothic looking vampire scene but actually, we almost didn't post this at all.
Here is the best image from the shoot:
After seeing the images in post-production, I already knew that we'd come far from the original concept and I wasn't sure actually whether Ceri was going to consider it a successful shoot or not. It occurred to both of us that actually, the image was a lot darker than we had initially anticipated and without the concept, it did just look like a very young girl self-harming and I know, certainly Ceri, was actually quite saddened by that. Especially as the character that this was based on was in fact pretty happy-go-lucky for the most part.
I actually asked her whilst writing this blog to describe how she felt seeing the final image for the first time for you and here's what she said...:
"Chloe sent me the final image before posting it anywhere to ask what I thought. That alone should have been a warning, because Chloe typically likes to keep things as surprises. I opened the picture on my phone and genuinely stared at it for a good few minutes. Normally I do this anyway in a "How amazing does Chloe make me look" sort of way. This time it was more, "...oh. Wow. That's frightening." I really wasn't sure if I wanted it to go online. Without context (and of course I knew the context better than anyone) it seemed very stark and real. In a strange way, it made me see the character very differently. She was fun to play, cute and funny and a bit sad. But seeing it, even in my own face, was something else."
We did decide to share this all the same as we do still like the image but we have decided to give this another go when we have some time but this time, sticking to the original character concept.
We'd be interested to know your thoughts all the same...