This series has been in the works for over a year, and seeing it all come to fruition and up on the wall has been a dream. When I was at the Portrait Masters Conference last September I saw the incredible Parker Pfister doing a shoot on stage with a big plastic drop cloth a utility fan and a big light and I was mesmerized. The effect he created reminded me of Air and spurned the whole idea for the elements series. I knew when I had my new ROLEmodel class I would do four themes with 2 girls per theme for their Creative Couture Shoots. This was my fourth year doing creative shoots with/for my ROLEmodels but it was the first time I did the whole thing as a series. Figuring out how I would create the look and feel of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water was a daunting and super fun task and I am so happy with how it all came together. I will blog each of these eight shoots in entirety at some point but for now enjoy a preview of each of of my 8 lovely ROLEmodels as elemental goddesses. The hair and makeup for all eight shoots was done by my ever so incredible lead artist Cheryl Nacario, and the two headpieces I made with the help of my wonderful mom. You can see a behind the scenes movie of the creating of these images at the bottom of this page.
I don't think I could possibly love this shoot any more. With two girls per theme I wanted to make sure they each had their own unique shoots within the theme. So for the Earth theme I did a green Earth and a dry Earth shoot. I knew I wanted to play with painting a model in clay again this year as it was so gorgeous when I did it back in 2016 and I thought it would be a beautiful look for dry cracked Earth. Pairing it with an incredible lichen encrusted twig crown and a root shroud brought the whole look to a level I never dreamed. I was seriously squealing with delight during this whole shoot. Maybe the best part though, was the peaceful and fully present beauty Shae brought to the shoot. We put her thought a lot for this shoot and she showed up magnificently. I am seriously in awe of this girl! One other really cool thing about this shoot is that both the twigs and the roots she is wearing did not come from living plants but were left over from the destructing of the floods following the Thomas Fire so no plants were harmed and the represent the aftermath of climate change paired with the cracked and parched earth of drought that her clay covered body represents.
Oh my lovely Kiara! I knew she needed to be my green earth goddess. For her shoot we created a moss based headpiece and stuck more moss to a beautiful green dress I have in my studio wardrobe. Kiara really embodied the peace and power of the Earth element in tis shoot and I am just so happy with how it all turned out.
For the Air element I wanted the shoots to still be different for my two girls but knew that the basic elements needed to be the same. I knew one would use the thin plastic that inspired the whole series so with the other, lovely Emilia, I used lots of white silk chiffon and threw it around to create a cloud and air feel. We created a sweeping cloud like background of white chiffon and blew a fan upward to get movement then my wonderful team threw silk at and around her. My favorite touch has to be the simple incandescent light we put behind the background because it gave the illusion of the dawn sky and I'm pretty obsessed. Finally I finished off the image with an overlay of real clouds, something that I've never tried before. Emilia was just perfect in this shoot and really rocked the wig and crazy makeup we put her in.
Jaqueline was my Air goddess that got to rock the look that initially inspired this whole series. The "fabric" around her is actually a thin plastic drop cloth from Home Depot! I put a fan and light behind her and we just played. I love pushing out of my comfort zone with these shoots and this was definitely something new. I have never used wigs before as I did for both Air shoots and I have definitely never played with plastic before! It took some serious trial and error but we came out with some really fun images and I can't wait to share them all. I love Jaqueline in this look so much and she really could not have been more perfect!
Oh Fire! This was the element I was most unsure as to how to emulate. I knew photoshop would have to play a part but I still wanted it to feel like my work where I create a look with fabric more than photoshop. For both Maggie and Kailani's shoots we used a lot of red, yellow and orange chiffon to emulate flames and then overlaid real sparks and flames. I wanted to the girls two shoots to feel different from each other though, so with Maggie here I went with a look of quiet stillness and power and holding the power of flames. Cheryl, my makeup artist, created the most amazing look with read and gold flakes and brought it down to her fingertips as well since I wanted Maggie to be physically creating the fire. Again introducing hair extensions to give a more mythic look was a first for me and I am seriously obsessed!
Maggie was stillness and Kailani was all movement and power for her Fire element. Knowing Kailani danced in Fiesta I wanted her to represent the dance of the flame and I am just blown away by her raw strength and grace. We created a fire look with tossing fabric as well as doing an overlay in photoshop of flames and embers I photographed separately. Kailani moved so magically I basically just told her to do her thing and we threw fabric and I have SO many ridiculously cool images from her shoot!
Water is the one element that I was able to really play with the actual element itself. I have a 4x6ft pool that I sue for pool shoots and this time I brought it under the deck so I could get a full areal image for both Sabre and Maddison. I wanted one of them to be dark water and the other to be light and then I wanted to do a yin and yang inspired image with both girls together that you can see at the top of the page. Playing with fabric again I put my blond princess Sabre on a black background with grey silk floating around her. She has such an effortless grace!
For Madison I wanted her gorgeous dark hair to be a contrast to the light water look. We swirled various colors of fabric around her and she just looks like a magical mermaid, I love it so much! Since it was actually quite cold on the day we were to do these shoots we pumped water from the hot tub so both girls were quite comfortable. You can see in the video bellow what the pool set up really looked like and how much photoshop was my friend in this image. The good news is I now have the pool shoot down to a science so I can easily and comfortably do it for any creative shoot client.