After watching IT in 2017 I decided I wanted to try a project doing my favourite characters but with a fashion spin. This was basically a spin-off of an idea I had back in 2012 that I'm still yet to do but I have all the masks ready to do it. I have until I die so it's all good, they'll get done! I'm not a cosplayer but I do like edgy fashion portraits and I like creating characters for photoshoots or telling some kind of a story so I wanted to combine all of those elements into one shoot. I didn't get very far with this because such projects require money and I don't have any. Every time I thought I had some spare cash something would come up and it's something that's become more difficult with my back deteriorating so quickly. My first photo shoot was the character Ryuk from Death Note. Death Note is an awesome anime about a book that if you write someone's name in it they'll die. You can get creative with their deaths but it has to be feasible, so for the most part everyone dies of a heart attack. The books belong to Shinigami's, in this case Ryuk whose bored one day and drops his book so a human will find it. When Ryuk isn't bored he's obsessed with apples. He chucks full tantrums about getting one. This was probably the only anime I really got into but when they killed off L I stopped watching it about two episodes later (like me, L loves all things sugar), I think I have around 4 episodes left to watch and in the 8-9 years since I originally watched it I still haven't finished it. When Netflix announced they were doing a live action adaptation I took that as a great time to do this. By the time I was doing the shoot though it had just aired on Netflix and it was a massive disappointment. In the anime Light is an A-grade student, everybody loves him but he's a psychopath then you have Misa who is this adorable goth girl who also finds a book and is madly in love with Light. In the Netflix version Light is a complete loser that gets punched in the first 5 minutes and you're kinda glad about it. I was hoping he'd get punched again when he started screaming like a little girl. The whole movie is him using the book trying to impress some cheerleader (the Misa equivalent) and it's just one huge cringe-fest. After watching that I decided whatever I did with my photo shoot can not be worse than that movie. Even Ryuk was a let down. There was a lot of Ryuk sneak peek articles before the movie was released to get people excited and in the film you don't see much of him and when you do he's in the dark. They really wasted his character as far as I'm concerned.
I love styling photo shoots! I like being in control of outfits and props and making my photo look how I want it to as much as possible. It's actually amazing I let makeup artists have their own say but I do give them examples of the sort of style I'd be thinking of. I'm not quite a control freak with photo shoots, but I'm close. I had a lecturer tell me once I should consider being an Art Director. Honestly if I had my own studio space I would go full nuts. I want nothing more than a space large enough to build set designs. I was going to keep the outfit looking somewhat close to Ryuk but with my spin on it. Some bits were easy because I already owned the Death Note, the heart earring was easy to copy because I had a pair of dangly silver hearts, and probably a 1/3 of my wardrobe is on the goth side. I went opshopping for some extra bits and bought a shirt, belt and a big chunky ring and asked a designer friend if she wanted to help with it. It got to about 2 weeks before the shoot but nothing eventuated so I got her to send me back the shirt so I could work on it myself but then one of my neighbours decided they needed my mail more than I did so I never got it. This left me with a few days before my shoot in a mass panic on what on earth I'm going to do for a costume. I raided my wardrobe and found my Punkrave dress I bought a couple years ago through Beserk but never got to wear it because it was 1cm too small (then to add insult to injury I gained 12 kilos after my gallbladder surgery from complications). Decided it would be perfect because it's black, sexy and has skulls on the waistband and just crossed my fingers that the model would fit in it. I'd bought a feather garland (I don't think that's the right word but I'm using it) from WISH which turned up in time and I hit the art store for foam sheeting and shoulder pads. I remembered hearing cosplayer's use foam for their costumes so decided it was worth a go.
I cut the foam so it was the right size to glue onto the shoulder pads and shaped the ends to be like feathers. I painted them black and glued wire unto the underside so I could shape them to be on random angles and attached the feathers (above) along the edging. I'm not crafty in the slightest so knowing how to attach these properly as shoulder pads was beyond me but I ended up using ribbon and on the day just a couple of safety to pins to hold it in place better on the dress.
We did the shoot at my short-lived studio space. This was around the time I realised it was honestly too small for projects where I want to try and get the whole body in it. I'm no digital artist so I try to get as much done in camera as possible. The studio was part of some old office building so you walked through a door into a small area which had two rooms coming of it, one was mine. The guy using the space we had to walk through wasn't there and since my room couldn't fit 4 people we invaded the common area to do the makeup. This was my 2nd time working with Quinn.tessential Effects and I gave her creative licence on the makeup and she made some kick ass eyelashes for it. They were huge! I didn't bother doing a casting call for this shoot and just asked Ashayla Webster straight up if she was keen. I wanted someone competent for this shoot and I've worked with Ashayla a couple of times before and knew how prepared she would be for shoots even turning up to one with a notebook of pose ideas. She was also tall and slim like Ryuk, but if i'm going to real for a moment I'm 5'1" so everyone is super tall by comparison. It's possible I exaggerate how tall people really are in my mind.
Obligatory 'take a photo of the model while she takes a selfie'. This is also the only full photo of Ashayla Webster.
The shoot itself was super easy, take photos with book, take photos with apple...pretty much done! The editing I photoshopped her eyes to look like Ryuk's. His are yellow and red. I was worried they made the photos look like crap but people assured me they looked fine. Other than that I desaturated the yellow/magentas to make the skin whiter. Lighting was just a light in the back corner with a blue gel and a light from the front with a beauty dish - that's my most used photography accessory!
We tried to write Netflix in the book, but couldn't see it very well so I added it in Photoshop. Netflix wasn't harmed so clearly my book is a sham. This photo I added a cloud layer to the background trying to make it look dark and gloomy. I tried to make the blue light in the background into a moon for a couple but it looked really awful so I only kept it in one photo.
We switched it up for some shots and used my feature wall. This had been covered in newspaper for my last shoot but when I went to paint it red the paper bubbled really badly so I was trying to take it off. It was so time consuming and a royal pain in the ass that this was as far as I had got with it before this shoot but overall I quite liked the grungy effect. The photo below was as close as I got to a full length photo. The room was only 3 metres wide and I was trying to avoid using the wide angle lens because I either got everything in frame or moving closer would just exaggerate the size of body parts which I didn't want.
Dress Punk Rave - Facebook