PRIDE (aka Vanity)

Pride is considered the worst sin of all time which all other sins are linked too. Pride is identified as a desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to give compliments to others even if they're deserving of them. This was where I started to get confused by what was a sin and what kind of a sin something was...according to the experts. When I think of Pride I think of the obvious: narcissists, egomaniacs, beauty queens, eating disorders, trophy wives etc but where I thought issues like anorexia might be Pride because you're obsessing about how thin you are it's apparently Gluttony. Then I went full heavy and wondered if we're all made in God's image, doesn't that mean him a giant hypocrite?

"Anyone who buys an article of clothing for a purpose other than covering his body and protecting it from the elements is guilty of Pride...There is not a person on this earth who is completely devoid of ornamentation"

For my two photoshoots I decided to go with the importance of being beautiful and beauty pageants but this later changed. I had also done another photo for Pride which I never used in the final product, I'm not really sure why all I can presume since this was so long ago was that this particular sin stumped me.

Shoot 1

The first photo shoot I did was fairly simple and just focussing on the need to be beautiful with a model sitting in front of a large mirror surrounded with makeup. Tafe had some makeup rooms with Hollywood style mirrors with the lights framing them. It was just the one shot bracketed so I got plenty of detail in the highlights and shadows. I scanned the negatives and put all the frames together in photoshop to make one image. I quite like the shot so I'm not sure why I didn't use it.

I ended up changing my mind though and wanted to combine plastic surgery with a Vogue style fashion shoot. Magazines and the fashion world are always the top of the list when it comes to who is to blame for body image issues. Supermodels are always stick thin and those gracing the cover of magazines whether they be models or celebrities are airbrushed to smooth out skin, hide wrinkles (because God forbid we should see Madonna for how she truely looks at 60 years of age) and even change their body shapes. Trashy women's magazines love to point out the "flaws" of women who dare to show some cellulite in public. Everywhere you look you're made to feel inferior. Some girls end up wanting nose jobs, other's breast enlargements. So with a new model we put her in a ball gown, some gaudy jewellery and wrapped her head in bandages and applied some fake blood. When it came to developing the film I had it in the tank with a roll of film from my Gluttony shoot when I accidentally took off the wrong lid to empty out the developer. Sheer panic took over as I'd realised what I'd done and tried to quickly put the lid back on. Because it was still in developer mode any light hitting it will "expose" it further in a sense. I went through the rest of the process with the stop bath and fixer and took them out to wash the film. The top film (Gluttony) was completely blank. The light had just completely destroyed it. Thankfully the Pride roll under it was only partially effected but I wouldn't know how badly til I scanned it later. At that time I worried they were a write-off. The light damage caused some cool lens flare effects, it actually made the photos look way more interesting and gritty.

Shoot 2

When I did my Beauty Pageant shoot the concept was to have the winner with as many ridiculously over the top "OH MY GOD I WON!" expressions as possible. I'd bought this amazing vintage dress for it that's silver with beading. I put a casting call out for a size 10 model, one answered and we booked the shoot. Upon meeting her though I realised she'd lied about her clothing size which is a massive problem when it comes to casting calls in general - either models don't read or they seem to think we just write is meaningless...then you get the special ones who will throw public tantrums because nobody picks them. Maybe learn to read? I had a fashion shoot for a local business years ago which was meant to include 3 different sized models they had selected but one had lied and so none of the clothes for her to wear fit properly or was a struggle to do up. About 3 years ago I wrote a very specific casting call that I wanted a size 8-10 model with dark brown/black hair. Amongst the usual "I'm a redhead!" (good for you?) was one model who puts her hand up and she's at least a size 16 and if a photographer has an outfit and a specific look they don't want to deal with people who either can't read or think you'll just change your mind. Clothes don't magically change their sizes to suit each person. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants wasn't a documentary. It was fiction. I quite often pick clothes/items for a shoot before choosing a model that's just how I work. So back to my Pride shoot, here we are in the studio with this model and my dress that wouldn't even zip up. In hindsight this was obviously Pride but I was just pissed off at having organised this whole thing, the dress, tiara, flowers and wasted film documenting this mess. The photos are just ridiculous. When it came to redoing the photos a year later I changed the idea and it became part of the Envy set. 

My new concept for Pride was quite simply Lucifer. Everyone knows how his fall from grace was due to his pride and next thing we have Hell. This was a last minute decision because it was basically the last shot I hadn't worked out what to do and I got my brother to model for me wearing my devil horns. I had a day planned of shooting Gluttony, Lust and this set but misjudged how long a camera battery lasts so we only got to take a few photos before the camera died. We shot outside of the old Red Stripe Clothing building because it had flames painted on the side. In photoshop I made it super contrasty and tweaked the flames.