This is the first post in a series celebrating the star signs and my newly released goddesses of the zodiac calendar and set! Throughout 2018, I worked on a special side project just for fun, and to challenge myself as well. In January I put out a call for models, and then got up the courage to ask Sharon Lytle, whom I'd only met a handful of times yet, if she'd like to assist me with hairstyling and make-up. She said yes! And I'm so glad I asked her, because she inspired me not only to start, but then actually finish this labour intensive and challenging series! If left on my own, I likely would have thrown in the towel! Plus, she created some absolutely amazing looks for the sessions. And lo and behold, she is also our first model.
The first shoot we scheduled was for Capricorn. Capricorn is a... a seagoat? A goat-like mermaid? No problem! Let's begin the series with a really big challenge after all!
I had to build a fishy tail, but it had to curl around itself in a big loop, just like in the classic Capricorn figure. Having had some experience "mermaid-ing" with Kristen, I knew keeping the shape of a straight mermaid tail was difficult when shooting, but having a big loop stand up in place would take some ingenuity. Many brainstorming sessions later, I had cut out a very long tail from a shower curtain, and my seamstress friend Breann helped me sew it into a tube and two fins. I then sacrificed many pillows, stuffing fluff into the bottom of the tube and fins to create a more realistic shape and weight. I even put a few bean bags inside so it would sit well. For the curve, I stuffed in an arched plastic tube that had long ago broken off my baby's toy chair and I had inexplicably kept. You never know! So, our Capricorn tail was a shower curtain, some old pillows, and broken kids' toy. I thought I could make it look more magical in post-processing. I'd say it's been sufficiently transformed!
The scales were all applied 'by hand' in editing using parts from other photographs (fun fact: I only use my own photography and paintings for my creations, I have never used any stock photos or elements ever) of objects such as sequins. I even grew the blue crystals in this one myself!
The day of the shoot, which was the very end of January, I went to Sharon's house, nervous to be starting this journey, and of course, very skeptical if I could pull off this weird idea! As she finished up her make-up, we chatted, and I gazed out her picture window. No kidding, dozens of eagles and hawks were flying overhead, catching fish in the open waters beyond the ice on Lake Huron. It was awe-inspiring, and I couldn't help but take the majestic birds as harbingers of luck for our undertaking. This was going to be incredible! I could feel it. Or... was it the snow squall screaming across the lake toward us giving me the chills?
Sharon was an amazing model. We planned on shooting outside on the beach, imagining a snowy landscape filled with seasonal magic. What we endured were blinding walls of snow, shrieking winds that tore at our clothing, watery eyes, a protesting camera... and now, a fierce determination from two women to see the thing through, no matter what. We did it. It was on.
I left for Niagara Falls right after the shoot, warming up in the car. The scenery here is from that trip, and the gorgeous frozen waterfalls I captured while there.
I tried to incorporate some of the unique aspects pertaining to each of the zodiac signs. Capricorn is ruled by Saturn and ruled by the element Earth. Significant colours are blue and brown, and it's the tenth sign of the zodiac.
For each sign, I created at least two images, and we started affectionately calling the ones that weren't going into the calendar the "B-Sides". As Capricorn was the first sign I did, I ended up experimenting a bit, and so ended up with two other Capricorn images, before settling on a style. The underwater seagoat is on the cover of the Stars of the Zodiac calendar.
The Capricorn Seagoat
And this one is an amazing "Ah-side".
I'll share many more stories from this series, so stay tuned!
Please check out the whole project and find out about calendars and exclusive small prints here and here.
CAPRICORN - Dec 22 - Jan 19
Model, Hairstyling, Make-Up Artist: Sharon Lytle
Concept, Photography, Editing, Wardrobe: Sarah Chisholm
Headpiece: El Costurero Real
Seamstress: Breann B.