While some of the zodiac signs proved more evasive to conceive in my mind, I knew right away how I wanted to portray Leo. Kristen and I had brainstormed and she took notes (having much more organized friends to help on a project like this was indispensable!) and Leo was one of the first written up in detail. I also made tiny sketches of some of the ideas I had for each sign, and Leo ended up being the most like what I had envisioned before shooting.
Ruled by the Sun, a fire element sign favouring tones of yellow and gold, and of course, depicted as a proud maned lion, I immediately pictured sunny dandelions for Leo. I have many photos of lions I took myself, so I could make them really fantastical, almost like the roaring flowers in Alice in Wonderland. As soon as the yellow blooms spread across the lawns in spring, I took many macro photos of the contested wildflowers to use in my composite painting. I imagined a beautiful model reclining in a forest of dandelions, with a huge mane of hair, of course!
We decided Shawna would make a great lioness... funnily enough, she has a tattoo of a lion, but I completely forgot about it on shooting day! Sharon began hair and make-up on Shawna early in the morning so we could shoot as early as possible, but with Leo being ruled by the Sun, this was the one time I was hoping for some bright light and a bit of sun shadow. Most of my morning was spent mentally shooing away cloud cover. It worked! We had Shawna don a gold dress I've owned for years, and she looked amazing in it... I think it's safe to say that she works out. I had her laying in an ocean of dandelions in the neighbourhood park, and of course this gorgeous woman posing in flowers attracted the attention of passerby. I get very nervous when people are watching me work, and I often fail to do simple things like press buttons, and not trip over my own feet! Shawna was fierce; the perfect Leo. I love how hers turned out.
Look at that incredible hair! Shawna has naturally wavy hair, so Sharon created some magic with the curl and bounce here! She nailed the make-up look as well. I had said, "You know. Leonine. Like a lion. Lots of eyeliner". I love that she could also see my vision of the cat-like eye.
There are five "lions" as Leo is the fifth sign of the zodiac. She has a faint tattoo of the Leo symbol on her throat, and she's basking in the light of the Sun, of course.
For the "B-side" image for Leo, I wanted to use a contrasting colour, and the resulting image is beautiful in its own right. I think it has a "Starry Night" vibe. To create the photograph, I climbed up a ladder stationed right beside Shawna, and held steady by my now-assistant, Sharon. This also seemed to be amusing to everyone who walked by (must everyone and their dog be out for a walk just now?!) and I'm so impressed with Shawna for maintaining her pose - I kept teetering above her every time I could feel eyes on my back!
Dreaming Dandelions (Leo)
I hope you love these as much as we do! Please share with your friends!
Calendars are selling fast! Prints are available as well, including an exclusive smaller size. Contact me for yours. Thank you so much for following along!
LEO - July 23 - Aug 22
Model: Shawna Small
Hairstyling/Make-up Artist/Assistant: Sharon Lytle
Photography, editing, concept: Sarah Chisholm