Aquarius was another sign that I had a clear vision for right from the start. As the "water bearer" sign, the icon is a human form pouring water from a jug, which is usually slung over the shoulder. Luckily I live next to one of the most gorgeous bodies of water on the planet, and I needn't go far for a gorgeous model either. I envisioned a goddess of ancient times striding confidently atop the water's surface, pouring sparkling drips from a pretty vessel, and Sharon and I thought our friend Thora would make the perfect Aquarius. She really does look like a statuesque Greek or Roman goddess! Sharon used Pulp Riot brand colour to create what I think is the prettiest teal-turquoise hair colour I've ever seen, and she did Thora's make-up in aquas and blues. Sharon created Thora's hairstyle based on my ramblings, and it's exactly what I had envisioned for a mythological goddess. Thora wore a dress I had bought for just such an occasion. These ladies did a fantastic job. They were totally ready and prepared. Then we went to the beach.
My original plan to be in the water myself to set up the shot and then to help Thora get only her feet wet... did not go to plan. We set our equipment down on the shoreline and I strode confidently into Lake Huron ready to make magic. I can't remember if I screamed out loud, or perhaps only dogs could hear me, but I am sure my mouth was frozen open for at least a few seconds until I could react and turn around to get back out of the water. It was the beginning of June, and I know Lady Huron very well - I knew the lake was going to be cold, even in early summer. I was not expecting that cold. Not that cold.
On shore, I think it was a full two minutes of me just rubbing my lower extremities and saying "ow" repeatedly (it helps) while Thora and Sharon looked on helplessly before I was recovered. I have fallen into icy water before, and it hurts. I don't enjoy even cool water. I take baths using the hottest setting! So this was not going to be my favourite shoot to do, but I still hoped it would be a favourite once completed. Steeling myself, I walked back into the water, probably less quickly this time, and tried to set up the perch for my model. I didn't want Thora to have to touch the water with any more than a bit of her feet!
Our goddess 'pedestal' broke and kept trying to float away. The water was being pushy and uncooperative. My legs went numb. I had to give up and haul my aching bones and faulty invention out of the frigid and seemingly mocking waves. We'd need to find the perfect rock (on a different, warmer day?), I surmised out loud... one that was just under the surface, but very close to shore, so no one would have to be in the water for long. Thora didn't have to be told twice - she was off down the beach in search of the ideal stone, Sharon and I barely keeping up with our equipment. Considering the random placement and rarity of large rocks on the beach we were on, it really could have taken hours to find the right spot. But within minutes, Thora had suddenly veered and waded a few feet out from shore, then climbed up onto the perfect hidden perch. We raced to set up behind her, as I wanted to be fast about everything, and of course, ugly grey sheets of cloud were moving in! Thora was a bit wet, but she hid the chill well as we had her pour several streams from a beautiful jug I've owned for many years. I took a few nice photos, but realized I really wasn't getting the angle and feel that I was ultimately imagining. I was going to have to... oh no. I have to get back in the lake and shoot from the water.
Wading in up to my chest with my trusty Nikon held high, I reached the rock and snapped and snapped, trying to concentrate on my model's posing more than how cold the water felt in my very soul. I think I managed about a fifty-fifty ratio there. I wasn't in for long; I don't enjoy torturing myself, and I certainly didn't want Thora to freeze. We both picked our way back over the rocky bottom of the lake to the warmth of the sand on shore. I am not sorry for the bit of suffering, it was worth it for the art:
Isn't Thora an incredible Aquarius?! It's actually her sign, too. Now, despite what you might think, Aquarius is not a water sign, it is actually ruled by the element of air. I included some airy clouds I had photographed before a storm years ago, and used a palette of silvers and turquoises, the colours of Aquarius. It's an uncomplicated image, not requiring a ton of detail, but divine in its simple beauty. I really love this piece. I hope you do as well.
Walking back to the car, we took a few more photos on shore. I wanted to use violet, another colour for Aquarians, and because it's meaningful to the model as well. Of course, what shoreline shoot would be complete without a sunset:
Water Bearer (Aquarius)
Again, I could just weep for how stunning that hair colour is... and I would rock that style all day long if I knew how to do it myself! Sharon is very talented and creative. I'm so glad to have her on my side.
There's a picturesque... let's call it a lagoon, shall we? It sounds more romantic that way... there's a lagoon along this stretch of beach, and we made use of it as the background for a magical, fireflies and faeries fantasy scene. It's whimsical and fun and a great "ah-side" to this set.
Fireflies In The Lagoon
Please feel free to share this from my Facebook page! Calendars are back in stock, and prints from the Stars of the Zodiac start from just $15. I really appreciate your support on this project. I put a lot of heart and soul into it, and my stylists, creators, assistants, and models did fantastic work! Cheers!
AQUARIUS - Jan 20 - Feb 18
Model: Thora Violet
Hair, Make-up Artist, Assistant: Sharon Lytle
Photography, editing, wardrobe, concept: Sarah Chisholm