Concepts come to me in all different sorts of ways, and this time, it was brainstorming different ideas for what I could use a particular prop for – a globe. I’ve needed a globe for a different concept for quite some time, and before I went ahead with that one in particular, I wanted to make sure I did something else with it. During my brainstorm, an image popped into my head: A young woman with the earth on her shoulders, representing carrying a heavy, heavy burden. Originally, I saw this as a very warm photograph, warm colours, a blonde woman, perhaps, and the earth tied to her shoulders by her own hair. Soft, simple background, very minimal.
This was the absolute bare bones of my concept, and no matter how the image comes to me, I end up with a basic concept like this in my head. It was a little too simple for me this time, and I knew that there was some element missing from the concept that was going to take it to a different place. I let it sit in my head for awhile – I didn’t yet have a globe anyway.
Time passed, and I went off to Photography Camp (hosted by Teri Hofford Photography) (which was an absolutely wonderful time, by the way, and if you’re a local photographer then you should definitely keep an eye out for the next one). An incredibly talented friend of mine, Krista (see her page here) came in and asked if anyone would let her paint a galaxy on their shoulder. Too much fun! I had to volunteer!
(Krista’s handiwork – isn’t she awesome?!)
While Krista painted me, I started thinking about that concept again (if you catch me staring off into space with zero awareness of what’s going on around me, that’s where I’ve gone). It didn’t hit me right way, but when it did, I knew that it was absolutely perfect for that concept. The idea of holding the weight of the world on ones shoulders is one that’s been explored plenty – but what if the person was a physical representation of the galaxy? What does that mean for the concept? Does it allude to how small ones problems may be in comparison to the grande scheme of things? Or does it allude to how one might mean more than just the world to someone? I loved how the idea completely changed the dynamic of the concept, and how lucky am I that Krista was totally down for it?!
At that point, Krista and I had to really work out the finer details of the portrait, toss around different ideas, and see what we liked and didn’t. We talked about the blonde hair, but we decided that the black galaxy wouldn’t blend in well. We talked about red hair, but finding a model with long enough hair was definitely an issue. And then we talked about a model with dark hair, and that’s when things really pulled together. We changed the background color to be black, and everything fell together.
(the beginning of the body painting)
Once we decided on dark hair, Jess was definitely my go to gal – long, long, long ass dark hair and definitely excited for the concept! We were all set to go 🙂
Important was working out the posing, as that was going to affect where Krista painted, and we wanted her to only paint as little as possible. We painted Jess from her arms all the way up, and then a portion of her right leg.
The whole process ended up taking about two hours for painting. But the end result was exactly what we wanted. I’m beyond happy with how this project turned out, and am so thankful for Krista and Jess for being so dedicated and excited to create. I’m lucky to have such talented people in my life!
And without further ado, here is the full set: 4 photos, totally worth it.