Halloween is a big deal for me and I wanted to do something for you. In lack of preparing due to work and just being well.. a bit shit.
Here’s a detailed blog post from 2015 delving into me and my work (when I was shooting). Enjoy! And Happy Halloween! <3
Halloween has always been something of a deep love of mine, the horror, the darkness, the insanity and vile creatures of the night.
I’ve always loved the imagery deeply and tying that into my own mental history I wanted to combine some pretty serious stuff together with imagery that shows some of the darkest experiences of my life and the people around me.
The first shot you can see is of myself dressed in a Leatherface style approach to reflect a deep conflict I have with the truth/honesty. At first glance, you may feel “What does dressing up like that have to do with anything?”. Let me tell you.
Growing up, the ideas of “The Truth” and “Honesty” being the most important things in the world got me into a hell of a lot of trouble, it broke relationships, destroyed ideas and shattered friendships.
It led me to be isolated, arrogant and suffering from a severe superiority complex.
As time went on and I really started paying attention to my behaviour I started realising that the truth and honesty only seem to be the most important thing in the world.
When the other person wants to hear it, which from experience I can tell you, is starkly and unassumingly infrequent in it’s welcome.
Over time I learned that in fact, the issue wasn’t within the truth, but more so in HOW, that truth was delivered. I discovered the word “Tact”. Life changed. Ego disappeared.
The face was a cheap skin coloured mask (£5) from Bamboozled in Ross-On-Wye (details at the bottom of the post), the apron was £3 from the local butcher and the clothes were bought from the local Sue Ryder charity shop for £5.
A full on suit/jeans set-up AND mask for £13. Killer! I did have to spend a lot of time cutting the mask apart, rubbing dirt and paint on it, then sticking it back together with wire I found in the local skip etc, but you’ll always have to customise things to make it the best it can be.
Add on the cost of the blood (I get my assistants/models (who are all friends at this point) to split the cost on personal projects as we’re all in it together for the fun).
So personally after the split, this project will have cost us roughly £10 per costume and £40 on blood/latex /make-up.
Split that between us all and we’re talking £10 each for a wicked night out and something epic to show for it. Really not bad at all considering a mask from a shop can cost you £30 alone!
With that said let me also break down the concepts I have floating around and that the other guys are interested in venting / expressing.
Meaning / Concept:
For myself, it signifies really, a lot of deep-rooted issues I feel I have with myself.
The mask being torn apart and stuck back together signifies how difficult it’s been to try and change who you are to grow and progress, it shows you’re different, you can change, but ultimately you’re still made up of the same parts you were before.
Maybe a few new nuts and bolts or a bit of wire there, but it’s still the same face, regardless of how different it looks.
The fact the mask hides my entire face is also a deep meaning, it’s double-barrelled in it’s thought in which the second only becomes clear with the inclusion of the chainsaw.
The first meaning is that of my battle with communication and feeling like I’m not where I want to be yet, I’m unable to show people who I truly want to be because I’m currently not who I truly want to be.
I don’t know how to get there or if I ever will, I’m just trying my best to improve each day and move on.
That’s not to say I’m hiding anything in my behaviour, not at all. I’m completely upfront and genuine in my life and behaviour, but that doesn’t mean on reflection I’m happy with everything I do.
The second meaning is that of the fact of how I have such distaste for people who do wear a mask, for fakery, for not having the balls to be genuine to pick a side, a thought, to stand their ground.
People who do nothing but make excuse after excuse after excuse, people who waste others time, drain from those around them and give nothing back.
I want to kill that type of behaviour (hence the chainsaw). the rest of the clothes are really just aesthetic and add to the scenery/vibe.
Problems / Fixes:
This was a REALLY hard shoot to achieve because I wasn’t behind the camera, meaning I’m relying on my own communication and Juani’s keen eye to get the shot’s I have in my head.
Problems such as focus (f/1.8), shooting at night, rain heading your way, wearing a mask, having a chainsaw blaring out, having said mask sticking to your face and pulling the skin off etc were all problems with the shoots that we had to find ways around.
Most of them were pretty simple (turn the chainsaw off when you talk) etc though some of the more intricate problems such as focus and composition can be terribly time-consuming if you can’t communicate clearly.
So if you take one tip from this shoot, take “Clarity”. Communicate clearly, have a plan, sketch it down and let EVERYONE know what’s happening so everyone knows what to look for.
Plan plan plan plan plan plan plan!!!!!!!
The location was on a slope in a junkyard area too so stands and the like were really hard to balance, not to mention night time so impossible to focus off a tripod hahaha 😀
The really close up mask shot (taken in my home garage) was where I captured the mask (set it up on a tripod and got my mum to push the button haha!
Lessons / Classes:
If you like what I do and would like to learn more about my classes, shoot me an email! I’d love to help you take your vision to the next level! I can help you with the basics (composition, camera settings and how they work) right through to more advanced (retouching, post processing/toning).
Whatever it is you want to learn, get in touch and I’m sure we can get you where you need to go!
Credits: I absolutely could not do what I do without the help of some amazing people around me, including the town I’m in! Everyone from the local butcher to the charity shop, paranormal group and party shops helped me to create what was needed (Everyone went out of their way to stay open later, cut us cheaper deals and generally help aid us as best they could).
We really owe it to these guys for their involvement and if you like what I’ve created seriously go check these guys out, well worth your time and in Cameron’s case, well worth your belly (his food is so damn good!).
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