Here's a perfect example of why you should or shouldn't hire me to do your portrait, and it's also a great example of why you should make sure that your address book is filled with creative people....
I once heard Tom Petty talking about the origins of his all-star band The Traveling Wilburies say "I was at a traffic light and I noticed Jeff Lynn (from the Electric Light Orchestra) was in the car next to me. And I yelled over at him 'Let's put a band together!' and Jeff Lynn yelled back 'OK, let's drive over to Ringo Starr's house!' and I thought "I really want to live in a world where people like that meet at traffic lights and do crazy great things because they all know each other."
Flash forward twenty years or so.....
When author Maria Dahvana Headley wanted a new promo shot to go with her exciting new book Queen of Kings (a supernatural tale of Cleopatra with blood and guts and witches (synopsis here.)) she could have gone anywhere, but she came here ... which means it doesn't really look like anybody else's promo shot.
We did a few straight up headshots in the event that her publicists looked at things and said "yeah, we're just going to crop your head out of this and use it sideways" (this is something that publicists and editors love to do to beautiful environmental portraits.)
But then we did the Real Deal. And the Real Deal was great because Maria got it, she loved the idea and she spent half an hour getting dragged across the ground and covered in mud and leaves without complaint, with, I must say, some great joy even. (She writes about the experience on her blog.)
This photo has Sxip Shirey, a musician I'm sure you all know, who happened to be loitering around my house turning everything into musical instruments. He came out for the photo shoot (as did trillian_stars who sat in the car the whole time reading a script). It seemed a shame to have Sxip there with his great hair, and all this great architecture there that looked like a scene from a 1930's Russian Horror film (not that I can name any 1930's vintage Russian horror films, I'm just imagining that this is what they look like.) Without using it. A lot of times when doing something like this we'll have vague ideas going into it (like "the light is good here") and just in the discussion back and forth the real thing will find you.
Sxip was wearing white sneakers which I tried to keep blocked in most of the shots. In this particular shot I'd originally composited chickens feet over his sneakers but it looked way too weird (and there'd be no way he could put on his pants with giant chicken feet) so I ended up cloning some ivy over them and making it really dark (don't look here).
In the end everybody was very happy with it including Maria's PR folks. And we'd all be tickled pink if you used it as your windows wallpaper, used it as the inspiration for flash fiction, made a halloween card with your kids out of it or reblogged it from my tumblr here. You can even cover up the text at the top if you want and make your own horror movie poster out of it. Just send us a copy so we can, as they say, squee.
Would you buy a book from this woman?
I thought "I really want to live in a world where people like that meet at traffic lights and do crazy great things because they all know each other." -- And now I do.
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