Sometimes I love my weird brain. Sometimes I don’t.
Sometimes my brain says “Hey! Let’s recreate the four elements using sexy models!”
Cool idea, brain!!
Sometimes my brain says “Hey bitch, you’re gonna find a sexy model, somehow convince her to follow you into a creepy abandoned building in the middle of bum fuck Egypt, and throw cups of baby powder at her face”.
“Yup! Convince that hoe this needs to happen”
So as you can see, my stupid brain wouldn’t stop nagging me until I made this happen. And I’ve learned to listen to my weird brain, after all, it was the one who told me to start this blog.
Que model Leilani Mallet. She and I have worked together before. Leilani is up for anything! At our last shoot we snuck onto a movie set, snapped some shots, and then got kicked out. Fun times.
We prepared for such shenanigans this time around. We packed water, baby powder, extra outfits, music, baby wipes, coconut oil (which somehow fixes everything) and camera equipment, and headed out.
My vision was for an elegantly dancing woman, surrounded by rubble and destruction, making scary monster faces. I envisioned darkness, black and white, depth, emotion, grace. But rarely do photo shoots turn out the way I plan.
My cousin and auntie volunteered their time and help for this shoot (thank gawd!) and they scouted out several locations for me days prior.
I told Katherine I wanted dark, scary, abandoned and dilapidated. Boy did she deliver!
Especially on the scary part.
We used three separate locations. Each had its own charm. The first was a gorgeous run down “house” full of debri, rusty nails sticking straight up out of the floor, insulation falling on us from the ceiling and glass everywhere. It was amazing.
Leilani dressed in a black leotard and we got to work. I asked her for “Beautiful body, ugly face”
This is what she gave me:
Gorgeous! But it was still brighter than I wanted. Time constrictions forced us to shoot during the day. Nothing a little photo shop can’t fix!
And boom x3!
The next location was only a few miles away and we drove there with excitement. Little did we know we’d arrive at satan’s armpit with all the undue excitment of children going to the dentist for the first time.
The beautiful graffiti on the walls belied the disgustingness of this awful place; dirty underwear littered the floor, accompanied by millions of glass shards, more debri, and an old mattress that I’m sure has seen some awful shit. And wouldn’t you know, we even found a bum’s last meal.
I needed Leilani barefoot for this shoot. And I’m so lucky my assistants brought a broom with them.
As we went spelunking deeper into the abyss (trying not to catch an STD in the process) we happened upon a lovely brick wall. White. A pure white brick wall people.
Ok so it was not in my vision to have white. But I somehow loved the look, and I immediately saw the potential.
Leilani changed into a white leotard, we swept the floor and got to work.
My two assistants, Katherine and Teresa stood off to the sides holding cups of baby powder to throw at Leilani. Some shots came out PERFECT.
Others….not so much.
We are not professional powder throwers.
What was perfect about this shoot was that Leilani gave her all. If I asked her to jump, she jumped (I cringed at the sound of her feet hitting the concrete painfully). If I asked her to contort her body but keep her face serene, she did it.
Sweat was pouring down her face, covered in baby powder, muscles sore, surrounded by societies cast offs and a homeless man’s ball sweat.
But not once did she complain. Bless her heart.
We were surrounded by destruction, as I had planned, but I hadn’t planned on creating such beauty in the thick of it. We were essentially in the forgotten parts of the world. A house once loved and warm, now abandoned and hopeless.
I’d like to think we brought some forgotten happiness to those locations as we tried our damndest to make it worth something.
We could see what we had accomplished, even as the powder created balls of dough in our noses.
Let me know what you think of Leilani in the comments!
Happy shooting! Happy editing!