Last weekend my friend Courtney, who is a soprano/photographer extraordinaire, and I decided to do a fun photo project that was very extra (and so very us). We decided to do an opera character themed photoshoot. I was originally going to do Tosca, as that’s my favourite opera character, but I saw a costume piece that made me decide that I just HAD to do Lady Macbeth. A magnificent feathered cowl that screamed Lady Macbeth. It was the basis for our entire photoshoot plan. I also bought a tiara and dagger for the shoot, as every Lady needs a tiara and dagger.
With the costume complete, I moved on to the *SPECIAL EFFECTS* aka the fake blood. I got my corn syrup, food dye, and chocolate syrup and went to town in my bathroom. I had entirely too much fun playing in the fake blood and pretending that I was in Lucia di Lammermoor, but I was definitely hoping that no one came home early to find me covered in corn syrup and fake eyelashes.
I went to Courtney’s house the night before the shoot so we could finalise details and prepare for the shoot. As you can see in the photo below, I take my character preparation very, very seriously (#theatreschool).
After only sleeping about two hours, I woke up at 5am to get ready for our 6:45am depart time, so you could definitely say I suffer for my craft. I put on approximately 7lbs of contour and fake eyelashes and off we set to Bok Tower Gardens, where we had planned to do the first half of the shoot. I had to put on fake nails in the car, which was a hassle, but again, suffering for my craft. We got to Bok Tower and immediately went to work, shooting outside the giant bell tower that gave us major castle vibes. Unfortunately, there was a moat, so we couldn’t get on the tower, but we managed to make it fabulous. We had planned to do a pre-murder and post-murder look for Lady M to show the progression her character had made throughout the story, so the first look was a bit softer- hair down, lighter lipstick, and no feathers. It went really well with the scenery of the garden and Courtney was able to get some really fantastic light in the photos. There were a few awkward moments in the shoot when I had to hide my dagger (which was a prop, no sharp edges!) because people were walking around and I really did not want to be arrested, but it was FINE.
We decided to do a wardrobe change to get a few photos in the feathers while still at the gardens so I got to walk around in that ensemble and people were definitely staring but as an ARTISTE, I am used to such things. Courtney, however, was less than amused when I decided to wear the ensemble into the grocery store to buy watermelon. I may or may not have fled to the car while she checked out to save us both from further embarrassment.
Once we were both back at Courtney’s, we set up a little “house” made of foam core boards for the dramatic portraits, and I prepared the fake blood. We laid a dropcloth, put on some Beyonce, and went to #werk. It was really fun to take these photos and to play around with the character of Lady M. Basically, I just thought “MURDER” the entire time. It was fab. I’d also like to say that while these photos look super glamorous and dramatic, I definitely did not have real pants on in the photos because they were all from the waist up. You’re welcome for that information. Courtney’s dogs also made an appearance in the shoot and kept trying to lick the fake blood, so I dubbed them Barqo and MacRuff to go along with the Macbeth theme.
This photoshoot was so much fun to conceptualise and to do. I’m usually on the other side of the camera and have to go along with someone else’s visions, so it was exciting to get to have the freedom to make it what I wanted. Courtney is such a fantastic and encouraging person to work with, both in planning and shooting, and I love that we are able to be so unapologetically extra together! The photo came out so, SO good and I love them so much. I cannot WAIT until we get to do another themed shoot together.
Until next time!
“Alla grandezza aneli, ma sarai tu malvagio? || You long for greatness, but will you be wicked enough?" - Lady Macbeth