I have been fascinated by the holiday Día de los Muertos (Mexican Day of the Dead) ever since I took a trip to Mexico. After my vacation I found inspiration in the work of artists like Sylvia Ji, and decided that I wanted to capture imagery that would give the holiday a New York twist.
Several pieces had to fall together in order to make this shoot happen. I first found a model named Jackie Lawrence to take on the role of my Latin femme fatale. The next step was to find a make-up artist that could breathe life into the character. I wanted to use an artist whose work was detailed and not chunky. When I saw Gen Keller's artwork I knew I had found the right make-up artist. Both Jackie and Gen really liked the idea I had for the shoot, so I now had a team.
The next mission was to approve Jackie's wardrobe. Jackie had a black dress and a orange dress that would work well with what I wanted to accomplish. After deciding on the two dresses, I had to make two different looks that would go well with the same make-up.
My next step was to find the right accessories, beginning with the flowers. I wanted to find two sets that would compliment both looks. Once I found the flowers, I had the task of learning how to attach flowers properly with bobby pins, felt, and a glue gun. Happy with the end result, I was able to focus on jewelery and gloves. I think I hit most of the stores in the Garment District and in Midtown. There were a couple of shops that had perfect accessories for the project.
Once the look for the alluring seductress was completed, I had to begin the location scout. Having arrived at the conclusion that Williamsburg, Brooklyn would be an amazing location for the shoot because of distressed walls and graffiti I started scouting locations there. I then mapped out and photographed potential areas. During this time Gen was coming up with ideas for the look of the make-up.
Everything was falling into place for the project....
We scheduled the shoot for March 24th. The weather was perfect! I met with Jackie first. Gen arrived with her assistant, Chevy Wanamaker. And then my assistant Fernando Acevedo arrived shortly there after. Jackie was then transformed into an otherworldly siren by Gen. The team then shot until 4pm.
The next few days, were spent reviewing the photographs. After that the editing process could begin. While editing the photos I decided to turn it into a three part series. Part one of the series features some of the original images in their original format. Part two features new images that reflect various colorization methods using Adobe Photoshop CS5. And finally Part three features additional images in black and white.
I now proudly present to you the first part of the Día de los Muertos series...