Our final shoot was scheduled for January. Then it was cancelled due to rain (remember the ceiling hole? I did not want to be blowing up balloons in a swamp). Then we had to cancel the rescheduled shoot come February due to snow. We did, however, manage to squeeze it in before March was out, but my worst fear had been realized, the auditorium was undergoing asbestos removal and was looking particularly off-limits, if not completely unphotogenic.
For better or for worse, I’m not the kind of person who ever makes a “Plan B.” I usually just assume I’ll figure it out as needed. While that may be a terrible idea when working with a large team of people who have traded their time for a definitive photo return, this time it was just me, TJ and our fabulously brave model Alena, and we decided to wander the campus in hopes that a new location would call out to us, which is what almost literally happened- I started following a croaking raven who led us right to a newly opened door.
Though I had intended to shoot the whole series in the auditorium, it had been quickly losing its visual appeal. The graffiti was obscuring the natural wall color, the stage curtain had been town down, the chairs ripped from the balcony and strewn over a “floor” that was increasingly covered in debris, empty bottles, spray paint cans, and deflated balloons. This spot must have been fairly well secured until shortly before we’d arrived- there was almost no graffiti or garbage, just lots of soft-blue, peeling lead paint, its dust, and much more of an eerie feeling than we’d been used to.
The whole point of this shoot had been to use blues and teals to tie the Zazu suit back in with the remaining sets. I’d only considered the styling of the Ring Master character- loosely based on an amalgamation of all things Marlene Deitrich- when planning. But I believe that it was the location that really pulled it all together.
And letting Belchertown have the final say on the final set seemed like just the right way to finish a series dedicated to the surreal dreamworld of the ghosts that haunt its hallways.
In case you missed it- check out Part I here.
- Date: Saturday, December 13th, 2014
- Location: Belchertown State School, Belchertown, MA
- Photography: Kayt Silvers and TJ Bynes
- Styling, makeup, hair: Kayt Silvers
- Model: Alena Renay