My bloody Victorian
The photo shoot went off without a hitch, everything was perfect, the images are great! It’s all shiny!
First off, things happen and you really need to hold your head and have a sense of humor or you’ll lose it and that isn’t a pretty thing, humans are born with heads and without them look a bit silly and grotesque which interestingly leads me directly into my story, well not directly, but you’ll see.
When the snow started to fall in Colorado I got a bit antsy, but the shoot was a couple days away and the weather in Colorado changes more often than the TV when Hubband has the remote. I had a minor little wig out when my dear friend Cora called about something totally unrealted, like dishes unrelated, and the visibility where I was happened to be about 8 feet. She calmly pointed out that the shoot was still a couple days away, I mentioned that the female lead was originally from Florida and recently moved to Breckenridge and she said it was going to be fine. I said I hope your right because if she doesn’t show up you are gonna have to stand in for her. At that point I was totally joking. When Cora agreed to it at that point, she was also totally joking.
The next day when it was still snowing and Cora came by to pick up the dishes, I showed her the dress I made for my model, a 5’6″ 34-24-34 blonde. We joked again about her being my stunt-double, this time, only half joking.
The next afternoon at a basketball game for our alma-mater I got the email from Breckenridge, she wasn’t coming. Cora was sitting right next to me. I sent a last ditch email back, “let’s see what it looks like in the morning” kind of thing and looked at Cora, who looked back at me, and then went to talk to her man about shooting romantic images with someone who wasn’t him.
The next morning I received a phone call. Not from Breckenridge, but from my studio manager. The night before a photographer had used the big cyc-room (the studio I was set to shoot in at 10:30 that morning) and they had splattered red paint all over the floors and walls. They had tried to repaint the white walls and floors, but it hadn’t worked and the studio was a disaster. This is where I started laughing maniacally —in lieu of losing my head.
I printed releases and packed the car and slipped and slid my way over to my studio, making a hectic call to my A.D. on the way to grab me some caffeine because I wasn’t going to be getting breakfast, coffee, etc. as I was on my way to the disaster that was the studio. Upon arrival I discovered that the mess wasn’t actually red paint but Kensington Gore, also known as stage blood. They had shot some sort of military scene where limbs were lost, and there was blood everywhere. They didn’t clean up the blood before painting the floor and wall. So it smeared and mixed around. Stage blood is a viscous red goo made to remain in liquid form for an extended time. That is the nature of the stuff. It needs to remain fluid. And workable. And bloody.
The studio owner was wonderful, he had already repainted the cyc wall, and half of the studio floor. He left the forward half for me to shoot with the hope that it would only take an hour for the other half to dry. I had to rethink my setup, the entire lighting design I had planned for the shoot was out because I lost 50% of my square footage. The horrible part was even the new paint wasn’t covering the bloody stains completely, and as the paint dried the blood just soaked through and the layer wasn’t drying completely, because stage blood —say it with me— is made to stay wet.
So we got started a bit late, because I had to redesign my lighting with half as much studio space as I had originally planned and a model who was 3″ shorter, much more brunette, and a bit more curvy than I had made a dress for. Not to mention that she is a friend and the shoot is a bit risqué and I would like to keep her as a friend while at the same time avoid having her boyfriend, also a dear friend, flay me.
Here is my point after that thoroughly long-winded, albeit interesting, story. Respect (just a little bit) Respect (just a little bit) R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Let me tell you what that means to me. It means you don’t go screwing up a studio that doesn’t belong to you. You don’t plan a shoot if you don’t know that you can clean it up. You don’t leave a mess behind when you know there are people coming to use the studio the next day, expecting it to be white, clean…useable. Things happen, of course they do, but if you are going to make a giant mess, you should make arrangements as well. If you are using liquids, you shouldn’t be flinging them around a studio without contingency plans.
The owner of the studio may end up having to resurface the entire floor and the walls of this space because of the bloody mess. He used three coats of Kilz and two coats of heavy duty white paint, but the blood still soaked through the layers. The offending photographer will have to pay for the repairs, but that doesn’t exactly make up for what happened. My shoot was off, way off. There was a shoot scheduled right after mine, I have no idea how that one managed. My studio time was not charged to me, of course, because the owner felt so incredibly horrible about sticking me in a —say it with me this time— bloody mess.
Here is one of the images, toned, no floor, no wall, no mess. A beautiful brunette who was wonderful, fit the dress perfectly, and is now the source of a rewrite due to her charming portrayal of the, no longer blonde, character during the shoot.