After making Driftwood, I knew I wanted to shoot in the swamp again, preferably with a model and someone to give me a hand. I figured if I was going to do it again, I wanted to do it properly. I put quite a bit of effort into the pre-production, making a dress from a mosquito net and some old curtains and creating a headpiece from feathers, grass and an old hair comb. I spent a good hour or two weaving a nest from grass clippings and leaves, which we did use on set, but didn’t end up in any of the final images!
It’s amazing what you can do with a mozzie net, some curtains, elastic and safety pins!
Pinning the hairpiece in.
After a couple of aborted attempts, I finally managed to get the shoot organised and we set off in the pre-dawn light of Saturday morning. We picked up some large coffees from the local servo, then convoyed down the road to the swamp. There was heavy fog as we came down the road, and we trudged across the muddy field (filled with hundreds of sparkling spider webs) hoping the swamp would be foggy too. Alas it was not and as soon as the sun came up the light was really harsh, so it was far from the moody lighting conditions I had in mind.
Knowing how muddy the location was, I’d brought along some old car mats in the hope this would help to stop us sinking into the mud, but really they just sank too. As the shoot went on we got used to it and by the end we were walking confidently from spot to spot, with the exception of one area where both Pauline and I discovered a mud hole that almost reached the top of our gumboots.
It helps to have a sense of humour when working in a muddy swamp. Putting out the car mats.
Time to venture into the water.
Pauline helping out with a little additional pinning. Note the cute little peace symbols on her gumboots.
We tried throwing the dress to get some movement in the shot but it quickly became too wet and muddy so I abandoned the idea and moved on. My planned location had Kim in shade in the foreground but the background was too bright for the mood I was trying to create. Ultimately the best shots are those facing away from the swamp, losing the mass of trees in the distance but much better light and more in line with what I wanted.
My poor little nest. Just couldn’t get a composition where it looked right.
Keeping the tripod even in the mud proved to be a bit of a challenge.
Smelly and dirty as it was, we had a lot of fun on this shoot. Kayla did a great job on the makeup and I’d happily work with both Kim and Pauline again.
The images you see here are the shots Pauline took on the day (and one I snuck of her!). Click on the images for a larger view.
Deciding whether to go further out.
Arranging the dress. I’ve washed it twice and still can’t get all the debris out!
Keep an eye out for a future post where I cover some of the post-production work that went into the final shots.
Photography and styling: me!
Model: Kim Boyce
Makeup: Kayla Lapworth
Behind the scenes and assistant: Pauline Mandry