This retrospective will cover the images I created for Bay Area Kei’s Halloween event Gramarye (2020.) All images were shot using a Sony α6000.
Last September, I was tasked with creating imagery for Bay Area Kei’s J-Fashion event “Gramarye.” Not only was this great motivation to push my limits, but also to create and present something on a more professional level.
I actually shot several images and videos before the “skull + hands” photo was even conceptualized, but they were all a bit lackluster and missing a certain spark. They were simply too PLAIN. (These images were all still used as supplementary assets.) After chatting a bit on the topic with a friend, I set out to meditate more on the theme and give the photo another attempt with a more maximalist approach.
Featuring my Count Orlock hands.
I shot the main banner photo on the day San Francisco was experiencing an apocalyptic weather phenomenon due to wild fires. The sky was burnt orange, and there was virtually no light. 2 PM looked like 2 AM. It was absolutely beyond imagination. I was already feeling anxious, and even a bit frantic, that day and wanted to channel that energy into something.
The lighting was tricky since it was already quite dark, but my partner and I were able to set up some indirect lighting with a mini softbox to give us a little more to work with. I threw on a wig and gown, grabbed a selection of curios and books, set up my camera, and staged the scene.
The table layout was put together with very minimal thought. I only followed a “this might look good” intuition. I was aiming to convey a sense of dark enchantment with the contrast of the white gown and eerie objects.
There was very minor editing in the image itself. Just a few spots to clean up on the framed moth and some cat hair on the table. The lighting in the raw images was almost exactly how I wanted it, with just a few adjustments to shadows and contrast.
It’s so surreal seeing my work widely shared on event review blogs, affiliated vendors, et cetera for the first time. Half a year later I’m still in awe with how great the banner turned out since most of it was accidental. I have no idea how I’ll be able to follow it up next time.
The tea party image was a very last minute shoot. I had recorded my fashion walk earlier that day and already had a coordinate on. All of the images were taken with the very wonky remote app on my phone. For the “tea pour,” I used fake blood diluted with water and I’m quite pleased with myself for not spilling and staining any of my brand pieces, though I did spill quite a significant amount on the table. I cleaned up some spots (more cat hair and candle wax) on the tablecloth and darkened the shadows in the final images.