April 6, 2009


This was one of those shoots where everything just flowed perfectly. I had a self-portrait called Dagon that had received a lot of attention, and Vivian (MM#677783) let me knew how much she loved H. P. Lovecraft, which instantly sparked the idea of doing a female-version of the Dagon shot.


I began planning the shoot and originally envisioned it as a nude. It wasn’t until 2 days before the shoot that I stumbled upon a photo by Annie Liebovitz and it suddenly struck me that wet clothes would work even better than a nude.

Even though the idea from the shoot was inpired by the 1920s horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, the name of the shoot came from an old German folklore tale of a girl who committed suicide after being jilted by her lover, and now is a Siren haunting the cliffs of the Rhine and luring sailors to their doom.

Die Lorelei (The Loreley)
I cannot divine what it meaneth
This haunting nameless pain:
A tale of the bygone ages
Weeps brooding through my brain.
The faint air cools in the gloaming,
And peaceful flows the Rhine,
The thirsty summits are drinking
The sunset’s flooding wine.

The loviest maiden is sitting
High-thrones in yon blue air,
Her golden jewels are shining
She combs her golden hair;
She combs with a comb that is golden,
And sings a weerd refrain;
That steeps in a deadly enchantment
The listener’s ravished brain.

The doomed in his drifting shallop
Is tranced with the sad sweet tone,
He sees not the yawning breakers.
He sees but the maid alone.
The pittiless billows engulf him!
So perish sailor and bark,
And this, with her baleful singing,
Is the Loreley’s gruesome work.
~ Heinrich Heine (Translated by Mark Twain)

Lorelei Nude

Shooting Notes
This was my first photo shoot with my new Pentax K200D, and I really enjoyed it. The auto-focus is much faster than my old *istDS, and some of the new view options make in-camera editing a breeze! Lighting-wise, I stuck with mostly a 2-light setup utilizing a home-made beauty dish attached to a Vivitar 283, while the background was lit with a Vivitar 285. A cereal-box snoot was also employed for the low-key photos. This was my first nude-shoot, so I had to do a little bit of on-the-job training on lighting skin, which handles a bit more liquidly than on clothes, but the Beauty Dish’s wrap-around effect works like a dream.

Lorelei Nude

Up From The Deep

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