Jim O’Connor and I have done a lot of shoots together since we met back in spring of 2011, and it is always a fun experience. He is probably best known for his urban decay photography, and he always seems to know the coolest places to shoot and the history behind them, which I find fascinating. Jim always seems to be on the same wavelength with me when we have a particular concept in mind too, which is a great thing because we always come up with great images we both like.
We recently trekked up to one of his favorite urban decay locations in Maryland to shoot a concept he called “Little Girl Lost”. Basically, the idea is an innocent face in a scary place, but we also went for the ghost girl horror vibe as well. Jim actually searched through a couple of antique stores and found a doll that looked similar to me to carry around for the shoot. We still haven’t thought up a name for her yet, we kept calling her “Dolly” but she certainly needs a name of her own.
As for me, I used a rather old cotton nightgown as my “wardrobe” for this shoot. It was a fairly worn pastel pink Victoria Secret cotton gown with little teal hearts printed on it, and it had certainly seen better days. I think I counted at least seven holes in various places on the gown, but I felt it’s worn and ragged yet innocent look was perfect for this type of shoot. I didn’t wear any shoes; I instead wore a pair of old white socks that I had no problem with ruining for the sake of this shoot. In between shooting, while we walked around, I had some old but comfy tennis shoes to wear in order to walk around in, because an old abandoned building is probably one of the last places you want to run around in with no shoes. The makeup was fairly simple for this shoot as well, just like the wardrobe. The main thing I did was try to darken under the eyes for that creepy dead looking sunken in eyes look.
The building we shot in was gigantic and just one of a couple abandoned buildings in a complex. I don’t want to give away exactly where we were, but I will say that it is a pretty popular location for photographers and graffiti artists alike. The whole place was covered in graffiti; from taggers just spraying their name in a fancy lettering style, to kids who obviously had nothing better to do than to paint the walls with crappy penis drawings and swear words, to eerie messages like “I died here.” I personally became fascinated with all the graffiti and found myself examining the rooms for messages from whoever had been there before me. Some of them made me roll my eyes, but a few made me laugh and brought some humor to our eerie visit.
Jim did a few shots using a technique called “light painting” in which he did a long exposure shot and lit my face using a flashlight. The effects were pretty incredible, and I had never heard of such a thing before. Apparently he had just learned the technique in a class prior to our shoot, so he was really excited about using it in the field. In post, he blacked out my eyes, which gave this set even more of a demonic horror feel.
We are both so proud of this set that we actually are looking to submit it to a magazine to be published soon, so keep your fingers crossed for us! 😉
I’ll include a few choice photos here, including a photo of “Dolly”, my assistant for this project. You can see more from this set soon on my facebook or on Jim’s page. Enjoy….don’t be alarmed if you feel the urge to sleep with the lights on tonight. 😉