The Wisteria Princess

The Secret Garden Series

The Wisteria Princess

It's quite interesting to watch how this one small floral set changes from month to month. Sometimes I can't believe that the flowers on the set are still intact as I re spray paint them over and over again. The set and concepts are just now really beginning to grow. I knew that I would have to start to build ideas around the one floral wall eventually and it really all began to start to to make sense in my head when I thought of the Wisteria Princess.

Introducing the purple colours into Secret Garden was easy. I tend to really love the colours purple and blue and incorporate them into my work as often as I can. I don't know what it is about them but I feel they best express the way I feel when I look at the world through my rose (or lavender rather) coloured glasses. When I close my eyes and dream about photography I tend to see purple fields and blue hydrangeas everywhere. So introducing this colour into the garden was something I knew would happen.

Wisteria Princess was supposed to be the fifth entree into the series but I decided to move it up and shoot it before the originally planned shoot due to the teams schedule not working together. However the next concept is planned for February and it is going to be just as magical as the others. This being said after The Bee Keeper I got to work on the next concept. Changed the backdrop, added to the set and created the costume piece for the shoot but with that idea being pushed back to February I didn't want to let a month go by before I shot for the Garden again. I am trying to get a shoot a month done for the Garden so I have all of what I need before the gallery show in June.

I had a week to change the set over and to add what needed to be added to the Wisteria concept. It took us two days to get everything done. I was lucky that I had planned to re use the purple floral Alexander McQueen inspired dress that I have re-used a few times in the past. All I had to do was fix up some parts of the dress and re spray paint it in order for the dress to look fresh again and for the colours to match the set.

I re sprayed the backdrop and then began to hang the 50 wisteria's. I hung the first few (the lower portion of the ceiling) then enlisted the help of my husband Adam to hang the higher ones. I am fiercely afraid of heights and shake like a leaf when I climb ladders so I wasn't very comfortable hanging the last few. Thank goodness for our significant others.

Interestingly enough I had ordered 150 wisteria's all together and the box of 100 came in the next day. The set was already bursting with wisteria's and at this point it wouldn't make a difference to hang the rest so we used the 100 wisteria as extra props and boy am I glad we did. When shooting Secret Garden the more flowers the better.

The idea for the Wisteria Princess was simple and beautiful. The princess was soft and sweet living amongst a garden of her flowers and magic. She has no personal agenda she is just a flower in her own right.

I have every concept already planned right to the end of the series (which will hopefully be done by this summer) and with each concept I always tend to have an idea of which model will embody which character and what look I am aiming for. At least I know this for the next few concepts. Bri was perfect for the princess. She is sweet and kind and I really feel that she brings that feeling of love and peacefulness to the Wisteria Princess.

Everything went off without a hitch during the shoot. I can't express how much I truly love working with Jill and Katie. I really feel like with every concept they completely understand exactly what I am imagining in my head. They are so involved with every detail and also act as my assistants. I can't even tell you how amazing they are helping me place 100 wisteria around Bri and fixing all the details that sometimes I miss. More then just the hair and make-up they are always jumping in the fix flowers or the costuming. I am unbelievably grateful to them both and I know I will end up owing them my left arm when we are finally finished the series.

We used coloured smoke emitters for this one again. There is just something really fantastic about the extra smoke effect when you only have one backdrop and a small space to work with. The smoke really gives the set that 3 dimensional look. Jill is always ready and eager to light up the smoke for me and I think she is going to win the award for most smoke emitters lit during shooting.

We choked a bit on the smoke again but we were much more prepared to deal with the smoke after our learning experience during the Bee Keeper.

It's really important for me to show the small space that we work in. Everything you see in the final shots are really there and it's all created in this small attic space. We all cram together like packed sardines elbowing each other at times and tripping on my strobe's cord yet it is the most fun I have all month. I find myself bending in every which way to get the shot and crammed into a small attic corner in order to be far enough from the set to capture every detail. Smoke envelopes the small room quickly and we soon find ourselves walking through a clouded haze unable to see each other.

I think photographers tend to feel like they need grand spaces or perfect locations in order to realize their visions I used to believe this too. I think people expect that in order to take a good picture there must be an extensive amount of money involved or a grandiose location. We sometimes even give up on taking the types of photos we want because we feel we don't have or can't obtain the right elements.

I am going to say that buying 150 flowers is not cheap and putting together sets is also not cheap but I always try to find the best way possible to create what I want with the budget I do have. I am not a millionaire that is for sure and though I would love to be able to buy some of the best props and things to work with. I don't want to create an illusion. I don't want to show people these sets and say it was done for barely any cost. What I can say though is I have been collecting things for years mainly flowers and after time it does all add up. I try to find a way that I can create what I see in my head using what I do have.

However I do want to send out a positive message and say use what you have and to create something beautiful with it. It can be bigger then what I have created or much smaller. At the end of the day it doesn't matter if you have access to the worlds largest garden or you just make a tiny piece of a garden in your little attic with an amazing team of people. The point is to just create,create, create.

So with that said I will leave the entry here and say that shooting the Wisteria Princess was a wonderful experience and I can't wait to continue to change the set and add more stories to the garden.

Model: Bri @Corestone, Hair by Jillian Di Bernardo, Makeup by Katie Foster

Masonry: tall-wide - Category: secretgarden
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