"We're so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget that the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it's all about." -- Joseph Campbell
"Learn to pause... or nothing worthwhile will catch up to you." -- Doug King
The killer plague that has been going around the US has landed firmly in Los Angeles. Just about everyone I encountered yesterday was sniffling or coughing up alien gook along with small pieces of their lungs. __wolverine__ succumbed to it a couple of days ago, which has made me quite nervous. I can't afford to be ill. I have two media dinners next week on top of everything else I do. Every blasted time I have one of those special dinners, I'm sick. This is not good foreshadowing for me.
The storm that came to visit on Thursday was a mean piece of work. I could tell as I was making my way out to the eastern part of Hollywood that it wouldn't be nearly as romantic or ambient as the others in this chain. It would later rain down buckets of water that put entire freeways out of service, create mudslides in the burn areas of Malibu and give Inglewood a tornado complete with a roof ripped right off some unfortunate soul's house.
In the backdrop of that horror, I was spending my afternoon shooting with a highly creative photographer. He's full of new, innovative ways of shooting photography and it seems to work better for me because he bases his work on acting rather than posing. Since I've met him, his work has grown from interesting to down right spectacular. His execution has also grown exponentially. I love watching talent blossom. As such, this was all very exciting for me.
His latest idea was to shoot a series of women (all ages and sizes) using the same standardized, if not fantastical, makeup job to see what would happen. I liked the idea right away but when I had the chance to see what he'd already done the previous week, I was in awe. Not only did he unearth some gorgeous women but he captured moments that are unlike anything I've seen in glamour photography. I'd hazard to say he had created a genre unto itself, though I am sure emotive art has some grand title I'm not aware of as yet. Some of them were haunting. Some of them were fun. But all of the women, even past the bizarreness of Bride of Frankenstein makeup, were stunning beauties.
Because I'm a blonde, the whole idea of putting a white streak up the sides of my head wouldn't work out. I had thought we'd just do a reverse color scheme and do black streaks. Instead, he had this wild idea to use a colored wig. I was game. I like any opportunity I have to be make up differently than I've ever been in the past. It's rare people let me break out of my shell or give me the opportunity to do a look I don't have in my vast portfolio of material. Plus, I had just done my hair color recently and it's the perfect shade of platinum. It looks so good, I unabashedly check it out in mirrors frequently.
When I arrived, another girl from RetroKitten was being done. So I sat in a former green screen studio converted to one half photo studio and one half theater while text messaging with rochellestarr. My turn came after a little lunch and I had a bright green wig plopped onto my head as the makeup artist (who rocked) began the process. I have no idea how to explain the results. I felt like an evil leprechaun-elf-troll-head-zombie thing. ("I will suck the color out of your Lucky Charms!" came out of my mouth at one point.) When they added the wrappings to my arms, the huge shoulder pads and the white shroud, my transformation was complete.
The shoot itself was unconventional. Besides doing the same monologue over and over again, one that had nothing to do with the way I looked therefore was very difficult for me to execute, the hardest part of the shoot was dealing with having very bright lights in my eyes. Most of the time, I saw ghostly veins in front of me as if cast from my eyeballs by a flashlight in my head. If I didn't know what he was doing, I probably would have wondered if it was entirely necessary to blind me but the kind of noir/horror inspired lighting he had been using for the project worked. So, I did my best to work with the whole set up.
Near the end of the fifth card of images, he gave me an instruction to 'eat the light.' That type of direction is part of what makes him so brilliant. What a silly, nutty thing to request someone to do, even for an actress who has been asked to make the sound of the color blue. But as I was trying to work my way through how one would go about eating light, while sternly keeping the fits of giggles to myself, I understood how the images would look. He broke my focus a few times with comments of his own. At one point, while in all seriousness trying to wrap my mind and body around how to physically eat light, he whispered a sassy "spicy." This complicated things as now I had to figure out the mechanics of dining upon an intangible yet maintaining a dignity and commitment to the overall tone which did not include doubling over in laughter. Moments like that are what make me love what I do for a living. It's not work - it's total bliss.
Even though it doesn't sound like much of a work day, I was very tired by the time we were finished. I'd been drained and my brain was reset to the point that I was blank. The most random things would pop into my head. It's was a good, creative place to be. It's intuitive and free of self judgment but I was way too exhausted to do anything with it. Plus, I had a sick guy on my hands waiting for me to get home. I was fairly sure he'd eaten chips and nothing else in my absence. (I was right, of course.)
While I've seen some of what we did in the camera's playback screen, images never look quite the same at a larger size. They rock small. I'm nervous about how they will turn out larger but very excited all the same.
- How To Eat Light