Decadent - Concept to Publication | Melbourne Concept Photographer

To celebrate my first publication in the July Victorian issue of Beau Nu Magazine, I thought I would share with you a 2 part post showing how the creation and visualisation of Decadent evolved and a behind the scenes video of the shoot itself.

The planning and construction of conceptual images are integral in the way I bring life to a visual story and in most instances this process is more involved than the actual shoot.   For me it is really where I can be as creative as I want, which is always fun.  Bringing that crazy idea to fruition though can be a little more difficult, finding victims oops I mean loving friends 😝  who are game for something a little different, learning new techniques and finding the right locations each have their own challenges.

Decadent from concept to publication.  

I had started to envision a series of images about transformations, portraying our state of being within a picture, I was working through the initial stages of finding the words to create the work around.  I kept coming back to the phrases from the 7 deadly sins…one that looked promising was gluttony… but I didn’t want to create an “evil” tone to this series, so I flipped it and came up with indulgent.  It was close but still not “there” yet.  After a couple of false starts I finally arrived at Decadent and there was no one more suited to portray Decadence, (I felt) than Marie Antoinette and better still I already had the beginnings of her outfit.

Collecting the Props

The props took quite a few weeks for preparation, I needed to find a cage that could sit on someones head and wasn’t too heavy, I obviously needed a Marie Antoinette wig, her gowns needed to look luxurious and ornate and of course I needed to find a “Marie” and with a tiny budget everything needed to be done very inexpensively.  There were a lot of challenges and new skills to learn…


The Hair

 I had never worked with wigs before, and although I shouldn’t of been surprised when purchasing a craft store wig, that what came out of the bag, looked nothing like the picture.  Google and a very helpful Drag Queen came to the rescue s/he showed us newly initiated into the world of synthetic wigs, how to style and resurrect badly misshapen hair pieces.  Off to buy a handheld steamer I went.  After a lot of trial and error, and a few steam burns, I had a somewhat looking Marie Antoinette styled hair piece. (I am so glad I know how to photoshop, because this wig will need a little help in the final image)


The Gowns

 I love opp shopping and am constantly being inspired by clothing that I could build a character around.  My amazing friends know this about me and sometimes I will find a parcel with clothing or fabric with a note…I saw this and thought you could use it.  I had received one such parcel and inside was a  beautiful dress (thankyou Miss Alex) and I thought it would be perfect for a  Modern Rococo inspired look.  But I wasn’t yet clear on a concept.  When the idea for Decadent was realised I knew this dress would be the perfect start for her character.  As a photographer I am a MacGyver of “hack that dress”. Many a model/clients clothing has been held together with pegs and bulldog clips.   I knew I didn’t have the funds to purchase or even hire a beautiful ornate gown so I pieced together a “gown” with a faux bustle, corset, fabric pieces, lace and hot glue.  I had previously made a very large (read extra large..huge…massive) hoop skirt for a previous shoot (see it here) so I modified the idea and made a smaller one with a slightly different shape.


Let them eat Cake

Who is Marie without cake… she not only has one very special cupcake kept in a gilded cage in her hair, but a dozen or so to make a mess with…anyone up for a cake smash.  I am glad these cakes were destined to be “smashed” because they certainly weren’t the prettiest coming out of the oven..(note to self…do not overfill cupcake containers with a generic cake mix – they do not rise and create muffin tops, they just flow like molten lava down the outside of my pretty wrappers).  Lots of sugared icing disguised the volcanic erupted cupcakes and made everything just a little fancy. 

All the pieces are ready for the shoot, come visit next week for the behind the scenes video, have a laugh at the outtakes and watch us get messy with a cake smash.  Until then, lovelies