*Rita with Gun*
Canon EOS300 + Ilford FP4+
In the setting I’m developing, Rita (inspired by the chapel of Saint Rita in Pigalle) is a vengeful spirit of abused prostitutes. We did two versions of this image, one where she wields a knife and one where she wields a gun. In the end, I think the knife is more in line with the idea I have of the character, so that’s the image I’ll end up using, but the gun version is so cool I felt it needed publishing.
*Le Comte de St Germain*
Fuji GW690iii + JCH400
Le Comte de St Germain is the costumed alter-ego of @walk.paris. He roams around Paris in his costume, unearthing tidbits of knowledge and trivia about the city. He was kind enough to walk me through the passages, glass covered arcades designed in the XIXth century to ferry bourgeois customers towards the Palais Royal, the largest « shopping mall » of the time. He is seen here giving a big f*ck you to the house of Adolphe Thiers, aka the butcher of the commune, the president who ordered the massacres that ended the 1871 revolution in France. If you have any interest in Paris at all you could do worse than follow him on Facebook or Instagram!
*Notre Dame du Travail*
In July I had the unexpected and unbelievable luck of being able to visit a Parisian church at night. But not just any Parisian church: Notre Dame du Travail (Our Lady of Labour) is a 1902 building designed for working class labourers of the 14th arrondissement (I guess it wasn’t gentrified back then). The structure is Eiffel style, with metallic beams and columns, and it’s just visually stunning.
*Marguerite de Bourgogne*
Fuji GW690iii + Ilford Delta 100
I have an ambitious project currently, which is to illustrate my upcoming role-playing game set in an urban-fantasy Paris with photographs. I’ve started shooting some of the specific characters, including this one, the ghost of Marguerite de Bourgogne, a very unhappy queen who spent most of her life imprisoned either at the Tour de Nesles (a tower by the Seine that no longer exists) or in a cloister. In the game, she’s a ghost of sad lovers. This is one of a series of images destined to be mordançaged once I’ve practiced that technique a bit.
*Le Soldat Inconnu*
The unknown soldier is another character in my upcoming Parisian RPG, a confused figure stuck between nationalism and plight of the working classes. Barth spent a lot of energy getting hold of the authentic WW1 outfit, and I’m very grateful because the images are stunning.
*Galerie Vero Dodat*
The galeries in Paris are covered streets, usually private, all leading towards the Palais Royal which was the commercial hub for high society in the XVIIIth and XIXth century. The architecture in these galleries is striking, as are the interplays of light and darkness. The galerie Vero Dodat was closed when I went on a Sunday, but I shot this through the barriers, and was quite pleased with how it came out.
*La Reine Marguerite (Queen Marguerite)*
I’m taking a break from posting Photosynthesis images this week and posting the first digital images I’ve posted in ages. They are all related to an ambitious illustration project for my next role playing game set in Paris. The final images will be film, but I’m honing down the looks with the models, and this image is so cool I could not not share it. I’d already worked with Nathalie on different silhouettes for the same project in January, but here I feel like we’ve nailed it.
*(Quasi) Naked Goddess*
There is an important figure in the Unknown Armies mythos called the Naked Goddess. The book being a US publication, it was clear that nakedness in illustration was not on the agenda, so I tried to go for sensual without any frontal nudity. I love the softness and slight smile of Emilie’s expression in this shot. A fun edit (with her hands and face blurred, but not her breasts) was used in Book 2 p. 73.
Models : Michel & Anaïs
In the Unknown Armies loren there is a ritual to make someone demon-possessed which requires drilling a hole through their skull to let the demon in. That seemed like a very graphic and cool thing to represent to illustrate the game. A vertical variant of this shot was used on page 68 of Book 1. The drill was really heavy though, and I remember Michel being worried that it would actually hurt him even though it was (obviously) not functional.
Demons are loosely defined entities in the Unknown Armies RPG background, but I wanted something that looked demonic enough, so I took a leaf off of Clive Barker’s imagination here. We glued the nails to Aurélie’s spine using a flesh glue that live roleplayers use for costumes, and I love the way it looks. Aurélie also had those really creepy black contact lenses, but you can’t see them in this particular shot. The shot I submitted for the game was more in your face, but I don’t think it got used.