*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.
*Yellow and Blue*
I don’t rely on professional models for my shoots, but rather a group of friends and acquaintances who like to participate in what is quite often a fun shared moment. For the Unknown Armies shoots however I had to warn them that I would likely distort and transform their looks, so that they might not come out looking amazing. A variant of this shot made it into Unknown Armies Book 3 p. 57. I used a filter from Analog Efex 2 to achieve this consistently golden skin.
*Just a Sip*
A few years ago, I was hired as one of the illustrators for the Unknown Armies 3rd Edition Role-Playing Games. Unknown Armies is a weird and disturbing game inspired by the works of Tim Powers and Clive Barker, so naturally the imagery was to be disturbing and weird as well. With my wonderful models we came up with a number of scenarios to shoot, including this woman with a stitched mouth sipping something that could look a little like blood. The frame that I ended up submitting for the game was a different one (and I’m not sure it was used in the end) but the mix of glamour and creepy in this one I really like.
Fuji X-Pro2, 50mm, f/5.6, 1/60s, ISO 640
Models: Michel, Anaïs
This shot was probably the most fun to shoot during the Unknown Armies session. Anaïs was so much into it that the drill bit actually hurt Michel a bit, so his frightened expression is not entirely fake.
Fuji X-Pro2, 85mm, f/2, 1/160s, ISO 200
Another weird Unknown Armies outtakes shot, going for a kind of Clive Barker vibe but always with this disturbing contrast between the softness of the light and the harshness of the subject.