Photographing Fantasy Themes
When fantasy & reality meet is not a novel photographic idea. It has been tried before but seems to be giving way to digital manipulation and doing everything on a computer. The procedure is basically merging two or more layers into one with the aide of Photoshop or other digital editing software program.
We all probably remember as kids some of the children's stories and fables where animals or other creatures behaved like humans and in some cases interacted with them like "Alice in Wonderland" for example.
Well, a project like Alice will take some doing because it will probably require among other things many props and heavy use of the talents of a skilled make up artist.
There is an easier way to do a scaled down version featuring some "characters" from a children's book or you can you use other "creatures". The project does not have to have a book theme.
Let's say for example that you wanted to present an animal like a bear who appears to behave like a human and lives among them. You will need a bear costume of some quality since most store bough ones are just too gimmicky and cheap looking.
There are several movie and theater props stores that can either sell you one or in most cases rent it to you which is way more feasible, especially if you let them know that you may use their services for other projects as well.
Then you will need to set up a scene like in your living room, your kitchen, the park and so on. The idea is to photograph a scene where the "bear" is just one more person doing whatever all of the other people in the scene are doing.
If you want to do the project in a studio, then a possible scene could be staged with a simple kitchen table, some dinner plates, a couple of chairs, a model dresses like a housewife and pose them together like if the housewife were interacting with the bear just as if she were interacting with her "husband" who is reading the morning's paper.
Your creativity is what will dictate how the shoot is carried out but you should definitely pay attention to how realistic the set up is and how realistic the costume looks. If you want to use other creatures from other books or from the fantasy realm, then some smaller props may do.
For example lets say that you wanted to do a scene from "Alice in Wonderland". Have a make up artist work on the face of a male model, then get a tall hat like the one in the book, some clothing resembling the character, a young girl dressed like Alice and pose them in a forest setting.
Try to aim for a comical theme or use it to make a statement about society in general about human interaction. A good theme also is to use these images in a satire.
You can take a comical approach and use the "Goldilocks and the Three Little Bears" theme, or just spend the time making sure that at least one creature looks as real as possible and pose them along side what seems to be a real life setting.
Avoid using costumes where the model/actor's face protrudes or is clearly seen. This is not the proper technique, or at least not for this project.
Your images will draw more attention and prompt more responses if the "character" looks realistic enough. Even though your audience knows, or at least they should know, that it is a person inside a costume, it just works better this way.
Other alternatives would be to have models don realistic looking masks of "fantasy" creatures instead of a full costume and pose them in a human like setting. A much different variation but one which is much cheaper to accomplish is to photograph a model and join that image to a digital backdrop featuring other worldly creations. This is done by using digital layers.
Here you have to set your model in a realist pose to match the backdrop image, so projecting the backdrop unto a blank surface and posing your model accordingly works better.
- Fantasy Portrait Photography: Creative Techniques and Images - Kimarie Ricardson - Google Books
"These expert tips guide photographers through the creation of elaborate and fun portraits that reveal subjects as imaginatively rendered characters, such as a fairy princess, a 1950s greaser, or a 1940s Hollywood starlet. More than 60 acclaimed port
© 2012 Luis E Gonzalez
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