Succubus Photography Project - Manga Photos
There are many projects which you can undertake to show your photographic talents. Some require a little help from other and most require creativity. This particular project dwells in the realm of fantasy and mythological creatures but can still be done with some help from a talented make up artist, some creative costume design and one or more models.
You will also need a suitable locale, some specialized photographic lighting equipment and some experience in night or low light photography. The succubus project will take into account the long held belief found in many cultures that some mythical creatures would often appear to men and seduce them in order to take their souls, produce offspring and for many other purposes including to feast on a man's flesh.
Don't fully know what a succubus is a reference to, then perhaps this will help: "In folklore traced back to medieval legend, a succubus (plural succubi) is a female demon appearing in dreams who takes the form of a human woman in order to seduce men, usually through sexual intercourse. The male counterpart is the incubus. Religious traditions hold that repeated intercourse with a succubus may result in the deterioration of health or even death"..."In modern fictional representations, a succubus may or may not appear in dreams and is often depicted as a highly attractive seductress or enchantress, in contrast to the past where succubi were generally depicted as frightening and demonic". Wikipedia
Remember that this is a photographic project. There is no intention of dwelling into the occult or any religious connotations should be induced from the project itself. Leave the imagination and conjectures from the images up to the audience as this project is one which never fails to elicit various comments often appreciative of the art but many times critical of its subject matter.
This project should not focus on the sexual aspect of the succubus myth, but rather on a photographic representation of how various cultures "see" them and what they stand for.
You have to strike a balance between sensuality and evil, as most representations and folklore portrayed a succubus to be. Props are a must since most visions of succubus portrays them as having wings, claws, fangs, animal legs and strange eyes, sometimes having horns too. Just be creative. A simple model with make up, no matter how good the make up is is not enough to fully represent the theme.
However, avoid going so far as to make the images too gory. Keep everything in good taste yet artistic enough to make the project your own.
It is important before embarking on this project that you research the various myths and aspects as well as the many representations that are associated with this mythical being from various parts of the world; one succubus may not be the same in one country as it is thought off in another.
This does not mean that you should try to emulate all types, it means that you should concentrate on the most widely recognized or alternatively on the one that appeals most to you.
Be sensible when preparing for the shoot and with your images. This is one topic which can turn into something else very quickly if not done properly and always exercise modesty but without sacrificing your artistic inclinations.
For the shoot it is very advisable that it be done in a darkened studio. Your goal is to highlight mostly only the subject and by using light or the lack of, to bring it to "life". If you are able to have a good background that adds to the scene such as stonework, a dark alley, old architecture, old graveyard or any that appears sort of creepy, then allow it to appear in your images, otherwise use a large aperture to throw any distracting elements out of focus. Make up should be done by an artist and this varies from a sensual style to a devilish one. Choose one that fits the model and your individual taste.
Clothing is usually the most difficult part. You have to balance exposing skin with keeping the project modest. It is often better to make your own than to buy a store made one, unless you are willing to spend big bucks.
You will also need to carefully choose your props, like as said before, things such as wings, horns, a tail, colored contact lenses, hair coloring, arm bracelets, rings, and other smaller items to give your subject a surreal appearance without overdoing it. Too much and the project runs the risk of becoming a comical endeavor, too little and the effect is lost. Again, researching the subject is the best key to making you ready for the shoot and for everything to fall into place. A note about hair coloring and body paint; if you are going to color the model's hair keep it towards the darker spectrum. Bright greens and other neon colors associate the theme with the Manga industry and give the shoot an air of being a Cosplay project. The same holds true for body paint, best to add highlights than a total body make up.
For a complete effect, especially if you are not able to secure a studio, is to use a digital software program to add background and details, perhaps highlight some specific colors and so on.
After the project is complete and if you decide on submitting your images to various publishers be aware that besides some photographic stock houses there are not many other viable clients.
Other clients that may be interested in this project are some art publications, occult magazines, video gaming publications, some fine art galleries and some poster companies such as Allposters and perhaps some collectors.
Although this particular theme does not have to many potential buyers it still is a good project to undertake if for nothing more than another way of practicing and perfecting your photographic skills.
Another benefit is that it allows you to dwell on the "fashion", Cosplay and "portrait" photographic elements that are also part of this theme as well as various other different perspectives and make up variations that can transfer from one format, technique and theme to the other.
- Manga-inspired photography exhibition opens in London (Wired UK)
Photographers Jonathan Anderson and Edwin Low have collaborated to create a collection of images inspired by Manga
© 2012 Luis E Gonzalez
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