So here we are, my favorite shoot of the year! This is the fifth year we have done a Halloween shoot, which is insane. It doesn’t feel like five years has gone by since our first one. This year while down in Nola, I felt inspired by the cultural icon that is Marie Laveau.
The original Marie Laveau (1801-1881) was a Creole practitioner of Voodoo in New Orleans, or rather THE practitioner, as she is know as the Queen of Voodoo. Her daughter, Marie Laveau II (1827-1862) also was a practitioner of Voodoo. Little is known about the two Maries who have melded together in the seams of history, and it is difficult for historians to properly separate. Marie Laveau I was the first generation in her family to be born free, and historians believe that she is the one we are most familiar with today. According to accounts, some would say Marie completely ruled New Orleans, as she had many wealthy and influential clients. The imprint of her magic is so legendary that thousands of people visit her grave every year to mark three x’s and make a wish. Whether Marie Laveau was a powerful priestess with supernatural abilities or simply a clever entrepreneur who knew the value of giving people the spectacles they wanted, she is doubtless a fascinating figure.
I keep in touch with former Spokesmodels and sometimes call them up to model for specialty shoots like this, and such was the case with Sydney. I decided to shoot these in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, as it’s about as close as we were going to get to the cemeteries of New Orleans. During this shoot, my camera battery mysteriously died — and of course, for whatever reason I didn’t have another one. (which is crazy weird, I always carry a backup! Seriously, this had never ever happened before) I called all of our Richmond friends to try and locate a battery, but it was a Saturday so they were all shooting weddings that day. With 30 minutes until the cemetery closed, just when it seemed the shoot was doomed (hell, I was even considering using my iPhone) a nice landscape photographer offered me an extra battery, and told us to go make art. What a saint! We took all of the shots in about 15 minutes, crisis averted. This shoot, even with all the panic, was insanely fun for me. Even being pressured to do the shoot in only 15 minutes felt fun, like a challenge. A great way to sharpen your skills. I hope you enjoy these photos as much as Sydney and I enjoyed shooting them!
Everyone have a safe and Happy Halloween!