Throughout time, so many people have died without anyone to honor them. Some people, perhaps, don’t deserve to be remembered but so many do and we don’t even know who they are. As we walk this Earth, going about our daily lives we often don’t think about what lies beneath us. Surely, in some stretch of concrete or land that we’ve walked, there has been at least one deceased person beneath us. While it might be very morbid to think about, it’s true. Everything lives and everything dies. In this portrait, “Roses for the Dead” I wanted to give Mrs. Death a more meaningful purpose.
Yes she has attitude, yes she is quirky and sometimes humorous in my eyes but I also believe that she represents something greater. She has the ability to honor and acknowledge the ones that we do not see. She has the ability to show compassion for all of the forgotten humans that have moved on. On Halloween, she pays a visit to the dead and honors them with a red rose for each soul.
Conceptualizing “Roses for the Dead” began with envisioning a creepy forest in which Mrs. Death was roaming around. However, I wanted to step it up a notch and truly turn up the creepy factor. Then I had an idea, “How could I make this even creepier? HANDS! I need arms coming out of the ground reaching for her somehow!”. Then, “Roses for the Dead” was born because I wanted to play on this creepy idea by putting a touch of tenderness and compassion into Mrs. Death.
Finding a foggy and haunted forest in Colorado seemed like a bit of a challenge at first so I reached out to my community of photographers in the Denver area. My really good friend and super amazing Colorado wedding photographer, Lisa, replied telling me about the burn scar close to her home in Silverthorne. I quickly became excited and planned on a visit to see her. Lisa was so wonderful to accompany me on my shoot, carry some things for me, take some behind the scenes photos and lend me a blanket to lay on for the hands photos. It was fun to talk to people along their hikes because you know people are always curious about such things. The best part was a family of deer that kept ogling us from afar haha.
Throughout the past couple of months, I have truly enjoyed conceptualizing several Mrs. Death portraits with “Skully” (my Michaels styrofoam skull). Being able to create images from my wildest and untamed imagination has been so incredibly liberating because she is so me in so many ways. She embodies a level of drama that I love incorporating in my images as well as a touch of glamour (which represents a past passion in photography and the things I am drawn to), sass (I believe that I can have a sassy attitude at times) and a childhood attraction to skulls (imagine raising a child who was drawn to such things!
Thank you Mom for letting me be me 🙂 ).
The Mrs. Death project has also (somehow) allowed me to create without censoring my creations. There is still a part of me that holds back from creating darker work out of fear of judgement: “Is she crazy? She is so dark on the inside. What is wrong with her? She needs help.” Perhaps no one actually thinks all of that, or perhaps they do but this is the narrative that goes on inside of my head. Then I politely remind myself that some of our greatest creepy or dark works were created by other imaginative folks, for example: Frankenstein, The Shining, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, etc.
So I ask you this:
What are you itching to create that you haven’t due to fear?