A sci-fi love story between an alien space babe and her cowboy companion.
For this sci-fi photoshoot, my friends Delaney Keith and Joe Leitess brought these characters to life as The Space Babe and The Cowboy. A real-life couple who are both actors, the casting was easy. Delaney and I had been discussing this idea for the last year or so, mulling it over and letting it grow. Finally this October, we were ready.
I am the photographer and editor behind this series, as well as the hair, makeup, and wardrobe artist. We shot the series at Delaney's uncle's backyard cabin in the country, just 45 minutes outside of Nashville, and it was the perfect backdrop for our intergalactic Earthling/Alien love story. Her uncle also stood in for us as the pastor who marries them towards the end of the series, and I think his scowl was absolutely perfect.
We spent a day out on the farm for the shoot, choosing to do all the getting ready on site, in hindsight a very wise choice. We started first tackling Delaney's naturally thick red hair, coiffing it into a bouffant reminiscent of an Austin Powers fem-bot. Next came the huge task of painting her skin pink.
We had her get dressed in full costume before painting her skin, so we wouldn't over or undershoot our paint job. We had to cover her full legs, arms, shoulders and face, which with Joe and I both doing took what felt like a solid 45 minutes. After that, we did her actual makeup to fit the pink skin tone, got Joe dressed and were ready to go.
It's time for a journey with our star-crossed lovers through time, space and alternate dimensions....
They meet. I wanted the first images in the series to make it obvious that this is their first time meeting. Initially I pictured the shot head-on in a big wide open field, as if she had just landed and he came upon her. However, this is what ended up looking better. I like to stay flexible when I'm shooting, using my initial ideas as inspiration rather than a strict guideline. Working with actors makes part of the job SO incredibly easy, because they're able to do micro expressions that some models just can't replicate. These two are used to working together a lot as well, and I think that natural chemistry played out on camera.
American Gothic. Drawing inspiration from from the 1930 painting by Grant Wood, I wanted to convey a sense of normalcy amongst the unsettling aspect of the relationship at play here - that is, an interstellar being visiting with a human being. It's so obviously unnatural a notion at first glance, but if we as humans exist, surely it implies the existence of more life somewhere else, right? So what's seemingly unnatural in fact makes perfect sense! All things are possible, an American motto if I've ever heard one.
Safety and Protection. These dynamics play out in every relationship, and I suppose if an alien space babe were going to fall in love with a human cowboy hunk, they'd each have a thing or two to teach the other. In this way they protect each other, it's primal.
A quick note. Her uncle's expression in this photo is what gets me! He had no direction, no guidance from me whatsoever except, "be the preacher who marries them." And this was his genuine expression. He looks disgusted. But he was the nicest guy in person! I think it speaks volumes and I love what he did with the character.
Not without resistance from the local pastor, our star-crossed lovers are wed. Will they stay forever in the country?
I imagined this scene as her saying, "Come with me, it's time to go." I imagined her whisking him away into another dimension, or teleporting to a different planet. I got this LED ball at the Home Depot on a whim, and I think it made for the perfect prop to end this series. In the last photo, he touches "The Orb" opening a portal that they travel through .
I would love to know how this journey makes you feel, and what story you gather from it if you didn't resonate with mine. I posted these on my Instagram and got a few different answers, from Greek mythology to the cowboy actually being seduced and abducted. Thank you for taking this interstellar trip down lover's lane with us!