"Midnight Bloom"

Model: Amanda Alicija

Headpiece: Hysteria Machine

Assistant: Tenna V. Olesen Photography/Costume: Sabrina Nielsen

In The Enchanted Realm, there is an enchanted garden and in it lives a variety of magical creatures - one of which is a once princess now cursed to dance every night under the light of the moon.

"She Comes To Life Under The Moon"

"In A Garden Under The Moon"

"Her Midnight Bloom"

"She Became The Moon"

"The Ghost of Simbelmynë"

This last photo from the shoot, I chose to name so as a small tribute to Tolkien. I always think of the simbelmynë from Lord of the Rings whenever I look at anemones (and vice versa). So when Amanda sat there on a bed of anemones, I already knew where it was going, haha. I chose this location because of the rhododendron, but I hadn't visited the garden before at this time of the year, so I had no idea the ground would be covered by anemones. I honestly could not believe my luck when I saw them.

The idea for this shoot kind of rose from my love for the moon and moonstones. I had acquired a batch of small moonstones a few years ago, planning to use them for a costume which was later dropped. They've been in the back of my mind (and one of my drawers) for so long and I think I've been saving them for something special. A while ago, I also bought this beautiful horned crown from Hysteria Machine, which is also bejeweled with small moonstones. Finally when I found this gorgeous dupion silk in a pale silvery green/blue hue, it reminded me of moonstones. So this costumes grew in my mind. Already from the beginning, I wanted it to be a ballerina inspired dress. So when Amanda got in touch and I saw her versatile portfolio and read that she was a former ballet dancer, it all came together.

The final costume.

Close up of the bodice: Tiny moonstones and swarovski crystals.

I ended up buying a pair of real pointe ballet shoes for the shoot, rather than opting for a cheap pair off of ebay. I needed to make sure that Amanda could actually wear them and use them on the shoot. I painted them with silver fabric paint and decorated them with lace and swarovski crystals, so they would echo the design on the bodice. I'm happy with how they turned out and the fact that Amanda could wear them on during the shoot, even though they were a little bit too big.

I did Amanda's hair and makeup at my place before the shoot. It's always super cozy to hang out a bit before going on location and that day it was no different. It was the first time I met Amanda and she was so sweet and open, and such a pleasant person to be around.

Then we headed off to our location: The Secret Garden. It's quite far away, but so worth the journey, haha. It's such a beautiful and idyllic garden. I love shooting there.

We spent a lot of time getting the smoke to work on this shoot. You know, there are just some times when the smoke has its own life and doesn't want to get in the frame properly. But I guess it worked out in the end.

We moved around a lot and I love watching Amanda work; She was so graceful and looked elegant in almost every single shot.

The approach to the post processing of these photos was that I really wanted to create the illusion that Amanda is moving through this garden illuminated by the moon. I wanted to look at the photos and almost feel the air around her; The way it is after a warm summer day; How the temperature's dropped, it's a bit humid and the air is thick with the scent of the flowers in the garden. Somehow the rhododendron always makes me think of warm summer nights. I think it's because I remember it from when I was a child and we went on vacations to warm Spanish and Greek islands and walking home a night after having gone out for dinner.

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© Sabrina Nielsen Photography