The Magpie Queen
Model/Crown: Nadja Stephanie Jensen Photographer/Styling: Sabrina Nielsen
The beginning of the shoot go back many months. In the beginning of the year, 2016, Nadja made the crown used in the photos. It was her first Worbla project and it was huge struggle to make due to all the bits that had to be carved out. But she finished it and it looks amazing, so of course, I suggested we'd use it in a shoot. The crown resembles a bird skull so the idea of a bird queen was born.
At the time we were also planning the Keeper of Starlight, so for this concept, we decided to shoot it during Autumn. But we started planning how the rest of the costume was going to be, which I was going to make. And I remembered that I had a large piece of velvet in the almost the exact same colour as the crown, lying around somewhere in my boxes of fabric.
The silver dress is by the brand A Star Is Born and when I found it on Ebay, we decided it be perfect for a Magpie Queen. And the black cape with feathers, I made that a few days before the shoot, I think, because I really wanted there to be feathers in this shoot, haha. These two robes have been named "The McGonagall" and "The Snape", haha.
Anyway, what I think of when I look at these photos is the Tolkien worthy journey that Nadja and I went on to get to the location. It took three hours to get there: Two hours with trains and one hour of walking in the forest. Now the train part was a breeze, of course, but walking in the forest carrying the huge amounts of stuff was exhausting.
Of course, we didn't bring anything we weren't going to need. But to carry the costume, the makeup, the props, the video and photo equipment, the small stepladder, the water, and so on - just two people. Well, it sucked. Actually it is completely doable and fine on a "normal" shoot, but because this was the first time we went to this particular forest and we were looking for a specific spot of which we'd seen photos, but we couldn't find it. And we didn't really have any other choice but to keep walking.
After walking for an hour, we decided to stop looking for that spot and choose the first usable place we found. A short while after, I noticed a hill with heather and moss growing and it caught my attention because I love moss and heather as weird as that sounds.
I dropped everything I was carrying and climbed the hill and found the most magical little spot with the afternoon sun streaming down through the trees. The first three photos above are shot in that place. It was just so amazingly beautiful there and Nadja was blowing me away right from the beginning. I had to tell her to save some of it for the rest of the shoot, haha.
We'd also planned to shoot some video and I could definitely feel the time pressure on this shoot. Being so deep into an unfamiliar forest, only a few hours before sunset, made us work quickly. So we just began shooting, weaving together photo and video setups. It was so quiet and beautiful in that forest. It was during the best part of Autumn - when leaves gently fall through the air. There was an image stuck in my mind the entire time we were there and this is going to sound a bit nerdy, but on the behind the scenes discs of "Return of the King" there is a short clip which never made it into the movie and it is of Legolas returning to Mirkwood. That was just playing over and over in my mind. It was such a lovely place to be and I've been wanting to return so badly.
Once we were done, we packed up our stuff and started making long way back to the train station. We ended up on a different path the way back and right away we went up a hill and there was view of part of the forest and the ocean behind it and the sun going down and it so beautiful and it annoyed me so much that the moment was tarnished by the fact that we still had to such a long way to walk, so we couldn't linger. We put on the gps on Nadja's phone to make sure we didn't get lost. The light was fading fast and it was getting harder to see. We walked through a large area with pine trees, there was just so many of them and they were so tall. In the twilight, the endless rows of trees seemed so spellbinding, but we had to press onwards. At last we reached the end of the forest and it's this open area with a path and a house and there was a deer on the path. It ran away quickly, of course. When we reached the train station, it was pitch dark, and I think it was almost nine o'clock before we made it back home. It was such a long, hard and wonderful day.