Whom the Angels Called Lenore: The Haunting of Poe
©Culture Thug Photography
Photographer: Baron S. Cameron
Makeup: Alina Amison
Hair, Styling and Concept: Erin Antos
Model: Linnea Perry
Edgar Allen Poe. The name alone conjures up images of murky drug fueled tales of gothic horror, suspense and heartache over lovers passed on.
The inspiration of this shoot was that of the lost Lenore from the poem “The Raven.” The rare and radiant, whom the angels named Lenore, seemed to strike a fancy within me that had to be expressed through my own eyes or rather what I thought would be haunting Poe’s nightmares.
Inspired with only a vision in my head, I sought my friend and well known Vancouver photographer, Baron Cameron of Culture Thug Photography with my idea of what Lenore represented and how we can turn my concept into a visual reality. This is when the fun really began. Art whether it is on canvas, in photography, music, dance or my realm hair and fashion, it is always completely open to a myriad of interpretation.
For roughly 6 months the ideas flew around fast and furious about whom Lenore was, if she really did exist or was merely an imagined love of the narrators mind. The poem was dissected line by line with lines being drawn in the sand and neither of us refusing to budge on our differing opinions.
When asking Baron if he had any comments when I informed him that I was writing about this one particular shoot (we have done our share of shoots together) the only thing he said was “You are still wrong.” This one simple remark perfectly sums up the months of planning and passionate arguments on my end that lead to a successful and beautiful shoot.
I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about the symbolism of Lenore. This is about what went into making a single vision that was ignited by one line from a poem that means so much to me.
Half a year of debating, countless texts, Facebook messages and over beers in some of Vancouver’s finest establishments, a stalemate was reached. We could agree that she was indeed very dead. Whether she was real or only existed in the narrator’s mind, she was still 6 feet under, so we had our jumping off point. I would also like to point out that our model, Linnea, also had her own opinions and she was never too shy to offer them whenever the opportunity arose.
There we were, armed with a theme, a model and one photographer. I was off to create a work of art. The most important part of this shoot was to find the correct balance of an editorial look without losing the nostalgia of that wonderfully dark Victorian era that Poe fills our imaginations with.
Our makeup artist Alina Amison ran with my vision with little to no direction at all and together we were able create hair and makeup that was worthy for the runway.
Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those dream only by night.
-Edgar Allen Poe
The fashion was in juxtaposition with what I designed for hair and makeup. The location of each shot was precisely planned as to appear that Lenore was continually haunting Poe or rather the narrator wherever he went.
I’ll let you in on a little behind the scenes moment. Baron looks directly at my teal chaise that I have in my parlor and with a small smile asks me on how I feel about moving some furniture. The epic shot of Lenore on the chaise deep in thought in the forest? That chaise was moved by one stylist (me) and one photographer with his own vision. Yes, we got it up there, took our shots and realized that we now had the monumental task of hauling it back down. There were some tears, some swearing and a lot of laughing as we managed to get it through the trees, down two hills and parked back safely in my lounge. The things that we will go through in order to get that one defining shot.
In full Victorian dress that included no less than a 5 ringed hoop skirt our model gave us shot after shot of what I can only describe as an ethereal beauty.
I have done many shoots and this one will always hold a place in my heart. Not only because it ended up exactly like my vision but also because of the extraordinary team involved, the laughs and all the work that went into making Lenore come to life, or back from the dead, depending on how you look at it. Whatever your interpretation may be, that is yours to decide. And I am still right.