Into the Æther: The Pied Piper Retold
Into the street the piper stept, Smiling first a little smile, As if she knew what magic slept In her quiet pipe the while; Then, like a musical adept, To blow the pipe her lips she wrinkled, And green and blue her sharp eyes twinkled, Like a candle flame where salt is sprinkled; And ere three shrill notes the pipe uttered, You heard as if an army muttered; And the muttering grew to a grumbling; And the grumbling grew to a mighty rumbling; And out of the houses the clocks came tumbling.
- The Pied Piper, by Robert Browning, retold
In early 2013 a thought flew into my head: what would happen if the medieval legend of the Pied Piper were retold...so instead of the character leading the rats out of the world, he would take time into the aether.
What if time was no longer a part of our world?
For the last year and a half, I've been working on this series called the Evolution of Time. I'll go into more detail about it later, but essentially it's been addressing humanity's dependence on time, and how the seconds, the minutes, the hours, the days, the years become a pattern by which we organize our lives...and, through the series, I try to ask the question.
What would we do if it weren't around?
These early thoughts led me to one of the most difficult challenges of my photography career to date. I had to find a costume designer to make a costume and a model to wear the costume, along with a location and as many clocks as I could muster.
Thanks to the gift of Craigslist I found the lovely Stephanie Brownell and we met up at Fuel in Brighton, MA to discuss budget, logistics, and general thoughts. By the end of our meeting, we had a plan, and things were set in motion.
Sidenote: By the way, Stephanie is a MAD GENIUS and we're working on many more projects together presently, I can't wait to share those with you in the coming months.
At the time I had found a model who was willing to take on the project, a local cosplayer who I thought was perfect for the role. We went through the whole process, took all of her measurements, and the costume was in production. We lost the month of August because Stephanie was going to Ireland for a month (can you blame her?).
When she came back at the end of the month, she finished the costume, and we tried to pick a shoot date...but in a weird twist of fate, our model had been accepted to a study abroad program in the UK and had to take off for the semester. Once again, can you blame her? I can't. Hopefully I'll get to work with her again in the future. :)
Slightly distraught at my ill luck, but determined to go on anyways, we found a second model for the job, a close friend of mine who seemed a good fit for the costume. Sort of...
Actually, it was enormous on her. But I agreed to the alterations and we picked a shoot date...
the alterations were made...
shoot date was chosen...
Only to receive a text message from my friend: "Hey, so I'm leaving for India tomorrow..."
Convinced the shoot was cursed, I put the project on the shelf for a little while...
Several months later
Winter set in and I had decided to wait until the new year to try to find another model. And in May of 2014, that beautiful person was sent to me. And when she tried on the costume, it fit her perfectly.
I also brought the legendary Arden Barlow along for the day to create this Blade Runner style mask on Mary's lovely face. Arden, like usual, rocked it. We've worked on quite a few projects together, like here, here, and here.
My original thought was to use a digeridoo in the scene...but it looked a bit silly.
So we went with the low whistle and things went a bit better. :)
That's enough talking for now, Check out the full image gallery Here!
A HUGE thank you to everyone who contributed to the project. This was the stuff of dreams, and I couldn't be more grateful.
© 2014 Joey Phoenix Photography