Joey Phoenix Media
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Salem, MA Portrait and Event Photographer

Hermes: Psychopomp, Guarder of Dreams

© 2015 Joey Phoenix Photography
© 2015 Joey Phoenix Photography

Son of a star, messenger of the gods, inventor of the lyre, guardian of the internet? Hermes is recognized for a great many things (including that situation with the cow – which was obviously just a misunderstanding).

Most importantly, Hermes stands between worlds as an emissary between gods and men. He is the feminine within the masculine, he is the one who directs sleeping individuals to the world of their dreams.

He is a connector, and mediator...with a slightly trickster-esque outlook. You can trust him, for the most part, but just don't cross him.

Not ever.

© 2015 Nate Buchman Photography
© 2015 Nate Buchman Photography

I had searched for more than a year for the right person to portray this mischievous genderqueer creature of the sky – the first person I had chosen decided to move to Pittsburgh after grad school, and the distance was a touch tricky.

Then the 2015 Mass Poetry Fest happened.

On the second day of the event, a Poetry Carnival was happening in the Salem Commons. There were juggler poets, ringleader poets, and...aerial poets.

© 2015 Joey Phoenix Photography
© 2015 Joey Phoenix Photography

This was something I had only seen once before, but never in situ like this...the aerialist had clamped his silks to a tree and was performing the most beautiful movements with his body. It looked like he was flying.

I spoke to him afterwards, not originally thinking how perfect he would be for Hermes...but a seed was planted in my mind. Then, a few weeks later, something extra serendipitous happened. He announced on Facebook that his new stage name would be...

Peter Mercury.

Mercury.

Naturally the über nerd inside of me starting bouncing up and down. When he agreed to do it I almost fell over from sheer joy.

Designing Hermes 

The concept for the shoot was fairly simple, he would be wearing a crown of golden ivy (spraypainted by Chimæric and fabricated by me), tight white pants, and his body would be covered in glitter. The difficult part, Hermes has winged feet.

Now, I don't have the necessary crafting skills to make something like this (at least not yet anyways). I was toying with the idea to glue wings to Peter's ankle bones, which is a ridiculous idea in retrospect...

Enter Carly Naik, a local theatre director and genius heavily involved with Salem's Upstart Crows. She offered to help me craft Hermes' wings – truly a gift from Olympus.

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Nate Buchman Photography
Nate Buchman Photography

The best part about them? The wings are detachable, so that we didn't have to carry Peter around the shoot location.

In short - she is INCREDIBLE and these were absolutely brilliant. I can't wait to collaborate on future projects with her.

The Shoot

My videographer couldn't make it to the shoot that day, something came up with her family last minute...however, Chimæric came to the rescue with his trusty iPhone 6 and took the loveliest of footage, which I've compiled into this video.

The music is by Oh Wonder and it's called Technicolour Beat (I'm in love with this song at the moment).

The morning of Columbus Day, all of the crew gathered in my studio to eat doughnuts, drink coffee, and get ready to photograph an Olympic god.

The dream team:

Muse and Performer Extraordinaire: Peter Mercury (Real-life Hermes!)

MUA: Arden Barlow - who has worked with me on Aphrodite, Athena, Poseidon in this series, and countless others. She is an indispensable human.

BTS Photos: Nate Buchman Photography - who captured the day with wonder

Technical Assistance and Anti-Anxiety: the lovely Ember LaFuze of The Faerie Tribe

BTS Video: Chimæric - who is sensational in every way.

The World We Made

At last, here are the photos ! I am so grateful to everyone who helped me make this a possibility. Click HERE to view in Hi-res (recommended).

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Hermes-31
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Hermes-95
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Hermes-118
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Hermes-137
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Hermes-180
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Hermes-199
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Hermes-235
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Hermes-246
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Hermes-305
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Hermes-363
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Hermes-453

Behind the Scenes Gallery