Joey Phoenix Media
Photographer • Videographer


Salem, MA Portrait and Event Photographer

Ares: Andreiphontes on Fire

Best shoot ever, no really. (Although I say that about almost every shoot). Except this one had a dose of madness, of heat, of darkness. It was the Early Disney Animation meets Greek mythology meets Arabian legend. It was everything I was hoping for. It was so much more. Before I delve into the tale of this grand adventure, I will present to you my inspiration photos for the shoot.


Yep that's an Ifrit and the Heat Mizer. Welcome to my brain.

Dreaming and Scheming

I met Zack several months ago after reconnecting with his lovely girlfriend Sarah. He's an ebullient, charismatic type that makes him instantly likable. He's also the devil may care sort of handsome with an unforgettable face that makes him perfect for theatre. Sarah is also a brilliant actor, so calling them a dynamic duo is a touch understated.

Out of the blue one day he said that he would love to model for me if there was anything I needed him for. Hell to the yes, I said, you can be my Ares.

What would that entail? He inquired.

It's like a drag queen version of the heat mizer and also I will light you on fire.

YES! he shouted enthusiastically. Which was about the best response I could've hoped for.


Over the last few months I've been working with Joey of Retonica on some light installation/photo collaborations. Our first collab - inspired by Blade Runner - was a marked success. So I was excited about working with him and his team again on this one.

Also back on set for this adventure was MUA extraordinaire Arden Barlow and costume design maverick Carly Naik, who have become pivotal members of this Olympian-inspired journey.

One of the singular facets of this particular shoot was the addition of fire, and so Ember LaFuze, Faerie Nebula (Meaghan), and Elise Turcketta of ARTiculate this would be joining the shoot as the Three Furies.

Also along for the ride were Sarah Arg and Tom Leach to assist with setup and fire safety, Chimæric for BTS video and to keep me calm, and 5 month old baby Ezra - who was patient enough to let his mom do her thing for 10 minute intervals.

Making Solid Plans

We had the lights, we had the players, all that was left was to find a date that works and to secure a location where we could set things on fire without causing any trouble.

Easier said than done, however. Getting 12 people to agree to a date when many of them work full time on their day jobs or have children (a doubly full time operation) or live in different states is no simple task, nor is finding a place secure enough.

For the latter difficulty, Ember came in for the rescue with a super secret squirrel location that I am infinitely grateful for, but I cannot tell you about. :D

For the former, we originally planned the shoot to happen May 13th, the day after I returned from my midwestern adventure, but we had to reschedule because someone had a last minute scheduling conflict. So we set July 1st as the date, the day before I was to set out for Cleveland, OH on another midwestern adventure...

And it came together beautifully.

The Day of the Shoot

Here are some shots of the preparations, you'll notice the ground is covered in MOSS! Ok, I'm done talking about the magical faerie glen location, because it's not my story to tell.


I had spoken to Carly briefly about what she had in mind for costumes. She had told me that she would be crafting a headdress for Sarah and a flowy robe for Zack, cut from a priest robe pattern. From these descriptions, I had no idea what to think, but I trusted her.

When she showed up at my house to hand Zack and Sarah the pieces, I was surprised, and then filled with glee.

The dress Sarah is wearing is all Sarah, who has the uncanny ability to find magical garments in thrift stores and online that are perfect and unexpected and more than what I could've found myself.

Although her character didn't have specific name for the shoot (she was the love slave), she looks like a dazzling fire queen.

When Joey arrived he set to work immediately, planting lights all around the grounds so they would shine up into the trees. He also placed secondary light stands at strategic locations to light the players' faces. Then, he and Tom and Sarah moved around us as we were shooting to cast even more lights. Did I mention he was a genius? He is.

The shoot occurred in three sets, and we had to be speedy due to time restrictions and an impending rainstorm. Also, we didn't want to waste fire fuel.  The first was the group shots, with Sarah and Zack flanked by the three furies dancing slowly behind them. Next, portraits, which turned out like old horror film adverts – you'll see. Finally, and this is where Ember played the most pivotal role, we lit Zack on fire.


It's a technique called fire fleshing and when I say kids don't try this at home, adults, that means you too. Ember is a trained professional who has been working with fire for years and is consequently a fire safety expert. She makes it a point to ensure that my muses aren't injured in the process of being temporarily lit on fire. What I'm also not going to do is tell you how it's done, if you would like to know how it works find a fire safety professional who can teach you the ropes.

Also, you can watch the video below!


Ares Man-Slayer

Without further ado, here are the photos from the day! To view them in hi-res, check out the gallery ---> Here. Which you should do anyways because the gallery setting on my wordpress is lame, as you'll see.


Thank you to Joey N., Kevin, Ember, Nebula, Elise, Tom, Sarah M., Arden, Sarah A., Zack, Carly, Ezra, and Bill for making this a possibility. ALL OF YOU ARE FIRE FAERIES and I adore you.

Also, I forgot to mention, minutes after we wrapped the production it started pouring down rain. It was a monsoon. It flooded the world.

I blame Zeus, he must still be angry about that whole Aphrodite/Ares infidelity thing >.>

© 2016 Joey Phoenix