Joey Phoenix Media
Photographer • Videographer


Salem, MA Portrait and Event Photographer

A Great Fear of Shallow Living

“I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.” ~Anais Nin
Sarah Mann and Kristen Higgins 

Sarah Mann and Kristen Higgins 

Most people have an idea about how mermaids should be. They've been informed by Disney on this fact. Mermaids ought to be sweet and love sparkly things. Mermaids are kind and will give up their voices and change one of the most important aspects about themselves to woo the sailor they love. 

I think not. 

In truth, merfolk are a bit more complicated, and oftentimes, a lot more vicious. 

Ember LaFuze and Faerie Nebula 

Ember LaFuze and Faerie Nebula 

Joey Nicotera (Retonica) and I sat down last November and fleshed out this concept. I had always wanted to do a merfolk inspired shoot, and he had been playing around with how to mimic underwater movement and lighting using lasers. 

We originally planned to do the shoot in mid-December, but then a terrible snowstorm hit...and since half of my crew was driving from the frozen tundras of New Hampshire and Maine, we decided to reschedule. 

Which was fine. It gave everyone more time to plan. 

(Although, I will note that it nearly got rescheduled again due to the fact that I tore muscles in my ribcage the day before the shoot. BUT! It turned out fine. I sat in a chair for most of it.) :D


One of the best things about this shoot was that we also had an exceptional cast and crew for this adventure, with more hands on deck (and underwater) then I've ever had before. In addition to Joey's light magic, we had eight merfolk and two shipwrecked sailors, Carly Naik and Molly Carnathan on makeup and costume detail, the exceptional Lynda Kaupelis of Sacred Gaia Gifts (who brought the magical crowns, jewelry, and seaweeeeeeeed), and Nate Buchman of Nate Buchman Photography doing behind the scenes.

Wow wow wow. More on that later. 

The Truth About Merfolk

Folklore and mythology are filled with stories of merpeople not being kind to humans, mostly men, mostly sailors. For example, according to legend, Alexander the Great's sister was transformed into a mermaid. Whenever sailors would come across her, she would ask them "Is King Alexander alive?" And if the answer was not "He lives and reigns and conquers the world," then she would instantly raise up a storm and kill everyone on board. 

In Russian folklore, the Rusalka - a water nymph and the soul of women who had been drowned violently – were particularly known for their misdeeds against young men. The Rusalka would lure them to the water with her dazzling beauty and sultry voice, where she would promptly drown them. 

In British mythology, the Melusine - a being with the torso and head of a woman but the tail of a serpent or or a fish - was notorious for stealing children and replacing them with changelings. The Lady of the Lake in Arthurian legends was a Melusine, who famously stole Lancelot and raised him amongst the fae. 

They're not nice. They're incredibly narcissistic. If you get too close, they will surely drown you. 

They do, sometimes, like pretty things. 

Siren of the Circle 

Siren of the Circle 

A Great Fear of Shallow Living

The Cast: 

Dark Mermaids: Sarah Mann (Queen), Kristen Higgins (Queen's Advisor) 

Shipwrecked Sailors: Sal Argenbright and Oliver Prato 

Twilight Mermaids: Ember LaFuze and Faerie Nebula 

Sunlight Mermaids: Inevitable Betrayal Cosplay (Queen), Diana Dunlap (Queen's Advisor), Siren of the Circle (Siren), Chris (Neptune).  

The Crew: 

Lights: Retonica

Makeup and costume detail: Carly Naik and Molly Carnathan

Crowns and seaweed and magical jewelry - Lynda Kaupelis (Sacred Gaia Gifts

BTS Photography - Nate Buchman Photography 

Behind the Scenes 

All photos by Nate Buchman

© Nate Buchman Photography 

© Nate Buchman Photography 

The Photos 

Click HERE for the full gallery in hi-res. 

Thank you to everyone who made this adventure possible. <3 You are all heroic. 

© 2017 Joey Phoenix