Hades: He Rules the Realms Below
The Olympians - The Final Shoot
Finishing anything has always been incredibly difficult for me. I’m a magpie for new ideas, new projects. The excitement of getting started more than outweighs the grueling challenge of seeing a project through to completion.
Maybe this is due to the fact that my reward system for finishing anything is skewed. Whenever I do complete something, I just move onto the next thing without taking much time to stop and reflect on the momentous nature of the thing I just completed. Even now as I write this, fully aware that I have FINISHED a project I have been working on since 2014, I’m far more distracted by another shoot I have planned for next weekend.
I started the Olympians as a challenge to myself and my ability to plan. Prior to this endeavor I worked on a series of disjointed images called the Evolution of Time, which I abandoned 2/3rds of the way into it because my shooting style changed far too dramatically during that time. It was just too glaringly obvious how much better the newer work was than the older, so I moved on.
With the Olympians I decided that I would spend time planning and designing each of the shoots so that they would reflect a higher level of artistry. I wanted all of the props to be original pieces, the wardrobe to be sourced from unique places, the makeup and styling to be something brand new.
I stumbled over my ideas, hit a number of roadblocks, shot at least half of it in snowy conditions because that’s just how the scheduling worked out…and last weekend, 16 shoots and 3.5 years later.
I’ve finished it.
It was never my intention to have this particular shoot be the last of the series, but due to sourcing of wardrobe (which turned out to have quite the hefty price tag) and other priorities getting in the way, that’s just how it ended. I shot Hera in January of 2017. I shot Hades two weeks ago. Which means that, procrastination aside, hell yes I did it.
There was no fanfare for this shoot. No smoke, no lights, no makeup artist. Chimæric and I simply walked into the woods and let magic happen. Our original idea was to do the shoot in a local Salem cemetery, but the one we had selected for the shoot just happened to have closed early that day, so to the park we went. Fortunately for us, on this mid-April day, there was still plenty of emptiness and spook to be found.
We sourced the costume from a number of different places. The coat was a wool inverness acquired from Historical Emporium. The ascot and the gloves were also from there. The mask was a lucky find from the Garment District in Boston, because all the other masks we had ordered either didn’t fit his face or couldn’t be worn with a top hat. Both the top hat and the umbrella were picked up from Emporium 32 in downtown Salem, and I am ever so grateful to Nick and Jillian for existing, because they always seem to have just the thing I need to meet the desires of the muse.
Hades is a character often misunderstood. He's often associated with the fallen angel, Lucifer, when in fact the stores are entirely different. Hades is the brother to Zeus and Poseidon, the sons of the Titan Cronus. After the war of the Olympians versus the Titans, the three brothers drew lots to see who would govern the sky, who the sea, and who the underworld. As you may well know, the sky fell to Zeus, the sea to Poseidon, and the underworld to Hades. He guards the souls of those who have passed on from earth to their eternal rest. Hades was ill pleased with his lot, but he took his duty with grace and dignity. He is not evil, rather a keeper of the balance. And it's his goal as underworld keeper to make sure none of his guests ever leave.
He was just doing a job that needed to be done, and he doesn't really give a damn about his reputation – especially with that whole Persephone thing, but let's be real, she wasn't coerced into anything. ;)
Without Further Ado, the Photos
I created this magnificent stories with so many illustrious people and the fact that it exists is wondrous. I’m not going to take the time to list everyone here because I’ll link the individual blog posts at the end of this one, and there everyone is honored fully. But I will say thank you to both Loki Iago and Chimæric for being the two who were in this thing from the very beginning. The future holds so much brightness for us.
© Joey Phoenix