© 2019 by Cindy Chen

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BROODING SPRING - CINDY X JAMES

May 29, 2017

Shortly after Valentine’s Day, I was upset about the flowers that were dying on my desk. They were so pretty, even as they withered and browned. I stared at them for a long time, thinking of ways I could reuse them before they started attracting the flies. I had seen another editorial recently where the makeup artist glued fresh petals onto the model’s face so that it mimicked a skeleton. Seeing as I’ve never worked with fresh flowers, only fake craft flowers, I wanted to try something similar. James set up a photo studio with a black backdrop in my living room one night and we photographed for an hour or two with the roses resting on my forehead like head armor.

 

A few weeks later, he told me he wanted to photograph me in a look inspired by a pressed fern illustrator named Helen Pornsiri. After he and I brainstormed and debated about what we were individually envisioning, we realized there was a lapse in our visual agreement. So, the next afternoon, we decided to restart, and improvise.

 

I reached over to the roses and lilies, breaking off the buds from the stems and peeling the petals, brushing off the bright red pollen. He began to bobby pin the leaves and the dying flowers into my braided hair as I painted my face. Again, he set up the living room photo studio and this time we photographed in a more relaxed and whimsical manner, just enjoying each other’s presence and being flexible with time. After I finally convinced him to let me edit the photos, I added more dramatic flair to the tones of each image, as those who know me know I always like to create fantastical characters in every aspect. I guess this time I embodied the dark caricature of Tim Burton’s work.

 

 

 

 

 

 BEHIND THE SCENES

 

 

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