Cosmic Creatures

The Story

The beginning and the end

Is where she laid her crown

Of moons and starlight

The stars like a blanket

Of droplets in the sky

Engulfed her in a sigh

There was but a whisper 

That escaped from her lips—

Words of the deep and old

Glowing from within and around

She knew she was breathing

In and out of life and death

She could only ponder

In her whispers and sighs

As the stars sang delight

A celestial creature 

Made of night

She became


The sky blanketed above—stars shimmering against the darkness, the moon like a creature’s glowing eye in the deep woods. It was a perfect night to ponder life. As I thought of ideas for the ‘Creatures’ issue, I thought of wolves howling, foxes scampering upon the forest floors, long claws reaching from a hole in the ground. The thought of a celestial creature for our primary photoshoot was far from my mind. 

As the night engulfed my mind, I began to wander mentally—explore the possibilities of more than a furry creature with glowing red eyes feasting upon its kill. Don’t get me wrong—I love a good story or visual of a terrifying creature prowling the woods for its prey, but for the photoshoot, I knew I wanted something different. So, we strayed from the traditional sense of a creature. 

I wanted to create a collection that instilled within each of us a cosmic creature—a creature beyond our own minds that was still relatable as a human-esque being. Starting at thrift stores for the wardrobe, followed by buying discounted supplies at the craft store (along with some full-priced fabric covered in glitter and pearls), and then preparing the final look with makeup and glitter, we were ready for the next steps.

Starting with a bursting-design mirror, we cut off the rods that created the burst. Cutting the rods off proved to be quite the challenge, but it was quite satisfying after it was all said and done. After arranging the rods in alternating sizes rotating around a metal headband, we attached the rods to the headband with hot glue, after failing to solder them (and burning my finger in the process). Taking individual metal stars and moons, we glued the celestial motifs to the rods and attached some to dainty chains that hung off the rods. For being the first headpiece we’ve made for a photoshoot, I’m happy to say it was an excellent adventure with many lessons learned and inspiration for future projects.  After many long hours, some burnt fingers, and perhaps a few choice words and sighs, the crown was complete and the excitement arose even more. 

With the crown done and upon our model’s (Shelby) head, we set up a black photo backdrop (I’d love to give a little snippet of our working environment and admit that our Christmas tree was still up and happened to be directly behind the backdrop), attached fake florals using clips and pins, and hung the glittery-pearled fabric with starry eyes. With softbox lights on either side of Shelby, we managed to create an environment that embodied the vision of a celestial creature and their atmosphere. I typically only use natural light, but thankfully J.L.C. had experience with the softboxes and how to set them up without harsh shadows. 

With that all said, I think the most enjoyable part of this photoshoot was using my newly purchased lens filters—one diffusion filter, and some special effects lens filters like a center-split diopter and linear prism filter. The filters helped further create the atmosphere I imagined in my mind—an ethereal and other-worldly feel. Not only was the experimentation with new photography equipment quite satisfying, but it finally felt like I was finding my photography style. Because of this, the ‘Creatures’ photoshoot was one of my favorite in the history of my photography experience. I’ve been doing photography since I was 11 years old, making my experience as of this issue more than 15 years. Though my photography experimentation has ebbed and flowed since then, I am excited and ecstatic to be finding why I love photography through these creative and artistic photoshoots done for Liminis

I can only dream that the photos I take nowadays bring you as much joy and inspiration as they do for me when I shoot and edit them. My hope is that you do. Enjoy feasting your eyes upon this being of night and glowing light.

Equipment

Camera: Canon 7D mark ii

Lens: Canon 50mm 1.4

Filter: Diffusion by Moment

Filter: Star by Urth

Filter: Linear Prism by Prism Lens FX

Filter: Split-Diopter by Prism Lens FX

Lights: Neewer softboxes

Credits

Creative Director: Nadia Rausa

Assistant Director: J.L. Chabotte

Model: Shelby Lee Penyak

Styling: Nadia Rausa

Headpiece: Nadia Rausa & J.L. Chabotte