From Beneath

The Story

A breath beneath the dirt,

Eyes wide open in darkness,

It burns, she says,

So she claws her way out. 

Above the earth

she treads,

Groggy from her slumber.

And beneath her feet

thorns slice and murmur.

Her arms are dark from soot,

Hands blackened by dirt,

Or perhaps it’s from old blood—

She can’t quite remember.

From beneath she sighed

a whisper, 

Up above she screams to 

clear her lungs,

And all around her all things

wither. 

From beneath,

She’s no longer held.


A cloudy, rainy day, with an autumnal chill to the air. 

Jordyn and I stood in the One to a Thousand office (which is just a corner in my parents’ family room) with brushes and makeup in hand. Then, with sanitary precautions, we got to work, breaking out dark colors for Jordyn’s eyes and lips. She asked me what I wanted—my response: “I want you to look dead.” Grim, but true. 

I proceeded to place various shades on Jordyn’s eyes, from a beige to blend everything out, working my way down to a dark purple color to really take away the life in her face. Next was contouring, then a dark purple lip. 

In a thrifted white dress, Jordyn stood tall as I painted her hands and arms with face paint to make it look like she dug her way out of the muddy earth, and then we wiped her hands on the dress to really dirty it up—you can’t be too clean when you’ve just emerged from the ground, right? Finally, I grabbed a spray bottle to wet her hair, and outside we went. 

The day was cold and a bit dark. Rain was drizzling from above, sending a chill down our spines. There was a slight chill in the air, that autumn chill that many know and love. We walked to a grassy field in the yard, sprayed down her hair with water (since the rain wasn’t quite hard enough to wet her hair quickly), and away the camera clicked. 

Jordyn truly embraced someone who had just dug their way out of the ground, breathing life once again. 

She did some creepier poses and then some somber ones, but my favorites were the photos where she had a curiosity—a sense of life. Though she may have risen from the dead, her character’s sense of wonder brought an entirely different side to the photoshoot, making the story blossom before my eyes. 

She draws you in. 

Though she was intended to look uninviting, there was an invitation to step closer, even if it could be your last step. 

Would you take the plunge?

I hope you enjoy these photos—I really enjoyed the entire process of making this vision come to life.

Equipment

Camera: Canon 7D mark ii

Lens: Canon 50mm 1.4

Credits

Creative Director: Nadia Rausa

Model: J.L. Chabotte

Styling: Nadia Rausa