Dead End

March 24, 2013 | Posted by rissvandal

The Black Diamond Bridge is pretty much visual perfection, so I was glad to finally utilize it in a shoot where I was behind the camera. This may have been one of my favorite shoots. There wasn’t too much pre-planning; people showed up, I threw some wardrobe options all over the floor, we winged the makeup and the only concrete plan was “we’ll shoot on the bridge,” which I think was to our benefit. I’m starting to realize there can definitely be such a thing as too much planning, and sometimes there’s a sense of satisfaction that comes with figuring things out along the way.


You’ve seen most of these faces before–my recurring models and members of the goth band, Astorian Stigmata. The black and orange tie-dye sweater was just a sale item I picked up at Target and altered with bleach, and while I loved the end result, no matter how many times I tried, it never looked right on me. Considering how right it looked in this shoot, I thought it was time to hand it over to a new owner.


We were absolutely freezing that day, fought off bouts of vertigo, and I held my breath as one of the dudes balanced on railings and thin beams above the river to create good photo ops (those pictures sadly didn’t not come out like I wanted them to). And while I took a few candids of everyone warming up in colorful winter bubble coats, I decided to leave those unpublished–don’t want to detract from anyone’s goth cred.




And here’s a meta picture to end on–me all bundled up in my serious biz, keeping-it-simple-so-I-don’t-fall-on-the-train-tracks photo-taking garb.


So what do you think of this shoot? Feel free to leave any feedback below.

2 Responses to Dead End

  1. Hope says:

    I feel like you could have focused more on the fact that the guy with painted stripes on his arms had painted stripes on his arms. (I just had to type that 3 times ’cause I kept getting confused OTL) Whether in a way where it was obvious it was paint (it was paint, right?) or in a way where it was like a condition he had or something. Like, it signifies he’s part human and part something else. You know how manga does that? Cosplayers frequently have to figure how on Earth they make up for their lack of half-breedness. Or something.

    The guy in the very back wearing all black was kind of distracting as it didn’t feel like he was a part of the shoot. It looked as though he was more of a photo-bomb then actually a part of what was going on in the photos. It seemed like he was distanced from the organized chaos vibe I got from the set. If he was maybe the focus of some of the photographs with the other two purposely “goofing off” (if you know what I mean) behind him or in front of him for that matter, I think it would have worked better. Almost as if he was immune to the other two (or couldn’t see them (!) like they were ghosts or beasts or something kind of not-of-this-world).

    I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m going against something you were going for in this shoot, or if the three in the shoot were going for something I just missed or something? I don’t listen to Astorian Stigmata so that might be why (I’ve never even heard of them.. I’m So Sorry! T T OTL)

    • rissvandal says:

      Hope, thanks for your feedback! It’s a little difficult sometimes, settling on a direction when I’m taking band photos, because it tends to be me and the band both coming from different viewpoints and trying to meet somewhere in the middle, but I see your points. There are some aspects of their makeup/outfits that I may not be playing up enough, perhaps because I know them well and work with them a lot and am beginning to take some things for granted. And I did realize what you mean about some of the pictures looking like they’ve been photo-bombed by a member. Not all of the members are as comfortable being in front of the camera as others, but perhaps I should come up with more ways to work around that.

      I’ll keep your comments in mind for future shoots–thanks, it’s much appreciated : )

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