Wednesday, June 09, 2010

"Faerieland" | The Story Continues...


Welcome to my second installation of "Faerieland".
I've been busy at work, here on the farmstead, slowly bringing to life this storybook & fairytale behind the lens & in front of it.

If you missed the first post ("Faerieland", The Beginning...) regarding the beginnings of this collection, the languages used within the storyboard, the inspirations behind it & first pieces within it, I encourage you to read that here before continuing on with this blog post, so everything makes sense ;)

For those of you who are caught up, you will find the first few images the same as the last post as well as 1 to 2 new pieces every few weeks to continue the story...

I truly hope you enjoy! Shooting for this collection thus far has proven to be verrrrry challenging and incredibly fun.

And lastly, before I get started with the newest pieces... all images contained within this blog, on my website, flickr, facebook, etc.. regarding this collection or any other are © Ashley Lebedev | Bottle Bell Photography ™ 2007-2010 and may not be copied, blogged, or used in any way without the express written permission of the artist.

Let's begin.

Welcome to:



The book above is the beginning of this story, and is actually an old antique book that someone sent to me dating to 1850. Though the words are not so visible with this smaller version, the elvish words across the cover read:
"Faerie Legend"

The text above are real words that I've translated from English to Sindarin Elvish.
The left page of this book is my dedication for this collection. It reads as follows:

"This collection is dedicated to being lost, being found, childhood innocence, and to perseverance"

Below the photo on the right page of the book, the line simply reads:

I wanted the first piece to be a self portrait. The headdress in the above shot is made of leather and apple blossoms from three different colored trees and took me 4 hours to make. I wanted to work with elements from nature in everything that I shot for this story. This piece, entitled "Lith" (a shortened translation from the elvish word for Ashley ;) is one of my only in studio shots, but this will be a recurring character within the storyboard.


And now for the newest two pieces...

The above page, as with the last posting, are real (though perhaps too small to read here) Elvish words.

The left (above) page reads: "Crown of the Boundary"
The right (above) page reads: "Purple honey is a great delicacy of the realm"
And, below that image, simply reads: "Elderberry"

A better look at both of those images, below, as well as details about each piece below that image. :)


"Crown of the Boundary"

The above creature would not necessarily be the highest in the ranks of Faerieland, but she would be very regal with ties to royalty and highly regarded. (Perhaps w/ a duty of watching over only a certain part of the woodland realm). I decided to name it "Crown of the Boundary" to indicate her responsibility over an area called The Boundary.

The headdress on the above model was made over a week's time with grapevines that grow throughout the property. And, as mentioned in my last blog, I'm really trying to incorporate elements founds within nature into every shoot. If possible, even elements that might only be available for that small portion of the season. So for this piece, not only was her hair brought up into the headdress of grapevine, but honeysuckle was also picked and placed within the wreathe.

For weeks, I wasn't sure what clothing I wanted to put onto this particular elvish creature, until it very plainly dawned on me that either a nude or almost nude would be the most authentic to the story. I wanted to use leaves to do this, and finally decided upon the beautifully multi-toned leaves of Sweet Pea that not only were a shape that would enhance the figure, but also soft like clothing. Hair and makeup took about 3 hours for the look above to be what I'd envisioned.




This collection is so important to me, not only for the larger conceptual shots but also for the details, and so throughout this storyboard I've been shooting a lot of 'detail' shots. When I was conceptualizing several months back now I remember thinking 'what would they eat', 'how do they spend their days'? I not only wanted this to be a picture book of these creatures with strong conceptual portraiture, but also into each of their little details.

I quickly came to the conclusion (drawing inspiration from not only this property and old faerie books, but also from my own Native American heritage) that honey would be a delicacy within the story.

To add to the magic, since this is a fairytale, I decided to have the honey be the very rare (but does actually exist in reality) purple honey.

Purple honey does exist in real life, and is rumoured to be much sweeter with a very different sort of taste.
There is much debate throughout beekeepers as to what actually causes (in a blue moon) some bees to produce a purple honey hive. One of the more popular theories is that the bees feed on elderberry during a very short time in the season, producing that elusive purple honey.


And that does it for this weeks unveiling! I hope you've enjoyed this new little installment and two more images.
I have another in the next week, furthering the story - and in a much different way with a much different character.

Of course Blogspot isn't the best for seeing high resolution images, so I will be posting these to my Flickr momentarily, as well as assembling a new part of my website, so that these can not only be seen without the watermark, but also in larger sizes.

Thank you all for visiting and continuing the story with me...
There is a LOT more to come. ;)

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Sandra Leavy said...

I am just blown away by the amount of creativity that went into this.

SUCH a talent, missy!
Love the headpiece! WOW.

Anonymous said...

I love that book. I'm new, but this is amazing!! Definitely going to subscribe. Cannot wait...

Sara Patton said...

I really love this series. My daughter just looked at this post with me (she loves all things fantasyland-ish) and wants me to get her the book. haha

I really love how you've incorporated so many things from nature into these, it feels authentic, like escaping to a real faerieland.

Maplemusketeer said...

I really think it's great to reveal a bit at a time! I'm so glad you've decided to do it that way. The new images are so evocative and I really love the story, heck the whole concept.

Thanks for sharing your gifts with us Ash! :D


Anonymous said...

This is stunning. One of my all time favorites. Magical!!!

Chris Lane said...

Definitely an amazing and intriguing concept in this book. I love the addition of the elvish script (even if I couldn't actually read it myself). I think you are going to have to create this into an actual book that people could buy (even if the cover isn't as sculpted as the image appears). Very excellent work Ashley. I look forward to the rest of the series.

Anonymous said...

WOW! these are fantastic! so dreamy

Unknown said...

this is amazing <3

Shukura Li said...

wow that pic is amazing


.E. said...

Ash.. your work is always just amazing and stunning.. wow.. I love everything you do.. these images are no exception..I love the way they all tell a story. Your Rock Love ya girl.