The Pied Piper of Hamelin
The model for this shoot was my husband Aaron Hayes. He has modeled for Mike and I on several occasions in the past (he was the cover model for the second book in the 'Stalkers' series). Being an actor, Aaron has always done an amazing job of showing different emotions for the shots that we need. He did an amazing job getting into the dark role of the Pied Piper and had goose bumps breaking out on my flesh as we did the shot.
The costume was something l had made several years ago for a Renaissance Faire (King Richard's in Carver, Mass.). Although it was a little big for Aaron, we were able to pull it in the back so that it appeared to fit for the photos. The flute was made by drilling holes into a old, dead branch that I found on the woods floor.
This fairy tale was a little tough to shoot for the concept because it is such a dark tale. We knew that the one scene everyone would recognize is the part where the Pied Piper is walking through the streets with the rats following close behind him. Mike had the perfect background for it due to his recent trip to England and all the great stock footage he had taken while he was there. I pulled strings with one of my friends from France who goes by the name of Montvalent. She was able to provide for me a gorgeous historical image of the cobblestone streets of medieval France for my backdrop.
The Final Result
I'll admit, not many things scare me or gross me out but working up close with all those images of the rats (they were from an actually temple of rats where the rats are sacred) was slightly unnerving. There are at least two hundred rats in each of the pictures and we had to detail each individual one to fit in with the backdrop. It was a tedious job but well worth the finished product. When I looked at the finished product, I cringed a little. It definitely has the summarized feeling of scariness and darkness that emanate from the original tale.