Lent is one of my favorite times on the liturgical calendar. The themes of transformation, repentance, renewal, and dying to self are all bundled up in this 40 days before Easter. Last year, I spent Lent on my own journey and created a devotional, which is now available as a free download. So, I was thrilled when Joe Cavazos from SundaySocial.tv reached out to me in December to create a new series of images for Lent for their SZN Kits. The theme was death to life, and as I got into ideating concepts for this series, scripture became my main inspiration.
Creating these images is a very visceral, immersive experience for me. I have a vision in mind, and it usually takes days to complete one image. I hope this depth of creation comes across in the power of the final image – I’m pouring my heart into each one. If you are interested in knowing some of my process, read on!
Ash Wednesday – I knew it needed smoke, and dried flowers. It took me three days of shooting to get it right. I used dried flowers because they burn pretty easily. My background was a piece of painted black glass (something that wouldn’t burn), and I used a little bit of rubbing alcohol to light the flowers on fire a bit more easily.
AFTER: (this is a composite of 2 different images)
For this particular image for Maunday Thursday, I actually made the cup by hand out of white clay, because I wanted it to be similar to something from that timeframe. Plus, I need everything to be the right scale to match the proportions of the plate, etc. I made the unleavened bread too, and also mixed the paint color to create a realistic blood look. This was a flat-lay, and the cup was elevated on a small acrylic stand underneath, giving it some depth.
For this one, I wanted to incorporate all three elements from Jesus’ final gathering with His disciples where he broke the bread, gave the cup, and washed the disciple’s feet – body, blood, and water. I used an eyedropper to shape the drops of red paint, and then water, and then dropped a small bit of whole milk in the water.
For Good Friday, the scripture inspiration was,
Acts 2:31 – Neither was He abandoned into Hades, nor did His flesh see decay.
Christ’s lifeless body was wrapped in linen as was customary, but a miracle took place, even in the tomb. His body did not decay. So I wanted to depict that with this visual. I shot this outside but facing the sun and with a dark background. I used cheesecloth for the fabric and was able to stand the flower upright with modeling clay at the base.
I wanted to capture that stillness – but there was still life there, because although Jesus’ body was in the grave, something very powerful and full of life was happening, invisible to us. Jesus was getting the keys to death, hell, and the grave.
Easter Sunday is all about old becoming new. Death to life. I knew the image needed movement. I set the self-timer and slowed down the shutter speed while pulled the cloth away from the flower.
So that’s a little bit of behind the scenes for you! This series taught me alot of new technical tricks. It was a fun challenge and I am super pleased with the results. Have any questions?? I will answer them in the comments! Thanks for reading. 🙂