Wanda Bones – Cabaret
One of my goals when I was building The Sensual Photographer was to help my client’s make their sexy, sensual fantasies become a reality. I love being able come together with my creative team and plan highly stylized themed shoots. When local burlesque performer Wanda Bones approached me about doing a 1920s Weimar Berlin styled shoot, I was thrilled. Not only is Wanda Bones one of my all time favorite burlesque performers in Portland, but I am a huge fan of the musical Cabaret so this was really a dream shoot for me.
My stylist Angela and I immediately sat down to start planning the session. Wanda had told me that she wanted something dark and vampy with rich velvety colors. While Angela and I were doing research, we were both drawn to the textures and feel of the 1920s opium dens and thought that they fit Wand’s vision perfectly. There was one image in particular that we kept coming back to that had lots of tapestries on the walls and a middle eastern feel to it. During our creative process we like to come up with storylines to help us curate the set. Our story for this session was a behind the scenes look into beautiful cabaret performer’s life after she has left the stage for the evening. Once we had that all in place, we set to work turning the guest bedroom in my home into a luxurious opium den.
A few days before the session I met with Wanda and Angela to pick out the wardrobe and discuss hair and makeup. This is one of my favorite parts of the creative process because it is when you really start to see things come together. My hair and makeup artist Gina Campbell has had the opportunity to do a lot of 1920s styled looks so I knew without a doubt that she could pull off whatever look we desired. The one thing that we all agreed on was that while this was inspired by the 20s we wanted to keep the images in full color. The images would read as 20s because of the styling and poses. The photographs of the 20s have always been a huge inspiration to my work. I adore the work of Alfred Cheney Johnston and his photographs of the Ziegfeld Follies Showgirls. We wanted to capture the spirit of those images with a bit of a modern flair.
During the AIBP retreat I attended in November last year, I submitted one of the images of Wanda for the print competition that was judge by photographer and printmaker Jonathan Penney. Only retreat attendees were allowed to submit. I ended up winning one of the prizes, receiving a beautifully framed version of the image. It is one of my favorite pieces of artwork, and it proudly hangs in my living room for all to see!