A Haunting of Roses first appeared as a scribbled note in my notebooks sometime in early 2018.
So the idea of a pale figure covered with dying roses and cobwebs has been a phantasmagorical apparition manifesting in my mind for several years now, but visually portraying it was a problem I couldn’t solve until now.
The title is borrowed from a phrase that appears in Mary Gentle’s 1990 novel Rats and Gargoyles, although the title of the piece is all it shares with the line from that book.
Signed prints of A Haunting of Roses are available to order now for £30 (exc. shipping) from my online shop - they should be ready to send out by early July.
If you have a large monitor then you can see a larger version of this photograph in my gallery.
Technical stuff: making the mask and taking the photograph
The mask was made from a Volto-style blank white mask from which I cut away the mouth, chin, and lower face.
I then removed the slender ribbons used to tie the mask to the head — my experience with such masks is that these ribbons are next to useless, even without any weight of decoration added to the mask — and replaced them with a much stronger set of thick elastic tapes adjusted with D-rings and Tri Glide slider buckles.
The mask was then covered with a selection of artificial flowers — mainly faded roses — attached using a glue gun.
The model’s flesh was painted with white body/face paint, with a touch of red for their lips, strings of artificial flowers were draped around their neck, and then the flowers were liberally sprayed with cobweb spray (the proper theatre/film set-dressing stuff, not the hallowe’en window decoration).
The photograph was taken in front of a printed backdrop cloth using a Canon EOS 7D digital SLR and lit with a single off-camera flash fitted with a medium-sized softbox and mounted at about 2 metres off the ground, and positioned at about 45° to the model’s left, angled downwards towards the model.
The only post-processing work was to reduce the saturation of the photograph.