Witches, pilgrims and polaroids? Ok, word. Photographer/Stylist duo Raymond Molinar and Marissa Peden took some time out of their busy magic-making schedules to chat with us about the production of their latest editorial, which you can peep in the January/February issue of LA CANVAS.
LAC: Tell us a little bit about the concept for this shoot. How and where was it shot?
RAYMOND: Well, the concept came from Marissa when looking at some of my older work when I was using expired Polaroid film. I was so intrigued by the light leaks, burned boarders, and just how the photos had a look of its own. So she mentioned one day that we should do a shoot with a “witch/amish” vibe using expired Polaroid film.
We shot some digital just in case and came out with some stunning images. The locations we chose were places that we’ve been before. Runyon and Train town in Griffith Park. I felt those locations had the spooky vibe that we were looking for. We had to guerilla-style shoot at the train location because there was no photography allowed, but we managed to get some good shots.
MARISSA: I am a big fan of Ray’s photographs. I always thought they were super creepy. Does that make me a creep? Ha. The blurs and double exposures lend themselves towards a sort of deathly/spirit vibe. It seemed like a no-brainer to use period and costume pieces to tell an old sad story. I kept thinking about a short story called “The Lottery,” which essentially was about a small American town that had an annual ritual where a townsperson’s name was drawn and they were stoned to death. When we saw the train I wanted the story to be about two girls who were being sent to their death and then eventually travel somewhere beyond death. One of my favorite shots is one that Ray took on a hill in Runyon, literally hiked his huge nerdy camera up this hill, and waited for a dude to finish meditating in that circle. Anywho, it was a super steep birds-eye shot of the girls in witches cloaks like they were looking up from Hell. I think that photo is my favorite moment.
How does the styling effect the mood of this editorial? How do the clothes tell the story?
MARISSA: This is really the first shoot I’ve done where the clothes were based off of the photographer’s style. Everything came from Ray’s photography. I wanted the first look on the train to be sort of Amish and a nod back to a time where everything was seemingly innocent and pure. But as the story progressed, I wanted to show through the transformation to the witches clothes that every time has a dark and evil side. There’s not a period in history where humanity hasn’t been evil. When we scouted the train spot the inside of that car is top to bottom this beautiful blond wood that sort of glows in the sun. That juxtaposed with the black trains and tracks outside really fit the story and I wanted the clothes to be in that same palette.
How important is the relationship between a stylist and photographer? How did you work together for this collaboration?
RAYMOND: We both contributed 50/50 on this shoot, so it was pretty important that we communicated, and got the shots that we needed. We both knew exactly what we wanted. It made the shoot go smoothly, and it was really fun.
MARISSA: That was the best part. Putting so much into a shoot that was purely for own enjoyment. It was so self gratifying! If every job were collaborating with friends and having pure artistic freedom, I’d probably never sleep.