I'd been looking forward to this shoot for quite some time, probably as Jess had told me about the awesome wings she was having made. Jess is the author of Air Born, her first book in the Generation Icarus series which launched on 23 Sep 17.
We had planned for 3 separate locations for this shoot; the old Parnell disused train station, Riverhead Forest and Murawai Beach. The scouting was mostly based on previous experiences of these locations along with Google maps. Parnell is a 40 mins drive from Orewa and we planned on leaving at 0900. I was so excited to be shooting Jess with her wings among the rusty trains and railway carriages. I had packed a smoke machine to provide an extra level of drama. Well, the only drama that unfolded was that the Auckland Council had very kindly cleared away all the old trains and left us with a very bland car park and nothing we could use for this element of the shoot.
Not all was lost, we still had Riverhead and Murawai to go to. On the way to Murawai, I suggested to take a bypass to Greenhithe Wharf, which had a run down boat builders on site thinking it would make a great alternative. Well you wouldn't believe it, but this too had been cleaned up and fenced off. I was starting to think the creative gods were going to be against me all day. In the back of my mind I was thinking that the location I had planned at Riverhead forest could have been de-forested.
Lucky for us, the forest still had trees! It also had plenty of people walking their dogs and each dog that saw Jess really didn't know what to make of her. Afterall she was a human with enormous wings. All the dogs took a very large detour around her and I'm sure they would have bolted had she opened them. As it's not everyday you see someone with wings, passers by were asking for selfies with Jess and showing genuine interest in her book.
Once we go off the main track into the forest we could begin our shoot uninterrupted, or so we thought. Dogs would still come and hunt us out, only to stay their distance barking at the human/bird creature they'd found.
We decided not to go to Murawai after the forest shoot as Jess wasn't feeling too well, but I'm stoked with the images we captured in the forest and I'm sure we'll get around to going to Murawai in the near future.
Jess's book Air Born is on the shelves of all good book stores in New Zealand now. It's aimed at teenagers and young adults, but having read it myself
I'd totally recommend it for adults too.