So, on a day when I got the news that this blog is number 46 on the top 100 photography blogs to follow in 2013 (by what criteria, I don’t know), I thought it only right that I should post something suitably epic.
A while back, a friend had posted a picture of a zombie themed wedding cake, with bride and groom at the top fighting off the climbing zombies. My thoughts immediately turned to the hills behind my hometown of Largs and the potential for bringing the images to life. Fired by this inspiration a shoot was born.
The first step was to secure a location for hair and makeup, no mean feat when you’re planning for a zombie horde. Thanks to the kind help of the folk at Kelburn Country Estate, we were able to rent the Henhouse and spend the day terrorising their usual guests.
Next up was the all important task of locating people to work in front and behind the camera. Early on, makeup artists Hannah Strickland and MissTaarna had signed upfor the event. There was a third originally going to help out, but she got sucked into a world of college work. A previous collaborator, Lesley Docherty of Head Strong Solutions also stepped forward to help out with hair for our cast.
A few weeks before the shoot, Kaspars Grisulis showed an interest and was immediately recruited as the groom for the day. He turned out to be the most laid back "groom" I've ever met, taking all the chaos in his stride and managing to run downhill with a chainsaw in one hand and his bride in the other!
The struggle became finding the right bride. Just a week and a half before the shoot, I bumped into Florence Sutherland on my way out of a networking meeting with the Scottish Creative Network. She’s a relative newcomer to modelling, butwhat a natural, totally professional, easy going and able to decapitate a zombie if required to do so.
All throughout this time there was a trickle of interest from zombies far and wide. I’d recruited a friend, Benita as a mother of the bride Zombie, and following a chance meeting with her husband in the supermarket on the day of the shoot, he too got roped in, with their daughter, Cara, stepping in as the bride’s sister! Other zombie roles were also assigned before and during the shoot, though some ofthese were really quite arbitrary and only in our heads.
Anyway, I’m jumping ahead. A lot of effort went into sourcing clothes for a number of our zombies. Heroic efforts by Sharon from Cancer Research andSusan from The Salvation Army in Largs helped me to outfit quite a number of our 18 zombies, with a suitable donation to their respective causes of course. I can’t thank them enough for their kindness and enthusiasm in supporting my mad idea. A couple of items were also acquired from other charity shops and my wife did her part in trawling for specific items.
I watched the weather reports all through the week and when 7 am dawned bright and clear, I gave the go ahead for the shoot. It was a brave thing to do in the Scottish weather, where things can change from hour to hour, or minute to minute.
A few last minute errands and I was up at Kelburn unpacking my car and barely taping up my red Z’s to direct folk before MissTaarna arrived with her family. Shortly after she unpacked, the first two zombies arrived, Amanda and Karin. The trickle of folk became a torrent, especially once the second makeup artist, Hannah, arrived and Lesley turned up with the folk from the train. With Kaspars there, Florence arrived moments later and I could breathe again, as at least the bride and groom were there!
Bringing up the rear was George Monaghan of monapics.com who would be shooting video. Also with him was Kate Sam, who with Hamish Archibald were also along to take photos and cameo as zombies for the shoot.
Once Kaspars and Florence were suitably made up,with a bruise or two, a scratch and some blood, we whisked them around Kelburn for some shots to establish them as being chased by zombies and then some shotsof them recovering and relaxing after the battle.
By the time we got back to the flurry of activity at the Henhouse, we entered a madhouse full of zombies, folk chopping up their clothes, smearing themselves with fake blood and rolling down grass banks to give themselves the lived in zombie look.
In only 4 short, mad hours, the two makeup artist had performed the herculean task of creating 17 unique zombies as well as preparing the bride and groom.
We left Kelburn in a convoy of cars, to adjourn tothe viewpoint above Largs. A brief gathering and then we set up the different scenes I’d had in my head, using the landscape to provide a cinematic scope to the images. It all culminated in the final battle at the top of the hill, with bride and groom fending off their wedding guests with a cricket bat and a chainsaw.
With the shoot done, we adjourned to Nardini’s in Largs for ice creams, where most of the cast and crew gathered for a cone, before heading their separate ways.
An amazing day and everybody seems to have had great fun. I was left a little gobsmacked and overwhelmed by everybody's enthusiasm for the project as well as their perseverance in the cold winds on top of a hill.
You can find the full “Wedding Album” at http://issuu.com/duncanholmes/docs/thezombiewedding/1.
A video will follow shortly from George, featuring musicby the amazing Scottish singer, LouHickey.
And a big thanks to our cast of zombies: Benita, Marco,Cara, Maisie, Nikki, Fiona, Fi, Keira, Vicki, Victoria, Stuart, Karin, Amanda, Farah,Shannen, Haydn, Hamish and Kate. An extra big thank you to Florence and Kaspars and possibly the largest thankyou known to mankind to the makeup artists and hair stylist, Taarna, Hannah and Lesley.