Summer Photo Projects

Every year Little Person and I do a mother-daughter photo project.  We pick a mythological creature — usually a monster, because it’s us — design a costume, and then head out to take reams of photos, which I then edit and play with till we have a finished product we both like. Ottawa is full of beautiful, evocative, and downright creepy settings, so we never find ourselves lacking for cool backdrops.

These joint photo projects have become meaningful over the years, because life is hectic and dedicated mother-daughter bonding time is hard to come by. So dressing your child up as a scary supernatural creature and taking art photos may be a little…different…from the usual mother-daughter activities, but it suits Little Person and I just fine.

In 2015, we drew our inspiration from English folklore (and Terry Pratchett, of course – read ‘The Wee Free Men‘) to transform Little Person into a modern-day “Jenny Greenteeth“.  Jenny Greenteeth is a river hag, similar to Peg Powler or a grindylow, and is often described as green-skinned, with long hair, and sharp teeth. She pulls children and/or the elderly into the water to drown and eat them.

Make-up underway. I used a mixture of white stage make-up and foundation to create a translucent overall pallor, and then contoured with eye-shadow. In this case, I used light brown, light green, and dark green eye-shadow to create the facial and torso contouring, and then finished off with a metallic green eye-shadow for the eye-lids and lips.
Little Person as “Little Jenny”
Jenny in black and white

In 2016, our project was entitled “Ghost Girl”, and we picked a costume with vaguely 1920s overtones.

The make up for this project was kept very simple and innocent. Translucent powder, pink blush and lip gloss, and pink eye-shadow combined for an innocent, child-like effect. Of course, setting, filters, pose, and expression make a huge difference in the final product. Some of the photos from this shoot were quite sweet, while others were downright creepy.
A more aged look.
And now we’re getting a bit creepier. There’s just something about that little smile in the image on the right…she’s up to something.

In 2017 we shook things up a little. Instead of going for horror, we delved into the classics with a Midsummer Night’s Dream themed photo shoot.

The look for this project was fresh and natural. Blush, bright pink lip-gloss, and pale green eye shadow complimented the natural setting of the photos. The clothes were all value-village finds, while the head-piece was constructed out of a wreath-form, plastic flowers, and real feathers, all purchased at Michael’s.

2018 took us back to our horror roots with a costume inspired by the Lady in White or Weeping Woman (The legend, not the movie; although both the 1988 film — worth watching, by the way — and 2019’s ‘The Curse of La Llorona’ have their roots in the legend).

A White Lady or Weeping Woman is a female ghost, and can be found in one form or another almost the world-over. Typically, she is associated with loss — usually of a husband or child — before her own untimely death. In some versions of the legend, these ghosts are harbingers of misfortune, while in others they are simply mournful and lonely, pining for their missing loved ones. Some stories, however, cast the White Lady as a more malevolent spirit. Having lost (or killed) her own children, she now seeks to lure others to their deaths.


We had intended to go Victorian for this costume, but Little Person found an incredible wedding dress at Marshall’s for an equally incredible price (the fact that it was a size 0 and barely fit a twelve-year-old might have had something to do with that) and so we went for a more modern interpretation instead. For make up, I once again used a mixture of white stage make-up and liquid foundation to create the overall translucent pallor, contoured with various shades of brown eye-shadow, and then used a combination of black eye-shadow, mascara, and water to create the weeping effect.
In these photos, it was all about the eyes.

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