by J Rae Chipera

Sometimes as a photographer, I get stuck in what I like to call "the abyss of the perfect frame." Film shooters might know more about what I'm saying. You go out with your camera and shoot 24 or 36 frames. Limiting yourself to just a few dozen photographs ensures you only shoot when everything is perfect. Then you develop the negatives, and when viewed under the enlarger, there is only one frame out of those few dozen that you think is worthy of your portfolio or just one that you think garners the vision you had for that particular shoot.

But that doesn't do if the client paid for more than one image. In fact, it can be a death sentence if you only have one frame you deem good enough. One saving grace is that inevitably, the client will always have a completely different opinion about which image is the perfect frame.
Picture
"The Haunted Shower" - model: Calissa Lieben
For this particular shoot, I wanted to shoot glamour model Calissa Lieben as the ghost haunting the shower. Though I had many shots, this was the only one that I thought really captured that story. But I needed more than one to satisfy the shoot. So what do I do?

Well sometimes, even though one image tells the story just fine, adding a few other frames gets the story better. Calissa didn't get to see the images after I took them, as I had to scurry back to California right away, but I have a good idea of what models like, and I discerned that she would like the last image in my series the best - the one that looked the least like a ghost and the most like a model. 

These three images were not taken in this sequence, but when looking at each photo individually and rearranging the negatives or thumbnails in different ways, I was able to find the perfect three-photo series that tells the story of the sighting of the beautiful ghost and highlights just how beautiful Calissa is.
These are my two main objectives as a photographer who shoots horror: 1) Show the fear. 2) Show the beauty. The different emotions that Calissa was able to show on her face is an added bonus.

Adding the extra frames made me as the photographer - the creator - wonder what would happen if I took her hand in the last frame and followed her. I wondered how she died. What is she disgusted about in the second frame? If I as the photographer now have questions, the photo series tells the story needed.
 


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