Behind the Scenes: The Prayer of Peace


Rebeca looking naturally beautiful in an outtake from the shoot. 

I really wanted to show how diverse and abstract this landscape was. When you place a group of creative photographers in a setting like this, it's amazing the diversity seen in the final images shot at the same time in the same location between these amazing folk. I mean, just look below and see for yourself. 

Eye for an Eye

  Peace for Paris   Jean Jullien

Peace for Paris Jean Jullien

It seems again, humanitarian issues are coming to light as the current hot-topic of debate across the nation and around the world. I see that more people are comparing WWII more to the steaming bigger issues that are on the rise today. The media (focusing on minuscule current affairs, gossip, and stories deemed more interesting to the public) is either feeding this information to the masses for better ratings or is having trouble clearly communicating factual information to its followers on the severity or the actual point they should be making on the content they are broadcasting out into the world.

Shootings across America, terrorist attacks across Europe, and bombings in Africa; don't get me started on the Middle-East. It's slowly getting out of hand. Something is unraveling and there doesn't seem to be a clear and right one-way solution that is justified unitedly in the eyes of the populations directly and indirectly involved with such horrible travesties that have been acted out. The uneducated always have all the easy answers. People in power, the well-informed, they don't speak for themselves anymore. They're mere puppets voicing the opinions of the people who sign their pay checks. Whatever system we're using, isn't doing well and it is at risk of falling apart, failing what it was put in place to prevent. I don't have any answers to give or solutions to offer, but that doesn't make any of my opinions on the matter completely meaningless. 

That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

I was sitting at home when news broke out about the Paris attacks. I was heartbroken as I was glued to my screen, reading the latest updates on the story as it unfolded. I was drafting my short story to go along with this photograph that night and I wanted to dedicate this image to the victims and survivors of those terrible acts of violence. This photograph was already conceived as a message of hope, but I feel that now, more than ever, that this image can help send a message to the world; if not as a wake up call to the politically blind, than as an offering of peace and condolences to victims and survivors of terrorism - not just Paris per se, but universally.  

In the following days after the attacks, I noticed people and websites complaining about other severe attacks that had occurred within the same time frame as the ones in Paris. I saw that they complained it was unfair that other countries were not gaining as much attention in the media as France was. Personally, what struck a cord with me on the matter was how relatable the Paris attacks were to my personal life. I live in a first-world country like France, and in a city like Paris. I've dinned out at outdoor restaurants and have gone to many events and shows in the city. I couldn't imagine my world crumbling in a state of utter chaos like that. Not an accident, but as pure terrorism. It wasn't that I cared any less about the other tragedies, it's that I could associate myself with those directly affected with the randomness of the attacks that had occurred in Paris. 

Eldhraun Lava Fields

This must have been one of the longest days for us on the trip and it was our last full day of the Icelandic adventure all together as a group. We woke up early in the morning after having a midnight shoot amongst icebergs at Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon. We traveled to our first camp site and hiked up the mountains to the basalt waterfalls. After hiking, shooting, resting, and more travel, we stopped on the side of the road to do a little more shooting. We were driving to our last campsite to have our last dinner with each other, when we stopped on the side of the road just one more time, for one very beautiful and other-worldy reason. 

We were driving through the Eldhraun Lava Fields for miles and I kept on thinking to myself, we should really be stopping to shoot every 100 feet we drove. We stumbled across a secluded road and found the perfect place to park and run out into the field to bounce on the thick moss that had overtaken the entire landscape in the most amazing colors. The clouds were evenly overcast across the whole sky and the is location was begging us to use it to shoot something special and unique. 

After shooting a self portrait and modeling for a few of the others eagerly creating in the field, I walked bare-foot across the moss, scouting for a spot to possibly squeeze in another shoot with our time there. I asked Rebeca if she would model for an idea I had been wanting to shoot. She happily agreed and went in her RV to change. I had borrowed a few smoke bombs that Brooke had brought along with her for the trip. Months prior to the trip, I came across this antique censer. I knew it would be great to use in an image someday, so I brought it along with me on the trip, in one of the suitcases I brought that was solely dedicated to photo props and wardrobe. 

The idea I had in mind was to light a smoke bomb inside the censor and shoot while smoke billowed into the air. This didn't work out as planned. As I tried capturing images of the smoke floating away, some of my panning shots turned out slightly blurry, which wouldn't work for stitching the image together later on. Luckily, I had also shot extra images of Rebeca without the smoke bombs, along with extras of the background too, which really saved this shoot from the trash bin in my opinion. It's always better to shoot more then less, especially now in the digital age.

This was my last photograph shot on the Icelandic excursion with my lovely friends. At the end of this day I had shot 5 completely different concepts. I was overjoyed and inspired by the people around me and the beautiful country that I was in. It's a bittersweet feeling knowing now all I've shot has been worked on and completed, but I'm so proud that all my concepts shot on this trip came to life in more ways than I have ever expected them too.