Those who know me know that I’ve never been a fan of arachnids. I wouldn’t go as far as to run screaming from the room, but there’s a certain irrational unease presented by any houseguest with 8 legs. So, when I was asked by the lovely Loretta Hope to shoot her in conjunction with Rosie, a Chilean Rose Tarantula, naturally my first reaction was to say “Yes”.
I didn’t want to shoot a typical “Nude with spider” shot, and figured if I was going to shoot a cliché I may as well go in with both feet. I shot Lola in 3 different positions to get her legs into place, using car keys and a spot of gaffer tape to make sure everything was lined up as necessary. Colin (Rosie’s handler) then coaxed out the
terrifying beast beautiful Rosie who proceeded to take a VERY leisurely stroll around Lola’s back. So leisurely, in fact, that I wasn’t able to get an adequate number of photos of Rosie in position to complete the full “Jacket of Spiders” effect that I wanted but, c’est la vie, and we got enough to make it work.
You can see the composition process in the slides, cleaning up the background, adding the legs, retouching and shading, then comping in the spider(s) with a mix of masks and darken blend modes. A detail crop is below, as well as a 1:1 crop of the spider detail. Nikon D800’s don’t hide much that’s for sure!
Also, I must concede, I discovered that spiders (At least giant, loping hairy ones) aren’t quite as terrifying as I’d expected, so a pretty positive outcome all round!
After compositing the plates, the finished image, whilst achieving what we set out to accomplish, didn’t really hit home for me, so laid into it with Photoshop and a boatload of fake fog and blood brushes to see where it would end up. I’ll do a full breakdown on that at some point in the retouching section, but for now, enjoy the slightly disturbing outcome! 🙂