The cast behind my upcoming staged reading of my haunted western “Scarred Leather” all had their photos taken by me in my living room and then I set out to edit them some Deadwood portraits for their characters…
Each character is from 1847, old Upper Canada, in the wilds of the new land called home – the outback of the Western world.
My talented friend Ryan Fisher of Rainyfresh Photography let me check a bucket list item off my list: being a historic cowgirl. I have always loved Calamity Jane (from Deadwood was an amazing interpretation!) and Back to the Future 3 – heck I live my life in the times of the Gold Rush, but I’m stuck in Toronto 1850s not the Klondike! My costume in this photo-shoot was inspired by Calamity’s classic look from her 1880’s portrait, too. I have been training to be her with stage combat, whip work, gun work, and of course horseback riding.
My friend Phil from Stageworthy Podcast wrote this when he saw the Rainyfresh edit of the photos:
“Red Anna. Some’ll tell you that her hair wasn’t always red. That it turned blood red from the entrails of the men she killed. Others say that it’s red because it was touched by the flames of hell. Still others say that its the dark mark upon her, placed there for some sin too dark to mention. What the truth is, none can say. But she’s earned each and every tale that’s told about her, and more.”
So here is Calamity Jane’s 1880 portrait I used to inspire my costume that I put together myself:
I have this dream to be in a Western movie… maybe it’s because I have spent the last 10 years working in the right time period at the museums I teach and tour at. Maybe it’s because I started to ride horses when I was a kid and grew up to show horses in Hunter/Jumper class or Barrel Races. Maybe it’s because I have been fascinated with archery and single action lever rifles. Maybe it’s because I have always wanted to be a badass woman saving the day. Maybe it’s because I fell in love with Back to the Future part three or Deadwood tv series (because Calamity Jane played by Robin Weigert blew up my heart and mind!)
Whatever the reason, when my friend Ryan Fisher of Rainyfresh Photography wanted to do something other than weddings and I immediately suggest an old Western photoshoot where I could pay homage to the likes of Calamity Jane and badass ladies in general.
The day before I hung out with my brother at the gun range as we both have our license and trained up on bolt action rifles and pistols, I have to be a markswoman if I’m going to duel at dawn in 1847! Turns out I’m a pretty good shot – look at that grouping and target hits below:
And a preview of what’s to come from the photoshoot: here is one of Ryan’s awesome photos of me in my full Calamity Adri costume get up!
So I did it. I got my headshots done. This is not a rare occurrence, as being an actor one needs said headshots. But would you believe I HATE getting my headshots done?
“But Adri, you love acting and performing and public speaking – you take selfies even! Why do you hate headshots?!”
Well, anonymous text, it’s simple: it’s hard. It’s so hard to be You (capital Y) and not you (small y). Meaning, be the most genuine you You can be but also be the product you want to be. Confusing, no? You are trying to sell your face, your persona, your You to the world of acting and it is as much about being vulnerable to the camera as it is owning it and demanding the look you need from yourself. It’s hard. It’s super hard. And to get “there” to that place where you FINALLY get the shot, you have to get a bit silly…
Instead of showing you my top picks I’m showing you my silly pics. Here, I will even caption them, and I hope you do too *winner for best caption gets a prize* no seriously I will send you a something in the mail. It may be one of these silly headshots. You have been warned.
These are by Photos by JoH – she was AWESOME and these are untouched/unedited and look at how awesome my ginger skin tone is (which is also due to the talents of Coral Melnyk) Pffft they brought their A-Game (and I can’t wait to show you the final shots later!) but here is my silly face:
So yup. To get that perfect shot you will take a few silly/rejects. And that is kinda how life is, right? Try, try, try again, and between each shot Joh was laughing with me and talking about all the things in the world to get me to that perfect shot. It was great. So even though I hate getting my headshots done, I actually had a good time by the end of it.