Monday, August 25, 2014

The Sleep Paralysis Series Part II: A Nightmare's Lullaby

"Sleep paralysis is a phenomenon that occurs during transitional phases of falling asleep or waking up, wherein the body is still at rest while the mind is experiencing a cross between dreaming and staying awake."


For the last two weeks of summer, I wanted to end my work on Opal's Catharsis with a bang. My photographer, Dan, and I had an agreement half a month prior: to breathe life into the dreams I've had whilst having sleep paralysis. To forever capture them into eight photos. The challenge was to complete eight photoshoots in two weeks. But it was a multifarious challenge. Timing, precision and preparation were the biggest issues. Finding that one perfect shot was the second. On top of that, creating a surrealistic representation of how warped the nightmares were (as I remember them) was definitely a push for technical growth in graphics. Besides grazing the surface of styling and makeup designing, there were also many calculations involved. The camera angles, lighting consistency and overall cohesion were taken into account before the shoots even began.

I am happy to say that we have conquered all these obstacles. I now share with everyone my most meticulously planned set - a photo story equivalent to a journal of my dark and eccentrically psychedelic dreams, rated PG13.

*All eight photographs will be posted on this page every other day.

the sleep paralysis series 
part ii: a nightmare’s lullaby
photography by dan mccarthy
concept, makeup and modeled by cindy chen

A lullaby serves to cradle a child to sleep and if a nightmare had one, the cradler would be sleep paralysis. The nightmare would take comfort in knowing its victim is trapped in his or her fears, mind and body incapacitated and rendered absolutely vulnerable. For a few minutes there is a breach between illusion and reality. Two worlds collide when they are not meant to co-exist.

The Dangers of Falling Asleep
The First Dream:
A hardback book cracks open and breaks my skin.
The concept of how an identity is split apart by an external force was stuck with me long after I woke.

The Plunge Into Darkness:
Often the feeling of impending doom ate at an amazing dream.
Even if the rest of my body remained calm, the panic was still present.

Entanglement of Fears:
Depth and perception were increasingly warped, but it smelled wild out there.
The ropes felt real on my arms, even when it all ended.

When the dream starts to fade, everything slows down.

 Carried by Colored Winds:
One of my earliest dreams involved the over-sized obstacle course represented as a playground set.
The winds would break the fall with a gentle caress every time I failed to reach the top.

 Illusion and Reality

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Childhood Dreams

“It’s amazing how much you can do with such a small space.”
Remember how we used to find everything fascinating? A chair and a blanket can turn into a fort, a box and action figures could become your personal city of Gotham. Emily came to me with a vision that sparked my interest with the beautiful things a child's creative mind can create. We filled up the small room with childhood paper boats, a bubble bath and a painted girl. Then we left the rest to our imagination.

"Bath Time," Says Baby Bird
photographed by Emily Sadeghian
mua and model: Cindy Chen