Early in 2021, actor Sara Cristy contacted me and asked if I would be able to photograph fantasy-themed images for her portfolio, based on the fantasy role-playing game, Dungeons and Dragons. In this blog I've asked Sara if she could share what it's like working with me and her inspiration for the shoot.
Above: Dungeons and Dragons inspired Fantasy Photoshoot with actor Sara Cristy
My name is Sara Figueiredo, stage name Sara Cristy. I am an Actress and Software Engineer. I have always been a fan of fantasy, especially ever since I watched the Lord of the Rings, I fell in love with the genre. I love to surround myself in fantasy storytelling - films, series, books, video games!
One of my dream roles is therefore to portray a character in a fantasy world. I always questioned whether the industry would give someone who looks like me a chance. When I say "who looks like me", I mean - Mediterranean / French look, average body, with an unplaceable accent. But I always sensed there is something of an "old world" about my look. Like I could do period really well, and even fantasy / sci-fi. I truly believe I belong in a fairytale!
Whilst playing dungeons and dragons, which is a very famous fantasy role-playing game, I chose to be a half-elf shapeshifter, lover of nature and all creatures. Her name is Lúmena, a druid, who was saved by a dragon when she was younger, whilst all her family was slaughtered. Lúmena is royalty, but she hides her true name, to escape from the people who still want her blood completely wiped out of the World. The dragon who saved her also kept her captive for years, because it fell in love with her. Dragons are greedy creatures, so she knew even though she loved him too, she had to escape. It is quite a fascinating story!!!
Sometimes she has to kill, and inherit the senses of a beast. That is the only moment when she may lose her love for all living beings. But once she shapeshifts back to a half elf form, she cries... due to her empathy.
After a few D&D sessions, I knew I had to ask a photographer to help me give more life to her. It would be the perfect material to showcase to the acting world how much I belong to the fantasy world! And it would make me truly happy to dress up like her. I knew it wouldn't be an easy task. There were so many ways to bring her to life, so I knew I needed someone with experience in the fantasy genre and who wouldn't make me invisible behind so much editing. I needed it to look like stills from a film, no CGI.
After looking at a few portfolios, I came across Phil Jones's website. And there was something beautiful about his art. His photos all looked so natural yet so real whatever the genre he worked at. This is what I needed! So I got in touch with my idea. And I am so grateful he loved it too!
I loved how every week a new exciting idea would come into our minds! Phil completely understood what I needed, and brought his own creativity into the work. He also recommended an amazing make up artist, Grace, who did such a brilliant job!
I couldn't quite explain, but I felt really comfortable in their vision. Both before the shoot day, whilst sitting down and having my makeup applied, and whilst shooting. I think it has something to do with the fact that the three of us absolutely love Fantasy!
With makeup applied, medieval robe on... (which was bought from https://armstreet.com/ by the way, special thanks to them!) After seeing the shooting setup, at this beautiful park nearby, I immediately fell in love with the concept without even seeing the final images haha. I knew we were up for an exciting adventure!
So the shooting day went on really smoothly and I was allowed to inherit Lúmena's thoughts without any problems (apart from the lovely dogs!!!!! How can someone not smile, nearby so much cuteness!!). But I did my best even when I looked like I was all beaten up.
You can see in some stills Lúmena looking up to the skies, searching for her love, the dragon who once saved her, when she most needed him. But she looks scared. Because she knows she may once again become captive... which one is worse?!
Lúmena is mostly an upbeat creature, sometimes childlike, always fascinated by all nature. She even talks to plants!! That is why in most stills you can see her childlike, empathetic aura. Her magic is mostly healing based. Or spells that allow control of a human's mind. Her eyes / hair / skin change when she shapeshifts. This was the most complex bit to bring into the shoots, we had a few discussions on how we could make this work with the time we were left with, but I love the eye change Phil came up with. And the sharpened face Grace came up with. It gives a more animalistic trait to the character which is what we were looking for.
One thing I really liked about Phil Jones, is that I felt we could really share our own experiences as human beings and artists too. It was not only a professional day for both of us, it was a true collaboration, where we could speak to each other with an open heart. That is when the best projects come into place.
I have to thank Phil, his family, and Grace, for allowing me such an incredible day and for bringing Lúmena to life.
Both me and my agent LOVE the final pictures. I look forward to working with you again!
Above: 2021 Headshots of Actor Sara Cristy
I'd just like to thank Sara for her really kind words and for writing this blog, it was a pleasure to meet and work with you and I look forward to working with you again soon!
You can follow Sara on Instagram
Grace Gray Makeup Instagram
and of course, there's me Phil Jones Photography Instagram
A selection of images from my photoshoot with Sara Cristy. DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISSION.