Mermaid in the Wissahickon



The birth of a new character.  Exciting, scary, riddled with a million problems you didn’t anticipate.  For us, the most exciting part of photography, is daring to do something that hasn’t been done before.  To go out on a limb and create something unique, bravely facing the elements, the public, the harsh critiques.  To have the nerve to be cold or wet or in danger all for the sake of creating something different.  For several years now, we’ve been photographing sideshow performer and clown babe MacKenzie Moltov.  One of my favorite things about working with MacKenzie is her dedication to creating art and the fearless way in which she approaches her projects.

When MacKenzie expressed her desire to explore a new mermaid character, I couldn’t have been more excited.  Due to all of our seasonal work schedules, winter is a downtime for us and we were determined to keep shooting and creating despite winter’s best efforts to thwart our creativity.  For the mermaid shoot, we decided to revisit the Wissahickon, where we had previously shot MacKenzie in a hauntingly emotional water shoot.  I’m not sure any of us really anticipated how cold the water and rocks of the Wissahickon would be in December.  Or what would happen to the fabulous tail made by burlesque hottie and super seamstress Liberty Rose, when it got wet.  Or how makeup would photograph from the distance we needed to capture as much of our rocky, winter scene as possible.  Or even how difficult wriggling in and out of a sopping wet tail while balancing on a freezing cold rock would really be.

But we did it.  We balanced tripods on rocks, carried our gear across the freezing river.  MacKenzie literally climbed mountainous rocks and nearly froze, half naked to make it work.  And it wasn’t perfect or comfortable or even very enjoyable.  But I do think there are some real gems amongst these images.  And, as always, I’m enormously proud of how our trio continues to keep creating, despite life’s best efforts to stop us.

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