Friday, June 28, 2013

Dexter Photo Contest

Dexter photo contest from

The contest is to create a single crime scene photo that might be seen in the Showtime produced television show Dexter. The scene can be one of Dexter's crime scenes, or the crime scene of someone Dexter would target.
An additional rule was no photo editing.

Here is the finished product. This is straight from the camera. I could go into the story I'm trying to convey with the photo and the items I included, but instead I will let it speak for itself. The goal was to create a photo that provides a new detail every time you look at it. Continue reading for a behind the scenes look.

I will start with a humorous story that happened during the photo shoot:

          The far bay door was open during the shoot as the building is not conditioned.  
          As I'm snapping photos, and my actors have knives in hand standing over a girl taped to 
          the table, a guy comes up to the bay door.

          "Hey, are you selling the white truck out front?" He asks.

         We all turn around surprised to even see someone, and even more surprised that he hasn't 
         run away. I tell him, "I don't know who is selling the truck, but I can find out."

          Now instead of acknowledging the situation in any form- not even a lame joke. I
          mean, again, a girl taped to a table, blood everywhere two guys holding knives,
          he responds, "That's okay, I'll come back on Monday."

          Maybe that was his means of escape, but we were all left wondering, what thoughts 
         were running through that poor hapless soul's head? Was he unaware of what he stumbled 
         upon and played it cool before he escaped? Was he afraid he was going to be the next victim, 
        so he decided to leave us to our work? We questioned whether he simply called the cops, but 
        as the police never came, he must not have.

 Now back to the contest, I began by calling in favors and friends as I began to gather props. I wanted a very dense picture with lots of items that would allow the viewer to discover additional details and provide a realistic atmosphere, while telling a story about the perpetrators. I also wanted a tall vantage point; something that would allow me to fit a lot of the props in the photo and provide depth.

The production concept.
The above sketch gave me an idea of camera position and how to arrange the items. It all started with that image. Google Sketchup is great resource since the models of household items are readily available.

I decided on a copy-cat theme because I don't know anyone that looks like Dexter, and thus I'm allowed a certain degree of freedom by not having to strictly adhere to Dexter's traits and methods.

I determined the location first. It's a recently vacated auto body shop.  The condition was perfect for the theme I wanted to convey. My method for determining which items to use was mostly a throw it all in and see what comes out. I brought power tools, hand tools, poker chips and cards, tables, plastic-wrap, a Shaun of the Dead shirt and cricket paddle, a cooler, prop dynamite, a plush enema toy, etc.
Friends brought dozens of knives and two hand guns.

I will admit, I've only seen the first two seasons of Dexter, so I did some research on some of the iconic props from the series in an attempt to include easter eggs in the photo. As it turns out most of what I  tried to include was shown in the first two seasons anyway.  I do have the slide box, the ice truck killer doll, blood on the cheek, and some fake newspapers based on a Dexter press release.

Here is the before shot. I started with a nearly blank canvas.

The perfect crime scene.
What a transformation.
They do seem to enjoy their work.

I'll include a few close ups, since the details are a bit fuzzy once zoomed in on the original image.

When you need to pass the time or just take a break.

Tools of the trade.

To note, that is a Shaun of the Dead shirt complete
with name tag and cricket paddle.

A few tools for a rainy day.

Dexter fans, may I direct your attention to the doll and severed head?

It just wouldn't be complete without a box of slides.

I knew the papers would be folded,
so I didn't draw the bottom half.

Unfortunately, we shall never know if exercise works, a pity.
My original hope was that the papers would
add to the story in the picture, but the headlines aren't visible.

With the actors and the set available, we staged an informal short film. I made this comedic as my youtube page was getting a little dark. Look for the video soon!
Blogger Widget