I grew up watching movies and reading books about fantasy and science-fiction and that clearly shows in the choice of subject in my personal work. Last year I started a project about recreating gods and heroes from the Finnish epic Kalevala and I created images for Louhi, Louhi’s Daughter and Ahti. While my original aim was to keep the project nice and tight, I decided to expand it to include gods and heroes from all Scandinavian mythology and folk lore. I was greatly inspired by the Hollywood movies based around the god of thunder, Thor, and he was naturally my first character to add to my project. The suit I made myself using image captures from the actual movies for inspiration.
Some background about the creation process:
The suit is made from a variety of synthetic materials that are well-known among cosplayers (the awesomely talented people who make absolutely stunning dresses and armor all by themselves), namely mattress foam and EVA-foam. Then of course there are some odd pieces of fabric and leather to add a level of detail to the suit. Mjolnir (the hammer) is made of mattress foam, which I molded into shape using different sandpapers and a hot gun. The shaft is wooden, with a leather strap wrapped around it.
The whole process of creation from planning to execution took me well over a month. I was determined to create the best possible suit that I could make with the smallest possible budget. Raw materials costed around 50 euros total. Here are some images of the prototype suit paired with the actual suit including the wool cape.
- a movie poster-like portrait of Thor himself with some text elements to make the image look like an actual poster.
- Thor in action, wielding the Mjolnir and going through a storm. I was looking for something very dynamic and energetic here.
- Thor depicted as a giant in a Scandinavian landscape. This needs to fit with my previous “giant” images from Kalevala.
Once I had the suit ready and finished the sketches for the final images, it was time to organize the shoot. The shooting day was pretty straight forward as I had everything well-planned out beforehand. I used four Elinchrome strobes to light the talent. The setup was different for each image, but the general idea was always the same: main light with fill lights. To add to the overall mood, I also used a wind-machine, a smoke-machine, and a sprinkler. Make-up was done by the awesomely talented Valentina Kuula (you may remember her from posing as Louhi).
The shoot was about 4 hours (not including make-up) so overall this was among the shortest I’ve had in a while. One major factor here was an entirely different approach to taking pictures. I wanted to take my time and know exactly what the image would look like before I took it. While this may sound time-consuming, it’s actually the contrary. Instead of shooting thousands of images and praying that some of them are usable (also known as “spraying and praying”), I took deliberate shots, checked them each time and stopped when I felt that I got my frame. For this to work, it certainly helps to have the images sketched out before.
The rest is post-processing 🙂
Model: Sape Koskinen (as Thor)
MUA&H: Valentina Kuula / Making Hell
Assist: Astrid Mannerkoski