This set is a great example of the importance of collaboration between artist and model. The model came home one day wearing this outfit, because this is just how she dresses, and I knew at once that I needed to photograph her. My initial inspiration was only for the first image in the set, titled “The Right Tools.” I wanted the various implements to look like they had actually been used as instruments of torture, which means I couldn’t just poor blood on them. If you’re using a pizza roller to cut someone, the blood is going to get on the blade in a very specific way that you can’t replicate just by smearing blood on there.
So to get that all natural feel, I poured the blood all over some apples, then used the implements on the apples as if they were flesh. That was not meant to be part of the shoot, but after we had successfully captured the first shot, the model just started playing around. She improvised all the other shots in this set, and it has become some of my favorite work. So if your model is ever feeling the urge to play, encourage it and see what happens.