Titania and Bottom by John Anster Fitzgerald
Artepics / Alamy Stock Photo

This photo shoot was first inspired by a unicorn head. My mom was infatuated with unicorns and had made this incredible papier-mâché unicorn costume complete with a head-mask part and kept it all these years. When I recently pulled it out of storage, it sparked memory of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, mostly because of how Bottom’s head becomes transformed into a donkey’s. I thought, How cool would it be to do a shoot loosely inspired by that and the fae realm but put a full fantasy twist on it and make it a unicorn instead of a donkey?

From there, the shoot spiraled in the direction of fairies and fantasies and late summer evenings that seem to last forever and all the warm magical feelings that encapsulate that fleeting season. As a kid, one of my favorite movies was the 1940s version of Fantasia. I always loved the scene most with the centaur girls picnicking in the glen, weaving flowers through their hair, enjoying good food and friendship, just dripping in flowers and so much beauty. I wanted my shoot to feel reminiscent of that—of fairies and sisterhood and lush never-ending summer evenings full of good food and fellowship (with, of course, a little twist of Shakespeare!)

My team was amazing—everyone met as strangers but left that day like sisters. That’s just the magic of fantasy photo shoots if you ask me. It’s impossible not to have so much fun that you forget you’re doing a photo shoot, and all of the sudden it just feels like you are really living this impossibly magical life. It was so much work pulling it all together, making sure everything perfectly matched my vision. It was a long, exhausting day, but when I stood back at the end and saw them all from afar in the dark, sitting around the table with candles flickering, sharing sweets and laughs and just hanging out enjoying each other’s company, it was just such an aha moment: This is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. Making dreams a reality, bringing people together, rekindling imaginations, and creating so much beauty in the process. It really doesn’t get much better than that!

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