A Ten-Year Spell: Capturing Halloween’s Hauntingly Beautiful Moments

Posted on Oct 24, 2023
A Ten-Year Spell: Capturing Halloween’s Hauntingly Beautiful Moments

Themed photoshoots are our jam. They are a journey of personal discovery – a project that’s entirely outside of the ‘business’ of photography. Thoughtfully chosen, a recurring personal theme can wield a power that pushes aside bleak thoughts or burnout and keeps us falling in love with our craft over and over again. Halloween became our own perfect theme at the perfect time of year. By October, we’ve run low on energy, coasting on creative fumes. Halloween is when we need magic the most.

Every step of a themed photoshoot is imbued with the spirit of personal revitalization:

  • Coming up with an idea that helps us work through the emotions that year brought roiling to the surface.
  • Finding the perfect location with the lines, shapes, texture, color and depth that bring our concept to life.
  • The pure fun of the actual photo sessions with our beloved Corbin, Willow, and a few friends along the way
  • The art of editing
  • Most importantly, the sharing!

And not just the sharing of the final image. Each year I also share our entire creative journey, here in our annual blog posts.

Before unveiling our ‘Year 11’ photoshoot on the eerie night of All Hallows Eve, we’d like to guide you on a journey through the past decade of our enduring passion project.

Year 1 – 2013. A Passion Project Begins

Our very first photoshoot in our Halloween theme begins with an old crooked tree. Dark gloomy clouds gave way to an unexpectedly beautiful sunrise of pink, orange and yellow. Our ‘Canis Major’ Corbin, garbed in a spectral sheet, was transformed into a mischievous apparition. Meanwhile, Willow threw back her head for a Halloween howl. Walk with us (if you dare!) into pre-dawn chill to witness how the very first images of our Halloween passion project were summoned into being >>

Year 2 – 2014

Our Year 2 image came to me, quite literally, in a dream. I woke up excited and eager to share the moody, dreamy scene with Bill. The setting from my mind’s eye came to life at the top of a steep mountain on a pitch black night, with Willow (of course) as a wolfish, central figure. There’s so much more to tell, as well as the final image to share here >>>

Year 3 – 2015

For this third year, I chose to pay tribute to Hanal Pixan (Haan-ahl Pee-sham), otherwise known as the Day of the Dead in my family town of Mérida, Yucatán. I wanted to express how those we love never really leave, and that love and friendship goes beyond this physical life. This photoshoot was colorful and joyful in its simplicity, with moments of fun that lift memory above sadness.

Year 4 – 2016

In Year 4 we paid tribute to books of the Harry Potter series, but our story is deeper and more personal than mere fandom. Enjoying some time with friends one night, we joked aloud what our Patronuses would be if we got that letter to Hogwarts. It was at that moment I knew – and no joke – that Willow is the Patronus of my heart.

If you are not familiar with that Wizarding magic-given-form that gives us strength when we are challenged by darkness, come along with Bill, Jen and me as Willow helps me conjure my personal Patronus, through a lens, brightly.

Year 5 – 2017

They’re HERE…” No other phrase succeeds at bringing a particular tale of horror so quickly to mind with such shivering brevity. You can no doubt guess where this year’s project led us, and the journey is definitely worth the telling.

Year 6 – 2018

No Halloween photo series would be complete without a study of the beautiful, luminous, mysterious moon. In 2018 we explored the wildly free and deeply rooted nature of our minds (and more) symbolized in ‘The Moon’ – the eighteenth card in the Major Arcana in Tarot. While I’d like to say all it required was a wave of a magic wand to bring our interpretation to life, it takes quite a few steps to coax magic into reality. Join us as we knit together the mundane, the eclectic, and the fantastic into a single haunting image.

Year 7 – 2019

As you may know if you’ve visited this blog before, Canis Major is more than a heavenly constellation to us. Just as people of old navigated with the stars as guides, our own first Canis Major – our black Labrador named Corbin – was the catalyst who altered the course of our personal and professional lives. We dedicated this year to him, in honor of the stardust he left behind. If you have experienced a four-footed guiding star of your own, you’ll want to step in and share this photographic journey.

Year 8 – 2020

In 2020 we were wrestling with the shadowy spirits of a global pandemic and divided political climate. We were also still keenly aware of the loss of our beloved Canis Major, Corbin. We turned to our yearly Halloween passion project to reignite love, hope, and fun as we transformed our sweet Willow into an Alebrije – a form of colorful 20th century folk art made popular by Mexican artists Pedro Linares and Frida Kahlo. Read on to learn where we found our own small corner of Mexico and how we gave our Alebrije her wings to fly.

Year 9 – 2021

In 2021 the shadow of the pandemic was still looming. In our desire for childlike joy, we turned to Disney. But the times called for the darker, mysterious, misty, magical side of Disney lore, so we created a ghostly tribute to the enigmatic fortune teller Madame Leota. Here’s how Willow helped us spin a spell of healing. 

Year 10 – 2022

2022 marked the tenth year and the tenth Halloween-themed concept we brought to life. More than that, our supernatural dog-muse Willow was celebrating her 10th birthday, too! It seemed more than mere coincidence that our passion project began around the same time she entered our lives. This photo shoot with her brought so many songs and so many images to life! See how we filled our hearts and the entire sky with music and Willow.

What swirl of shadow or spirit of fun will 2023 summon?

You can only be certain that our Canis Major Willow will be at the heart of our Year 11 Halloween project. Watch for us when the sun sets on All Hallows Eve, here on our blog!

Want to be sure not to miss this year’s project? Scroll on down to the bottom of this page to subscribe to our email list. We’ll let you know when we’ve let this year’s spirit image fly free.