Edgewater, NJ - Princeton, NJ
30 miles, 45 minutes
As soon as we got to J. Isobel's, our energy shifted. We were a bit road-weary and I was experiencing a seriously pain flare, but the moment she literally bounced into view, everything felt a bit... lighter. Izzy is one of the sweetest, most exciting people I know. She is bright and happy and incredibly friendly, but she's also chock full of stories from the bizarre to the down right creepy, which is directly reflected in her studio set up. Once you've seen a photo set by J. Isobel De Lisle, you can recognize her style and aesthetic from a mile away. You can expect to find (fake) blood, gore, prosthetic limbs, fetish objects, and vintage doctor implements in her portfolio, complemented by beautiful (often tattooed) women.
We pulled the bus in, got settled in the studio, and we got ready to shoot. As soon as I walked into the studio I saw a vintage child's polio boot, and was immediately drawn to it. The construction and color was beautiful, and it was in perfect condition; from the metal braces right down to the long lace that corset up the front. I was especially interested in it because it would force me to keep one of my legs straight, limiting the amount of positions I could get into. With the pain I was already experiencing and tendency to over-extend myself, having a limited range of motion was appealing. We were delighted to see that the boot fit me like Cinderella's slipper - slightly less glamorous but infinitely more intriguing. I slipped it on and we shot some photos while Kyle recorded behind the scenes video.
After an hour or so with that set, we moved on to the gore. I stripped down and Izzy poured a thick black goo all over me, then "fed" me a mouthful of homemade edible "blood". The texture and sweetness of the "blood" was such that it triggered my gag reflex every time. The plus side to that is that it got me salivating, which adds an extra layer of weird to the photos. The down side was that watching me gag over and over made Kyle sick. Kyle was next in line for gore photos, and me gagging psyched him out. By the time I was done, though, he was ready. We switched places (after I showered) and I took the camera to record behind the scenes of him modeling. It was the first time I'd ever seen him model for anyone but myself, but of course, he's a natural. Izzy decided to forgo the blood-in-the-mouth for him (opting instead to just pour it on him), so he didn't have to worry about gagging. I haven't seen the finished photos yet, but if the behind the scenes footage we captured is any indication, they're going to be wild. (See the BTS video below).
We wrapped the shoot, Kyle showered, and we said our goodbyes. Up until that point we hadn't made plans on where we'd sleep that night, but we were exhausted and decided to stick around rather than attempting to drive all the way to Brooklyn that afternoon. We pulled up our maps and realized that Princeton was only a few miles up the road. Neither of us finished college, so we figured we'd make our mamas proud and go to Princeton.
After the best nap we've ever had in the nicest Walmart parking lot, we were ready for a good meal. Kyle and I don't go on fancy dates very often, but it felt like a good time to treat ourselves. We sat down for a delicious meal at BoneFish Grill, then returned to the fancy Walmart for the night where we slept like babies. Check out the vlog below for visuals, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube for more!