I'm so excited about the Black Dahlia photoshoot, courtesy of Dark Corner Productions aka my great friend Marcus from the Horror Junkies of Utah. I've wanted to do this shoot for sometime, I am so fascinated with crime stories, particularly the Black Dahlia, or Elizabeth Short.
A little history on Short, she was the victim of one of the most publicized murders in in history during the winter of 1947. She gained the infamous nickname from a newspaper that is known for nicknaming crimes they found particularly luring. Her murder is one of the oldest unsolved murder cases in Los Angeles history.
On the morning of January 15, 1947, the nude body of Elizabeth Short was found cut in half lying in a vacant lot in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. Short's severely mutilated body was drained entirely of blood. The body had been washed by the killer. Short's face had been slashed from the corners of her mouth to her ears, creating an effect called the Glasgow smile.
Several crime story authors have speculated on a link between the Short murder and the Cleveland Torso Murders, which took place in Cleveland between 1934 and 1938. Along with a large number of killings that took place before and after the Short murder, the original LAPD investigators looked into the Cleveland murders in 1947 and later decided against any possible relationship between the two cases. Nevertheless, new evidence implicating a former Cleveland torso murder suspect, Jack Anderson Wilson, was investigated by Detective John P. St. John in 1980 in connection with Short's death. St. John claimed he was close to arresting Wilson for the murder of Short, but unfortunately Wilson died in a fire on February 4, 1982.
Sometimes I wonder if her murder had been set in modern day, would they have caught the guy? Or would he have continued to elude investigators? I've been thinking about more and more lately, especially with the shoot coming up. Because I've always been interested in two things; crime and horror, this opportunity has been very exciting for me. I think because of the era, the deadly crime factor, and the romanticized horror side of The Black Dahlia, I've always been drawn to it. When Marcus asked if anyone was interested in doing a shoot, I grabbed the chance in a heartbeat.
I want to talk through the basics of my makeup before anything, especially because I did my own effects and used a little DIY to whip it all up. First, let's start with the blood. The basis of any good murder victim. My brother, Cameron, actually did most the work on this one. He's much better at Gore Makeup than I am, so I needed his expertise in blood. I googled some recipes for a basis but Cam did everything by eye. I however, did measure as much as possible. We used 4 tbsp of corn syrup, 1 tbsp of water, 5 drops of red food coloring, 2 drops of blue food coloring, 4 drops of green food coloring, and 2 tbsp of cocoa powder. (Actually hot chocolate mix, throw out the mini marshmallows and you have a yummy smelling home made blood, and if you were inclined to do so - completely edible) We left the little batch of blood in the refrigerator for 48 hours, it thickened up to perfection but still applied smoothly. My mom who made my Dahlia had me spatter some of the blood on for effect.
For my makeup I didn't have any latex so I used eyelash glue, I outlined my Glasgow smile with a brown eyebrow pencil, I also used tissue paper for a more skin looking texture. I used one layer of eyelash glue and two layers of tissue paper for each layer of skin. I did this four times, applying my foundation to the wound before using eyebrow scissors to smoothly open the cut. I then used a brown eyebrow pencil as a base for the blood for a darker effect. I then applied the blood to the inside and flaps of the skin. It didn't fully dry and throughout the shoot slowly dropped down my chin!
I'm so happy with how these photos turned out! Even though it was very cold in Copperton. It was one of the funnest shoots I've ever been able to do. I can't wait to work with Marcus on some other holiday themed photos here in the near future. Be sure to follow the etsy store closely, you'll be able to purchase my calendar around Christmas featuring the Black Dahlia photoshoot.