I took a break posting the stories behind the ‘Beyond Words’ calendar images, but I’m excited to get back into them. And even though it’s the start of March, the calendar is still available for sale, with proceeds going to charity. So be sure to check it out and grab a copy! 

One of my favorite images from the first calendar was the Merry Fates image, with authors Tessa Gratton, Brenna Yovanoff, and Maggie Stiefvater. I knew I wanted at least one image in the new calendar with more than one person, and after some planning I was able to shoot amazing husband and wife team Ransom Riggs and Tahereh Mafi.

These two are the cutest. Like, seriously. Both as individuals and together. Sweet, thoughtful, kind people who are amazingly creative. Ransom is known for his Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series, which is currently being turned into a movie by none other than Tim Burton. Tahereh wrote the Shatter Me series, which has been optioned for tv by ABC, and she has a new series beginning this fall. Seriously cool things from these guys. And let’s get real here. They are both freaking lovely too, no joke. So you can imagine my excitement to have them involved in this project!

For their image I initially wanted to do a magical tea party. After some back and forth with them we decided to enhance it and split the tea party into color and darkness. They have a beautiful area outside their house that fit the vibe perfectly, and I had a blast staging the image.


Tahereh told me to make the dress as colorful as possible, and I had so much fun pulling colors from an amazing tapestry fabric that I up-cycled from a vintage coat. She added a beaded belt as a finishing touch.

Ransom pulled together a great monotone outfit from his wardrobe, and once I laid out the two sides of the tea party we shot until the light faded. I added colored smoke bombs in the tea pot to emit various plumes of pigmented smoke. In the end I went with yellow as it felt the most magical. But honestly, it was a hard choice, as they all turned out really fun.

One of the things I remember from showing them the images on the back of the camera was Ransom saying that it looks like they’re challenging people … “I dare you to have tea with us!” I loved the intensity they both brought, and I didn’t need to direct them, they just did what they do and it looked amazing.  I barely edited the image, I was so happy with the way the shots turned out. I added an overall linen texture that brought out more of the painterly feeling, which I love.

February 2016 final proof small

Stay tuned for the next photo, Lev Grossman (and guest author Lauren Oliver!).  And don’t forget to grab a copy of the calendar (remember, all proceeds go to charity!).

Did you miss the previous calendar stories? Be sure to check out the image creations for Melissa de la CruzScott Westerfeld,  Robin Hobb,  Leigh BardugoTony DiTerlizziKami Garcia and Garth Nix!

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