I first met Kaitlin when she joined her best friend, Katy Hancock, on a boudoir shoot we did. I was glad to hear she was interested in being part of Week of Models, because she has a beautiful face and a good idea for her character. Most people wanted to play cooler versions of themselves, but Kaitlin was interested in playing a darker version. Heres what she said…
“I was recently told that schizophrenia actually runs in my family and I think it could be interesting to explore. I’ve done some research about it and it seems like mental health is a really difficult thing to detect. Schizophrenia doesn’t typically start appearing until your mid-20s, and the best combat against it is to be aware of it. I was told by my family when I started talking about big life changes like moving to New York for graduate school. Stressful life events can trigger problems if you are not aware of family history ultimately. I guess I’ve just spent a lot of time think about how I feel mentally stable, and I seem to be doing all of the ‘right things,’ but I’ve wondered if something out of my control will ever interfere with my plans like a mental illness.”
We decided to show what that initial decline might look like, a progression of reality slipping away and becoming someone else. The shoot didn’t start off great, because as we were about to get the equipment out of my car, a tow truck driver was trying to take my car away, and I had to pay him an absurd amount of money to set my car back down. It was probably a result of breaking a mirror earlier that day to make a prop for the shoot. We used lots of tricks with mirrors, broken glass, prisms, slow shutters, and shadows. The entire shoot was actually lit with just two flashlights and two LED lights. Mallory Chokas did a great job with hair & makeup again, making Kaitlin look increasingly distressed, and she was a huge help with lighting and all sorts of effects for the shoot.
P.S. Mental illness is a serious issue. Despite it looking glamorized in these photos, you should seek help if you feel you are having problems. Check out IMAlive.org for help.