If you have been poking around the internet or even hanging out in the real world of the US East Coast for too long you may have heard of the zombie pin-up calendar project Gorgeous and Gory by zombie enthusiast Jessica Rajs.
Rajs and company have been producing high quality zombie pin-up photos since 2010. What started as a project to fund a world record breaking zombie walk has launched into a fabulous calendar series and now a beautifully disturbing photography collection.
Four years of calendar images and additional supplemental photographs were all artfully taken and meticulously styled. Rajs’ experience as a fashion photographer and model surely served the project very well as each image seems possess a clear focus and purpose. Each calendar has its own pre-determined vision. The project went from 1950s classic pin-up zombies and 1960s vivacious zombies to mermaid zombies and then back to more classic pin-up styled zombies. The goal throughout each photo set was to bring forth high quality and authentic looking images. Each detail was carefully laid out. From the costumes and posing to the set designs and latex gore effects, the images are perfect. I delight in saying that each photo is as beautiful as it is disturbing. (Though perhaps what is disturbing is that they are so beautiful? Who can say!)
My favorite zombie from the first set of pin-ups was definitely Mary-Leigh. I assume her photos were for the December shoot as several of them featured her hanging an eyeball on an aluminum Christmas tree. I think that the best shot of her is the one I’ll show. It features her standing on her knees, hands on her hips, the camera focus on the gaping, bloody eye socket where her eye used to be. GORE-geous indeed!
As I mentioned above, for calendar two the team jumped forward to the 60s for inspiration. My favorite shots came from zombies Alison and Araena. They look like the literal picture perfect combination of fabulous and vicious.
The third calendar features zombie mermaids which is an interesting deviation from the pin-ups theme. The latex work, blood spattering, and make up application are consistently spot on throughout all of the collections. I really appreciated the fact that they did not turn to photo shop for those effects just because they would be spending a large portion of time digitally adding tails and fins to the models in this third series. I personally am not a big mermaid fan, but if mermaids are your thing you will probably get more out of this section than I did. (I was really interested in the behind the scenes description at the end of the book which detailed how the mermaid tails were added, though.) My favorite of this aquatic undead series was the image of a bloody mermaid bathtub. (It’s in water so it still counts, right?)
All in all I really loved this book. If it didn’t have the spooky addition of being a zombie pin-up book, I would probably have adored it anyway because of the vast array of tattoo work that I got to sample while looking through the photos. (Yay for my derby girl roots!) A nifty bonus is all of the background information that is provided throughout the book on the different locations where photos were taken. I can honestly say that if you like the pin-up photography style and either like or don’t mind a little blood and guts mixed in then I think you’ll love this book! I have yet to show anyone this book who didn’t absolutely adore it, so keep this in mind for any undead lover you might know.