A combination of approaches were used to get the Yuki-onna concept from our heads to the final images. Our idea for representing the character was to focus on her ethereal, ghostly quality, and the idea that this was a lost spirit, doomed to wandering the snows for eternity. At the same time, I didn’t want a horror take on the Yuki-onna as is often done in cinema. Thus Cathy and I determined to shoot this in high-key, relying more on hue, expression, and makeup.
Carine used clown white makeup over the face, and we just used the extremely long sleeves to hide the hands. That also had cultural significance, as in the stories Japanese women usually cried into their sleeves rather than into a handkerchief. I set my Fuji XT-1 to capture in subtly cold tones by setting the White Balance to Kelvin, specifying 3800K; this ‘fooled’ the camera into compensating for a supposedly over-warm light source by turning everything blue. Had we gone for a low-key horror take, I might’ve set the white balance to something like 2500 K. No pure white or light blue kimono was available for the shoot, the only suitable one having floral designs in reds, oranges and peach. I decided to fix this in post by turning those warm-colored floral designs blue and with lower saturation. Lastly, our model had very light brown eyes and brown hair, so I also desaturated those and shifted them to the blue end of the spectrum.
Model: Carla Peralta
Hair & Makeup: Carine Bacani
Styling: Miggy Lee Acuna