Ancient Priestess

Last month I did a shoot in Ankara with model Özge Can posing in a chiton, a dress common to women throughout the ancient Mediterranean, at the Roman Baths archaeological site. Özge is working on a master’s degree in environmental engineering and does modeling as a hobby, and we connected via Model Mayhem.

I’ve been thinking about writing more about where the ideas for these shoots come from, so here goes:

At the beginning of the2008 Summer Olympics, Greece hired some actresses to dress as ancient priestesses for the torch lighting ceremony. After I saw the photos, I wanted to do a similar shoot! (But with garb that didn’t look like it started life as curtains.) I’d actually done a Roman look shoot before, though it was in 2000 on a 1.3 megapixel camera (which cost $600 then…) and had a blast with it.

In January, when the school I work at was on winter break, I went down to the Mediterranean coast by Antalya with the intention of doing some shoots in the area’s ruined Greco-Roman cities. I was hoping to find a model to pose for me there and put the costume together before leaving. It didn’t work out but I did find Özge’s profile and instantly thought of Michael Whelan’s painting “Night’s Daughter“. She liked the shoot concept so we worked out meeting later in the spring.

The Roman Baths in Ankara are an open air museum with ruins dating from when ancient Ancyra was the capital of Galatia, then an ethnically Celtic part of Anatolia. (I was flabbergasted to learn the area had a Celtic history; for some reason I’d always thought Galatia was in ancient Gaul/ modern France, not – of all places – Turkey.) In addition to the foundations of the baths themselves, there are collections of tombs, marble pillars, and both Greek and Roman waystones dating from the ancient past. Since the site is on a sloping hill, shooting from a low angle allowed me to hide the modern city surrounding us.

Finally, allow me to recommend Özge to anyone needing a Gothic-look model. We did this shoot on a trade-for-images basis but she’s looking for commercial work and would be very happy to travel. Her English is excellent and she was delightful to work with. Contact her via Model Mayhem or DeviantArt.

Gallery of images from the shoot. Click any image for prints and pricing.

Ozge – Ancient Priestess shoot – Images by Kira Hagen

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