When first time sneaker mask collector, @d100y, proposed the destruction of a pair of Doernbecher Jordan 5s he knew what he was doing but wasn’t entirely sure where my creativity might take them. The UK sneakerhead asked me what visions came to mind when I thought of the DB5s on my Chopping Block. I looked over pictures of them, both in natural and UV light (black light), it didn’t take long for the concept to come to me. The deep, black, shiny patent leather was something out of the depths, almost slimey but what made this pair special were the glow in the dark and black light effects. Then it hit me, these reminded me of an angler fish, right down to the sharp teeth on the midsole. Angler fish are found across the globe from the continental shelf to the deepest parts of our ocean. Namely I was thinking of the Ceratiidae or ‘sea devil’, a deep sea angler fish with a fleshy growth [that comes] from the fish’s head (the esca or illicium) [which] acts as a lure“.*
I wasn’t sure how the client would feel about a mask inspired by a strange deep sea fish, luckily he was all aboard. I cast glow in the dark teeth to match the soles of Doernbecher 5, the 4 largest teeth were cast from a mold of the Jordan 5 midsole – teeth on teeth. The lure/light is a LED pen light that I cut the original LED out of and soldered in a UV/black light, the button to turn the light on is actually at the base of the spine. In the pictures below you’ll see I also use the sole to create a caudal (tail) fin. While you’re looking back there you’ll also notice the rib cage crafted from the insole and laces. The eyes were custom made, resin cast using spherical ice cube molds, they glow in the dark and also have a holographic like sheen/shimmer. One other thing I should point out is the tint on the lens, 3 different films were used to create the effect but what’s most important are the shapes I used in the lens. The top tint ‘teeth’ are actually the same shape as the Jordan 5 heel cup and the bottom tint ‘teeth’ is based on the teeth on the midsole. There’s no shortage of details in this piece.
Check out the gallery below and stop by tomorrow for more photos of the Doernbecher 5 Angler Fish Gas Mask
I shot this mask at the Point Reyes Ship Wreck in Northern California, not far from San Francisco. The abandoned fishing vessel has been a landmark and favorite of photographers for years but it was our first time. I was joined as always by my wife @BetsyVanDeusen and we had a new friend, sneakerhead and model with us @Eli_Lantern_Neal – not realizing until later how appropriate it was to have someone nicknamed “Lantern” modeling an angler fish mask. It should have came as no surprise that there were other photographers there but we all fell into a respectful dance of getting our shots and then stepping out of frame so others could shoot as well, slowly we were rotating counter-clockwise around the ship. I was ankle deep in mud to get some of the shots I wanted but it was worth it, and luckily I’m part of Team ReShoevn8r now so clean up was the least of my worries (you can actually see the shoes from the shoot on my IG page). It was truly beautiful, and if we had known what was to come we would have stayed and soaked it in at least a little bit longer.
The very next night the Point Reyes Ship Wreck was burnt down by careless, foolish photographers. They had lit steel wool on fire and spun it above their heads from the back of the ship…
Local fire fighters spent hours putting out the blaze. When all was said and done the results were this:
I can’t stress enough how important it is that we all realize the effects we have on our environment. This is just a micro-example of the bigger picture. It’s imperative that our imaginative and creative pursuits do not destroy the original beauty that drew us to our locations. One of the best things about photography, especially in the digital era, is that it is a medium that allows for infinite possibilities – for journalism, to abstraction and hyper-realism, landscapes to portraits, and yet unlike other forms of art – Photography doesn’t inherently alter it’s subject. There’s nothing wrong with playing with fire so to speak. But you have to be smart and safe… lighting and spinning steel wool, which sends little embers flying, while on an old wooden ship falls in the category of GO HOME YOU FUCKIN’ MORONS! Seriously, no fucks were given and no brain cells were used. To add insult to injury, NorCal is the last place you should be reckless with fire. Wildfires ravaged hundreds of thousands of acres last year and the Rocky Fire caused us to evacuate our studio for a week, not knowing if our entire livelihood would be there when we returned.
The same shots they were attempting could have been achieved and with no harm to the boat had they just stepped off the boat, went a safe distance from the boat, into the mud flats where any sparks would have sizzled in puddles. Truth be told, there are smart and safe ways to do these risky, dangerous shots. I’ve seen a lot of backlash from traditional photographers against the types of photographers who “do it for the ‘Gram”. Referring to the amateurs, pro-ams and thirsty professionals all alike but more so lumping in photographers who use long exposure and fire/fireworks/smoke to create captivating images. This isn’t about that fight, it’s not about whether you prefer natural lighting and effects or the new era of lights, fire and action. The traditionalists should remember that their preference should never discourage other creatives from what inspires them. The focus here needs to be about accountability, too little of it is the real issue. The shit heels who are responsible should definitely be made to face their mistakes. We must teach the new comers how important it is to “Leave it how you found it.” That way whatever your flavor we can go back to these beautiful locations and shoot it again, maybe in a whole new way.
Unfortunately in this case what is left of the Point Reyes Ship Wreck will likely be demolished and hauled off.