Heidi’s Christmas Calendar

Title photo for Journal entry "A Merry Christmas Time"

A Merry Christmas Time

I really love Christmas time, even more than the holidays. It’s a time when everything is illuminated, the first snow comes and you keep meeting your friends at Christmas markets. You start thinking about how you can make other people happy and you get plenty of chances to do so. There is the tradition of giving gifts which we do on Christmas eve in Germany. There is St. Nicolas’ Day on 6th December and there is the possibility of making someone a little present every day during the advent season – with an Advent calendar. I came up with the idea to do so with a photographic calendar in November 2016 already. Unfortunately for the Christmas season of that year, there wasn’t enough time left to make it happen. So I started the new year of 2017 with the early intent to make an Advent calendar for the next season. And so I started with the first shooting in March already.

The model agencies were very nice and provided me with models, even though some of them found it quite funny and strange. I was shooting with the students of the Creative Beauty Company as an exchange of favors. They would get fresh images for their portfolios and I would get images for my calendar. So there were six make-up artists and also six models, all at once in the same room – additionally their teacher, a stylist, and me. You can surely imagine the chaos! I didn’t eat all day… And not every picture turned out perfectly, but of course, that’s the risk when working with starters and I think that helping the younger generation in the industry pays out someday. I had of course known the risks and planned to take many different looks so that there would be enough variety to choose from. We focused on beauty takes – which always means a lot of retouch work afterward. Unfortunately, afterward many other projects and deadlines occurred during spring and summer…

So I had started the project very soon, but nevertheless the second half of the pictures, which would be fashion photos, would be shot last minute – on 20th November! But they still turned out so well! I’m still in love with them. This time we had four models and two make-up artists, a stylist and two assistants (a styling and a photo assistant), so still many people and a quite small studio. But it all worked out perfectly as scheduled, even faster and without any pressure. It’s great when working in a large team turns out so pleasant.

Our theme during both shootings was the color red. Red is the main symbolic color for Christmas. It’s not a joke – that’s partly due to the Coca-Cola advertisement starting from 1931 drawn by the cartoonist Haddon Sundblom in the first place. He dressed the character in the Coca-Cola colors. There had been stories and images of Santa Claus before, but they had been dressed differently, like e.g. in brown, blue, or yellow coats. The soft drink company so to say established the red color of Santa Claus’ coat and Christmas’ connotation with it. Of course, red is also the color representing life and love, which makes it quite perfect for the season too. I think I’ve come to love this color more than before. I was always a lover of green, but for fashion photography red is great: it’s so vivid and powerful. It’s confident and interesting.

For the software of the calendar, I found a great provider who was so nice to give me a discount, because the little campaign was meant to be just a gimmick, not to sell or raffle off anything. I wanted to make everyone’s days until Christmas and show you some work made for you exclusively. The possibilities of the software were great: e.g. there were little sparkles flying around the images, which made it very dreamy and fairytale-like. Speaking of fairytales: I had a lot of fun choosing some quotes from Grimm’s and other tales to match the images. The idea came up very late, so the pictures weren’t shot with intent to remind of fairy tales – which made the quote & image matches very modern. And so I was enjoying my pre-Christmas time reading old and new fairy tales and choosing the best passages. Some turned out very funny when combined with the image, some were perfectly visualized – very romantic.

Here are some examples I liked best:

Model Malou from Modelfabrik captured by Heidi Rondak for Heidi's Christmas calendar
“The frog answered, ‘I do not care for your clothes, your pearls, and jewels, nor for your golden crown, but if you will love me and let me be your companion and play-fellow, and sit by you at your little table, and eat off your little golden plate, and drink out of your little cup, and sleep in your little bed – if you will promise me this I will go down below, and bring you your golden ball up again.'” – The Frog Prince by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm


Model Vera Hilmars captured by Heidi Rondak for Heidi's Christmas calendar
“Then they went all the way down, and when they were at the bottom, they were standing in a wonderfully pretty avenue of trees, all the leaves of which were of silver, and shone and glistened. The soldier thought, ‘I must carry a token away with me,’ and broke off a twig from one of them, on which the tree cracked with a loud report. The youngest cried out again. ‘Something is wrong, did you hear the crack?’ But the eldest said, ‘It is a gun fired for joy because we have got rid of our prince so quickly.’ After that they came into an avenue where all the leaves were of gold, and lastly into a third where they were of bright diamonds; he broke off a twig from each, which made such a crack each time that the youngest started back in terror, but the eldest still maintained that they were salutes.” – from The Shoes that were Danced to Pieces by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm


Model Violet Burak from TFM captured by Heidi Rondak for Heidi's Christmas calendar
“The children were certain their parents had brought them many wonderful presents, and that through the blessings of the Christ Child (who looked down on them with kind, loving eyes), Christmas presents were much better than any other presents. Their older sister Louise added that the Christ Child, who brought them gifts through the hands of their loving parents, knew much better what they would like than they, so rather than wishing and hoping they should remain patient and quiet. This gave Marie pause for the thought, but Fritz muttered, ‘I’d still like a chestnut horse and some hussars.'” – from The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffmann


I hope you had a great Christmas time in the last days of 2017 and even if you missed out on seeing the calendar timely, you can always view it here again. I’m wishing you a very happy new year in 2018. Take care!

Special thanks to:
models: Violet Burak (TFM), Malou (Modelfabrik), Hannah Scholz (IZAIO), Zoe Herveva (TUNE Models), Vera Hilmars, Rosa van Berckel (ICONIC), Laura Belle (SEEDS), Hannah Novak (ICONIC), Pharah (ICONIC) | stylists: Konstantinos Gkoumpetis (Peppermint Circus), Veronique Helmschrott | styling assistant: Franziska Greiner | make-up & hair artists: Sandra Bielstein, Jessica Haase, Cindy Kaczmarczyk (Peppermint Circus), Aysha Ashong, Janique Thiel, Meike Ewend, Marielena Krewer (Peppermint Circus), Isabell Schwan | photo assistant: Luis Bompastor | Creative Beauty Company | WE Studio


If you enjoyed reading this article, or you found it helpful in one way or the other, I would love to know (reach out)! You are also welcome to support my work and writing by donating whichever amount this is worth to you. I will thank you with lots of telepathic love and more interesting journal entries. Cheers!


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