When we were given the task of creating imagery for Pacific Opera’s 2015 production of The Cunning Little Vixen, I have to admit that I knew nothing about Janáček’s famous tale. After conducting some basic research on Google – the source of all knowledge (sorry Bing) – I managed to get myself to a point where I could at least discuss the story without completely embarrassing myself.

A chat with director Michael Campbell followed, and we realised we had the same vision. We both envisaged the face of a wild woman – beautiful, raw, stripped back, seductive. No suggestion of fake animal noses, ears or whiskers – the animal in her would be implied, not overt. Now it was up to photographer Paul Henderson-Kelly to deliver the goods!

Luckily, the gorgeous Ela Ray Markstein agreed to be our Vixen, which definitely made the task easier – such a professional! Armed with a simple fan, Paul proceeded to work his magic, and while there were definitely some crazy moments, the resulting images speak for themselves. The dark brooding energy of the production comes through loud and clear, and Ela embodies the gypsy/vixen of our imagining.