Close Encounters

Essay 423 • Jan 13th 2020

There’s a line in Arcade Fire’s “Afterlife” where Win Butler sings, “When love is gone, where does it go?” The concept of being haunted by the past coupled with an 80s sci-fi aesthetic was my inspiration for this shoot. I called up my friend Ian to collaborate on wardrobe, models, and locations. A vintage Porsche was the final piece to elevate our cinematic vision.

This was purely a passion project: no one had anything to gain from the shoot besides some cool pics for Instagram. I was so humbled that our friends wanted to be a part, helping with hair, makeup, and even adding a video element.

Our team of seven drove out to eastern Washington on a September evening to make it happen. We blasted The Cure and shot for hours in the middle of nowhere. The eerie stillness of the location added to the surreal concept.

This shoot proved the value of collaboration. If I had attempted to do everything on my own, the story would feel incomplete. It was unreal to cull through the final images and watch a concept I had dreamed of for so long finally come to life.


Hannah Aspen is a landscape and conceptual portrait photographer based in Seattle, WA. Drawing inspiration from music, poetry and fine art, she hopes to reveal pieces of her dream world in her images. She can usually be found exploring the Cascade mountains and scoping out new hiking trails with her camera.
Website | Instagram

Styling: Ian Schober
Hair: Megan Meckley-Grinolds
Makeup: Casey Mitchell
Lighting: Alex Williams
Models: Sean Swanson & Kelsey Sviridyuk