It all started as a joke. When watching Vikings (History channel’s hit show on HBO Nordic) together with my wife, I pointed out several times that she seemed to share both the looks and a similar attitude with Lagertha -surprisingly similar considering that the other one is a scientist / mom from Finland and the other one a shieldmaiden from 13th century.
We were binge-watching all the seasons, and by the end of season four Lagertha was a favorite Viking for both of us. My blessing and a curse is to see ideas for images everywhere, so it did not take long before the image of her as Lagertha was haunting me.
Around the same time, I was trying to come up with an idea to use the money I had raised to celebrate her 40th birthday. Thinking about it I figured that a day as a shieldmaiden should count as an original use of her birthday money.
I already knew that I could get my hands on some major Viking-themed props since I have been working together with talented artisans like Jani Piirainen from Bard & Jester in earlier projects. I found some killer plans for a Viking armor and even got offered to use a cool Viking sword in the photoshoot!
The only missing thing now was a shield, until I realized that I know a guy who could make me one, and not just any old shield but a replica of Lagertha’s shield… At this point talking my wife into loving the idea was easy.
As crazy as it sounds, the final piece in the puzzle was a half-blind horse… After telling my wife about the idea of a Vikings-themed photoshoot, she picked up on my thoughts and took it even further with suggesting to add a horse in the photoshoot. The thing is that around the same months when we were watching the episodes of Vikings, my wife was training a horse and liked her character so much that she ended up buying this retired racehorse who had only one eye.
Considering that this particular horse not only has a mean Viking-look due to the missing eye but is also trained to lay down when she asks her to… this is not something you run into every day. I rarely use the e-word, but at this point, I was already convinced that this will be an epic photoshoot.
Piece by piece we gathered up parts for the right look, convinced a make-up specialist Laura Puntila into the project to help to create the shieldmaiden –look, and my wife continued training the horse to be comfortable with the flashes and other distractions on the set. It took months to get everything together, but finally, the day of the shoot arrived… and before you knew it, it was gone in a blur of flashes, smoke, grasslands and lakeshores. Few days of retouching and here you have it, a successful birthday present and a proof of concept for myself: My dream of making movie posters is not just a dream, it could be a reality.
If nothing else, I hope these photos reach some of our favourite Vikings and will be seen as a kudos to a great show!
So, watch out Katheryn Winnick, there is a new badass shieldmaiden in town!
- Lagertha Season 3 Armor: Jani Piirainen, Bard & Jester (http://www.bardjester.com/)
- Sword: Tomi Saarinen, Midaan kulta (http://www.midaankulta.com/)
- Shield: Marko Paakkanen (https://www.facebook.com/makingscalemodels)
- Embraded shirt: Saara Torkkeli, Saaraz (https://www.facebook.com/cosplaysaaraz/)
- MUAH: Laura Puntila (https://www.instagram.com/laurapuntila/)
- Location: Anu Kokkonen, helping hand: Heli Huttunen
- Video, BTS material & assistant: Tuomo Jalkanen (AliasCreative.fi) & J-P Palmunen
About The Author
Antti Karppinen has won dozens international awards for visual artistry & commercial photographer and belongs to a new generation of image artisans to whom all things are possible. You can find out more about Antti on his website and follow his work on Instagram and Facebook. This article was also published here and shared with permission.