A Negan look-alike takes center stage in this styled shoot inspired by graphic novel and hit TV series The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead: A villainous styled shoot
Photography: Alexander Worth, Jawfox Photography | Cast and crew: Stephen Adkins and Lisa Adkins | Wardrobe: Alton Lane | Locations: Jawfox Studios and the Alton Lane storefront in Richmond, VA; the Freehand Hotel in NYC
Coming up with the concept
After creating a series of lifestyle shoots for Stephen’s personal clothing line designed by Alton Lane, photographer Alexander Worth wanted to feature the model and actor in something a bit more… grim.
“In 2018-2019, I worked as Stephen’s creative director, content manager, and content creator,” says Alexander. “This styled shoot was inspired by all the comments Stephen get from people who say he looks like Jeffrey Dean Morgan—the actor who plays Negan on AMC’s The Walking Dead.”
In case you’re not familiar with The Walking Dead, the graphic novel-based TV series features one of television’s most brutal villains: a bearded, bat-wielding survivor named Negan, whose violence is only surpassed by the show’s never-ending horde of zombies.
- Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
- Canon 50mm f/1.4
- Canon 24-70mm f/2.8
- Canon 85mm f/1.2
- ProFoto B1 lighting with a 5′ diffuser
Shooting challenges in the studio
After developing the styled shoot idea with his friend and client Stephen, Alexander spent time crafting a set that would set the tone. In addition to the set, props, and wardrobe, Alexander chose low-key, dramatic lighting to emphasize the character’s tormented soul.
Shooting challenges on location
New York City’s Freehand Hotel generously allowed Alexander and Stephen to shoot in their lobby, where the lighting was minimal.
“I didn’t have an assistant and had to walk nearly half a mile from my hotel to the location,” Alexander describes. “This meant I couldn’t bring my heavier gear such as diffusers and C- stands—so I relied on natural lighting. I positioned Stephen and Lisa by large, open windows, then waited for opportunities to shoot when the background wasn’t flooded with bystanders!”
Two shoots, one story
While the Negan shoot was a creative collaboration between Alexander and Stephen, the location images were commissioned by clothier Alton Lane, who created Stephen’s personally-designed wardrobe. Unintentionally, these fashion photographs paired beautifully with the styled shots.
“I decided to showcase both looks in one Instagram post,” Alexander explains. “I like the contrast of gritty and sophisticated, so when I couldn’t decide which set to use, I used both!”
Cosplay vs. styled
Unlike cosplay, where creative fans try to directly copy a character’s look, styled shoots are inspired. By embracing a flexible approach to storytelling, costuming, and set design, Alexander was able to evoke Negan’s vibe without sweating the small stuff.
And, now that Negan’s backstory episode has aired, the editorial images of Stephen and Lisa align surprisingly well with the “bad guy” photos. (She looks strikingly similar to Negan’s wife, wouldn’t you say?)
Written by ANNE SIMONE