The Ultimate Dracula appeared in April 2012 and was presented at the London Book Fair, just before the centennial of Bram Stoker's death.
This unique book contains the full text of Bram Stoker‘s original Dracula novel (which is in the public domain) in combination with the images from our Ultimate Dracula photo project )2010-2012). This way,our book not only addresses persons who are looking for a photo book, but also readers, who are interested in the novel itself and would enjoy an illustrated edition. Moreover, the book features several essays, like The Dracula Maps or Bram Stoker's Vampire Trap - Vlad the Impaler and His Nameless Double, which by now have reshaped the landscape of serious Dracula research.
The project had an international stance from the very beginning. Our idea developed in May 2010 from a conversation with a young movie student and writer from Goteborg, interested in the Black Romanticism of the late 19th Century. At a meeting in Vienna we agreed on the photographic translation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, especially focused on the inner conflicts of Mina Harker, torn between her conventional life as a school mistress and her love to Jonathan on the one hand, the destructive attraction of the undead Count on the other hand. From the first script with originally eight scenes a photo sequence with over 40 large-format plates developed.
Mina‘s role was photographed with our Swedish performer in our Munich studio in January 2011. Already in November 2010 we had shot the other main part, the character of Lucy, with a young model from Lucerne (Switzerland). As seductive but dangerous vampire brides we could win models from Prague and Dortmund. The Demons in the final scene were impersonated by Kiko, a Korean karate expert. All other roles were played by young performers from Munich - albeit with family roots in Holland, Switzerland, Argentina and Turkey. Our studio team for this project was quite an international mix, too. Accordingly, with this illustrated edition we hope to reach an international , open-minded readership.
Like in the original novel, the emphasis is not on the moment of horror surprise, but on the way Dracula‘s move to London tears the accustomed social texture of the other protagonists apart and forces them to face the shadow site of their own soul as well. Whereas Lucy helplessly surrenders to her transformation into a Vampire, Mina travels to Transylvania together with Van Helsing and the other men, in order to defeat the Ruler of Darkness on his own ground.
The narrative frame will explain itself as you read it. Since this flash-back resume follows the time-line set out by Stoker‘s novel, its lines are used as captions for our photos, which in turn illustrate all decisive moments of the original story plot. Still, some room is left for our own, playful interpretation – with some winks to the novel‘s popular reception.
After Francis Ford Coppola in 1992 already allowed himself to weave a tender romance between Mina and Prince Vlad into his movie interpretation, we also enjoyed giving the story a new twist - revealing the „ultimate truth“ about the novel for the first time ever! Additionally, we created three poster motifs, that can be used for book cover and frontispiece.
Like in our other projects, we worked with digital Hasselblad cameras, especially with the H4 D50, which allows for amazing reproduction even in the finest details. From the raw material we created high-resolution photo compositions, that can be employed for very large exhibition formats. Independently from the search for exhibition venues we are looking for ways now to publish the book.