We’re All Wolves: A Red Riding Hood Tale

On an ordinary day much like today, a girl (who out of respect for her personal identity, we’ll call Red), decided to go for a walk. Now, I don’t want to bore you with the mundane details of her life, but as I’m sure you can imagine, she was pretty much just like you or me. For any of you that have lived for more than 30 years on this planet, you’ll understand what I mean when I say that life in the 21st century is complicated. We don’t live like we once did, engaging in real conversations with real people, instead falling more and more in love with our computers and cell phones, and all but completely disengaging from any genuine form of living. We’ve become so immersed in distractions that we’ve forgotten what it means to be alive. These are the thoughts that flooded Red’s brain as she resolved to take a personal day.


She set out in the morning with a lunch she’d packed in a basket her mother had given her for her 11th birthday. It’s funny the things that fascinate us at such young ages. Whether her obsession with this wicker basket was due to the simple fact that it was something she could call her very own or that every time she carried it she’d felt like a little girl out of a fairy tale, I don’t know (and I guess it doesn’t really matter), but she’d brought it everywhere and filled it with everything for those few years. Naturally, on a day where she needed to escape the complications of life as a full grown woman, there was a certain solace that came with carrying this particular basket along with her. While all you’d see if you’d looked inside were the contents of her lunch, she’d also carried within it all that was left of that innocent little girl (the one with mismatched socks, awkwardly fitted clothes, missing teeth and that ridiculous side pony tail with the zebra striped scrunchy).

Of course when she’d gone into middle school, all that had to go. The other girls would rip her to shreds if she hadn’t adjusted to life as a preteen in the 90s. So like every other kid, she adapted. She gave up the basket, the scrunchies, the teddy bears and tea sets and everything else that had occupied her creative young mind growing up. Red began filling her life with superficial friends (the kind you’d feel cool to have known in school- the kind with daddies with big wallets who’d spared no expense in spoiling their little girls). The horse collection and American Girl dolls came off her shelves, were packed into boxes, and gave way to decoupages of Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Mario Lopez, Leonardo DiCaprio, and every other teenage heartthrob of the 90s, all cut out from copies of Tiger Beat magazine.

She’d asked her parents to install a phone in her room with her own number “so I won’t have to tie up your line all the time with phone calls to my friends. After all, you’re always saying the phone isn’t free when you wanna use it!” Red could be very persuasive, and all her parents ever wanted was to make her happy.  “It just makes more sense.” So, they obliged her and installed a line. Really, that’s where the sweet little girl slipped away from her. That’s where her imagination gave way to convenience and the once active girl who ran around and played in her backyard became obsessed with staying in and talking on the phone.

If she’d only known how that private number would pave the way for her first cell phone, her first computer, her now constant obsession with finding some genuine connection to ANYONE in a digital age- she’d never have given in to it in the first place. [If only we’d all known, maybe I wouldn’t be on my laptop in this coffee shop with my headphones on telling you this story right now. I’d be out experiencing life somewhere, exploring and discovering new ways to live.]    With all the complications of life as a young girl bombarded by lies that every self-help magazine made, telling her that happiness was found in an hourglass figure and a guy with perfectly sculpted abs, she’d lost herself completely to countless broken relationships. Every time she thought she’d met a guy who’d take care of her, he’d break her heart. Now determined to simplify her life and possibly even get that little girl back, Red set out for an old barn she’d played around as a little girl. The walk wasn’t more than a mile from her house, and it was a beautiful day to slow down and refocus.

Little did she know that within the shadows of the barn, waited everything she’d tried so hard to escape. Enter Wolf.



*The thing you need to know about Wolf is that he aligned perfectly with every stereotype you’d ever put on a man on the prowl. He was always scheming on how to bag his next trophy. Typically you’d find him hanging out in bars on Friday nights, looking for any lonely girl with daddy issues that seemed impressionable. He’d come into their lives quickly and make his exits even faster. He was, for lack of a better word, an animal.

Nearing her destination, Red noticed out of the corner of her eye what she thought to be the figure of something or someone standing in one of the open windows.



“Hello?” she called out cautiously as she approached. “Is somebody there?” She looked inside, but saw nothing.



She thought to herself how strange it was as she walked on, confused and frustrated by the fact that her imagination had now corrupted this holy place with thoughts of ominous creatures- how even here, at this innocent safe haven of her youth, she couldn’t escape her distractions.



Seeing his opportunity to overtake this unsuspecting victim, Wolf began to silently stalk his prey.



Red stopped at the ruinous fence that lined the property, sitting down to think. Understanding more that she may never escape her complicated life, a sadness overtook her.


With her guard down, she never noticed the figure lurking in the background. She did, however, begin to feel the world around her losing it’s luster. What only moments before appeared as a rich and vibrant landscape, now was becoming nothing more than a desolate wasteland. Red started to cry.



Suddenly behind her, a soothing voice said softly, “Tell me, Red, why are you crying?” Wolf pretended to care, placing an arm around her shoulder.

Red was caught off-guard. “Please, I just want to be alone with my thoughts,” she responded desperately, shrugging him off.

“Now, that’s no way to talk to someone just trying to help!” he countered, appearing hurt. “I feel like we got off to a bad start. My name’s Wolf. Now what are you doing out here all by yourself?” He seemed genuine, and Red suddenly felt guilty for being so rude.

“This barn has a special place in my heart. I used to play here as a little girl. I just came out to get away from it all.”

“And what do you have in your basket?” He was beginning to sound persistent.

“Nothing- a lunch I packed for myself”, was all she replied.

At that, Wolf wrapped his arms around Red. “What a beautiful girl you are! You shouldn’t be so sad and alone. It’s a good thing for your sake I was here!”



Suddenly aware of his intentions, Red writhed within Wolf’s grasp and tried to break free. But, his strength was too much for her and she felt her energy draining.



In an instant, something gave way inside her- a part of her died right there, and all of the sudden the once beautiful, vibrant oasis around her appeared as nothing more than dreary shades of grey.



What happened next was confusing, to say the least. Red laughed out loud. “What a fool I’ve been, to think that I could go back! And why would I? I’ve got everything I need right here!”


Releasing her grip on the basket, Red let Wolf in. Seeing a nearby patch of grass, she invited him to join her.



As she took her seat, she looked once more inside her wicker basket. Smiling sadly, Red saw only the lunch she’d packed for herself and the cloth that surrounded it, but no signs of her youth.


Looking out onto the horizon, Red felt a sickly feeling overtake her as she said out loud, “It’s funny now, looking back. All this time I thought you were trying to take advantage of me. I see now how selfish I’ve been. I don’t deserve to lay claim to this place as my own. There’s plenty of room for the two of us, and I’m glad you’re here with me, Wolf.”



With a sly look, he whispered to her, “We’re all wolves. It’s a good thing you’ve found one who’ll protect you.”



At that, he sat down with her, preparing to devour his meal. “You’re right,” she replied, lying to herself. “What was I thinking- trying to resist your advances?”



After lunch, they made their way to the shade of an old tree, reclined, and Red put her head on Wolf’s shoulder. She traced her forefinger across his hand, and thought out loud, “My, what big hands you have.”

“All the better to hug you with,” he chuckled with a voice like molasses.

 “You will protect me though, won’t you?” she asked softly.

 Wolf smirked. “Sure.”



“Good,” she said, relieved. “I need someone to protect me.” She lay down, gazed up into the gray sky, and felt nothing.






It just occurred to me that some of you might be interested in seeing how this all came together, so the following images are some behind the scenes shots detailing the getting ready process!

Elisabeth Prehn begins transforming Joey Jones into a very impressive wolf.

Using only her makeup, Elisabeth starts changing the shape of Joey’s forehead. This girl is CRAZY talented.

Artwork on Joey’s face is almost complete. Notice how Elisabeth has flattened out his nose and created strong lines to accentuate different aspects of Joey’s forehead, giving the illusion of more animal-like bone structure.

Here we see two photos I’ve merged together to give you a front and side view of the incredible artistry Elisabeth displayed in creating our wolf. I’m blown away by this level of talent. What do you think?

Now that Joey’s face has been transformed, Elisabeth gets to work on Lindsay’s makeup (which was MUCH less time consuming!).

Since he’s no longer occupied with having his own makeup done, Joey gets on with his real passion- hair design. We wanted to create a look with Lindsay that suggested she’d been traveling for a while, so a lot of work was done to make her hair appear more tousled/disheveled.

Now that her hair and makeup are complete, Lindsay waits patiently as I finish sewing her cloak- there was a LOT of waiting.

Alyssah (of Eco Chic Jewelry Designs), being the incredible sweetheart that she is, allowed us to occupy her space while she worked. I don’t think she realized I’d be photographing her, too!

Our models are ready with hair and makeup, and the jewelry has been picked out for Lindsay. All that needs to be done now is this EXTREMELY time consuming sewing project!!

24 Responses to “We’re All Wolves: A Red Riding Hood Tale”

  1. crooze says:

    this is pretty much a ‘no response required’ or “’nuff said” prefacing silence read for me. Chilean Rafael came into my paint shop today for a brief moment. He learned me that his son received a grade of 60% out of 100 in his art class for painting a gorilla shades of purple, orange and the like. His instructor stated “Gorillas are black!” on the front of his failing paper. Chilean father told his Chilean-American son “The last time I saw a gorilla in the jungles of South America and the sun was pounding its fur, the colors were exactly like piece of art you mastered.” I’m not an art instructor. I grade on pass or fail. My blog of a response says your blog of a shared experience passes with all this radiant colors reflected by that gorillas fur. Most adults are boring. This is adult creativity and I approve.

  2. Lindsay Lundquist says:

    The traditional references made to the well known tale…followed by the modern twist that places this story into the here and now…it takes me into the story as if it is my reality. The photos were so intricately placed and well executed…they tell a story on their own and allow for not only a better understanding of Dave’s tale, but leads one’s mind to wander with imagination into their own private world. The colors so bright with red and the natural, pure colors of the country side around her…to the grey and lifeless hue that plagues the Wolf’s surroundings are just a perfect example as to why Dave Ainley Photography can take you and your story and turn it into everything you have imagined….to places you’ve been, or to those places you’ve yet to discover. Excellence at work here

  3. Dannyboy Woodrow says:

    Good read Dave……… and agreed;-)

    P.s. you’re a very talented photographer. Keep up the good work buddy!

  4. Dave Ainley says:

    You’re 100% bizarre, Cruz. I love it. Thanks for the super obscure compliment, brother!

  5. Dave Ainley says:

    Lindsay, that’s such an enormous compliment. I don’t even think you know how much it blessed me to read this. To think my words and photos have made this much of an impact on anyone is absolutely incredible, but for you to take the time to tell me and everyone else is even cooler. Thank you thank you thank you.

  6. Dave Ainley says:

    Thanks a lot, Dan. It means a lot to me that you took the time to check it out! God bless, buddy!

  7. I love these photos! And the story is so intriguing. I would love to see another modern fairy tale series! 😀

    (My favorite photo is the one with the wolf breaking through the wall of the barn and Red walking away. Beautiful!)

  8. Fantastic piece of storytelling! Each image captures the imagination and intrigues the senses. Masterful execution of transitioning color. I’m in love!

  9. Dave Ainley says:

    Thank you, Christian!! I shot the first roll in color and the second in b/w, so it was fun gradually pulling color from those first photos as the story progressed.

  10. Dave Ainley says:

    Thank you!!! Well, rest assured that this is only the first in a line of (hopefully!) many more like this! Joey was decided on for the wolf pretty last minute, and I’m really glad with my decision to use him for that as well as hair!

  11. LeeAnn says:

    I really enjoyed the pictures. I was curious if you had this storyline in your head when you shot? and were shooting to capture the story moments, or if it all just came together as you were looking at the photos. Either way, I was intrigued & liked this post. I will be looking forward to more of your work!!!!!

  12. Dave Ainley says:

    Thank you, LeeAnn! I’m really glad you liked the post! To answer your question, I didn’t have the story when I wrote it. It just all came together when I started this post to begin with. Having said that, there was a lot of free-styling in my writing process. Each sentence kinda just came out. Due to the fact that I never really write, I honestly had no idea what I’d be coming up with before it was written. Not sure if that’s common or not- like I said, I’m not really a writer. Anyway, I’m glad to have been able to entertain you for a while, and there will be more of these coming soon!

  13. Andrea Faith says:

    It has a great start but it feels unfinished. Perhaps that what you were going for; creating the tension between choosing to let go and choosing to believe there is still something innocent in us no matter our age. It feels very spiritual to me, the way the wolf enters so many young women’s lives during the times of despair and lonliness and at the time it feels so comforting and we hope it will bring Truth, but, like your story and photographs show, it leads to gray and emptiness. It’s a powerful ending, but sad. I’d like to see a sequal where Red gets the courage to kick Wolf out of her “field”! 😉 The photography Dave, as always, is amazing which is why I critiqued your story more. LOL Maybe yoy’ll need to start looking at yourself as a writer now?!

  14. Dave Ainley says:

    Thank you for a great critique, Andrea! As for writing, it IS fun. We’ll see. You said it seemed unfinished. What do you feel is lacking, if you don’t mind me asking?

  15. Tia Ray says:

    This is BEAUTIFUL!!! Seriously I was so into the story and the photo’s insanely describe everything without any of the words. Just the facial expressions and body language said it all. They did amazing. Dave Ainley you are the best photographer I know of. It’s art, it’s unique, different from other photographers and out there and you definately made your mark on this world. I think there is a writer in the making :)There is nothing negative about this story and I cannot wait to see what you do with the other stories you come up with. Enough said!!! :)

  16. Sherry Akins says:

    These are so awesome!!! I am a new fan!! I love wild crazy photo shoots that tell a story with photography.It beats just posing…Ever need a model, I am in :)

  17. Dave Ainley says:

    Tia, that means the world to me. We’ll have a long, happy photographic relationship! Can’t wait for the opportunity to do some family photos for you one day soon, and looking forward to some artistic collaborations with you coming up!

  18. Dave Ainley says:

    Sherry, thank you so much! Sorry you’re not local! If you’re ever in my neck of the woods, let me know!

  19. Dave, this is very talented work here! You are a true artist through and through! I must say that your subject choices were excellent. Red is a beauty, and my son Joey, well, what can I say? One handsome fellow! Thank you for sharing this!

  20. jedidiah Zilar says:

    Dave! You told me to check it out and as always it wasn’t met with disappointment. Your so talented! Thank you for this.

  21. Dave Ainley says:

    Thanks a lot for the comment, Jed! Looking forward to the next time I get to photograph you guys again! God bless! -Dave

  22. Sara says:

    Hey Dave! I read the story. I liked it, although it was a bit sad. Ha, good story telling though. :)

  23. Faryn says:

    Absolutely gorgeous. I adore your work, Dave. You’re a real inspiration of mine.

  24. Dave Ainley says:

    Thank you so so much, Faryn! That’s an awesome compliment!!

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