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Joker & Harley Quinn

Anyone who knows me will know I’m a HUGE fan of DC, especially the Batman comics and films. Turns out, Jonnie is a big fan of the 2019 film Joker and wanted me to do his makeup like Joaquin Phoenix’s version of the Joker wears, so we decided to make it into a whole shoot.

We found a horrible little alley with beautiful lighting about a 10 minute walk from my flat and headed down in full makeup and a couple of cameras. I’ll be honest, I’m not the best portrait photographer. It’s not my strong point and it’s not something I’ve too much practise with so I felt a little out of my comfort zone at first. Then I started thinking about what I am good at – gig photography – and took a little inspiration from that by asking Jonnie to run towards the camera. It made getting the right shot a little tricker but this ended up being not only one of my favourite shots of the day, but maybe one of my favourite photos I’ve ever taken.

Joker makeup, cosplay, Jonnie Yates, Rachel Oates, joaquin phoenix inspired

We added our own version of Harley into the mix too. We tried to imagine, if Harley existed in the same universe as the 2019 film, what would she look like? How would she act? What would the relationship between her and the Joker look like?

Harley is such a complex and intriguing character and I didn’t want to just copy an outfit / makeup look from any other film or comic but I took plenty of inspiration from them.

For the eye makeup I went for pink and blue because I think it’s pretty iconic and recognisable as Harley thanks to the Suicide Squad film (although lets not talk about how awful that film is…). Instead of a little black heart on the cheek though, I went for a little diamond to try and tie-in with the diamonds around Joker’s eyes. I also made sure to use the same blue eyeshadow as I used on the Joker look so they’d be matching. I imagined them using the same materials as each other – sharing whatever they had, or rather Joker taking whatever Harley had and using it for himself. Same with the lip colour; I used the same red liquid lipstick on Harley and the Joker (for his lips, nose and brows).

Harley Quinn costume, makeup, cosplay - Rachel Oates - Jonnie Yates

For the outfit, I wanted it to look more like actual clothes than a costume but at the same time, I took a lot of inspiration from the Batman Arkham games which are some of my favourite games ever which is why I went for the corset / skirt / boots combo.

Harley Quinn costume, makeup, cosplay - Rachel Oates - Jonnie Yates
Harley Quinn costume, makeup, cosplay - Rachel Oates - Jonnie Yates

We also tried to get a few shots of Joker and Harley together (thanks to my tripod and being able to control my camera and all its settings on my phone!) and I am so impressed with how they turned out. This one is my favourite:

Harley Quinn costume, makeup, cosplay - Rachel Oates - Jonnie Yates

This shot was trying to recreate / reimagine this absolutely iconic Joker & Harley comic cover. We kept so many of the same elements like the possessive hand on the waist and the forceful grabbing of her wrist but after trying out a few different ideas we both loved this one where they’re looking at each other. To me it says Joker still has the physical strength over Harley but, in this world, he’s at least a little more aware that she’s his equal in terms of intelligence so he’s having to work a little harder to manipulate her.

7 thoughts on “Joker & Harley Quinn

  1. Agnostic Pagan Mom says:

    The last one and the comment I can totally vibe with. But that first shot…. woo Lee, me likes. Lol. I’ll have to check this out again when I can give it more time, but I think I’ll be looking here a lot. I’m having fan art ideas for you, and it’s been a grip since I’ve done fan art. Will be the first I send to my inspiration.

  2. Your local theater nerd™️ says:

    You both look absolutely stunning! The makeup, poses, costumes and lighting are just so cool and I love everything about these, you guys look super badass!!<3

  3. Laura Jarrell says:

    Rachel, you amaze me! Absolutely beautiful and more pro looking than some pros. And I’ve not seen the films! You are both hot as hell.

  4. You’ve done some really marvelous photography lately. You should do more. Have you ever considered doing cosplay? I think you’d be good at it.

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