Balloon Girl (there is always hope) / by Rebecca Tillett

I met Melissa, this red-lipped, beautifully inked, raven-haired woman less than 6 months ago. One day, nearly two months ago she confessed her love to me for Banksy’s balloon girl. She said she was dying to recreate it in a photograph for someone special to her, but wanted a snowy-filled backdrop. She wanted that vibrant red heart balloon to pop off a clean white setting.

I loved the idea.

Easier said than done in eastern Colorado these last few winters however, as precipitation doesn’t often come (no matter the fervent predictions from our oft-wrong meteorologists), or stick around for long when it does choose to grace us with its presence.

So we agreed we’d both try to drop everything the next time it snowed, chasing the colorless backdrop with a bright red heart balloon in hand.

Sunday, January 21st, Denver was the lucky recipient of a brief winter storm. Monday morning I messaged Melissa and asked if she’d be available around 3 or 4 for our Banksy shoot.

She adjusted her plans for that day and we agreed on a meeting spot. 
I’d bring my camera, she’d come in a white dress with a red heart balloon.

(By the way, because temperature affects the density of gasses, helium-filled balloons can actually start sinking in cold weather. File that one away under Random Shit Worth Knowing.)

Unfortunately, by that evening melting snow was already in full effect. The area we chose for our shoot was already shedding its bleached white blanket for the earthy browns beneath it, a setting I had no qualms with for portraits.

...But for our Banksy tribute? I wasn’t too thrilled. 
I would invest ample time in post-production work to bring Melissa’s vision to life.

Where the world leaves us wanting, we use our imaginations to populate the voids.

 Banksy,  Balloon Girl

Banksy, Balloon Girl

The people who run our cities don’t understand graffiti because they think nothing has the right to exist unless it makes a profit, which makes their opinion worthless.

They say graffiti frightens people and is symbolic of the decline in society, but graffiti is only dangerous in the mind of three types of people; politicians, advertising executives and graffiti writers.

The people who truly deface our neighbourhoods are the companies that scrawl giant slogans across buildings and buses trying to make us feel inadequate unless we buy their stuff. They expect to be able to shout their message in your face from every available surface but you’re never allowed to answer back. Well, they started the fight and the wall is the weapon of choice to hit them back.
— Banksy, Wall and Piece