What is the purpose of IPBSS? To offer a series of “Comic-book covers” and photo sets staged to simulate “stills” from an action-film showcasing physique women attired as “warrior-women” in a vein similar to that of  “Xena, “Red Sonja,” etc. engaged in battle scenes against unspecified contemporary enemy soldiers armed with modern weapons, as an alternative to the “posing” photos done by virtually every “physique photographer.” This provides an alternate view to on-screen depictions, past and present, of action heroines which have been deliberately restricted to undeveloped (often skinny) female Hollywood starlets: Sandhl Bergman as “Valeria” (in Conan The Barbarian), Brigitte Nielsen as “Red Sonja,” Lucy Lawless as “Xena,” Angelina Jolie as “Lara Croft,” Keira Knightley as a “Woad” warrior, etc. At the same time it offers physique women something different (and hopefully more worthwhile) from being photographed as either “side-of-beef” muscle-mannequins or centerfolds. You can view the currently available covers here: IRONPRINCESS COVERS.

Do IPBSS shoots include nudity? Nothing against nudity, but we avoid it: not only do we want to reach the widest possible audience but we want to make the point that these women can project maximum appeal without it.

Physique photographers often pose women outdoors with weapons- how is IPBSS different? In all those photos, the weapon is simply a “prop.” Ditto the backdrops. There’s no attempt to render her actually using the weapon as a character within the context of a dramatic action scene. And there’s no connection between her and her backdrop. This is where IPBSS departs most radically from ALL physique photography: by placing her in another dimension where her character is involved in a story and unaware of the camera’s existence (in cinema this is known as “the 4th wall”). Also, unlike most physique photography, IPBSS is composition-oriented. This means that the focus is not solely on her, but on her position within the action of scene- thus she will not always be close and centered in the photo, and she often will not be “perfectly” lighted as she would be in studio photography.

Why are the bad guys always the same? Who needs Romans, Nazis, Telemarines, Orks, etc when you’ve got Boko Haram, al Quaeda, Al Shabaab, ISIS, etc? The world is full of truly detestable thugs like those in today’s headlines: narco-terrorists, insurgents, militias, or any of the other multitudes of militarized thugs who kidnap and rape hundreds of schoolgirls, massacre entire villages, shoot down civilian airliners, publicly behead innocent noncombatants, etc. Inevitably they’re in generic camouflage uniforms and armed with modern firepower (pistols, assault rifles, machine-guns, etc). And they’re masked, which happens to be useful for practical reasons(they’re mostly dummies!) to depersonalize them as well as “villain-ize” them- you can project whatever scum-of-the-week you like into their boots, Add that as they always outnumber and out-arm the IronPrincess, everyone enjoys seeing her mow them down.

If the IronPrincess collects so many firearms from all the soldiers she kills, why doesn’t she use ever them? A five year-old can kill with a gun. And most of the evil forces in the world rely on them. It takes strength, athleticism and skill to kill with a bow, blade and bare hands. It also requires the IronPrincess to display her muscles engaged in functional, organic action -which is the point of the photos. But she may occasionally use a firearm she’s taken from a soldier- to clobber or strangle him with it… 

How do you choose your models- and what are the requirements? We prefer to think of them as “actresses” rather than “models.” Obviously to be featured as an IronPrincess, an above-average level of muscularity is essential, but depending on the woman, the range can run from Figure to heavyweight bodybuilder- in fact we welcome variety from the Sisterhood of Iron. Equally important is reliability and the ability to take direction; much as on a movie set, a good amount of preparation, coordination and expense is involved staging an IPBSS shoot, so there’s no room for divas. While there are no “lines” to learn, there is an expectation for an actress to bring the correct outfit (only one is needed), be physically prepared, on time and patient. Much of the time she’ll be sitting and waiting (like a movie star!) while props, lights, effects, etc. are arranged.

How does one apply to be an IronPrincess? After studying these pages, simply contact us with some photos and information including background, skills, availability, and contact info. We’ll reply with more specifics.

Are they paid? Yes. They’re also getting some photos for their portfolios that that they won’t get from anyone else. For what it’s worth, with the props, materials, equipment and professional photographers, each shoot costs us hundreds of dollars to produce. At this time there’s nowhere a model could go to “buy” a shoot-session like this.

What are the IPBSS “mandatory poses?” Much as bodybuilding competition and physique photos use certain poses (double biceps, abs & thigh, lat spread, most muscular, etc) which optimally display various muscles, IPBSS includes a similar approach, but within the context of the action. Two of these- holding a full draw on a bow, and the “flying whammy” (jumping knee-strike off a 2′ high rock), require a minor degree of athleticism and practice. Others, such as swinging a sword and certain other fighting poses have been selected to highlight specific areas. These include a number of kneeling poses to showcase the thickness and power of the leg/hip musculature in flexion.  Again, all of these are within the context of the scene; the trick is to flex as much as possible while making it appear to be happening purely as a result of the action, rather than consciously for the lens.

Doesn’t it get “old” shooting the same action, poses, location, etc? Not nearly as “old” as all those silly bodybuilding poses all the physique photographers put women in -at least here the display isn’t gratuitous. The main variable here is the different physique-women portraying IronPrincess. In a way, these settings are being used much in way as the American Flag is for the official portrait is for all US military personnel and the standard “mandatory poses” are used in physique competitions; the setting or pose may be similar but the individual brings the difference. And in a lesser way, the background will never be exactly the same; the light, the leaves/foliage, the battle-smoke, the positions of the soldiers, weapons and other props, etc would always be slightly different even if we tried to keep them exact. Remember though, the emphasis is on her, so the background must not distract from that. We’ve also introduced Neelu, a young “sidekick” of sorts along the lines of Xena’s “Gabrielle” or Batman’s “Robin.” But not goofy/chatty like those two…

More on Neelu? A schoolgirl rescued from the Malgynian forces by IronPrincess, Neelu’s been rendered mute by the atrocities she’s witnessed against her schoolmates, and has devoted her life to killing as many of the enemy as she can. Like the real-world forces who inspired them, the terrorist forces fear death at the hands of a female for ideological reasons, and Neelu relishes being the last image a dying soldier sees. Her lethal efficiency with her bow and throwing knives has cost the Malgynian forces so many troops that they’ve placed an enormous bounty on her. 

Bows… against automatic weapons?  Like most renegade, outlaw armies, the terroristic troops, while sadistic, are poorly trained and disciplined; they’re not especially adept at long-range marksmanship, and rely on volume, spraying automatic fire. If you have doubts about what is possible in terms of speed, accuracy and penetration with a modern bow in hyper-expert hands, watch these video clips:

Why do you only do still shots? Why don’t you also make moooovies?   Because moooovies –especially outdoor action moooovies- cost millions of $$$$$$ to produce without looking embarrassingly B-grade; just go on YouTube and you’ll find thousands of examples of cheesy woman-warrior/action-heroine films made on low budgets. Until someone with the bank account of a Getty or Gates takes an interest in this, you’re stuck with the scrawny/flaccid Hollywood starlets in the big-budget productions! However, we may soon be offering some “behind-the-scenes” videos with footage of the photo-shoot itself.


THE VALKYRIES IronPrincess Battle Scene Series- Model info