Entertainment Weekly commissioned the great photographer Dan Winters to spend four days in the woods of Georgia on the set of The Walking Dead last summer. On the last day, Winters photographed six actors for seven covers (one last July and six collector’s issues, on newsstands now) in as many locations, plus, innumerous cool props and zombie parts, walkers, and a not-so-walker-proof wall in Alexandria. Winters has photographed many actors during his storied career and is obsessed with movies (check out his Star Wars portfolio plus other great work on his website www.danwintersphoto.com) but we wanted to know about his experience on the set of the zombie apocalypse and what it was like to photograph “dead” people for this EW portfolio.
“One of the great experiences being on set with the people who produce the show is how incredibly welcoming they were to us. I felt like I crashed a very messy family dinner. The actors had so much respect for the crew and it seemed like a really chill group of people who were into what they were doing which was making art.”
“I do plenty of work with actors, but when I first saw all the zombies and body parts in Greg Nicotero’s workshop, I was in a complete state of overwhelming awe and wondered how many weeks I could spend there. My second thought was, ‘I’m gonna need a bigger boat.’”
“It was so much fun working with Nicotero, because he was off camera giving body directions to his creations since he knows what they do. The fan also helped. The hair blowing shots are amazing.”
“I have no sense what those people really look like. I have no idea. They showed up camera ready, so as far as I was concerned, I received zombies.”
“The interesting thing for me about making these photographs was that I was actually shooting zombies because they could not talk. I didn’t have a conversation with one of those people at all. Nicotero was shooting this black crap (a mouth rinse FX makeup teams use to “black out” the pink flesh in the maws of the living) in their mouths and they couldn’t do anything other than hang there.”