The project was undertaken in cooperation with the Seminole Nation of Florida, under the guidance of Chief James Billie and medicine man Bobby Henry.
"I didn't want [Prinsloo] to be representative of the Seminole, of course," James says, according to Gotham Magazine. "But I went to Seminole land and I shot things like the way they build, the way a man holds his hands—all these things [about] Seminole culture. Then I took Behati and created a fantasy character that I call Seminole Spirit. She represents this thing, this movement that I call relevant, modern, cultural, all of these things combined, and that's how Seminole Spirit came about."
Talk about your exotic others. Indians as mermaids, fairies, swamp dwellers, savages...this "Seminole Spirit" is a one-woman Peter Pan menagerie. She could star in the next Pirates of the Caribbean as the movie's supernatural monster.
Does photographer Russell James, not to mention Chief Billie, realize that Seminoles are doctors, lawyers, and teachers? Why would you want to reinforce the idea that they're otherworldly creatures who live in a magical world of spirits and demons? That's already what people think, and now they've reinforced the idea.