Queen Vashti (AKA ‘Why wear normal clothes when you can wear Aladdin trousers?’)

The link to this video was sent to me a couple of days ago. It’s a recording of a dance performance I took part in a few weeks ago at a theatre in Oxford. My improvised solo is last, but watch it all the way through! Sadly, the quality doesn’t allow for some of the more intricate movements (smaller shimmies layered over other movements, etc) to be particularly visible, but you get the general gist of the prancing.

The track is called ‘Vashti’ and is a bit of a feminist feast – Queen Vashti features in the book of Esther in the Bible and is most noted for her refusal to appear at the King’s banquet (other interpretations say she refused to dance for the drunken king’s entertainment there), choosing instead to host her own party for the women on the same day. She was subsequently banished, and lost her status as queen (she was succeeded by Esther, who was presumably more obedient).

Advertisements

Out-And-About Glamour

The word ‘glamour’ has become such a walking-on-eggshells word. My new website, which I promise is on its way (I have had some concerned emails questioning the fact that my website is down, which is hugely flattering – always nice to know it’s being looked at) will include a gallery (one of 12) called ‘Glamoureuse’ – a nod to glamour and also away from it, in the sense that everyone who sees my work will know that I don’t do ‘page 3’-style stuff – it’s just not my thing. I find it boring (I bet the ‘page three’ brigade would find my style interminably dull, so no hard feelings I’m sure) and I doubt I’d pull it off anyway without a quick fake tan, etc. Anyway, glamour is cool. I like glamour. I like the version of glamour that’s in my head. (My head involves glamour which is probably a little bit 70s; soft, pretty, sensual and elegant.)

Par exemple, here are some images I meant to blog a while ago, from the most recent Yerbury Boudoir Academy seminar I modelled for (copyright Faye Yerbury):

 
 

By Jean-Marc Gargentiel (a photographer attending the course):

Also, while I’m here, here’s some bridal stuff we did the same day:

By Faye Yerbury:

And by Trevor Yerbury:

Front cover – Practical Photoshop

I’m currently on the front cover of the very first issue of ‘Practical Photoshop’, a new magazine full of tips and know-how for the more digitally-inclined photographer. It looks like it’s a brilliant magazine, so I’m proud to be on/in it. Below is the cover, plus some of the (many) pages I’m shown on. It’s out now – go get it (if you want it)!

I think I’ve been neglecting the more ‘commercial’ side of my modelling over the last year or so. I have got some absolutely brilliant artistic/figure nude projects coming up between now and the end of the year which I’m really excited about, and I’m proud of my artistic portfolio and how far I’ve come since I started 2.5 years ago, but I’d like to redress the balance between my ‘art’ and ‘commercial’ modelling too. I suppose the best way to do that is to show more images of me in a commercial setting, so people know that I can do it just as comfortably as the artistic stuff. It’s fun to give a big grin to the camera and be light and happy for lifestyle shots and to have these two very different prongs to my modelling… spike. 🙂

Luxury

There is something so luxurious about this set I did during my second shoot with Keith Cooper. I love the decadence and contrasts of the red and gold fabrics against my skin.

Click to enlarge a photo…

Sorry there are so many (but hey, I do describe this blog as the place to see more images from sets) – took me ages to limit it down to these favourites. I’d quite like to upload them all to my website (currently being made over completely!) and/or portfolio but have to choose just one… Whaddya reckon?

Some low key stuff we also did:

A Vintage Bridal Series

My 1970s Victorian-style wedding dress has had quite a few airings over the last few weeks! I often model for BIPP and SWPP’s fashion, bridal and portrait workshops, and thought I’d throw this dress into the mix one day rather than wearing one of my modern wedding dresses, just to get a different style for the photographers attending (it’s also nice and warm to wear, due to the material and sleeves, which is always a bonus!). For that particular BIPP workshop, the excellent wedding photographer Kevin Wilson was teaching. He was enamoured by the dress and asked me to model in it for a series of G F Smith ‘Inspire’ events around the country. He also asked me for another model who could do the fashion workshops (led by Mark Lawrence) simultaneously during these days, so I recommended my friend Ivory Flame for the job, knowing she would do it well and repaying some of the jobs she’s gotten me by way of recommendation in the past.

I’ve now worked with Kevin four times, in Aylesbury, Birmingham, Duxford and Maidstone, with the final event in Leeds next week (I’m shooting with Mark for that one though; Holly and I are swapping roles for a final twist!).

Here are some of the images he’s taken of me over these events. I made sure to vary my hair very slightly for each event. I think his use of tones and compositions are absolutely beautiful, helped here by some rather stunning locations (Holly and I were surprised on one particular day to find we’d be modelling in front of war-time aircraft. I’m particularly wistful in these; the narrative being that my husband is lost to war. It was easy to get in the mood; the Air Museum in Duxford has a sound system playing sirens and bombs.. a very surreal and eerie place in which to work!). Click to enlarge as always…

Birmingham:

Duxford Air Museum:

Maidstone:

I was also sent a few from some of the photographers attending. By Joe Gilbert:

And by Steve James:

ERosanne: Sex and Nudity

A fellow model whose work I follow (and who often comments here on my blog) yesterday wrote a brilliant ‘rant’ on her facebook page on the subject of sex and nudity in art. Reading her thoughts, I found myself nodding along and had to share it here. It very eloquently explains her motivations behind modelling nude and distinguishes well between an art model’s thought process and the thought process someone might mistakenly project onto them. Have a read… And visit ERosanne’s blog here. Below are some of my favourite images of her (copyright ‘Phoenix555’ and Mike Crawley):

‘If you follow my blog, my journal, or my work in general, you’ll probably know that this is a bit of an ongoing theme of mine. 

The internet is open to all kinds of human life and their diverse interests. Inevitably, sex is a preoccupation of humankind, and something that everyone obsesses about from time to time. (Some more than others, and Freud would argue that everything we do or say comes down to a fundamental preoccupation with sex). The internet has made access to sexual content incredibly easy. Too easy, in my opinion, since it is virtually impossible to avoid being bombarded with explicit content, whether you choose to seek it or not.

We (the West) live in a society where nudity is only ever portrayed in a sexual context. Think about it. When was the last time you saw a naked person on television or in print? And what were they doing? We only ever see naked people in films or on TV when they are engaging in a sexual act. Going about your every day life, the only naked people you are likely to see in print are in magazines on the top shelf of a newsagent. There’s porn all over the internet. Generally speaking, you would have to go out of your way to find a nude person portrayed in a manner that is not sexual. 
They do exist, of course, but almost without exception, you won’t come across them in your everyday life; you would have to seek them to find them.

 It’s not surprising then, that some people simply cannot disassociate nudity from sex. It’s a shame, but it is an inevitable truth, that many people can’t help but view a person without clothes on, without judging them in a sexual manner.

 But there are certain areas where nudity is not necessarily linked with sex, for those who are able to free their minds from the association. Medicine is one, naturism is another, and then there’s art. Nudity has been depicted in art for centuries, and though it can be represented in a sexual manner (erotic art), I personally would argue that the the emphasis is on the nude as a thing of aesthetic beauty, but not, necessarily as an object of desire.

 When I create art nude photographs, I do not view my body or my work in a sexual context. I certainly don’t view the process of creating my work as sexual, and I get no sexual gratification from sharing nude images of myself. As obvious as this may sound to many of you reading this, I often feel this is something I have to emphasize for those who are simply not able to view nudity as anything other than sexual. 

 I view the human body as a thing of aesthetic beauty. I am able to view images of nudity and appreciate the beauty of them without being distracted by associations of sex. I am not inhibited or embarrassed by my own body, and as such, I try to capture with my photographers a wide range of expressions. Some of my work is simply aesthetically beautiful (or trying to be). In other images, I have also attempted to express a range of human emotions, including (amongst others), innocence, sorrow, vulnerability, strength, freedom, passion and, on occasion, sexuality.

 I am a frustrated actress at heart, and I feel the ‘need’ for a creative outlet. I have often described modelling as ‘a static form of acting,’ in which I attempt to capture an emotion in a freeze frame. Whether I am successful in this mission or not, I don’t know. It’s very difficult to be objective about your own work, and I’m not so arrogant that I believe I hit the mark every time. I do, however, see this in the work of others, and it is something I aspire to. 

 In my mission to be creative, I find it liberating to be nude, because this involves the whole body – from fingertips to facial expression. The beauty of the human body (and by ‘beauty,’ I do not mean conventional ‘beauty,’ but rather the beauty that is intrinsic to all living, breathing human beings) is so much more expressive – in my eyes – when it is unconstrained by clothing. I’ve seen some wonderfully powerful and emotive art nude images, which seem all the more so to me, because every inch of the body is used to convey an emotion, or perhaps simply to compliment the beauty of the natural environment. The body in itself is an art work, and I enjoy working within this genre, attempting to capture the beauty of the body and all that the body is capable of.

 I grew up with a fairly conservative family who certainly weren’t particularly liberal. Yet I do not believe that nudity should necessarily be associated with sex. I don’t think that society’s portrayal of nudity is a very healthy one, since the association with sex is unavoidable. I’m not sure why it is that I have never exclusively viewed nudity in a sexual context, but even as a child I was never afflicted with the giggles over pictures or jokes about bums, boobs and willies. After all, we all have them. For this reason, I am able to model nude, and I am able to share those images with others without associations of guilt or smuttiness, because I simply don’t see my work in that way.

 The age of the internet has been both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that it has provided me with a platform to exhibit my art nude work, and share with others. But simultaneously a curse, in that the very word ‘internet’ carries so many negative associations – often, I believe, because the internet makes sex all too readily available and therefore is subconsciously associated with the stigma of something ‘dirty.’ When I share my work via the web, I can’t choose who gets to view it, or how it is perceived. I am confident in my own mind of the motivation behind creating my work, and I hope that my intentions are evident to many viewers, who appreciate my work in the way I intended it to be appreciated – as works of aesthetic beauty, not as titillation .

I am not under any illusions. For some people, nude is nude, and a girl with no clothes on is a sexual object. I can’t stop those people viewing my work. But I am not creating my work for those people, they are not my motivation. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I’m not an exhibitionist. It would be foolish of me to say that I don’t want to be viewed in a sexual manner, because I know all too well that many of those who view my work will see it that way, no matter what I write, and I can’t change that. But I do not create art nude images for my own sexual gratification, and I don’t enjoy viewing images (or text, for that matter) that are created solely for that purpose. 

 I resent nothing more than comments such as ‘sexy girl’ or ‘nice tits’ on images where my intention was clearly to evoke a response other than a sexual one, and the viewer is not capable of interpreting that. I understand that there are those who can’t see past the ‘nice tits’ and never will. Society has imposed on us the implication that anyone who takes their clothes off, is doing so for sexual reasons, so they probably assume I’m flattered. I’ll never completely stop comments like that, or rid myself of sexual connotations as long as I keep taking my clothes off. Fortunately, I like to think that the vast majority of people who view my work, are capable of understanding my intentions, and the ‘nice tits’ comments are few and far between. I share my work for the enjoyment of like-minded individuals, and luckily, the vast majority of people who follow my work are ‘like-minded.’

 But I know I have followers who I would class as exhibitionists. Their motivation for creating and sharing images is all too transparent, and their motivation is certainly not to create art. We have in common an interest in creating material that features nudity, and they make the assumption that we do so for the same reasons. But if a quick glance at their work reveals an entire gallery of images featuring their own genitals, or perhaps a body of literature that contains the word ‘fuck’ or ‘fucking’ 36 times on the first page, (‘sex’ or ‘sexual’ 33 times), then it is immediately obvious to me that our motivations for creating our work are not the same. With such individuals, I will never overcome their mentality that nudity and sex are one and the same, and it is pointless trying to explain to them that I don’t think we have anything in common at all. 

 I am not prudish, I don’t think sex is dirty. I know people do it, and I’m capable of having a conversation about sex without embarrassment. But as far as sex goes, that’s something I prefer to keep to myself, and something I choose not to be exposed to if I can help it. I am open-minded in the sense that I don’t judge people who choose to get their sexual kicks on the internet. It’s just that I have no wish to be associated with those people, and that truly isn’t why I am here.

 I’ve spoken before about this subject here: http://e-rosanne.blogspot.com/2010/11/hallam-mill.html
and here: http://erosanne.deviantart.com/journal/37444520/

 Nobody is obliged to agree with me.’