Sharps, Flats, Shapes & Curves

Another quick update, hot off the press after a weekend off which has revolved around a family dinner, seeing friends, lunch dates, a vintage fair, walkies and the management of french pronouns (le/la/les before lui/leur, but vous/me/nous before le/la/les. FYI) with my buddy Michel Thomas and his slightly irritating female student who delivers every phrase in a breathy monotone, I just wanted to show a collection of shots taken recently at mine and Ivory Flame‘s ‘duo’ day at Eye For An Image Studio in Banbury. The theme was ‘Shapes and Curves’. Between us, we’ve definitely got some shapes and curves; and it’s nice to hang out with my good friend Holly in front of the lens.

Four photographers attended, one after the other, and I’ll post some of my personal favourites from those I’ve been shown.

Hit this (Satie’s Gnossienne 1) for an instant soundtrack as you scroll down; you’ll probably recognise it from various films, including the gorgeous Chocolat (which is fitting, as I’ve just finished my Easter chocolate): 

(I’ve requested a bit of light relief on the side while I finish learning Liebestraum, the ultimate romantic masterpiece, due to my utter inability to sight-read after a ten year gap making it a bit of a sudoku-style brain training practice not to mention the necessitation of finger strength excercises that make my wrists want to die, a bit; it is getting there though and sounding better and better each day, but Satie is always so evocative and beautiful, and pleasingly simple to pick up on the first run-through, thank God. So now I have the ultimate procrastination piece to linger over when my frustration at the same chord appearing twice in the same bar but with every single note accented differently starts to bubble… C FLAT IS NOT A NOTE. NOR IS E SHARP. Let’s call it B and F, shall we? AARRRRGGGHHHH. F DOUBLE SHARP, SURELY, IS SIMPLY G. I’d been away from the game so long that these ‘amusing’, ‘helpful’ quirks have had to be relearned until they can be calmly ignored/memorised, which brings me to…)

By James (‘CalmNudes’):

By Mark Bigelow (who is now doing lighting workshops on his improvisational way of working; it’s a lot of fun to prance in his playboxes of shadows!):

By Prashant Meswani:

And by Eddie Ray (including a single exposure during which two become three):

Thanks photographers! 🙂

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Twigs, Sticks and Weaves

Afternoon! I had another highly creative play-around in the studio (Unique Capture, in Milton Keynes, this time) with Karen Jones at the weekend, and have already been sent some shots I think are sooo lovely. Karen and I have worked together a lot on quite a range of styles and settings, and these latests shots are way up there with the best of what we’ve done, I think! It’s really nice to work on ‘themes’ with Karen, and it’s always good teamwork.

The original plan for this booking was something completely different, a ‘part two’ to a theme we’d already started (and which had resulted in some lovely shots, I think) but on a bit of a whim Karen decided to abandon that idea, for now, and work on some other ideas, including one set using twigs in the studio. Funnily enough, this had been on my ‘to do’ list for a while, and was also the plan of the photographer I worked with the just day before (luckily the shots are quite different though)! I have modelled in studios and outdoors in nature (as the eagle eyed among you may have noticed), but I hadn’t before brought these two disparate tropes into synthesis before, and the idea of bringing nature inside and posing it against an indoor, modern studio setting, makes for all sorts of connections about both life and death, joy and sadness, doesn’t it? We did a bit of classical ‘mother nature’ style stuff, and also some more ‘messed up’, ‘earthy’ portraits  for which it seemed only right to backcomb my hair into an enormous tangly state (it needs little encouragement, to be honest). Those came out kind of glamorous (which was nice) though. Karen had made a necklace using moss. So clever (and a tinsy bit itchy, after a while…)!

These twiggy ones were done with natural light, which is often very flattering, I think.

Karen’s soft processing and the luminous light here reminds me of the film 300, somehow:

And one we liked without the twigs:

Then, another idea Karen had was inspired by an ‘oriental’ accessory. I remembered that I once bought a Thai hat on the floating market of Bangkok (why have I never used that on a shoot before?), so I whipped it off my shelf and brought it along, braided my hair and put on this rather funky jumpsuit Karen had brought along and kindly donated to my modelling wardrobe afterwards! I’m not usually one for wearing orange, but I do love it and I think it made for some cute, bright fashion-y shots. I really like the slightly retro tint in this first one especially!

Some monochrome nudes, for a different feel…

And a ‘Black Widow’ experiment:

Thank you Karen! Looking forward to the next one!

In Vivid Paint

Just a quick update… Things have been quite wonderful here in my world with the usual balance of endings and beginnings and new stuff and new plans. Amongst other things I’ve started putting the final pieces of the puzzle together for my upcoming trip to Scotland (4th-14th May). Pllleeeeease let the weather be beautiful! I was quite amazed by how quickly this trip booked up, to be honest; it made me think I really ought to go to Scotland more often, not least because I absolutely loved my last trip to Edinburgh. That said, there has been a cancellation and I am also doing my best to squeeze in any extra shoots people might want to arrange with me. I’m going to be in Edinburgh, Fife, Dundee, Perth, the Highlands, Glasgow, then back in Edinburgh. Do get in touch if you like the idea of having me pose for you and I’ll see what I can do.

I’ve had some great shoots recently, including a commercial shoot for a jewellery company in London, some dance/movement work, and a shoot which partly involved wearing moss and twigs! I do love the variety. I’ve got lots in my ‘to blog’ folder, as always; it’s overflowing, in fact, and I still find it so exciting to be able to share the work I’m featured in.

Another fun thing that happened recently was receiving a huge print of a painting by Nurhilal Harsa from Turkey, which I rolled out on my bedroom floor and gazed at in amazement. I imagine it will make a really good feature on the wall someday, as part of my quite eclectic collection of stuff.

The painting is based on an image shot for Digital Camera Magazine (full info here – it resulted in 14 pages and a front cover). The pictures here (sent initially to show me the painting) don’t do justice to quite how vibrant and striking the colours are, in my opinion; the blues/greens in particular are very bold. If you click on the link above you can see Nurhilal Harsa’s distinctive style. She says:

‘A strong, secular, humanist art is critical for Turkey and art can help everybody challenge limitations of understanding and consciousness. Izmir is a magical city on the shores of the Aegean Sea. I throw open my windows every morning and both the sea and sky open their arms to me, welcoming the day. Every day the sea and the sky are different and also the same. They can be serene or tempestuous. They are moody, like me. My paintings are emotional and vibrant, colorful and expressive.’

I am often contacted by painters who wish to paint versions of the photographs I post online, or by those who already have.

Copyright is a funny thing. The images taken of me, by default, belong (along with associated rights) to the photographer/artist. (When I post them here, it is with permission.) I agree, on each individual occasion, to pose for a person on a particular time or location, for them to produce my likeness and use it in any (legal, non-defamatory, etc.) way they like. It is thereafter not my right to have a say in what derivative work may follow on from the exchange for which I have been compensated, or to which I have agreed. Therefore, I occasionally find (often after the event) that I have ‘remotely’ modelled for someone I have never met or made an agreement with…

I’m happy to be inspiring people – it’s quite exciting to see the results, but I hope that good ethics can be remembered by those who use my likeness in this ‘remote’ way, and that for any kind of commercial use or public display/sale, permission must be sought beforehand, from the copyright holder (I can usually put you in touch with them; it’s no problem at all!), and that my role as the subject ought to be respected too. And yes, being sent a physical print really does make things a lot sweeter, from my point of view. 🙂

…So thank you, Nurhilal Harsa, for sending me a copy of your beautiful painting, all the way from Turkey. I really do appreciate it! I also hope other artists might be inspired to send on copies of their work to the models too, where possible and appropriate; it might be appreciated far more than you realise. 🙂

SWPP Annual Convention – Hilton London Metropole

I’ve modelled for Faye and Trevor Yerbury on quite a few occasions now, and it was lovely to be asked to be their masterclass model on two days in January during the annual SWPP convention, held at the Hilton London Metropole Hotel, in the Presidential Suite, no less!

On one day, the theme was Portraits (and also featured two young girls who made great ‘little sisters’ for met!), and on the other day, the focus was boudoir/nude. I’ve been sent a few shots from some of the attending photographers, so have some to show here, which is nice!

As always, I had a great time modelling for this creative and talented pair – they really do know their stuff. I’ll be posing for them again in May, during my jaunt to Scotland (4th-14th), which I’m sure will be a great experience, working with them on their ‘own turf’! 🙂

No strangers to travel, they teach, demonstrate and lecture all over the place – you can keep up with their latest comings and goings via their website, if you think you’d like some tuition of some sort: http://www.yerburystudio.com/

Below are some of the images I’ve been sent:

These were taken by Manes Pangalos, from Athens:

The above wig utterly confused certain members of the group; I reappeared after a quick change and caused bafflement over where the ‘other’ model had gone! It does make quite a difference, doesn’t it…

A portrait taken by Jane Cox:

More boudoir, by Steve Murray:

And another from Tony Cashen:

Faye and Trevor squeeze in a few moments of shooting me when they possibly can, between helping out the photographers, so finally here are some of their results too:

By Faye Yerbury:

And by Trevor Yerbury:

And I love this version Trevor posted on facebook, after ‘playing around’:

The Yerbury stand, down in the exhibition hall, looked absolutely wonderful. Here are some snapshots I took on my phone afterwards, plus a few images I spotted myself in, successfully awarded in the 20 X 16 print competition (two by Faye and the coloured image of Ivory Flame and I, shot by Keith Cooper):

And, while I’m here, here’s a shot Faye took of me on another day, which I don’t think has appeared on this blog before. Very classical!

Sumptuous in Brussels

Fresh from Belgium, I bring you some new images courtesy of a quick session with wonderful photographer Pieter Vandeur. He was so great to work with, picking me up off the Eurostar and driving me on to my excellent hostel, ‘Sleephere‘ in Brussels (which I would really recommend to those passing through the city – it’s the home of a man called Karel and his gorgeous old dog, Caesar, so feels more ‘authentic’ than the usual kind of thing, and has no room keys whatsoever – the only other place I’ve stayed at like that was in Costa Rica – Hostel Bekuo, whose owner I slightly fell in love with and who waved me off with a handmade hat – and it shared the automatic atmosphere of friendliness and trust that has to follow – anyway I think Sleephere won a ‘best of Belgium’ award, or something, and there’s a piano in the lounge which I could not resist when I got the room free before I left to go home, plus some brilliant restaurants nearby.)

Back on track… Pieter took me to a rather amusing bookable-by-the-hour hotel for our shoot. (Ahem!) But hey, it really worked, even if we did have some raised eyebrows on the way in. He was good with offering thoughts on direction, too. The setting was rather gorgeous, and this black lingerie I’d recently treated myself to (among other sets, and various long ballgowns) got to be worn and photographed in the exact style I’d had in mind when I bought it (the standing shots particularly)! So thank you Pieter!

Would appreciate some votes for which people prefer… I’m still deciding. 🙂

Bulbs and Benches

This morning I wrote roughly a million words of my WIP. Feeling very inspired at the moment, if a little exhausted after a much needed 24-hour jaunt to a place I adore. And now I’ve just come back from a garden centre, of all places. Why is buying birthday presents for my Dad so difficult?! Anyway, I think I’d quite like my own garden one day, if only so I can buy pretty watering cans. Sadly, though, I never even remember to water anything when I attempt to have plants on my window sill. After I came back from Amsterdam, I put one of those one-euro tulip bulbs into a pot, only to discover, months later (and, I admit, having never watered it), that the bulb had completely disappeared. It wasn’t there anymore. I had been displaying, in this non-fruitful but expectant interim, a small pot of soil. I imagine it had given up on me and decided to disintegrate, thinking ‘I’ll just be soil, it’s easier’. I hope one day I’ll be the sort of person who can water a plant. In the meantime, and between some other things I’m doing today, I thought I’d post a quick miscellany of images I haven’t blogged yet, but which I love, with thanks to the photographers.

By Barrie Spence, Scotland:

By Rayment Kirby, Sussex:

By OnePixArt, Beverley Hills:

By Eddie Ray, taken at Paul’s Studio, Reading (inspired, of course, by Rossetti and Arthur Hughes):

By Davefish, taken at Eye For An Image Studio in Banbury, Oxfordshire:

By Paul Bartholomew, Oxfordshire:

Poolside

Hello lovely blog readers!

All has been a bit dramatic here over the last couple of days. Those of you who have ‘friended’ me on facebook will know by now that I had a bit of a strange episode in the early hours of yesterday morning, walking into the bathroom and collapsing to the floor. I have no idea why this happened, really; yes I’ve been  ‘under the weather’ for a while now, with what was flu turning into just the usual symptoms associated with a cold – feeling a bit lacking in energy and tired, with a cough that seemed like it would never go away (still hasn’t). To be honest I was ignoring it a bit, just taking it a bit easier than usual in terms of accepting bookings, but my body obviously decided to have a bit of a sulk about it and treat me to my first experience of fainting.

I now have a cut, swollen lip, bruises on my chin (I basically landed on my face, I assume; my front tooth hurt a lot yesterday, though thankfully it didn’t get chipped or anything) and a touch of concussion to top it all off. The doctor took my pulse and blood pressure about seven times, frowning worryingly each time – my heart was racing, and my head was kind of lolling about while I sat in the chair. I also mentioned to her that I’d been vaguely aware of bumping my head against something more than once, as though I had been moving about on the floor (and also we found blood in two different parts of the bathroom floor), but she assured me that moving around is still consistent with a faint and not something to worry about at all (and I’m not really sure what happened anyway). I’m still feeling quite dizzy, strange and sorry for myself, but hopefully the actual faint was just a one off – though apparently it isn’t uncommon early in the morning, especially in young women, so various factors probably just came together. Still feels very bizarre and ‘out of the blue’ though.

I think I’m going to just lie down and read The English Patient for the rest of the day.

Also, the swollen-on-one-side lip has given me the opportunity to be surprised by the fact that, actually, massive lips wouldn’t particularly suit me. I’ll stick with my own please.

On a much brighter note, I’ve recently updated my Model Mayhem page and my purpleport page including one of these images taken by Jim Baab.

(The set above, with the cactus in the foreground, came out really prettily in colour too.)