I had a really nice, laid back shoot in Gloucestershire with Mike Bradbury last year, dropping in on my way home from a couple of shoots at a studio nearby. I love these simple, relaxed shots we took in his home studio (in between chats). The eagle-eyed among you will notice I didn’t point my toes in the casual sitting shots – I really like this about them. I have to admit I often find the propensity for art models (and I do include myself) to point their toes to be a little too unnatural and (ironically) awkward looking sometimes – it can be such a beautiful finish to a line, which is why we so often do it (and some of us have dance/ballet backgrounds from which this trait is perhaps borrowed), but sometimes it becomes a bit too much, in my opinion, and I see it slightly overdone at the loss of the natural feeling of an image (and I get that not all images are meant to look natural!). I think there is a lot to be said for a more authentic, less ‘stylised’/gymnastic way of being in photos, now and then. (Cue everyone looking at my toes now… eek!)
Today I’m sharing a collection of images I’ve been sent by Colin (Capture77) taken at Big Shot Studio in Leighton Buzzard, when I’ve dropped by for a few studio days over the last few months. I really love his style and we are definitely on the same page in terms of taste. All styling is mine, though it was Colin who suggested I bring dungarees (nice to do something different!). Hope you like these as much as I do…
The sunflowers one was the last set we did after one of the days (I think it may even have been the last frame), and it was a case of me grabbing them when I spotted them in the studio and demanding we shoot with them(!). Sunflowers, for me, are a symbol of self-belief and confidence. If you are into this kind of thing, they represent the solar plexis chakra and I was once told to visualise them in order to boost feelings of self-esteem and personal power. The portrait that resulted, below, definitely channels this, and I love it for that reason.
I’m not doing a 2018 version of my usual ‘highlights from each shoot’ bumper post this year – simply because I have the work of precisely 70 photographers I’ve modelled for this year that I’m yet to share! (What can I say – it’s been a busy one even by my standards!!!) So I’m keeping calm and carrying on, and doubling up this blog post to show the work of TWO photographers I worked with this year, with the theme of ‘portraits’.
First, I am delighted to show three of my favourite images here which were taken by Joe B all the way back in January(!). He was going (as you can probably tell) for a sort of ‘Hollywood’ feel to these, and it was really cool to see what he was able to achieve, especially as the studio technology was playing up a bit and it all became a bit of a challenge, skilfully worked around in the end with some striking results:
When Bragi Kort told me the next location during our week in the westfjords of Iceland in June was going to be an abandoned herring factory, I was half expecting (/dreading) rotting fish flesh and a bed of bones. But it wasn’t quite like that, thankfully, and in fact Bragi was right to be so excited – it was a fantastic location full of massive shapes, textures, industrial machines and window lights. A photographer’s dream and I love so many of his shots I’m accidentally sharing 40-odd here all at once… Including some taken at one of the hotels we stayed at which (to my absolute delight) had a piano (and an open-minded owner!).
I think a personal favourite is the set with the huge upside-down, rusting cone-shape (basically it was a space ship). It was a bit precarious and we had to be careful not to get too close; we were actually very kindly guided around by the owners of the land for our safety, before being left to do our thing.
As you’ll see, I’m suffering from a horrible bout of ‘colour or mono?’ indecision, so am showing some of both. I think I’m quite drawn to the colour ones for many – I love the muted tones.
If you like the images below, make sure you’ve also had a look at this other bumper post, which shows a totally different side of Iceland – the outdoor moonscapes and magnificent beauty of the landscapes (with little old me frolicking about among it all).
Congratulations to Steven Billups who had the following two images juried into the Natural Nude exhibition at the SE Center for photography, Greenville South Carolina (one of the jurors being Kim Weston). The first is of me, hiding behind a sunflower (as one does) and the second, Dune Shadows, is of the wonderful Anoush Anou, a friend I haven’t seen in far too long (we once hiked the Grand Canyon together!) – hope to visit both of these people in the US when I visit next year! Anyone wanting info on that will hear from me once dates are planned if they’re signed up to my mailing list.
I can’t believe it’s been so many years since I was last in the US. I’ve been to Australia a lot in recent years and that’s taken over my far-flung travels a bit. Anyway, I’ve been home here in the UK for just over a week now – had such a creative time and shall be updating this blog with lots of results. I literally created a spreadsheet a couple of days ago listing all the shoots I am planning to blog; friends, there are 71 columns of photographer’s names. So, um, stay tuned..!
You may have noticed that each year I collate some of my favourite images and produce a video/slideshow. This is such a fun way for me to reflect on what I’ve been lucky enough to have been involved in – the places I’ve been to and the people I’ve met – and I set it to a beautiful, melancholic, dreamsome song called ‘Before I Sleep’, by English singer Marika Hackman. For every photo in this slideshow there were about 5 others I would have loved to have included – it was hard to select. (In fact, I probably should have used fewer images, so that they move more slowly, but self control in this regard doesn’t come naturally to me.)
Please enjoy this window into my world… Click on the image below (by Jeff Wilson) to go through to the video:
I’m about to fly to Australia. The last time I was in Queensland, Adam Hauldren and I wound our way to this famous curtain fig tree. A fellow Brit somehow surviving upside-down living on a permanent basis (must be awful living with all that sunshine..), he kept me entertained with a spontaneous (and rather impressive) Attenborough impression (see behind-the-scenes vid I posted on facebook here for some of it!!), and when the time was right (i.e. when we felt particularly rebellious and I dared to climb the fence, take my clothes off and very quickly and unobtrusively pose by this absolute honour of a tree, he took some photos over about 3 minutes in total, I would imagine. I, of course, felt hugely privileged to encounter such a place and treated it with respect as always (in general, for example, I always make sure not to trample wildflowers, when posing, or snap twigs – I bend them gently away instead if needed and blow gently at spiders or reason with them rather than do them any harm…). Here, I just stood briefly in the majesty of this enormous, spectactular and ancient tree, and felt the journeys of glorious roots at my feet. So wonderful. Thank you Adam for detouring us to this magical place!
Below the images of me at the curtain fig are a few of the infra-red portraits he took earlier that week. Infra-red + very little make up = brilliant, ghostly, etheral, other-worldliness. I think I look quite spooky! Aren’t the leaves lovely? And you can see all my veins! So cool.
Hope you like these! I’m sending out a newsletter over the next week with updates on all my antics and some upcoming travel tour dates, so please do sign up if you haven’t already. Filling in that quick form is the best way of making sure I send you a direct email when next visiting your area, too, and is a new system that surpasses all previous attempts at systems I have made over the years. (Can you believe I’ve been modelling all over this planet for nearly a decade? What a bizarre and wonderful way to spend time! Thanks for watching…)