Fee Tree

Well, Italy was amazing. Utterly Italy-ish. Rolling orange hills, chickens, a LOT of granita (Sicilian Spirit, lemon, mint, peach…), grapes plucked from vineyards, Botticelli and Titian – I can’t get enough of wandering around in wonder at the talent, myth and stories in the Uffizi Gallery. And Michaelangelo’s David (in the Accademia) really is a sight to behold (is it weird to fancy a sculpture? Hmm). I really must go to Italy again as soon as possible.

In other news, I am now gearing up for my trip to Vietnam, Australia, Japan and Bali. I leave in a couple of weeks! So much to organise it’s insane. It will be an amazing trip. Email me at ellarosemuse@live.co.uk for details!

Anyway, update time, and the following shots were taken in the south of Germany a couple of months ago. I stayed with Peter Gruener and worked with different photographers over two days for this part of the trip (I’ve included links on the first instance of each photographer being credited). We had a good time, despite heat and mosquitos, and I really love some of the images below. Thanks photographers!

Copyright: GSXF5

 Copyright: Peter Gruener

 Copyright: Peter Gruener

 Copyright: Peter Gruener

 Copyright: Stefan Engler
Copyright: Stefan Engler

Copyright: Arnold Line

Copyright: Arnold Line

Copyright: Arnold Line

Copyright: Arnold Line

Copyright: Arnold Line

Copyright: Arnold Line

Copyright: GSXF5
Copyright: GSXF5

Copyright: Peter Gruener

Copyright: Peter Gruener

By the Seaside and The Beauty of Women

I hope everyone is having a happy new year so far… I’ve been feeling a tiny bit ill (and so a tiny bit grumpy), but am definitely making the most of small pleasures; as if stationery didn’t make me happy enough as it already is, I today discovered that staples are available in different colours while on an incredibly boring but necessary jaunt to buy a new receipt file (the joys of keeping things for SIX YEARS). Pink, blue, green and yellow. My inner fourteen year-old girl is buzzing. I also got some very beautiful new towels today; I am easily pleased (well, that’s not strictly true, but for the purposes of this blog post let’s say I am). And I’m doing pretty well with my extreme multi-tasking idea; I want to improve my German and French this year, morphing the knowledge I have into actual practical confidence, to be tested later in the year on various trips, and am squeezing in some audio lessons during very short stints on my exercise bike. I wonder if I will forever associate particular words with the view of my speedometer.

Anyway, one thing I am very pleased about is to be able to mention that three photographer/artists I’ve worked with are all exhibiting at the same time. Mark Davy-Jones, Gregory Brown and Jeff Wack will all be showing work at ‘The Beauty of Women’ at The Menier Gallery, London 8-19th January. I know that some images of me are being featured by Mark, though I don’t know which, and will have to go along to find out if I’ll be featured in any more.

Interestingly, the Guild of Erotic Artists says of the exhibition:

THE BEAUTY OF WOMEN is an exhibition that is designed to allow the visitor to view the female form as a thing of beauty that is generally considered too private and intimate for public display. If shown at all, a woman’s body is usually presented in a negative fashion, generally within the context of pornography, intended, in almost all cases, for the exclusive pleasure of men. The goal of this exhibition is to remove these indecent inferences, contained in works of art over the centuries.’

I’m hoping to visit in between modelling for the Yerburys at the annual SWPP convention at the London Hilton on Edgeware Rd, which I’m really looking forward to. If you’re planning to be there, come and say hi!

Seems fitting to finally blog some images Mark Davy-Jones took of me and Kayleigh Lush a while ago. I love these!

(The biddies in the background didn’t pay us much attention.)

And this has reminded me that I need to plan a quick visit to the Isle of Wight again for March/April – will get on to that soon, though am all in a flux at the moment about when to visit Paris (4th-9th April?) and am also itching to get on with planning my trip to Scotland (early May; big proper tour, unlike my last year’s piddly foray into just Edinburgh, as stunningly beautiful as that city is), amongst others. Planning planning planning.

Otters, Rocks and Water Lilies

Just in case you don’t notice, I’ve now re-jiggled my blog here to have its very own stand-alone ‘Travel Plans, Schedule & Events’ page (see the new tab at the top!). Pretty snazzy, eh? I’ll be attempting to keep it regularly updated with dates and locations, so it’s the place to glance at now and then if you ever find yourself wondering about my wanderings.

I’ve also added a widget on the right hand side which enables you lovely readers to enter your email address into the box to get immediate notifications directly to your inbox every time I update this blog with news and new images. You might find you like it. (And if not, you can unsubscribe at any time.) Do it! 🙂

*****

At the end of July I went on another two-day adventure with Perry (Imagesse) to Pembrokeshire in Wales. I annoyed myself throughout the trip by having a cold which meant I couldn’t breathe amazingly well (urgh), but apart from that it was another very enjoyable adventure! I had my own beautiful little self-catering converted barn in Lamphey, so that was a nice treat (although I vaguely remember demanding that Perry remove a spider from my bathroom shortly after arrival. I am such a girl, it’s embarrassing).

We visited various locations which Perry had thought looked interesting, and as usual there were some beautiful and striking scenes involved. Sometimes a shoot is a bit like a nature-spotting hiking trip in disguise. 🙂 With thanks to Perry (and hoping to shoot again sometime!), here are a few of the results:

With my dance wings let loose like a cape…

In a tiny old chapel set in a cliff:

Down near the water…

And in a huge lake filled with beautiful water lilies. It was quite difficult to find a spot to photograph here, as to be honest, the lake wasn’t exactly very private, but we took the risk… I love the inky hues of Perry’s mono conversions here, but will also add a couple in colour to show off the amazing vibrant blues and greens!

And of course, I promised otters. Well, aside from joggers of the picturesque-location penchantery, this location was also a hit with otter-spotters. One poor man told us all about his efforts to witness their existence, with little success, before moving on. Around three minutes later, we saw one repeatedly popping its little brown head up before swimming around to a slightly different part of the water, sending ripples and bubbles everywhere and popping up again… We were totally spoiled with otter omnipresence! So obviously Perry grabbed a quick snapshot or two (though he hadn’t got the most appropriate otter-watching lens on at the time!):

Cuuuuute! I really hope the man we spoke to saw one or two before he went home.

I love my job.

Pebbles

Happy Monday everyone! Hope everyone had a nice weekend… I ended up on a boat yesterday for a friend’s birthday party on the river. Lots of fun (and cider and pimms!) and I got to drive for some of it!

Here are some recent shots by Jeremy Howitt, taken on Brighton beach! This was the first shoot of my trip to Sussex at the end of June and resulted in a little monochrome mini-series (and salty beach hair! :-)).



Jeremy’s plan was to keep these in monochrome, but I couldn’t help wondering what they’d look like in colour (despite the uneventful sky; it was a hazy morning) and after a couple of to-and-fro edits (me vaguely suggesting, Jeremy miraculously realising my ideas with the magic of technology), this colour image is what we came up with. I love the peachy-pink blaze at the top of the frame and the soft pastel hues.

Another great shoot – thanks Jeremy!

Technicoloured Earth

I’ve been battling over the last few days with a strong desire to dye the tips/ends of my hair a pale, pastel ‘baby’ pink. I had the idea that it would suit my look in a sweet, ‘fairy’ kind of way rather than looking ‘punky’. Obviously my natural curls do soften any colour put into it, so the overall look would be quite gentle… Well, I indulged myself yesterday and went ahead and did it in my bathroom. The pack said to leave it in for 15-30 mins, so I conscientiously erred on the side of caution, wanting it not to come up too bright for photoshoots, and left it in for around 20mins (was aiming for 15 but then got distracted…). The result is barely noticeable; it blends so well that it doesn’t particularly appear to have made much difference. The lengths of my hair are quite light anyway, and now it looks to me like there is just a bit of a rosy, fiery haze around the ends. I love it! (But I don’t expect anyone else to notice much difference; will test it on my dinner companion this evening…). Maybe sometime after my 12-day trip to Holland and Germany this week I will try again for the full 30 mins and see how it looks!

Anyway, I know I’ve slightly flooded the area recently with images from Billy Sheahan and our fun foray into Mexican beach life, but he’s just sent me a whole new batch of colour edits which i think are eye-poppingly gorgeous. Billy originally imagined the shots in black and white, but we both think these are so vibrant. I love the mossy feathery green hues of the last four shots too; so warm and inviting.

Righty-ho, I’m off to make a ‘zuccini bake’, which involves whipping out my old ‘microwave cooking for kids’ book from my childhood. Remember when microwave cooking (‘put in, cover, leave for 3 mins, uncover, cook for 2.5 more mins…’) was all the rage? Haha.

The Spirit

Desiderata — written by Max Ehrmann in the 1920s —

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul. 

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

More from Billy Sheahan:

The edge of the world

Wow, if Carlsberg made photographers, they’d come in the shape of Chicago-based Billy Sheahan. I appreciate and enjoy all of my shoots and often forge friendships with photographers when things have gone particularly well and repeat bookings are made often, but there was something about this shoot that was really special for me.

Billy picked me up from the airport in Mexico after I’d flown west from Mexico City (a place I can’t wait to visit again), and drove me towards a week of intense creativity. Billy was the first photographer who’d booked me for a shoot, and we found the most sublime beach, early in the morning, totally empty. We had to walk through various exotic trees and cacti to find it and when we first glimpsed it, we couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. So perfect and serene. It was so quiet, too, and the whole thing felt like such a privilege.

Billy is one of my favourite photographers ever. He is such a kind, jolly, positive person that is so much fun to be around. He was, as he called himself, the ‘model taxi’; carting us around to grocery stores and to and from meet-ups in his hired car. He even drove us and waited patiently while some of us browsed (slowly) a Mexican charity shop (I think ‘thrift store’ was the correct term; I bought some particularly eccentric black and white geometric-patterned trousers), looking for Halloween costumes. He crashed his car (well, ‘crashed’ is unfair; it was a tiny tiny bump) and got over it in half a second. He is always smiling and incredibly open to the moment, which was why this, Billy’s first real outdoor-location model shoot as I think he told me, was so successful and such a joy.

I know I sound like I’m gushing, but I just felt so incredibly FREE during this shoot. Billy just left me to prance about along the shore line, in and out of waves, jumping off rocks and strolling around in front of his camera. He was a fair distance away for a lot of the shots, and took millions of frames, hoping to catch the ‘moment’ of whatever I was about to do at any given time, since we couldn’t really communicate well in the conditions. So in some ways I felt, for a lot of the shoot, like I was alone in nature, just experiencing the place in all its head-knocking beauty. I’m so grateful for Billy for allowing me to feel that way, and for framing so much open space in many of the shots that reflect that state of mind. Looking at these shots makes me feel so happy.

Billy has written very eloquently about our shoot here and here. Please do read what he’s written – it’s so nice and really sets things in context!

Yes, there will be some monochrome/colour indecision. I love the blues in the ones looking out to sea!

Click to view them large (you’ll need to; I’m kinda tiny in some of them), and please let me know your favourites!



…And some in colour: