Iceland

… With the brilliant Alex Ingram. We met up in Reykjavik (having worked together earlier in the year at his beautiful – if a little rainy – domain of the Scottish Highlands). We had two days together and spent the first day just driving around in the vague aim of ‘doing’ the ‘golden circle’. Our road trip took us to Pingvellir (Viking site – oldest parliament in the world), Geysir (hot springs) and Gulfoss (massive waterfalls). We didn’t get much done at all that day, because of the constant rain, but it was nice just to sightsee in such an incredible country. We were more organised on the second day, though still it was really just a case of driving around and seeing what we saw!

Around the modelling, I also spent a day walking around on a glacier and seeing some black sand beaches along the southern coast, making friends in the accommodation I stayed at which had a party bar on the ground floor with live music, and some new friends who spent much of an evening determined to fashion me a poncho out of bin bags especially purchased so that I could walk underneath a waterfall the next day (it didn’t really work, but it was a hilarious effort!). I bizarrely bumped into an American model I’d met in Mexico before, Brooke Lynn, in one of Reykjavik’s little streets, too! Other things I did included watching a volcano documentary at a special tourist museum/cafe – it was absolutely incredible to see footage of eruptions and witness the amazing endurance of the people who live in such a unique country, constantly clearing up and dealing with what nature throws at them as best as they can. Iceland is definitely somewhere I hope to visit again, and hopefully not before too long.

A note about these images… You do have to be quite brave to model in these conditions – yes, Iceland is very cold (and I had such a clear picture in my mind of it being simply a land of ice, despite all images to the contrary previously seen; but as the plane touched down I was so enamoured with the lupins which covered so much of the land around the airport with a silvery-violet glow – they were imported from Alaska because they are tough and can survive in Volcanic earth, while rooting it together helpfully to aid with erosion control after the earth has split open again and again). I’m afraid I was also quite gung-ho about modelling nude even in such touristy areas of the country , because getting the images was too important to bother about other people (ruthless? Maybe!); we began early, aiming for maximum privacy (and I stepped quietly over the safety ropes for the scene we had in mind), but of course, the geothermal pools at Geysir (where many of the below were taken) were immediately next to a 70m upward-bursting jet of boiling water, erupting every few minutes. It’s hard to be alone at such a magnificent site as that. Luckily, Alex works quickly and efficiently, and we had the shots in the bag without much fuss. 🙂

The outer (ahem, road-side) pools of the Blue Lagoon, a quick diversion at the end of the day (I explored it fully on my way to the airport to catch my flight home; what a magical, magical place.)

And the lupins:

………..Snapshots:

At Geysir:

Before:
After:

Road-trippin’:

A cafe we loved:

At the road-side outer pools of the Blue Lagoon:

Gulfoss:

Lupins:

Central Reykjavik:

My day-trip poncho brilliance (waterfalls, black beaches and glaciers):

I’m determined that this won’t be my only visit to Iceland. What a wonderful place!

24 hours in Pareeee!

Originally, I’d planned a 5-day jaunt; half a work trip, half Parisian ‘me time’. I’ve wanted to live in Paris practically forever, and will, I’m sure, at some point – I love the city so deeply. I’ve been lucky enough to have been to Paris quite a lot now, and have ‘done’ various sights and museums, so my plan for part of this trip was to simply ‘be’ there; to write in cafes, pretending I was French.
Alas, these plans were not to be, as the week before I was due to leave I suffered a bout of ill health (after almost 2 months of feeling ‘run down’) and fainted for the first time in my life. The swollen, cut lip, bruised chin and concussion had me swiftly cancelling my trip, feeling very sorry for myself and desperately disappointed not to be boarding the £34.50 outbound train from London to the city where beauty reigns and everything feels like a fairy tale escape world.
Yet, as much as I resented the extortionate last-minute prices of Eurostar, I couldn’t resist zipping in and out in the end, going in at lunch time and returning the following evening on my original ticket. I had worked out that if I didn’t go, bearing in mind things already paid for, I would be down £84. If I DID go, bearing in mind things paid for and the ticket to be bought and money to be made there, I would be down £94. It was a lose/lose situation, and therefore a win/win situation; I was going to go to Paris! 
And then the Eurostar website didn’t work, giving my (absolutely in no need of encouragement) bank an excuse to block my card, after 5 failed attempts at purchasing a ticket. Every single time I go abroad ANYWHERE, Barclays, in the perennial prudent manner of an overly cautious parent, blocks my card. It’s a running joke in my family that I have to use cash abroad. However, this time, I’m blaming the malfunctioning Eurostar website (Barclays merely blocked my card, gamefully, for good measure); I bought a ticket easily by phone on the morning of the journey (yesterday), having packed in the hope that a slice of Paris might be a possibility after all.
Oh, Paris. It isn’t a place, it’s a state of mind. It’s one of my favourite states of mind.
As with two previous visits to Paris, I got to work with wonderful Jeremy Howitt, who managed to arrange a coinciding visit when I mentioned to him that I’d be going (he’s written a bit about the trip here if you like to read things from another perspective). This time we were joined by Jessica Taylor, a sweet, friendly model I’d not met yet but had spoken to online, for some shots Jeremy had in mind somewhat inspired by Helmut Newton. We all took it really easy, especially as I was a bit ‘dazed’ still, so there was no pressure.
The next day, we had lunch at a cafe often frequented by Hemingway, amongst other impressive literary and philosophical characters, and stopped at a cute chocolaterie (I, of course, had to try the ‘Earl Grey Tea’ chocolates, but have to say I much preferred the raspberry hearts). I’m already thinking of planning my second visit for this year, which will hopefully allow me to work with the other photographers I’d originally arranged work with, and do the ‘pretending to be French’ thing, but that will have to wait, probably, until I’m back from my ten-day trip to Scotland. Other trips to be finalised for June/July involve Switzerland, Holland and Germany, and possibly Iceland too.
Disdain and desire:





A ‘behind the scenes’ shot (while the shot is being framed)… 
(Paris wasn’t all that warm… but luckily Jess and I had coordinating purple coats. :-))


My new red ball gown; perfect, we thought, for a red cafe scene. I love the background details in these – the reflections, the handwritten chalk menu, the chairs put away for the night…







Thanks Jeremy and looking forward to the next one! 🙂

Travel Diaries: A 2012 Snapshot Medley

This blog post has been building for a while… Now that it’s December I feel justified in reflecting back officially on some of the opportunities I’ve had to travel around this year! The following are all snapshots taken while out and about… no actual modelling shots, I’m afraid, and most taken only on a phone camera, snatching moments where I could, so quality will (ahem) range…

Feel free to skip this blog post if you don’t mind what I get up to in my spare time when travelling around!

First, there was Paris in March, with photographer Jeremy Howitt:

Books in trees – brilliant! (No idea why; if anyone knows, do tell.)

Dusseldorf in April:

 Just running by the Rhine… Too cool.

 Kunstpalast:

The avenue of weird, spindly trees I walked along about twenty thousand times a day to get anywhere. Some beautiful houses across the road, and green park on the left.

Followed by Holland – mostly Amsterdam:

Pretty train murals (a unicorn! And a German girl I hung out with briefly):

Pulling the bicycles out of the canals… this caused quite a stir!

Tulip museum!

A little courtyard a friendly local stopped me to tell me to go and look at. So I did:

Gorgeous cafe stop in De Negen Straatjes:

A mini medley from some of the excellent art galleries I visited in Amsterdam:

My favourite; the bright white and light just pings out of it!:

A hilariously girly hostel I stayed at for some of my time in Amsterdam – only girls are allowed to stay there! So obviously they installed a hello kitty toilet seat and the Sex and the City film was on in the lounge when I arrived to check in.

Classic windmill scene, courtesy of a photographer who de-toured me there en route to a shoot, and to see the AMAZING tulip fields, below:

 Flower market!

The most brilliant museum; Katten Kabinet, celebrating the depiction of cats in art and culture! There was a cat fast asleep on the reception desk, content and adored (largely by me):

(Those tulips I was banging on about…)

Swans on the canal at night!

Wonderful Edinburgh and Fife in May:

I met up with Roswell Ivory, once we discovered we were both in Edinburgh at the same time, and this is her snapshot of us gathering things to try on when shopping! Yes, I bought that disgustingly fluorescent dip-dye handkerchief hemmed sundress, and it is brilliant. Flower garlands galore, too!

Kilts, marching and bagpipes at the castle!

Supposedly a grave that inspired J K Rowling’s ‘Voldemort’ character, Tom Riddle… (Yes, we did the Harry Potter walking tour…)

Complete with wands!

May is pretty impressive blossom-wise, it turned out:

Some interesting remnants of a crazy happening, taken during a woodland shoot in Fife:

Quick stop at Robbie Wraith’s exhibition at Messums in London:

Followed by a very quick trip to Ireland:

I took this while out on a jog one morning – pretty!

 Eamonn Farrell’s kitchen art… (love it; I hadn’t seen this take on the classic slogan before!):

Followed by another trip to Paris with Jeremy Howitt:

The scene of a quite marvellous photo, taken during a long wait for the all clear:

At The Crazy Horse:

Getting back on the Eurostar in Paris. Such a nice station:

South of Germany, Black Forest for a couple of days mid-July with Steven Billups:

Pembrokeshire, Wales with Imagesse at the end of July:

This is a three-legged cat who jumped on my lap over breakfast at the B&B. She was very cute and impressively plucky!

Some of Perry’s snapshots (including the otter I shared a posing pool with!):

And finally a trip to California in October:

(A few shots made with instagram, before instagram crashed, killed my phone and deleted all my data…)

Road trippin’:

Vegas:

LA:

This was scrawled on a bunk in a hostel I stayed at in Santa Monica. Brilliant. I love that the author suggests I ‘google’ the country. Aaah, South America, I will get to you one day soon.

Just turning on the fire next to the hot tub, as one does:

Santa Monica Pier:

El Mirage:

Look how much it really is a mirage – looks like water near the horizon, does it not? It kept fooling me!

Road trippin’ again:

Lycerne Valley:

Back in Hollywood (erm, these must have gotten a bit out of order):

That cracked earth again:

 View from my hotel room:

3rd Street, Santa Monica, home of dinosaur hedges, impressive street performers, and excellent spaghetti primavera:

Joshua Tree National Park:

Back at that hot tub:

These Cholla Cacti like to seek people out and kill them, basically. They’re pretty though:

Giant creepy Marilyn:

Plane to Vegas:

It hits you immediately; you can gamble upon arrival. (No thanks!)

Route 66:

Hoover Dam:

Informative:

The Grand Canyon! Impossible to do justice, sorry! Amazingly amazing.

Dressed pretty strangely, but we didn’t care:

Funny little place we stopped at for snacks, run by a German:

Vegas, land of immorality, neon fakery and interestingly decadent nights out:

Red Rock Canyon:

I found this couple having sex in the middle of the road one evening. They were pretty pleased with themselves. I am proud to say I did my best to pull them out of immediate danger. (Earlier that night the boy had bashfully told me he couldn’t possibly express his feelings for me because he hadn’t felt that way about anyone before, etc., and later that night he forgot the girl’s name. I tried to give him an education about respecting women (and himself)… I do what I can… Vegas, eh? Jamie, if you’re reading this, BE GOOD.) 

Fancy Dress Shopping!

Getty Museum (much needed after Vegas):

Et voila! You have made it through an insanely long blog post. I’m glad I got it out of my system! Congratulations, and I hope you enjoyed the tour!

Underwater Fires

I have so many images queuing up to be shown here as always but am interrupting that flow with some excitement caused by this morning’s inbox arrival – some underwater adventuring shot in California by Zoe Wiseman.

I loooove these. Wow!!! Thanks Zoe!

I think I may have referred to this shoot already on here, mentioning that it was a fun challenge – my first underwater shoot. Meghan Claire (who features alongside me in most; we were also joined by Carlotta Champagne and Titania) was great at pulling me down, as I have the world’s most buoyant butt, I think. The flowy hair and dreaminess of these, with the bubbles everywhere and upward reflections, and the light daggering and darting down through the water in ripples just makes these so amazing. I think my favourites are the ones in colour, and I also love the chaotic group shots at the end, with limbs and torsos all entwined at different depths and distances from the camera, with magical creatures falling beautifully in the foreground and far away mermaids swimming past alongside…. 🙂 I so want to try some more!

I’d love to hear your favourites!

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! 🙂

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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.

Lions, Points and Window light

After a challenging and rewarding couple of days of modelling in the very beautiful part of the world that is Pembrokeshire (during which I saw an otter swimming around between lily pads in a lake I was modelling in – more on that another time – and decided I want to have a statue of a reclining lion on top of my dream future house, inspired by a pub we passed in one of the village/towns), I got home and spent the day before yesterday shifting and lifting furniture around with the aim of putting my writing desk in a south-facing room (it is utterly miserable and dark otherwise, and now that I’ve graduated from just typing on my laptop while lying on my bed to having an actual desk, I’ve decided to go the whole way and validate the whole thing with thoughtful arrangements!) This desk-moving ritual marks the beginning of a new era for me, in which I will for the next two months be taking my novel-writing more seriously again and sacrificing photoshoot fun (and also money) by not modelling in August and September, except for maybe a few very local afternoon bookings. I have to do this because I will be away travelling for modelling assignments for much of autumn and will hate myself if this novel’s first draft is unfinished (or at least not very nearly finished) by the end of the year.

I’m also doing an online course at the moment, and I’ve had a brilliant few months of being extremely busy, modelling wise, so now it’s time to switch things around and take control of what I want to achieve for a while! (And obviously the location of the desk was the only thing stopping me from multi-million pound literary success…) Yesterday, 1st of August, in my black-and-white jazzy geometric pyjama-style trousers from Mexico, I made a good start, and have also been discovering my exercise bike (picked up a while ago from the front lawn of a neighbour – with permission…), marvelling about my new exercise regime (bike plus yoga plus walks/runs) which will have me bikini ready for my holiday in Spain, and generally just looking forward. I’m also thinking of finding a new evening class to meet some new people (since so few of my friends actually live nearby now), plus trying a few new dance classes I’ve found… I love making changes!

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In other news, here’s something the brilliant Gregory Brown wrote about the Faerie Garden print book I put together recently: ‘Ella Rose – a very fine model – has created a book of pictures by many different photographers. The book is called Faerie Garden. I am happy to have a couple of my photographs featured in this book. The pictures I took of Ella Rose were shot in Nerja, southern Spain last year. More of our photographs from that trip can be seen in this gallery.’

Sean Buckley also wrote this, and it’s really nice to know how pleased these kind photographers are to be featured in this way!

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After what feels like a million years of threatening to visit the Manchester/Stockport area but never quite fitting it in, I had two trips recently – one for a commercial booking (a publication feature will probably follow on this blog at some point – thanks to those who have spotted me on various things!) and one for a two-day visit to Hallam Mill Studio in Stockport, of natural-light fame. 🙂 I had a great time there, and my first booking was with Nige, whose initiative-taking was stellar (in deciding it was time I visited and setting things in motion rather than just vaguely always saying ‘whenever you’re in the area….’ – seriously photographers, this kind of solid booking is so appreciated; I wish people would do it more as it really makes life easier for models!).

We had a great shoot, although the light was in and out, in and out… that old game which makes it a bit tricky getting camera settings right for more than about one second at a time… Anyway, Nige has been extremely kind and sent me lots of images from the day, and I think there are lots of lovely ones here, especially the ones in front of the window, with the faded, washed-out ethereal feel. I don’t pretend to be trained to dance en pointe or to have perfect technique (I’m going for a contemporary mash up instead really…). Although we were all pretty convinced I would be a ballerina when I was young and I did reach the highest grade, I finished studying ballet seriously before I was old enough to train en pointe (I moved house, left my brilliant dance school and, to be honest, got a bit distracted by things I found more fun and more ‘free’/less stilted… and then my genetic ‘child-bearing’ hips grew to insane proportions, of course, and all ballet hopes would have been dashed beyond my control anyway, had I still been interested in pursuing that side of dance), so I’m very much just experimenting CAREFULLY with pointe-work as I go, bearing in mind the principles I did learn during my time of studying ballet… taking it gently and just playing about for photoshoots), but I do find the style so pretty and dreamy and hopefully just about pull it off for a balletic-ish feel.

So here are some shots from Nige…

…Any favourites?

Also, I definitely can’t resist adding this unedited outtake from a catologue-style fashion set we did, where the top Nige had brought along was unfortunately far too big and blew out a bit at the front in a mightily bulbous kind of way…. This is definitely what I will look like preggers. Can’t wait! (Well, I definitely can wait – but you know what I mean!). Haha!

Yerbury Fine Art Nude Masterclass

I’m just back from a very enjoyable shoot with a photographer and his wife, a couple I’ve visited quite a few times now and love to see. We did some really nice un-posed and natural, expressive nudes (inspired by Jonvelle) in their beautiful house, and it seems a fitting time to now blog about a recent day spent with another husband and wife team.

I love working with Trevor and Faye Yerbury – they produce such beautiful, classy work and are lots of fun to model for, so I was happy to be chosen to model for one of their Fine Art Nude Masterclasses the other day. As always, the photographers taking the course were all a pleasure to meet and seemed to enjoy themselves very much, snapping away with big smiles all round! The location was Pipewell Hall, an old country manor house in Northamptonshire. I was mainly stationed indoors with Faye, making the most of the building’s incredible features and furnishings, while the other model, Zoi, spent the day outdoors in the grounds with Trevor. It was really nice to meet Zoi after we’d tried but failed to meet up in Holland (where she is based most of the time, though she frequently visits the UK still) and we had a good natter over lunch. 🙂 We made a good contrast as photographic subjects; Zoi with her beautiful Greek/’Amazonian’ look and me with a more ‘pre-Raphaelite’/serene style (well, that’s what Trevor said anyway!).

See here for more info on the range of workshops currently on offer by the Yerbury team: http://www.yerburystudio.com/

A few of the photographers attending have very kindly sent me some of their shots from the day. It’s interesting to see some of the different takes on the same poses. I was really happy to give my first airing to my new pointe shoes (ribbons to be sewn on very soon; old ones to be dyed black!) and although I’d only mentioned to Faye in passing that I’d brought them along while she was doing my hair at the beginning of the day, ‘ballet’ ended up being quite a strong theme for my posing, with lots of happy skirt swirling in front of the window. 🙂

These first shots are by Andrea (Pink Lily Photography) – read Andrea’s blog post about the day here:

By Maria Tanner (Lace Market Photography – see Maria’s blog post here!):

By Ian Parry AKA Maximus Operandi:

And last but not least, by Faye:

Zoi and I posing together outside at the end (first shot here by Ian Parry; colour snaps by Faye)

Trevor overseeing all:

 And a group shot (Zoi and I being silly in the middle)! 🙂

Thanks again to everyone who has sent me shots – it’s much appreciated! And to anyone reading, please feel free to let me know any favourites… Your feedback is always fun to read! 🙂
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In other news, I’ve recently re-jiggled by portfolio on Model Mayhem (click here to go there) – trying to organise it so that, by clicking on the relevant galleries, photographers who are less interested in nudes can see my fashion/commercial/editorial work all in one place without having to wade through all the more artistic shots, while photographers interested in figure work primarily don’t have to wade through shots of me grinning and running blissfully along beaches in sportswear… Wonder if it works well like that as a way to show versatility without having them all mixed up and it looking too eclectic – why not pop over and take a gander?