Life is a Blur…

…. with some marvellous details caught in the light and some defined/definitive moments of pure grace, joy and beauty… (e.g. just the other day I had a pretty glam-filled day of modelling for the very talented Yerburys again at the SWPP convention, at the Presidential suite at the London Hilton, no less, then rushing to see the pre-Raphaelite exhibition at the Tate; brilliant; this being a strong candidate for favourite-ship (I can’t help it, I’m a romantic) – (and we got in for free, despite it being sold out!!), then rushing off to the opening of the Beauty of Women exhibition at The Menier Gallery, which featured 3 photographer/artists I’d worked with. I was exhausted at the end, having survived only on a crappy vegetable samosa and a very unglamourous (but tasty!) stop at a dirty chippy for sustenance… Exhausted but happy!

…But yep, life is a blur (a bit like my commitment to refraining from spontaneous and non-sensical punctuation and sentence structure, and the over-use of parenthesis, for the purposes of this (and other) blog post(s)). That’s why I’ve made the decision to drastically reduce the number of photoshoots I do this year. I’ll only be doing about two a week, and only really at the weekends (not including trips abroad, of which I have already planned quite a few). This means I’m having to often book things an insane number of months in advance, because there simply aren’t that many weekends in a month, it turns out. I feel bad about it, but I’m also really excited as I know it’s a good decision! I need to force myself to have the guts and weekday discipline to focus on what I really want, life-dream-wise. I’m sure you understand. And I will still be loving my photoshoots at the weekends, and the wonderful opportunities to travel that this work is bringing me throughout the year. This is what’s happening between now and August-ish. After that (and for shorter periods before then too), I will probably be backpacking.

My previous blog post reminded me that there was an un-blogged set Keith Cooper did with me in Cheltenham Film Studios. These remind me of watercolour sketches. I like the abstract body shots most, I think – especially no.s 6 & 10. 🙂

(Perhaps I’m in the mood for bums.)

A-flitting and a-fluttering

I loooove these new shots from Brian (Martinphoto), taken up in Fife earlier this year. Brian had been feeling really unwell in the days beforehand but heroically endured the prospect of shooting with me nevertheless, instead of cancelling last minute, and we ended up having lots and lots of fun in the local camera club studio, despite the flu-induced lack of game plan!

Today’s excuse for posting so many images is my theory that if you scroll down the page really really fast and perhaps squint your eyes a bit to add to the already-very-cool effect of flash + slow shutter = movement blur, you can watch a little fairy/angel dance! 😉

Also, I’ve had a few emails before asking me about this skirt – it’s one of my bellydance skirts that I customised, perfect for sheer delicate movement and swishing!

…And the ‘ta da!’ finish!

Through the desert… (My head soaked in river water)

Hello! 
Just a quick update while I find my feet here in the desert…
I’ve just finished spending an amazing week in the company of wonderful people, a house/commune of girls who are all very different, yet all very like me, where going around nude is nothing out of the ordinary, beautiful art is created, and evenings were spent testing our tolerance for heat in hot tubs, then cooling off by slipping like whales – or, perhaps more flatteringly (possibly), otters – into the cooler conjoining pool, while sipping wine or water laced with freshly squeezed and freshly picked lime-tangerines (we couldn’t diagnose them; they crossed boundaries but tasted deliciously sour). What an amazing reality. So sad to leave that behind. I have now jolted my system into a city of fakery, artificial pleasure and sin; not my most natural habitat, but a wonderful part of the world from which to discover a nearby(ish) hole in the ground, I hear. And I want to wear feathers in my hair and pretend to be Pocahontas while finding the landscapes of the natives.
Here is a slideshow I made (and please appreciate that I am technologically retarded, in the truest sense of the world, and that this actually took a lot of effort). It shows various nude shots of me and is a good overview of my work so far in that genre. I amused myself by pushing the ‘English fairy’ angle quite heavily; hence the incredibly beautiful song by the incredibly ethereal Bat for Lashes, who spent a lot of time singing through my car’s CD system a couple of years ago and whose third album is going to be grabbed by me as soon as I’m home, as its being released while I’m away. Actually, I’ll just order it online now. 

Thanks to all those photographers featured. You are great.

Red jellyfish & Black Tutus

Evening! I’m back in England, where a bikini doth not an outfit make.

I’ve just had a really lazy summer holiday in my parents’ apartment in the south of Spain, where temperatures were, of course, predictably and gloriously HOT, the outdoor pool glitters in the sunlight and makes the perfect arena for weird and watery races and acrobatics (I rarely actually swim), floaty dresses were reluctantly donned to walk around unbelievably beautiful white mountain-backed villages, and hazy sunsets and star-filled nights were the rule. I am so lucky to have that little part of the world to escape to!

(Although, shock horror: I got stung by a jellyfish!!! I couldn’t believe it!! My boyfriend spotted a couple of these small red, alien floaty creatures bobbing around and swam a little way towards them to peer at them, delighted (BOYS!!!). I, cleverly, backed away, only to be lanced in the ankle by one floating around behind me!! It hurt SO much!! I really panicked, as I’ve been to Spain many times but never seen or experienced this there, and I have no real ‘jellyfish knowledge’ (other than on the east coast of Australia, where jellyfish = bad) and didn’t know if it was a serious situation or not… And does ‘red’ not equal ‘I will poison you’ in nature?…

…All this panic was going through my head while my ankle began to feel stiff and swollen, I felt all wobbly, and the pain kept shooting through me over and over again. I think my loud English swearing caused a bit of fuss, so the water quickly cleared, and then was slowly filled up by gallant men with fishing nets, who seemed determined to empty the sea of all possible jellyfish and display them on hot rocks on the beach. Urgh. Anyway, it was all fine, I didn’t die, and my red double-tentacle swipe tattoo has now mostly disappeared completely.

By the way, it was a nudist beach. (Well, tan lines are disallowed in this career, are they not?) Yes, the swimmers absconded quite quickly.

*Sorry to all the people who’ve emailed me over the last couple of weeks* – I allowed myself hardly any internet time while on holiday (there is none in the apartment), but I will be replying to all messages soon now! It’s good and healthy to have time separated from the world of online activity, but it’s been so nice to catch up today on all the many and varied blogs I follow. I’m also planning a few new things and projects to get started with (or wrap up) over the next few weeks – don’t you just love that fresh perspective and buzz you get about your home life after ever just a short time away?

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I had a really fun and productive shoot with Richard Spurdens last month, a long-awaited second shoot, while on my trip to Stockport, and the following images have kindly arrived in my inbox, made at Hallam Mill Studios. We shot quite a few different styles, and I think there are many more ideas in the planning.

I have many more photos lined up to show here, as always, including some I love and should have posted weeks ago, and get so excited by seeing the results from the shoots I’ve done! Stay tuned! …And it’s always nice to hear which shots stand out most to my blog readers, so do speak up if you feel the urge! 🙂

My newest black tutu, with my lingerie leotard and pointes:

Stylised portraits:

Shot from above, making the most of a floor:

A new blue skirt I love, and window stories:

Some posing around:

🙂

Gypsy Dance

In my ongoing quest to make bellydance and gypsy/boho costumery a respected sub-genre of modelling in its own right, I give you today’s offering: a cacophony of movement and colour! These images were taken by Frank, a photographer from South Africa, shot in Gregory Brown’s studio in London. Frank said I made his day by asking if I could blog some of these, whereas actually by giving me permission he made mine. I love all the colour, passion and movement in these! I enjoyed doing all this styling myself (I specialise in eclectic and chaotic visual adornment).

I’ve got so much to do today, but am definitely definitely going to choose new dance classes to try next week. It’s probably a toss up between tap (my first love), contemporary and belly, at the moment I’ve had a break from the latter but maybe I’ll take this ‘freeze time’ two month-period (the name I have literally just come up with while typing) that I’m taking off modelling to expand creative outlets in the physical sense. I woke up this morning and realised I missed modelling. It’s taken me just five days – I have to admit I really didn’t expect that. (I have always thought modelling was just an extension of my love of dance/performance though, so I suppose it’s all entwined.)

What I call my ‘mermaid’ costume, bought at a dance festival…

What I might call my ‘vibrant earth chaos collision collection’… Featuring my incredibly joyous skirt/dress multi-option wear silk piece (seriously, it came with a little card with diagrams demonstrating 19 different ways of wearing it – no idea where that card is now) from Playa del Carmen, Mexico. And some other stuff from my bedroom narnia to make me suitably be-jangled.

Salome… featuring my favourite sheer dance veils, chiffons and silks…

Please let me in on your favourite shots, as always! Thank you! 🙂

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!

***

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!

***

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!

Déjà vu

More from the marvellous Britalicus!

I love the movement in these. A couple of them remind me of stills from Afro-Caribbean dance (which I flippin’ LOVE). To explain my point, you must first watch this youtube video of the incomparable Beyonce (yes!!), in which she starts utterly freaking out at 2mins50secs-ish… That dance sequence is the freest thing and just makes me wanna go back to the carribean coast of Costa Rica and wiggle my butt off. Sorry if you hate her – I can only criticise her lyrics; everything else I have for her is adoring love, loyal since her girlband diva days.

In other mainstream female singer news, Emilie Sande’s album is BEAUTIFUL.

In other other news, and only because I like to make the most of the punning potential and multiple themes of any blog post titles I write, I’m officially writing again after a long-ish break, since a massive chat with my Dad (the most intelligent, critical and widely-read man in the world) enabled me to see new plot routes for the novel I’m working on at the moment. 1502 words this morning. And one of my characters has a big problem with déjà vu. You saw it here first.