Damsels in Distress: Shalott

Copied from the ever-helpful Wikipedia, this is the story of the Lady of Shalott, the inspiration for a day with Keith Cooper last summer:

According to legend, the Lady of Shalott was forbidden to look directly at reality or the outside world; instead she was doomed to view the world through a mirror, and weave what she saw into tapestry. Her despair was heightened when she saw loving couples entwined in the far distance, and she spent her days and nights aching for a return to normality. One day the Lady saw Sir Lancelot passing on his way in the reflection of the mirror, and dared to look out at Camelot, bringing about a curse. The lady escaped by boat during an autumn storm, inscribing ‘The Lady of Shalott’ on the prow. As she sailed towards Camelot and certain death, she sang a lament. Her frozen body was found shortly afterwards by the knights and ladies of Camelot, one of whom is Lancelot, who prayed to God to have mercy on her soul. The tapestry she wove during her imprisonment was found draped over the side of the boat.

Keith was inspired by paintings such as this one by Waterhouse (which happens to be adorning my nearest radiator by way of magnetism), and had wanted to do this shoot with Ivory Flame and I for a long time, so we arranged a date, boat hire and took a row up and down the river here in Oxford. I absolutely love the results. The colours, reflections and fabrics and range of emotions (there was laughter, tenderness, peacefulness and quite a bit of death), came out so well, I think, and I’m really proud of these.

Help me pick a favourite?! (As always, click and scroll through to see larger.)

Outtake alert:

Holly and I are planning to do our best to visit the current pre-Raphaelite exhibition in London before it finishes this weekend. Who thinks we should turn up to the Tate in our long, white dresses?
We will also be modelling together on Saturday the 9th of February at Eye For An Image Studio in Banbury, Oxfordshire. I think there may be some time available for anyone interested in working with an experienced and creative duo.

Thinkin’ About Your Body

Although modelling is my ‘full time income’, as I usually put it, writing is my long-term dream, and my time is split into two professions, realistically (though the two work very well together). I always write on the days I’m not modelling. This morning, instead of banging out 1000 words of my current work in progress (which is actually going quite well at the moment!), I spent an hour accidentally banging out a poem instead. I have told myself that this can justify the static word count of my novel, since I haven’t let myself do this in a very long time.

Probably needs some changes and polishing (some stanzas in particular definitely need some whipping), but I’m quite pleased with it as a first draft:

Mapping Renewal
2-3 weeks for the lungs.
About a year for the alveoli to regenerate.
Nothing on the surface; forever, deeper.
24 hours for the cornea. Which explains
why I can see you so clearly now.
20 years for the heart. Perhaps four times
in a lifetime. Three if repairs are slow. Scars
can’t muscle. Intestines; 2 or 3 days. Fighting to rid;
stomach acid sears through. Gargle, spit:
taste buds; every ten days. I am not
so enthused by your wanderlust now.
6-8 weeks for an eyelash. Mine
are doe like, defined by black; don’t bat for you.
3-6 years for hair and your indecision.
I bleached mine; I am getting it cut.
The skeleton takes ten years. Osteoclasts.
Osteoblasts. Break down. Build up. I am cast
as beauty. My closet is empty.
Fingernails twice as fast as toenails.
Keratin, circulation, tissue supply.
New skin every two weeks.
Less elastic. Still waterproof.
We won’t touch again. The liver, flushing
away cruel toxins; just five months a round.

The brain ages alone, coughing notes in the dark
through dreams and organs; imagines its own future:
conjures decision; the belief that it can thrive.
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And because I thought Mosa (of OnePixArt) might appreciate this kind of thing, here are some images he took of me in LA. I have admired his artwork for a long time, and it was certainly interesting to be let in on his philosophies about women. I think the third is my favourite.

*********************************************************************************

And finally, a song about bodies I’ve been enjoying by Bobby McFerrin… Love this guy. I’ve finally joined the modern age and have all my music on my phone. Well, not all; do you have any idea how much music I own? It’s quite shocking. But anyway, along with some questionable beauties (the most questionable being Take That’s debut album, teach-yourself-spanish, and the Sister Act soundtrack – all choices I personally stand by, however) I treated my studio day attendees on Saturday to such gems as:


Off now for a round two of responding to emails before meeting up with new friends tonight. Excited to see lots of my ‘old’ friends in the next week or so too. You gotta love that about Christmas; everyone gathers. 🙂

Grapes and Ferrets

…And here are some actual modelling shots again!

These were taken by Vincent Rijs in Amsterdam. I think they have a very Dutch feel to them!

I very much hope to work with Vincent again during my trip to Amsterdam in June 2013. After that hefty travel retrospective in the last blog post, it’s time to look forward. I’ve recently updated the travel/schedule page on this blog (see the tab at the top). I’ll be in Brussels in February, Scotland in May, Vienna, Prague, Berlin (and northern Germany) and Holland in June, and South Germany (Black Forest/Bavaria/Baden-Wurttemberg) and probably Zurich in July. I hope to visit Paris sometime in March or early April.

(Interlude: this is all assuming the world won’t end on the 21st. That said, anyone who’s anyone surely knows that the Mayans only predicted the end of a cycle and the start of a new one, a shift in human understanding and an apocalypse only in those ‘end of an era’ terms; and whatever repercussions will be involved are supposed to occur in the surrounding days, months or even years. 🙂 From what I’ve read (and I bought a book on the Mayans last year so that visiting the pyramids would be more fun), they never actually claimed that the world will end on that date; they are only aligning meaning with astronomical fact, as was their way of doing things. Gotta say though, the parties in Mexico at the ancient Mayan sites around now must be brilliant.)

I will also be travelling for shoots around England as well as obviously being available locally in the south/midlands, but really this depends as always on people getting in touch with me to make the bookings that kick start arrangements. 🙂 At the moment I’d like to schedule in a few more mini-trips of 1-3 days in various places around England, for early-mid 2013, and possibly with a few studio days in the mix, but I won’t know where to visit if you don’t let me know! Email me at ellarosemuse@live.co.uk and I’ll do my best to make a shoot happen!
Below is a poster for Vincent Rijs exhibition, running this month in Amsterdam.

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! 🙂

*****

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.

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!

Ourania ascending Mount Wilson

I have some stunning new artwork to share with you this early Friday evening before I go out, courtesy of photographer and digital artist Jeff Wack. Based in LA, Jeff’s work has been used in some major international advertisements and campaigns, and his personal work includes this ‘Sensuous Muse’ project, which depicts a variety of muses and goddesses from various mythologies, more of which can be seen here. With me on this shoot was the delightful Aussie model Anoush Anou, who will be heading to the UK in the early summer time… (photographers take note!). 🙂

The image below is inspired by the painting ‘Ein Wiederfinden’ (A Reunion), by Eduard Veith, along with the stories of Ourania, one of Zeus’ daughters who became known as the goddess of astronomy.

As for the significance of the LA landmark, Jeff tells me that there were some important astronomical discoveries made there long ago. The growing city lights obscured the viewing and the older observatories there have long taken a back seat to the more modern communication towers you see in the scene. The area is prone to bush fires, and in terms of intent, the idea is to play on releasing the past with ties to the present…

So, here I am as Ourania, ascending Mount Wilson.