Cracked Earth, Sleek Fashion and Tumbleweed

Very excited to show you these, from my most recent photographic adventure with photographer Jeremy Howitt. As you may have noticed, we do end up shooting in some fun places, and when I mentioned to Jeremy that I’d be in California in October he took the opportunity to visit too! I am having a bit of a dilemma here about which images to post first, but think I’ll go for the ones taken at Lucerne Valley dry lake bed. (Edit: I might be lying; I’ll probably post everything.)

Jeremy had in mind some images he’d seen of some dry, cracked earth, and I jumped at the idea, as I have never shot in a location like that before – one where you can literally see the ground splitting apart – and I knew it would make for some amazing shots! Luckily, we found an absolutely perfect spot and also managed to coincide our jaunt with a storm which was making its way in over the San Bernadino mountains, which made for the incredible sky you’ll see below. (No, it really wasn’t photoshopped in!). Jeremy has already posted a thread on PurplePort about the trip here, if you’d like to read his version of events.

As always, I’m very grateful to Jeremy for choosing me to model for him yet again, and in such amazing places! Some of these images are just so spectactular – a wonderful combination of landscape photography and figurative art. In this area we focused mainly on keeping the pose(s) simple while Jeremy experimented with perspective. I especially love the fourth shot here (which I then go on to post a million versions/crops of… sorry!… Help?) I think this amazing place deserves to be seen in both monochrome and colour. Any preferences though?

Previous to this set, we had visited El Mirage, another dry lake bed in the Mojave Desert, but one whose landscape is completely different. I really love how simple these shots are – in such a vast, empty space the poses are everything.. all the world’s a stage, etc., etc., and I love the dusty tones on the horizon. (Clothes provided by Jeremy.)

I like to call this the ‘Batwoman’ set:

And we also managed some quick nudes, despite having to chase the black fabric half way down the desert at one point. That wind was fast!

And finally, a quick set we did with some tumbleweed found on the side of the road. We were pretty determined to do this (dappled light = goodness!) and again the wind played its part; it took great restraint and gravity control not to be pulled around while lifting it up. They are surprisingly heavy. And utter wind traps. Pretty amazing little (big) things, tumbleweeds!

So, I’m afraid this has been another bumper blog post… I have been spoiled with images again (I also have square-crop versions of most, and the colour/mono debate is evident once more…) so please do declare your favourites with any comments! Thank you!

Beetroot and Rocks

It is completely and utterly unnecessary, not to mention irrelevant to the purposes of this blog, to let you know what I had for dinner this evening, but I think what I just made needs to go down in history.

Beetroot, walnut and goats cheese spelt risotto.

Method:
– One onion (or a few shallots) in butter in big shallow pan
– Add garlic
– Two chopped cooked beetroots
– One courgette
– Handful of walnuts
– 100g wholegrain spelt (serves 2)
– Sizzle briefly (that’s the food, not the cook, though I was wearing an indecent amount of glamorous eye make up from today’s shoot)
– Add about 450ml of vegetable stock, and a splash of white wine for luck
– boil/simmer until the spelt absorbs most of the water
– grate in hard goats cheese
– Inhale gorgeousness
– Grind in a load of black pepper
– Admire the bright pink concoction as it bubbles away
– When liquid is absorbed, serve into shallow bowls and top with a handful of fresh watercress.

Delicious.

In other news, I’m happy to say I’ll be modelling for the Yerburys at the SWPP Photographic Convention in January (8th-14th at the Hilton at Edgware, London), for their two ‘Superclasses’, ‘Boudoir to Nude’, which has just three places left (on Tues 8th) and a portraits/creative lighting class (on the 11th) which has already sold out. It’ll be my first time there, and I’m sure will be a lot of fun! Maybe see some of you there, so come and say hi!

And finally, here are some shots made by the very lovely Bob Freund, taken in the stunning, surreal, wonderfully spiky Joshua Tree National Park in California. I spotted a coyote there one day (I was lucky enough to go there several times in the course of a week) and spent one evening lying against rocks in the dark watching the amazing star-ful sky! Very very peaceful and eerie. Bob found a particular spot in the park that he’d been searching for years, since photographing it once and wanting to go back; that’s not an easy feat, when the park is so huge, and required an initial detour to a patch of deceptively beautiful, violent cacti. Luckily, they didn’t get us! Thanks Bob!

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.

Colouroids

It was so nice to be asked to work with Steven Billups again recently, while he was over from the US visiting family in Germany. I got to explore the Black Forest amongst other locations, which was just the kind of location where every frame would have been beautiful – streams, waterfalls, rock formations, mossy stones… it had the lot – my kind of shooting paradise! (I did get bitten by a chihuahua during a break, though, which was a bit of a shock – we’d had to stop for a while as the chihuaua and two human friends decided to set up a picnic right by where we shooting –  until then we’d managed to avoid the troops of German school children frolicking around on nature trips – so obviously I attempted to befriend the little cutie like a mad (dogsick) lady… BAD idea. Lesson learnt. Do not approach strangers’ dogs, however fluffy.)

Anyway, one of the highlights of the trip was spotting a field full of luscious tall, yellow, happy sunflowers just off the side of a road… so we had to shoot there. I’ve been sent some colour polaroids already from what we did there (they’ve had no tone or contrast adjustments), and also a few from an old castle ruin we worked at on the first day and from the Black Forest on the second day, with the processed film shots to come soon. Colour polaroid is so magical. It works so well for a 70s hippie sunflower feel particularly in the first two shots, I reckon, and looks kinda mystical and pretty by the castle, with the pink orbs of light! The ones in the Black Forest came out really strange and dreamy… Watching these develop was very exciting!

We thought we’d drop a poloroid into the 50-cent honesty box by the sunflower field (you can chop off a flower to keep, with the yellow knives which are provided), and maybe make the local German paper, guerilla flower-flasher style… but we had a bit of trouble choosing one we’d be happy to lose, so it remained just an amusing idea…

Hope you like these!! I love them!

P.S. Here is a chihuahua apologetic; never-bitten-anyone-in-her-life, little darling Lulu Lambambi. She comes for runs with me.

Public Service Announcement: a Book!

I’m so excited to have in my hands the fruit of several months’ coordination and the physical result of some extremely generous and kind photographers. I’m holding (well, not while typing, I suppose, but it’s here on my desk) a collection of some of my favourite images taken over the last three years, during which I’ve been practising my happy deviation into a life of art modelling.

I’ve mentioned before that I thought it was sad not to have many actual prints to show for my hard work, unlikely adventures and gloriously fun modelling frolics so far, and that computer files didn’t really cut it; and that I had decided to put together a photography book for myself to look at when I’m old (or anytime between now and then…). I’ve now managed to finish this project.

The book focuses on just one theme; it uses shots from one of my twelve website galleries, ‘Faerie’, and collects 29 natural, gentle, romantic and pure shots of me as the nude, female figure in a loose ‘garden’ setting; in tall grass, entwined in trees, in pools of water, surrounded by flowers, in faerie queen headdresses, in pre-Raphaelite forest guises, in the cool, shady dappled light of Mediterranean gardens and against huge, jurassic plants. I’ve never made a book before, so this is a great feeling, and just so wonderful to be able to own!

I’m so grateful to the photographers whose images are printed in this book, and although this was definitely created just as an indulgence for myself, as something to keep, I do have permission to make this book available for others to purchase. If anyone would like to buy themselves a copy, some money from each book bought goes to Amnesty. If you agree with me that physical prints are sooo much more satisfying to look at than online virtual ones, and you like the idea of owning a version yourself, having it adorn your bookshelf and perhaps provide some visual and artistic inspiration, you’re welcome to preview it online and see what you think.

Huge thanks to the following. Click on the links below to see more of their work:
Rebecca Parker
John Evans
Paul Bartholomew
Rayment Kirby
Voyages2004
Jeremy Howitt
DB Images
Dave Aharonian
Keith Cooper (website pending)
Imagesse
Robert Farnham
Gregory Brown
Michael Cordiez
Sean Buckley
and Pat Brennan

…I hope you like it. I’m so glad I finally did this and am already thinking of making a second book sometime in the not-too-distant future… Just need to choose a gallery/theme and start to gather my favourites!

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!

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.

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