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!

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.

Purple Haze

I had a visit from a photographer this morning – he’d come over to my house especially to drop off a memory stick of images for me before I go away. How thoughtful!!

You might have seen my work with Keith Cooper before, as I’ve modelled for him quite a few times now. The set I’m showing below from our second-most recent shoot back in April (at Cheltenham Film Studios) is an expansion on a theme of decadence, luxury and nudes with jewel coloured fabrics and drapes. I have since shot with him alongside Ivory Flame in an amazing setting with an exciting theme inspired by Waterhouse. See previous stuff here: http://ellarosestory.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/luxury.html and here: http://ellarosestory.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/pre-raphaelite-goodness.html. I have more to show from this shoot (from some other sets we did); will leave those for another time though.

Lots of lounging around here – need to pick a favourite! 🙂

When We Had Summer

It’s feeling all autumnal now, which I absolutely love. The air is cooler and I have somehow acquired a brilliant selection of quirky and funky woollen knit ‘statement’ jumpers and scarves over the last few months, which definitely deserve a ‘casual fashion or portraiture’ shoot or two. I hope I get to do a brown, yellow and gold posing-in-fallen leaves type of shot at some point, though I’m sending myself off to summer (aka California) for October, so we shall see what I manage to achieve around that.

If you’d like to work with me this year, I’m taking bookings for November and December now. I may well be in Australia etc next year, if I can work a few things out, and I do hope to be doing lots of European trips again too (Plus Ireland and Scotland at some point), but that’s way off, so please do email me to say hello at ellarosemuse@live.co.uk if you want to arrange some time with me. I’d love to hear from you!

Some of the following shots were taken on a day which was just such an absolute pleasure to be outside on, with warm glowy light and a gentle breeze so perfect for beautiful flattering shots – so much so that I’ve spotted that photographer Max Operandi has named one of the image files ‘When we had summer’. 🙂

(Ian has also posted the colour version of the shot above over on his redbubble site, and I really really love that one. You can see it here: http://www.redbubble.com/people/maxoperandi/works/8895823-nude-with-a-raleigh)

And more Ian sent me from the day we shot together as part of a Yerbury Fine Art Nude masterclass at Pipewell Hall:

With Zoi:

And proof that I don’t always take things too seriously…

Paint, Feet, Magalazine Cover!

Sorry for being a bit quiet – things are a bit crazy in my personal world at the moment with a massive upheaval caused by having to very reluctantly remove myself from a situation I’ve been in for 8-and-a-bit years (my entire adult life thus far), and I think I need to clamp my head together to keep all my thoughts from spinning off in different directions. Incredibly annoying to find that I can’t harness myself into writing at the moment, having put aside time especially; seems I’m best at writing when things are peaceful, not dramatic, and otherwise I have the attention span of a self-doubting, mourning-for-something-that-seems-only-to-have-existed-in-my-head-anyway hamster. 
To ‘make up’ for this, I have been buying myself jewellery and being frivolous; spending more on one piece (vintage, rubies, pearls; rose gold being my weakness) than I ever have before. I really want to buy myself a ring next, but we shall see (and currently the ring I want does not exist). I actually rang my Mum from the shop (a little place in Oxford which makes me very happy) for reassurance, asking if I was mad to be spending so much on the very opposite of what I’d gone in for (I went in hoping to find a silver/white gold SIMPLE pendant), and she said it was fine… haha… and that at the very least, gold was an investment… (And I remember my old painter friend telling me gold was the way forward, not that I’ll be buying any big chunks any time soon!!) so obviously my little burst of jewellery buying was highly rational and clever… Jewellery has always been very meaningful and emotionally important for me, especially when either inherited, or ‘worn before’… or bought for me… or bought as a gift for myself… who am I kidding – I just love it. And I don’t really shop very often. (There I go again attempting to justify my splurge!).
Anyway, this is my personal blog, so I can write what I want, but while the urge to express upset and rantings is one I can definitely identify with, I always find it a bit of a shame when people bare their souls online/on facebook etc rather than among friends in person. So, here are some updates I should have posted a while ago, from my ‘to blog’ folder.
First, a painting by Kristian Mumford, recently shown at the Loreto Art Exhibition, 113×78 oil on linen (courtesy of John Evans, who photographed the original image in a crumbling mansion): 

By Holly at Jewelled World, yet another book cover featuring… well, my feet again. Haha. It amuses me greatly that my little tattoo seems not to have been edited out by the relevant department at the publishing house; the absolute testament to the fact that no one ever notices it. I will have to see this in real life to be sure. Well done Holly!

Finally, my mug on the cover of Digital Camera Magazine recently, shot by a competition-winning reader up in Manchester. We had a great day; there were lots of sets and beautiful images made that I really wish I could have seen finished versions of after the shoot, but trust me that there were some absolute beauties! My hair and make up was stunning, I thought, and done by Zan, who was excellent!

I’ve also been told I’m featured in a book out at the moment, ‘Practical Photoshop: Creative Projects’. Someone spotted it in WHSmith for me (thank you!), so I emailed the editor and he’s kindly sending me a copy. I’ve got some lovely shots in waiting which I’ll be excited to show soon, but bear with me if I do disappear for a little while. Thanks for reading!

Criatura

I’ve been reading an amazing book recently; one I picked up in a hostel in Costa Rica at the very end of my Central America trip last year, then put back on the bookshelf as it was too thick to carry home (my backpack was 100% full of things collected over the course of 2.5 months; souvenirs, textiles and the most beautiful hammock you’ll ever see (and which I haven’t seen in a while, since England is not the ideal hamaca-hanging arena).

I spend an indecent amount of time on amazon.co.uk, buying new CDs most weeks and occasionally treating myself to new books too… and I bounced through ‘recommendations’ a few weeks ago until the same book caught my eye again. And it could get to me without me carrying it!

I will admit that one of the reasons I initially was drawn to this book in San Jose was the cover. I think the most discerning readers always judge a book by its cover… And I have always been drawn to wolves. Here it is:

‘Women who Run with the Wolves: Contacting the power of the wild woman’, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

Unknown to me at the time, this is apparently a real classic, a bit like ‘The Artist’s Way’ and all that other good stuff. I’m learning a lot from it, and it’s also interesting to consider it in the context of my modelling work (tenuous link ahoy!!). My images often portray what I’m told is a very feminine, soft and sensual ‘prettiness’, and this book explores the other side of that womanly coin; the intuition, power, primal animal attributes and wisdom of women. When you’re feeling a bit too simpering and primped, it’s a good slap in the face. Women should be strong, powerful and deeply creative, not overly passive, girlish and naive; they are deeply knowing, instinctive and in touch with the vital, if they let themselves be.

I’m about a third of the way through, but I’m finding the author’s writing style so beautiful and poetic; so mad, funny and academic all at once. So this is a big fat recommendation. She weaves mythological fairy tales and folklore from all over the world with psychoanalysis and explorations of the unconscious, paradigms, roles and archetypes that can help us know what to do and who is who and who has what intention… and how to stay true to yourself. Cool huh?

I love a word which comes up frequently in the book: ‘criatura’ (creature). I think the following shots compliment the theme, being quite different from straightforward ‘pretty’ or ‘perfect’ representations of femininity, so they are well worth an appearance on my blog; they show flesh and bone, the workings of the body, and are real and mysterious at once. I also think they are beautifully lit, which never hurts. 🙂

By Shane Lewis, shot in Dublin:

On another bookish note, what an amazing idea this is, at a time when libraries here in England are dying/being closed due to cuts and land-line public phones aren’t really very necessary. Apparently these book exchanges are cropping up in rural villages; I imagine my American followers will find this very quaint. 😉

And, I’ve got the guilts about updating this blog, etc., when I still have lots of emails to catch up on. I am getting to them ASAP. Sorry.