Trees and Bicycles!

I was booked recently to work with MaxOperandi and his friend Jules, on the grounds of Ian’s friend’s incredible country house. Despite Jules’ already accomplished portfolio, this was her first introduction to nude figure work and we worked exclusively with natural light (the weather was beautiful!! No shivering necessary!) and reflectors. I think these are some fantastic natural images, and along with Ian’s vintage bicycle (I also spent time up in a tree house, standing in a water feature and balancing in branches, which left me with bad scratches which miraculously disappeared somehow the next day!), there is a very ‘darling buds of May’ feel to this sunny set, which I love! I always wanted to be Mariette. 🙂

 (There is a serious waist-hip ratio going on above; I wasn’t sure if it was flattering at first, but I decided I like it. :-))

Let me know if you have a favourite!

Costume changes!

I love these shots by Mike Croshaw, taken recently at a studio day (its first!) at Cheltenham FilmPhoto Studios. Considering we only had a two hour slot together, and quite a bit of the beginning was taken up with me having to be laced into my wedding dress (I doubt any bride ever had to dress herself…), I think it’s impressive how much we got done. Here are a few from our session together. Very much looking forward to working with Mike again sometime. And for anyone interested in trying out the studio, I’d recommend it and can get you a good deal!

I’ve not really done ‘pin-up’ before, but Mike wanted to give the theme a try with me and I really enjoyed playing the part of a 50s cheeky-grinned starlet. I’d love to give pin up a real go, actually – I think it could possibly suit me quite well. Thanks Mike for choosing something fun and new to shoot with me!

This next shot has featured here before, but in the interests of comprehensiveness (of themes covered)… Gorgeous lighting and soft pastel hues:

I happened to have brought my brand new Asian bridal saree along with me to the shoot, in hopes of shoe-horning it into a session… I think it’s so stunning – I really really love ‘World’ costumery and I love India in particular so much. I spent some time there a few years ago (mainly in the north) and have been aching to go back ever since. Every year I tell myself it will be THIS year. I think it’s such a beautiful country, and I love how brightly coloured the women’s clothing is, as well; fanciful decoration and ornate, intricate beading is everywhere, and there is no such thing as too much adornment. It’s impossible to take a bad street shot there! Mike and I think a plainer background would probably have worked better for this shot (or I would love to shoot with it in a grand house, with the full works!), but for the garment’s first airing I do love this.

Below is a composite image in a classical ‘Old Masters’ style, which is a theme more traditionally suited to my strengths…

And finally we spent some time doing some movement and ‘swirly’ images. I love the golden curves of the fabric here, and its flaring wisp to my left in the composition (camera right?).

…Let me know which you like! 🙂

Running, Rivers and The Sweet Nectar of Divine Divinity

I’ve had such a busy, productive day today, getting lots done, but the two things I’m most pleased/excited about are:

1. I went for a run this morning. I’ve been meaning to go for a run for roughly a million years, but never quite worked out how to go about it. I know, I overthink things. The thoughts flittering around my mind are those such as: where would I run? Is it better to run on tarmac or grass? Will I be able to do it? By what date, exactly (and this is my ambition surfacing), would I be able to qualify for and enter a marathon? Which charity would I choose to run for? And then the more immediate concerns, such as, how do you make the transition between walking and running without looking as though you suddenly think you might be being chased? (Seriously though, I never see people begin to run – they are always already running, as though they came out of the womb doing it and haven’t even stopped to consider other methods of getting about.)

And anyway, I know; who cares what you look like? I actually don’t, but I am reminded of a comedy sketch I once saw about that moment when you’re walking in the street and realise you need to be going in the opposite direction. Do you just immediately turn around with no apparent acknowledgement of your error, the comedian wondered, or do you slap your forehead, shake your head at yourself, rolling your eyes at passersby so that they too might acknowledge and share in your foolhardiness, admitting, by your dramatic display, that it’s not the normal thing to just turn swiftly and change direction, and invalidating each and every step you’ve taken thitherto in the current trajectory as being wrong and misguided and wally-like? (I am very slightly mad and once, when walking to school, started pigeon-walking (you know, where you take tiny steps so that the heel of one foot touches the toes of the foot behind; no, I was rarely on time for school) then, intrigued by my new foot pattern (the alleyway was particularly monotonous), started mimicking my feet with my hands as I walked (a kind of ‘air walk’, if you will), before realising there was a girl innocently walking in the alley behind me, quietly bemused. I immediately resumed a more conventional walking motion, hands back down, strides at a more practical length (pigeon walking is quite wobbly when you’re in a rush), and hoped she might think she’d merely imagined my non-conformist methods of getting to school… Apart from this episode in my life, I am frequently told I have a nice walk (again, ‘nice walks’ strike me as bizarre, but no more tangents for now), so should/could possibly, in theory, have a nice run. I also won a lot of races at school for sprinting and was always chosen to compete in the county sports day, but I’m showing off now (and it’s irrelevant).

Anyway, yep, I went for a run. I ran up and down hills; mostly up, in hindsight; on grass and on tarmac, and on a lot of mud. It was fun! I was terrible (I’m flexible, strong, but lung power has room for improvement), but I’m promised by my younger brother that this is an inevitable and temporary affliction of beginner adult runners. I’m wondering now whether my body will change shape, if I keep this up, and how strange that would be, considering I haven’t changed body shape since the age of 15/16. We shall (literally) see, I imagine.

2. The second thing I am unbelievably, perhaps unreasonably excited by, is the fact that I’ve FINALLY mastered making masala chai like I used to drink in India. Being prone to foul moods whenever I remember and think of the lack of it in my life, this is a massive cause for celebration. Now I know exactly how to do it I can whip up a brew whenever I fancy one. This makes me incredibly happy. (I still need to go to India ASAP though, even just for the Thalis.) …Pestle & mortar-crushed spices (cloves, cinnamon sticks, black peppercorns, cardamom, dry-roasted ginger), a tablespoon of indian tea, milk and water in a pan boiled up, sugar….. luscious frothy, sweet heaven in a glass.

Oh, and I have some new photos from Drew Smith, taken in Oxfordshire recently. Thanks Drew! 🙂


This is one of my favourite recent images, taken by Birmingham-based photographer Paul Bartholomew.

The location was a ruined hall in Oxfordshire, which sits by a river and small forest, in which this particular shot was taken. (I hope to show more images from the 2-hour shoot later and have already seen a couple more which I like very much.) The headdress I’m wearing here was kindly donated to me by the styling team at Chanticleer Brides, whose 2011 collection ‘back to nature’ I modelled for last year. I thought it was so sweet they let me keep it, and I’ve been waiting all this time to make the most of it. Below is also a softer make up look than I usually do; warmer hues and almost no mascara, with an emphasis on porcelain/creamy skin which this shot brings out really well, I think!

Please click on the image to enlarge it…

Faerie Queen

My new website is finally online!

Ta da!!!!

It’s by no means finished and I already have a LOT of brand new photos to add to it, bits and pieces to edit and sort out and general perfectionism-type tweaking and tampering to do (I also really need to work out how to make the contact form work!), but I decided it was silly to wait until some magical moment when it became ‘perfect’ before uploading it, as a) people keep asking me where my website is, and b) there will never come such a moment. I also intend to update it fairly regularly, so it will always be a work in progress in a sense.

The beautiful image on my homepage was created by Pat Brennan of I was absolutely blown away when I saw her interpreation of a photograph of me taken by Keith Cooper. I had waffled to her vaguely about the possibility of something twinkly and unique, having admired her enchanted style for a long time, and she knew exactly what to do. I couldn’t be more thrilled and grateful! Go and visit her website if you haven’t already!

 I have twelve individual, themed galleries on my new website. Please go and check it out!

The following shots, taken by Rebecca Parker (Moonmomma’s daughter!) at Ravenshaw, near Birmingam, will go into the ‘Faerie’ gallery. Becky came along to a shoot I did with Tim Pile and also did the make up for me here (and the headdressing).

(Tangent: I was so inspired by Becky’s incredible, enormous make up palettes… again… that I’ve just gone and ordered my own from ebay. There’s a Hong Kong based shop on there which does the most incredible range of professional quality make up at incredibly cheap prices. I am so excited, having just ordered 96 colourful eyeshadows in a range of shimmer/matte textures, 88 nude/brown eyeshadows, 66 lip colours and 28 blushers. Considering how slimline and light the palettes are, with their glossy lids with mirrors inside, this will, believe it or not, probably weigh less than my current more mis-fitting make up collection, and possibly even take up less space.) I absolutely love having my make up done by other people, not because I’m not skilled at it (I’m pretty good at it, having had years of experience doing it on myself), but because it’s always interesting to see what choices other people make when considering your face and colouring. I would never think to use peach eyeshadow on myself as I generally suit cooler tones better than warm ones, but Becky made it look incredible.

Tim and Becky are good friends and often shoot together nowadays; I think they make an excellent team. Their complementary approaches mean they can help each other consider fresh ideas without overlapping too much and getting the same images. Becky is interested in portraiture and beauty (amongst other things), focussing on the emotion and expression of the model, while Tim has a wonderful eye for the larger picture, spotting locations with eye-catching potential and using shapes and perspectives to create a scene in which the model can insert herself. They are both great to work with and the location, a peaceful never-ending garden with bridges, lakes, reeds was simply beautiful. Such a relaxing place to be in. 

Anyway, I very much hope to be able to show some images from Tim soon, to show what I mean, but, for now (finally, I’m getting to the evidence) here are some from Becky which show me as a bit of a faerie queen. 🙂