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!

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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!

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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. πŸ™‚ 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!

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 –Β  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.

Bedroom Glamour

Sorry for letting that last post run a while, but in between a brilliant trip to Germany’s Black Forest as well as a great little trip to the Manchester/Stockport area, I wanted to allow the news of the new book to take precedence for a while here in my little online space. πŸ™‚ However, my desktop is BURSTING with new images from various people which I can’t wait to show on here, so… onwards!

It was lovely to hear from Tony Ornstien, a photographer I have worked with quite a few times but hadn’t seen in a while, a few weeks ago and recently I went over to his and his wife Jennifer’s wonderful, mad house (it is crammed with enormous, intriguing art, and built like a ‘train carriage’, which means you walk through a seemingly endless stream of differently-styled rooms all in one direction). I was booked for another dose of photography, since Jennifer requested some new art for their walls. It’s always fun to work with this duo, and Tony wanted to create some natural, intimate, relaxed, elegant bedroom (‘boudoir’, maybe) scenes. This style is intimate, and somehow classical and retro at once, and the atmostphere is vaguely similar to the image I have down the side of my blog here, ‘Bis’ by Pamela Hanson, which I (obviously) love. Liberated and friendly and natural. We found that the trick was to act, move and actually perform the particular movements or mini-narratives, rather than pose stiffly in a scene, and there was a lot of silliness involved.

The final set was the ultimate in multi-tasking at the end of a shoot; clearing up my things and modelling at the same time… πŸ™‚ I am pleased with many of these (and there are a lot of shots – trying to decide on one or two favourites for my website!) and I hope to visit Tony and Jennifer again sometime soon!

P.S. To the person/bot who keeps trying to spam my old posts with vacuous automated comments about how ‘informative’ and ‘well put together’ my content is, and then suggesting I take a look at their loans website, please kindly fuck off. If you knew how strongly I felt about people who make money through interest, you’d understand how liberally I am deleting your ridiculous attempts to advertise your probably-virus-filled evil website through my ART blog.

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!

Yerbury Fine Art Nude Masterclass

I’m just back from a very enjoyable shoot with a photographer and his wife, a couple I’ve visited quite a few times now and love to see. We did some really nice un-posed and natural, expressive nudes (inspired by Jonvelle) in their beautiful house, and it seems a fitting time to now blog about a recent day spent with another husband and wife team.

I love working with Trevor and Faye Yerbury – they produce such beautiful, classy work and are lots of fun to model for, so I was happy to be chosen to model for one of their Fine Art Nude Masterclasses the other day. As always, the photographers taking the course were all a pleasure to meet and seemed to enjoy themselves very much, snapping away with big smiles all round! The location was Pipewell Hall, an old country manor house in Northamptonshire. I was mainly stationed indoors with Faye, making the most of the building’s incredible features and furnishings, while the other model, Zoi, spent the day outdoors in the grounds with Trevor. It was really nice to meet Zoi after we’d tried but failed to meet up in Holland (where she is based most of the time, though she frequently visits the UK still) and we had a good natter over lunch. πŸ™‚ We made a good contrast as photographic subjects; Zoi with her beautiful Greek/’Amazonian’ look and me with a more ‘pre-Raphaelite’/serene style (well, that’s what Trevor said anyway!).

See here for more info on the range of workshops currently on offer by the Yerbury team: http://www.yerburystudio.com/

A few of the photographers attending have very kindly sent me some of their shots from the day. It’s interesting to see some of the different takes on the same poses. I was really happy to give my first airing to my new pointe shoes (ribbons to be sewn on very soon; old ones to be dyed black!) and although I’d only mentioned to Faye in passing that I’d brought them along while she was doing my hair at the beginning of the day, ‘ballet’ ended up being quite a strong theme for my posing, with lots of happy skirt swirling in front of the window. πŸ™‚

These first shots are by Andrea (Pink Lily Photography) – read Andrea’s blog post about the day here:

By Maria Tanner (Lace Market Photography – see Maria’s blog post here!):

By Ian Parry AKA Maximus Operandi:

And last but not least, by Faye:

Zoi and I posing together outside at the end (first shot here by Ian Parry; colour snaps by Faye)

Trevor overseeing all:

Β And a group shot (Zoi and I being silly in the middle)! πŸ™‚

Thanks again to everyone who has sent me shots – it’s much appreciated! And to anyone reading, please feel free to let me know any favourites… Your feedback is always fun to read! πŸ™‚
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In other news, I’ve recently re-jiggled by portfolio on Model Mayhem (click here to go there) – trying to organise it so that, by clicking on the relevant galleries, photographers who are less interested in nudes can see my fashion/commercial/editorial work all in one place without having to wade through all the more artistic shots, while photographers interested in figure work primarily don’t have to wade through shots of me grinning and running blissfully along beaches in sportswear… Wonder if it works well like that as a way to show versatility without having them all mixed up and it looking too eclectic – why not pop over and take a gander?

Sunday: three little updates

Hello all! Hope you’re enjoying your various weekends. I’m having such a nice one – went to not-one-but-two birthday celebrations yesterday daytime and evening and had lots of fun (though it meant I was unable to go to another friend’s shindig/Paradise Garden fest in London or a festival my boyfriend had threatened to take me to in France (but we couldn’t really make it in the end anyway)… All very triple-quadruple booked, and I’m normally no way near this popular, but it’s funny how things all seem to happen at once!!) πŸ™‚ Meanwhile, I’m just dreaming of a chance to go and see the new Ice Age film! And watching the final tonight!!! I am GUTTED that Germany did not go through, and will now have to support my third favourites, Spain (but am still deciding!).

So anyway, today is very leisurely and has consisted so far of finishing the novel ‘One Day’, which I loved, procrastinating wildly about doing the next section of my online course, failing spectactularly at replying to emails yet so far (though it is technically the weekend!). Excitingly, though, I hope to finish putting together a book I’ve been working on for a while now, featuring some of my favourite photographs (of myself; vain I know, but I really want something to remember all this by!!). Cannot wait to check the first copy and see it in print!!

So in amongst all this faffing and procrastinating and getting-things-done (I also intend to dye my old pointe shoes black, sort out my accounts/tax, acknowledge the fact that I need to address the monumentally boring task of choosing a new phone as my contract is about to run out, sort out my diary for Sept, Nov and Dec (when I am available for bookings, should anyone be interested!), and maybe even take my chihuahua for a walk/jog, I thought I’d top up my blog with a few stand-alone shots from recent times.

By Steven Billups, whose images I love and who I will be working with again this month in Germany. (Shot taken in an extremely BOILING part of Mexico; we didn’t last long out there):

By Max Operandi, who also shot me after this summery shoot at a Yerbury workshop a short time later; I’ve seen some of his shots from both, other than this one, and I think they are amazing. Can’t wait to show off more as soon as I can.

And a charcoal by Kristian Mumford, an Australian artist who used a shot by Christopher Ryan (with permission) for the basis of this work. (See images by Christopher Ryan from our shoot here: Lynn Creek Canyon). Kristian plans to create a whole series of artwork using my modelling images as inspiration, which is rather nice!

Extreme Eiffel Tower Exploits, Etc.

Hello!

I’m writing this from my hotel in Manchester, where I’m poised for a magazine shoot tomorrow, and taking some time to catch up on lots and lots of things, including reading inspiring blog posts about creativity like these, and writing this blog post, which I’m excited to show you!

I was lucky and spoiled enough recently to be taken again to Paris by photographer Jeremy Howitt (see previous entries here and here). It really was a bit of a whirlwind, and since the idea was that we’d spend two nighttimes shooting, we were free to sightsee all day around Paris on the day in between (and although I was free to book further shoots in the area, I thought it would be nice to have the day to wander around and look at stuff instead!!).

On the first evening, post Eurostar, I met Jeremy for dinner before travelling around on the metro (to the accompanying sound of the accordian; this is one of my all time favourite things about France; it really is so unashamedly French) towards Montmartre, to revisit a spot we’d worked on before. VoilΓ :

(Above is Jeremy’s shot of le Sacre Coeur, taken on one of many runs up the stairs to check the status of passersby; below, me in le French mac, then less so:)

The plan was basically then to walk around and try desperately to get enough privacy (in the most popular city in the world…) somewhere with an interesting background. I have a thing about cafΓ©s (though I didn’t indulge in a macaroon during this trip), and thought we just had to use this place. And I’m bossy. I love the zebra crossing in the frame, too. The staff were just closing for the night, and we had to be quick not to let them steer their wheely bins in shot…

On day two, we went to la MusΓ©e d’Orsay to see the current Degas exhibition, which was brilliant! What an amazing place. I bought a really cool poster, plus a set of 6 monet coasters and some Degas/other postcards to boost my, er, coaster and art postcard collections. πŸ™‚

Unfortunately, France hates vegetarians, so what could have been an entire day spent browsing the jaw dropping, inspiring and mesmerising (if there’d been time), with just a quick stop in the cafe there, was necessarily cut short by the urgent desire to eat lunch. Ah well, I hope to go back at some point; and we did manage to see quite a lot!

Next on the agenda, after dinner (yeah, basically day time was spent eating and looking at stuff, and also napping after the late shoot the night before) we went to the Grand Palais, which is currently hosting an exhibition of Helmut Newton’s photography. Lots of food for thought and inspiration! The highlight was the video, made by Helmut’s wife, with behind the scenes footage and some hilarious fly-on-the-wall scenes. Best quote ever comes from Helmut arguing with her (after she notes how fortuitous it is that a model has semi-blinked in one of his images, lending a narrow-eyed, sultry, moody feel to the image): ‘You’re doing it again. Belittling me. I told her to do that. It is my direction that makes her mysterious and wonderful.’ (Or words very similar. Love it.)

After that, aware that Paris is still full of tourists and couples strolling around its streets at 10pm, we went to the Crazy Horse, which was quite an experience!!

And finally, we did some shots in front of the iconic Eiffel Tour. Surprisingly enough, this wasn’t actually planned, but I’m so glad we did it! I think these shots will currently hold my record for ‘crazy things done in the name of modelling’; I am certainly not the first model to have posed there, but it’s still a bizarre, exciting and pressure-filled few minutes (we didn’t have longer than that really; and even then we couldn’t escape the tourists, lazily-strolling locals or taxi drivers, some of whom gave me a thumbs up sign mid-drive… and the pressure was on for Jeremy who had to control focus in low (street lamp only) light). We certainly didn’t set out to be seen; we did everything we could not to be, waiting for what felt like hours for those precious gaps in the stream of people, but in the end it just seemed impossible and we had to just go for it or always regret it. I can say that modelling nude in front of the Eiffel Tower (and, to a lesser-but-still-considerable extent, in front of the cafΓ© the previous night) is a sort of ‘out of body’ experience. It’s a very odd thing to do. But the structure, power and beauty of the Eiffel Tower, especially lit up so majestically (and I have to mention that at night, the tower’s illumination copyright goes strictly to Pierre Bideau), made a wonderful posing partner and some images I’m proud of! And just look at the moon (copyright Moon)!