5

Hello! I’m back from the scorching heat of summer-time Germany and ecstatic to have received a memory stick containing images from a shoot I did with Norwegian photographer Sjur Roald in May. This was such a fantastic day; five dance-y models (two full-time dancers, one singer, a model and a model/writer) all combining in one studio (The Cottage Studio in Sussex) to produce some varying states of entanglement and drama. It is always so much fun to work alongside other models and I want to say a big thank you to Sjur for making it happen; it’s not easy (or indeed particularly inexpensive) to coordinate the whereabouts of six different people, and I’m so glad this came together. I think Sjur did an amazing job!

The four other models are: Gem, Samantha, Gestalta and Fiona.

Click to view the files larger.

It was right after this shoot that I went to shoot ‘La Source, River Adur‘ with Jeremy Howitt. That was a good day!

Any favourites?

Locks and Leaves

As practically everyone who’s ever met me will know, I am not at my best when packing for trips away. Obviously, I’m very excited about the trips that I get to do, and packing now takes me a lot less time than the 2-3 days it used to take me when I was younger (yes, seriously, I would spend days upon days arranging about 5000 outfits on the floor and pondering the possibilities for a one-week trip to Majorca, or Tenerife, or wherever it was we were going as a family). I’m quite good at understanding the idea that outfits can be worn more than once on a trip, now, thank God; not to mention that I don’t need to allow for five or so ‘options’ per day. 

Still, a few of the more mundane things I did today instead of packing: 

– hoovering (though to an extent I actually don’t mind hoovering)
– ironing (I hate ironing with a passion – almost as much as I hate packing, except that it makes me angrier, so this didn’t help me much in any way other than ensuring I don’t turn up looking like a wreck but instead have vaguely neat clothes – which will for the most part not be worn anyway because nudes look rubbish with dresses on)
– napping (only very briefly, but it felt right…)
– answering emails (very productive, eh?) 

In the end, packing has taken me very little time (though, admittedly, I have paused mid-pack, for tradition’s sake) since I am now fairly close to nailing the skills of a good friend of mine in Vancouver who I once watched spend roughly three minutes breezily picking up a few choice items from her room and depositing them into a tiny bag for a trip we did to Seattle/San Francisco (while I looked on in absolute awe), but really, it’s times like these I wish I was more of a minimalist, or just less of a ‘Oooh, I might want to use this thing I never ever use and definitely won’t need but might not be able to buy out there’ person! 

So, now that I’ve got the ‘middle class problem‘ of ‘Oh, damn I have to pack for Iceland’ out the way, I might as well mention something else I caught myself saying out loud a couple of weeks ago. I was trying to show a friend some countries on a map (don’t ask; the friend shall remain anonymous) but failed to reach the globe easily enough to swizzle it around, so I then tried to show her on another globe in a different room but failed to locate the plug to switch the globe’s light on, since the corner of the room it was in is quite dark… (I’m realising as I type this that I’m struggling with telling this story and am going to just give up and get straight to the ‘punch line’ (see no.5 of ‘Very British Problems’ here): basically I ended up blurting out in frustration, ‘Urgh, all my globes are so awkwardly placed!’. I think that would qualify for being on that ‘middle class problems’ buzzfeed, maybe. I embarrass myself so much with the utter drivel that comes out of my mouth sometimes. 

ANYWAY, that was all a completely unnecessary (and probably really boring – sorry!) detour from the fact that I am updating my blog (not packing) quickly before I go away on this next trip, to tide over anyone who likes looking at it.The following images were taken by Steven Bruce, whose photography I love (and who also did these with me), in a Californian garden where I modelled alongside Meghan, who has also featured on this blog a few times before, because she is, to use an Americanism, awesome.


Fires and Falls

Hi everyone. I’m back from a hugely productive trip to the incredibly visually eye-mazing country that is Switzerland (images and video to come!), and raring to update this little portion of the internet.

As part of my trip to Scotland last month, I worked with GDelargy Photography. The plan was that he would pick me up at a point in the Highlands where I’d just finished shooting and drop me off at my accommodation in Glasgow that evening, shooting along the way! What a clever idea, making the best possible use of travel time between locations by shooting at all the beauty hotspots along the way! Scotland, of course, has more than its fair share of picturesque scenes…

…Unfortunately, the amazing weather I’d experienced at the beginning of the trip took a little turn for the worse, and we were quite limited in what we could do, even with my newly-bought pink polka dot wellies from a Highland cornershop.

Still, it was a wonderful drive. G was great company. Glen Coe was beautiful despite pouring rain. We stopped at one location for a possible shoot but the wind was so severe it just wasn’t going to happen. Fortunately, G had a couple more places up his sleeve. One was an area of the most exquisite, fiery orange-coloured heather. (I’m calling it heather; it might have been something else.) I squelched my way across the boggy ground, found the most colourful part and lay down in it.

Later, we politely ignored the ‘danger, slippery rocks!’ signs to get these shots at the Falls of Orchy. I love the strong levels of contrast in these images (I’ve got such a thing for rich blacks), and my pale skin really pings out of them. Several quick poses here, but I think the first is my favourite. We got to Glasgow late after a quick stop for pizza at Dominoes. I suppose I don’t eat there often as I apparently broke normal pizza-buying ettiquette by enquiring about the herbs (i.e. do they count as one of the toppings, since they are listed? What are they?). I started requesting basil and oregano, and was met with a baffled look. Apparently, herbs are just herbs. All the herbs in the world ever go on the pizza, maybe. Fine. It tasted good.

I’d like to get on with arranging a second trip to Scotland for this year as there were a few people whose dates I couldn’t match up with, and am considering another (briefer) visit, but am left pondering my diary heavily, wishing I could insert a month or two between August and September. Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Happy Monday!

Moss, Kicks & Lochs

Back when I started modelling, Alex Ingram‘s work was way up there at the top of the ‘inspire’ list; I saw his beautiful work everywhere and hoped I might work with him one day. I had been in touch with him ever since (and we have the message history from 2009 to prove it!) but I never quite made it to his high-up land of lochs and glens until a couple of weeks ago, when I finally met and worked with him. And what a good thing I finally made the journey! Alex is a wonderful host, taking such care to keep me comfortable and happy during my 2-night stay, and even packed me off with a surprise packed lunch afterwards (he did his absolute best to use up all the remaining peanut butter in my rolls since he hated it so much – fine by me, the peanut butter addict!). During a shoot, his way of working comes from years and years of experience and understanding; he is able to visualise a shot (or work with the visualisation of the model), set up, and take only a few frames in order to capture the image – which, in Scotland’s unpredictable weather conditions is an invaluable skill! Despite changing weather (sunny-ish at first then downpours!), we managed to get some great images! I’m so looking forward to seeing what we can come up with on location in Iceland this July!

Alex sent me images from the day in multiple versions, but I’m leaning towards sepia for most. I think sepia is under-used!

Alex wrote this about the high-kick shots above: As we were walking between locations in a remote scattered deserted village high on a hillside I mentioned to Ella Rose to say if she saw anything as a potential location, and within seconds she said this tree. This high kick is totally free standing although it may not look that way, she had to be well away from both the trunk & branch to avoid their shadows. Take into account the rough ground which was soft, and a bog just a few feet away, it was an amazing feat to achieve.’

Also, don’t let the blue sky in the colour shot of the tree above fool you too much… It was beautiful at that point, yes, but torrentially raining for much of the rest of it!

But first, back to the good weather, some restful nudes on moss:

Squeaky clean (and more sepia!) portraits in Alex’s lounge – aka temporary rain shelter:

With these next few (the last of the day’s output!), I thought we could go for a rainy/misty beautiful/desolate effect, and Alex knew what I meant and found the perfect spot. His amazing home location meant it would have been a crime not to have posed next to the loch near the bottom of his driveway, and we decided we could just go for it and shoot in the rain for the last few, walkie talkies ‘n’ all! Amazingly, my hair doesn’t really look wet. The physics of weather makes no sense sometimes. 🙂

Nearby (a few steps away) the local sheep were gathered, soaking wet, and wondering what on earth we humans were doing. Throughout my trip to Scotland I became besotted with all the tiny lambs I saw (I saw some which seemed only a few days old; I’d held a lamb before but never seen such tiny ones!!). I really really want a little lamb as a pet. It would be the most loved lamb in the whole wide world, without a doubt. Siiiigh. I could walk it and everything.

Thank you Alex!

Queen’s Well, Glen Esk

Hello from Scotland! I’m having a ‘catch up’ evening here in my lovely fresh-laundry-smelling room in Edinburgh (well, let’s be honest, almost every evening is a ‘catch up’ evening when on tour), and wanted to update my blog as I hate leaving it for a week without updating!

It’s been a brilliant trip so far, travelling through Edinburgh, Fife & St Andrews, Dundee, Perth, Strathcarron, Glasgow and back to Edinburgh for a final shoot tomorrow. Everyone on this trip that I’ve worked with has been wonderful, and some beautiful images have been made! The first part of my trip shocked me by showing me some glorious weather, and I actually got a bit sunburned while in Dundee making the images below – could not believe it!! (Don’t worry, the sunburn has already gone.)
It’s been a usual conglomeration of memorable moments, this trip. From guiding a nervous woman through Birmingham New Street Station on the way up (she said that particular station scared her, though she didn’t say why… and then she told me that she was on her way home from her father’s 80th birthday party. ‘Was it good?’ I asked, and she said ‘It was a bit strange.’ It turned out she hadn’t spoken to him since she was 12. She seemed desperate to talk to someone about it. I got her on the right train at Birmingham anyway), to being bought a tartan-scarf clad duck doorstop at Strathcarron’s local weavers, from riding a horse nude to sinking in boggy amber heather in my specially-bought-that-morning polka dot pink wellies, from enjoying a delicious Scottish Brie and Grape sandwich with China Rose Petal tea at Glasgow’s famous Mackintosh Willow tea room to buying socks for a shivering, bare-foot homeless man after realising I had no cash, but only my card (and knowing from various nude situations that having wet feet is the worst thing about being cold) – he seemed so pleased to be given them, and smiled dreamily into the bag looking at them, but I watched him for a while in secret and I did not see him put them on… 😦 
Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed all of my shoots so far – it’s been an action-packed 10-day trip (though it’s not over yet!) and I’m confident that everyone I’ve worked with has gone away with some brilliant images – and it’s been a lot of fun seeing new parts of Scotland!
These images below are courtesy of photographer Jim Furness. We had a great day and got on brilliantly (such that we’re shooting in Switzerland in a couple of weeks!). Reading the blurb on his website, I knew we’d be on the same page in terms of intention and inspiration, and creating. I stayed at Jim’s house the night before and met his lovely family of Bollywood enthusiasts, and we had a fun evening watching clips in their lounge! Considering I love India (and hope to go back there to see more of it sometime – anyone want to book me there..? :-)), love Indian music and love dancing, it became increasingly ridiculous to think that I’d never experienced a Bollywood film. I would seriously love to be in one. The dance moves are a real mix of styles that I already know – contemporary, street, bellydance – flamenco even – and I’m inspired to watch some films once I’m home! After this shoot, by the way, Jim blasted Bollywood music out of his open-top car as we drove back to his via some typically gorgeous Scottish scenery – a surreal, triumphant end to any shoot!! 🙂
First, we walked to Queen’s Well, built over a site where Queen Victoria stopped for a drink at a spring on one of her pony treks in the Angus glens. On the way, we saw an adder – the only poisonous snake in the UK, if I’m not mistaken. Then we continued the water theme on the way back, with me balancing on a rock and Jim balancing perilously himself to get the shot. It was such a beautiful day – no one was around so I really got to enjoy the sunshine! You can see a slideshow with music here
Please click on the first image and scroll through to see them bigger, as always. Small shots don’t have so much impact. 🙂

Many more updates on their way!

SWPP Annual Convention – Hilton London Metropole

I’ve modelled for Faye and Trevor Yerbury on quite a few occasions now, and it was lovely to be asked to be their masterclass model on two days in January during the annual SWPP convention, held at the Hilton London Metropole Hotel, in the Presidential Suite, no less!

On one day, the theme was Portraits (and also featured two young girls who made great ‘little sisters’ for met!), and on the other day, the focus was boudoir/nude. I’ve been sent a few shots from some of the attending photographers, so have some to show here, which is nice!

As always, I had a great time modelling for this creative and talented pair – they really do know their stuff. I’ll be posing for them again in May, during my jaunt to Scotland (4th-14th), which I’m sure will be a great experience, working with them on their ‘own turf’! 🙂

No strangers to travel, they teach, demonstrate and lecture all over the place – you can keep up with their latest comings and goings via their website, if you think you’d like some tuition of some sort: http://www.yerburystudio.com/

Below are some of the images I’ve been sent:

These were taken by Manes Pangalos, from Athens:

The above wig utterly confused certain members of the group; I reappeared after a quick change and caused bafflement over where the ‘other’ model had gone! It does make quite a difference, doesn’t it…

A portrait taken by Jane Cox:

More boudoir, by Steve Murray:

And another from Tony Cashen:

Faye and Trevor squeeze in a few moments of shooting me when they possibly can, between helping out the photographers, so finally here are some of their results too:

By Faye Yerbury:

And by Trevor Yerbury:

And I love this version Trevor posted on facebook, after ‘playing around’:

The Yerbury stand, down in the exhibition hall, looked absolutely wonderful. Here are some snapshots I took on my phone afterwards, plus a few images I spotted myself in, successfully awarded in the 20 X 16 print competition (two by Faye and the coloured image of Ivory Flame and I, shot by Keith Cooper):

And, while I’m here, here’s a shot Faye took of me on another day, which I don’t think has appeared on this blog before. Very classical!

Sumptuous in Brussels

Fresh from Belgium, I bring you some new images courtesy of a quick session with wonderful photographer Pieter Vandeur. He was so great to work with, picking me up off the Eurostar and driving me on to my excellent hostel, ‘Sleephere‘ in Brussels (which I would really recommend to those passing through the city – it’s the home of a man called Karel and his gorgeous old dog, Caesar, so feels more ‘authentic’ than the usual kind of thing, and has no room keys whatsoever – the only other place I’ve stayed at like that was in Costa Rica – Hostel Bekuo, whose owner I slightly fell in love with and who waved me off with a handmade hat – and it shared the automatic atmosphere of friendliness and trust that has to follow – anyway I think Sleephere won a ‘best of Belgium’ award, or something, and there’s a piano in the lounge which I could not resist when I got the room free before I left to go home, plus some brilliant restaurants nearby.)

Back on track… Pieter took me to a rather amusing bookable-by-the-hour hotel for our shoot. (Ahem!) But hey, it really worked, even if we did have some raised eyebrows on the way in. He was good with offering thoughts on direction, too. The setting was rather gorgeous, and this black lingerie I’d recently treated myself to (among other sets, and various long ballgowns) got to be worn and photographed in the exact style I’d had in mind when I bought it (the standing shots particularly)! So thank you Pieter!

Would appreciate some votes for which people prefer… I’m still deciding. 🙂