Amphitrite

want to say a huge enormous thank you to Australia for having me. Your sharks didn’t get me, your spiders didn’t crawl on me and your bears didn’t drop on me… And on my last day, I frolicked in the bush with kangaroos in the background. Happy! Big thanks especially to the friends, lift-givers, event-makers, airport picker-uppers and all staff at the various branches of the 5* Model Hotel chain: Cam AttreeMel BrackstoneZoe WisemanMalcolm GrantDzhaminat GrantMichael Marlborough, Jacy, Wick, Mo & Eggbert, Anne Duffy and Glen. You are all thoroughly excellent humans (etc) and made my trip a massive pleasure! Thank you!

I am so, so happy to be home now, even though I didn’t want to leave Australia. There are so many things here that I am looking forward to catching up with and getting stuck into. I woke up last night, having arrived in the UK early yesterday morning and (predictably) couldn’t sleep because I was so excited (and jet lagged, and bizarrely craving weetabix). It’s such a weird feeling, time travelling, and waking up in my own bed after two months away, feeling for a second or two that perhaps the whole trip was just a very good dream!

Anyway, as if I enjoy sitting endlessly on my bum in various guises of transport, this evening I’m getting a train to deepest darkest Somerset for a very exciting shoot for an extremely talented wedding dress designer. The new collection will be shot with such a beautiful theme, and although getting married is absolutely no way near my radar, I see nothing wrong with prancing around like a princess in various manifestations of lace, silk, beads and sparkles for the day.

Finally, I thought I’d show you some images by Peter Cassar, taken on a beach in Geelong, Australia. First, the set up (a shot on my phone; what a lovely, lonely, lost looking chair!):



Later, I’m really not sure what would have looked more strange to the woman strolling past along the beach, me sitting nude on a wooden chair on the sand, or Peter using a house-hold broom to meticulously smooth out the sand around me. He didn’t quite succeed in sweeping up the whole beach, but we did make these images, the first of which is called ‘Amphitrite’:



The chair angled itself so perfectly before crashing violently into the waves (I’m going to take credit for a good throw; no trickery required… :-))

Earth Blood

I’m just about ready-ish for my imminent far-flinging-of-self to outward geographical extremities, from Kuala to koala, with some rice paddies, dragon-formed island cliffs, yoga classes & treehouse bars, ‘old quarters’ and kaleidoscopic underwater creature-greeting in between. I’m getting those last minute heebyjeebies, of course (well, they’ve been creeping up for a while..), but I’m used to that and I know things always tend to work out once you’re there. It’s hard to tear myself away from home, but hard not to! Adventures are calling.

I’ll be back sometime before Christmas (I’m not currently sure exactly when), and am now taking bookings for January. (Also, just to note, I’m keeping a list of photographers who’ve asked me to contact them to let them know when I’m back, in case we can fit something in before the end of the year. Please let me know if you’d like to be added to that list. My email address is ellarosemuse@live.co.uk.)

A final update before I go:

Modelling for the extremely talented 19-year-old woman that is Katie Eleanor was a pleasure. I had a quick jaunt to Hampstead Heath on a recent Saturday, to cavort with papier maché toadstools and have paper cut-out moths stuck to my body, before meeting friends in a Caribbean bar staged in an old shipping container in Shoreditch.

Katie is such an exciting, passionately creative person, and her style and penchant for whimsy and ethereal confusion and myth, stories and (tainted) nature is right up my street.

These were shot on film, then painted by hand afterwards. I think they’re a bit Victorian looking; a grown up flower fairy minus the flowers? I’m excited about following her work and seeing what she does next!

Damsels in Distress: Shalott

Copied from the ever-helpful Wikipedia, this is the story of the Lady of Shalott, the inspiration for a day with Keith Cooper last summer:

According to legend, the Lady of Shalott was forbidden to look directly at reality or the outside world; instead she was doomed to view the world through a mirror, and weave what she saw into tapestry. Her despair was heightened when she saw loving couples entwined in the far distance, and she spent her days and nights aching for a return to normality. One day the Lady saw Sir Lancelot passing on his way in the reflection of the mirror, and dared to look out at Camelot, bringing about a curse. The lady escaped by boat during an autumn storm, inscribing ‘The Lady of Shalott’ on the prow. As she sailed towards Camelot and certain death, she sang a lament. Her frozen body was found shortly afterwards by the knights and ladies of Camelot, one of whom is Lancelot, who prayed to God to have mercy on her soul. The tapestry she wove during her imprisonment was found draped over the side of the boat.

Keith was inspired by paintings such as this one by Waterhouse (which happens to be adorning my nearest radiator by way of magnetism), and had wanted to do this shoot with Ivory Flame and I for a long time, so we arranged a date, boat hire and took a row up and down the river here in Oxford. I absolutely love the results. The colours, reflections and fabrics and range of emotions (there was laughter, tenderness, peacefulness and quite a bit of death), came out so well, I think, and I’m really proud of these.

Help me pick a favourite?! (As always, click and scroll through to see larger.)

Outtake alert:

Holly and I are planning to do our best to visit the current pre-Raphaelite exhibition in London before it finishes this weekend. Who thinks we should turn up to the Tate in our long, white dresses?
We will also be modelling together on Saturday the 9th of February at Eye For An Image Studio in Banbury, Oxfordshire. I think there may be some time available for anyone interested in working with an experienced and creative duo.

Underwater Fires

I have so many images queuing up to be shown here as always but am interrupting that flow with some excitement caused by this morning’s inbox arrival – some underwater adventuring shot in California by Zoe Wiseman.

I loooove these. Wow!!! Thanks Zoe!

I think I may have referred to this shoot already on here, mentioning that it was a fun challenge – my first underwater shoot. Meghan Claire (who features alongside me in most; we were also joined by Carlotta Champagne and Titania) was great at pulling me down, as I have the world’s most buoyant butt, I think. The flowy hair and dreaminess of these, with the bubbles everywhere and upward reflections, and the light daggering and darting down through the water in ripples just makes these so amazing. I think my favourites are the ones in colour, and I also love the chaotic group shots at the end, with limbs and torsos all entwined at different depths and distances from the camera, with magical creatures falling beautifully in the foreground and far away mermaids swimming past alongside…. 🙂 I so want to try some more!

I’d love to hear your favourites!

Ourania ascending Mount Wilson

I have some stunning new artwork to share with you this early Friday evening before I go out, courtesy of photographer and digital artist Jeff Wack. Based in LA, Jeff’s work has been used in some major international advertisements and campaigns, and his personal work includes this ‘Sensuous Muse’ project, which depicts a variety of muses and goddesses from various mythologies, more of which can be seen here. With me on this shoot was the delightful Aussie model Anoush Anou, who will be heading to the UK in the early summer time… (photographers take note!). 🙂

The image below is inspired by the painting ‘Ein Wiederfinden’ (A Reunion), by Eduard Veith, along with the stories of Ourania, one of Zeus’ daughters who became known as the goddess of astronomy.

As for the significance of the LA landmark, Jeff tells me that there were some important astronomical discoveries made there long ago. The growing city lights obscured the viewing and the older observatories there have long taken a back seat to the more modern communication towers you see in the scene. The area is prone to bush fires, and in terms of intent, the idea is to play on releasing the past with ties to the present…

So, here I am as Ourania, ascending Mount Wilson.

Enchanted Forest

Hello! Back from my trip away and raring to go again in this beautiful English autumn. I had an excellent trip but I don’t think I’ll ever shake off that wonderful feeling of coming home. I’m so glad I appreciate my country still, even after loving so many other places.

My inbox is bursting with an influx of photographic gems, some delivered drip by drip (mini blog posts bubbling away gradually) and some in big, unexpected shebangs of glory – every photographer is different – but now I have so many I want to show! It keeps my portfolio changing.

These were sent to me recently from a photographer I worked with in Scotland in May. I have already put one in my portfolio. By Calandra, from the ‘Kingdom of Fife’, headdress mania:

The last image I am calling Fairy Steps. Nearby was an area covered in wreaths, lanterns and coloured ribbons after some kind of Green Man ritual, so it felt like a very special place!

Update: two more!

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.