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!

Edwardian Ladies, Bridges & Stables

I’ve had two more recent shoots with the ever-brilliant Karen Jones, with lots of pretty pics to show for it.

First, there was a shoot alongside the utterly beautiful Leah Axl, who is one of the nicest people I’ve met in this industry as well has having one of those faces that just can’t be photographed badly. For that, Karen dressed up a swing seat in her back garden, and we posed as Edwardian ladies, sipping tea and balancing bird cages with lap-dog Pip (the pet extra), before heading outdoors into the on-the-doorstep countryside, dressed partly in each other’s clothes, for some bohemian adventures with sheep (not in shot…).

For shoot numero two of recent sessions, Karen and I were joined by Tony Nutley, who’s worked on many things, from Inspector Morse to Thomas The Tank Engine, and still hasn’t decided if he’s retired or not… 🙂 I first met him almost exactly four years ago, when the three of us had a little bash at some Lady Godiva-ing, and it was lovely to meet up again.
Tony has kindly sent me these:

… While Karen has kindly me sent me these, the first group of which were taken using the window-light of the stables:

Outdoors again:

And, now I’m nearly off for 6 days in Florence! I’m really excited! I will be checking out my good friend David while there and hopefully bagging some glorious images in the sunshine too. Ciao! 😉

Heavenly Stairways

Iceland was amazing. I can’t wait to tell you (and show you) all about it!!

In the meantime, though, and before I jet off to Germany, I want to show you these, courtesy of Ian Parry aka Maximus Operandi. He has taken some incredibly idyllic, romantic images and I really love the shots we did.

My travel plans are getting more and more exciting as I go on; I’ve just added arrangements to Norway and Italy to the mix for the next couple of months! I am disgustingly lucky. 🙂

In other news, I have mostly been designing customised converse trainers (how can I ever decide on the final design??? Arrghh!!) and admiring this incredible, wonderful lady.

Enjoy your hot weekends!

La Source, River Adur

After an exciting full-day shoot in a studio with a Norwegian photographer and four other dance models, all posing en pointe and together in various tangles, I met up with Jeremy Howitt for our three-thousandth shoot, a quick themed piece by the River Adur in Sussex.

Jeremy had attempted a version of Ingres’ painting, ‘La Source’, once before, but wasn’t completely happy with his results (I personally quite liked his earlier version, but it just wasn’t exactly as he’d intended), so he wanted to have another go at it using me as the model.

Here’s what I’m talking about – ‘La Source’, by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres:

As seems to have been a recurring theme in some of my recent shoots (though I don’t take credit for it) the weather was drizzly and required wellies, so I took my pink polka dot ones, bought in the Scottish Highlands (a lot less cool than the red hunter wellies I was gifted by a photographer once after a shoot, but nevertheless, pretty cheerful), out for another airing, having slung them readily in the back of my car.

It might look easy and serene, but holding a fairly heavy jug of water over one’s shoulder and controlling the angle best suited to photographic purposes while not soaking oneself and turning one’s hair into wet, lank waterweeds, while standing in damp, sinking ground is not the simplest of tasks. Blood (from a mysteriously cut finger) and a lot of mud went into this image, too. I thought you should know that.

Seriously, though, I absolutely love this first image, which is shown here in wonderful sepia, a process I think should be flaunted much more, as well as in a ‘vintage’ colour toning. Feeling like we’d possibly nailed it just a bit too quickly, I insisted that we do a few variations of poses with the jug afterwards (though they aren’t quite as strong, probably), and then, on the way back to the car, Jeremy suggested we do a quick 5-min set on the little wooden bridge we’d walked over on the way there. I love the effect of the lens.

All hail the English countryside!

You can read Jeremy’s forum post on purpleport about this shoot here: http://purpleport.com/group/share-a-shoot/16936/la-source/. Hopefully we’ll be working together again soon – it’s always a pleasure and I love the fact that we always do such completely different styles and distinct themes each time.

In other news, I’m reading an absolutely amazing, though-provoking and mind-opening book at the moment, that left me wandering around London yesterday in a total dream-state of awe at all the things and people around me. No, I’m not on drugs. Will maybe talk about it in my next post…

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!

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!

24 hours in Pareeee!

Originally, I’d planned a 5-day jaunt; half a work trip, half Parisian ‘me time’. I’ve wanted to live in Paris practically forever, and will, I’m sure, at some point – I love the city so deeply. I’ve been lucky enough to have been to Paris quite a lot now, and have ‘done’ various sights and museums, so my plan for part of this trip was to simply ‘be’ there; to write in cafes, pretending I was French.
Alas, these plans were not to be, as the week before I was due to leave I suffered a bout of ill health (after almost 2 months of feeling ‘run down’) and fainted for the first time in my life. The swollen, cut lip, bruised chin and concussion had me swiftly cancelling my trip, feeling very sorry for myself and desperately disappointed not to be boarding the £34.50 outbound train from London to the city where beauty reigns and everything feels like a fairy tale escape world.
Yet, as much as I resented the extortionate last-minute prices of Eurostar, I couldn’t resist zipping in and out in the end, going in at lunch time and returning the following evening on my original ticket. I had worked out that if I didn’t go, bearing in mind things already paid for, I would be down £84. If I DID go, bearing in mind things paid for and the ticket to be bought and money to be made there, I would be down £94. It was a lose/lose situation, and therefore a win/win situation; I was going to go to Paris! 
And then the Eurostar website didn’t work, giving my (absolutely in no need of encouragement) bank an excuse to block my card, after 5 failed attempts at purchasing a ticket. Every single time I go abroad ANYWHERE, Barclays, in the perennial prudent manner of an overly cautious parent, blocks my card. It’s a running joke in my family that I have to use cash abroad. However, this time, I’m blaming the malfunctioning Eurostar website (Barclays merely blocked my card, gamefully, for good measure); I bought a ticket easily by phone on the morning of the journey (yesterday), having packed in the hope that a slice of Paris might be a possibility after all.
Oh, Paris. It isn’t a place, it’s a state of mind. It’s one of my favourite states of mind.
As with two previous visits to Paris, I got to work with wonderful Jeremy Howitt, who managed to arrange a coinciding visit when I mentioned to him that I’d be going (he’s written a bit about the trip here if you like to read things from another perspective). This time we were joined by Jessica Taylor, a sweet, friendly model I’d not met yet but had spoken to online, for some shots Jeremy had in mind somewhat inspired by Helmut Newton. We all took it really easy, especially as I was a bit ‘dazed’ still, so there was no pressure.
The next day, we had lunch at a cafe often frequented by Hemingway, amongst other impressive literary and philosophical characters, and stopped at a cute chocolaterie (I, of course, had to try the ‘Earl Grey Tea’ chocolates, but have to say I much preferred the raspberry hearts). I’m already thinking of planning my second visit for this year, which will hopefully allow me to work with the other photographers I’d originally arranged work with, and do the ‘pretending to be French’ thing, but that will have to wait, probably, until I’m back from my ten-day trip to Scotland. Other trips to be finalised for June/July involve Switzerland, Holland and Germany, and possibly Iceland too.
Disdain and desire:





A ‘behind the scenes’ shot (while the shot is being framed)… 
(Paris wasn’t all that warm… but luckily Jess and I had coordinating purple coats. :-))


My new red ball gown; perfect, we thought, for a red cafe scene. I love the background details in these – the reflections, the handwritten chalk menu, the chairs put away for the night…







Thanks Jeremy and looking forward to the next one! 🙂