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! 🙂

Mirrors

Hellooo.

Hope everyone’s having a nice weekend so far! I’ve had some really fun shoots recently, including modelling (dancing/leaping) in a full authentic, beautiful Japanese kimono for a west-meets-east art project (it was sooo heavy; amazing to have worn and the images looked so cool, though they are non-publishable until Jan) and a stock shoot which involved blowing on glass doors, crafting with pipe cleaners, dry-leaf arranging(!), gazing out of windows with mugs of tea, upholstering and lying down on a bed of autumn leaves taking photos of myself with my phone. (Hence:

)

I’ve had such a nice day today so far, indulging in a marathon of recorded Merlins from Saturday nights and also going to hobbycraft with my Mum (yep!) to accompany her sparkly wool buying, and I bought a massive glass-fronted board from a nearby shop which will shortly be smothered with some amazing postcards I have amassed over the last year or so from art galleries and museums all over the world, since my current one is full. I will probably divide them into colour and monochrome and make two boards. I am also going to be asking very nicely for a few prints from some artists/photographers whose work I’ve admired online, since my lists of favourite images over on my Model Mayhem page (quick plug there; it’s recently updated…) are full of some amazing stuff I want to possess for my walls.

….Also, there is more dividing and conquering to announce: I have a new updated website! Well, it’s the same website, but with long awaited newness in the way of THREE new galleries. So with the addition of Pisces, Luxe and Video there are now 15 fully distinct galleries on my website. Take a look!

I already have ‘Elemental‘ for nudes amongst striking landscapes such as rocks formations and earthly arrangments, but now have ‘Pisces‘ for anything to do with water (pisces being the most wonderful astrological sign, obviously…). I really do love modelling in water, by it, near it… it’s so expressive, and makes me extra expressive too maybe… Meanwhile, I already have the ‘Figurative‘ gallery for studio work focusing on body form, abstracts and shapes in monochrome, but now also have ‘Luxe‘ for nude figurative work made in wonderful, glowing colour! I love the connotations of ‘luxury’, which is a mood some of those images suggest to me, but there are also more airy, bright, and whimsical nudes there too. Video is still being created and is self explanatory, including dance work as well as some ‘show reel’ style snippets such as the piece I recently blogged. Will do it soon!

What else…?

Oh yeah, I’ve agreed last minute to step in for a model who’s pulled out of a studio day at Eye for an Image Studio in Banbury on Sat 15th December, so you can book me there in 2-hourly slots to work on some fashion/arty/nude/dance/bridal/whatever you like imagery there if you like – just email me at ellarosemuse@live.co.uk. I think half the day has gone already, but there is still available time and I’d love to hear from you.

And here are some images recently sent to me from Neil Snape made in Paris way back in March. Neil was lovely to work with, and an excellent photographer, letting loose with this ‘raw’ mirror series, and I’m so glad I can now show these extra shots (I blogged a couple earlier, after the shoot: ‘Lionness Lightplay’). I think my favourite is probably the last one. Neil’s hoping to exhibit his work for this series in an exposition sometime next year.

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. Voilà:

(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 cafés (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 Musée 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. 🙂

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 café 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)!

Lioness Lightplay

This was such a fun shoot. Neil Snape‘s photography, specialising in fashion and beauty, is exquisite, and I admit I felt a bit nervous to be shooting with someone whose day job involves shooting world-renowned fashion models for world-renowned products and campaigns, but when in Paris…

Neil is so passionate and joyful about the possiblities of lighting in this mirror project, and was a delight to work with. He has since told me he is having trouble choosing final edits as they are all so special. *ego boost*!! Although a far cry from being a supermodel in height/measurements, apparently I’m alright… 😉 I’ve seen a couple more shots from this session already so far, but will post more another time, as soon as possible. Thanks Neil!

I just find this shot so stunning; the warmth and fiery glow, and the hunter pose…

Paris by day ~ Travelogue!

As promised in this Paris-by night post, the day-time evidence of recent Parisian frolics (with photographer Jeremy Howitt) is here!

We went for a black-and-white colour scheme with a fashion travelogue feel; some posed scenes incorporating some recognisable sights plus some obligatory casual cafe breaks… Although a little cold at times (here’s hoping the June visit will be a little warmer!), we had a lot of fun wandering around and getting through our book of metro tickets, then setting me up to pose in front of such picturesque and famous skylines! I basically wandered around in an ‘I love Paris’ daze, I think, and enjoyed the sophisticated-to-playful outfits (I think it would have been a crime not to make the most of the merry-go-round when modelling in a short playsuit!).

Quai de la Tournelle:

Ile de la Cite et Ile Saint-Louis:

Le Jardin des Tuileries:

Some funky disco:

Trocadero:

And finally, the hotel rooms and my room’s balcony:

 

… Thanks again to Jeremy for such a fun and productive trip! 🙂

‘Mean Moody and Magnificent Muse in Montmartre at Midnight’ (post macaroon)

(Blog title courtesy of photographer…:-))

Hello! I got back from my German/Dutch trip to Dusseldorf, Nijmegen and Amsterdam yesterday. It was a very productive time and I managed to sightsee a lot between appointments too! I enjoyed getting back to my german roots in Dusseldorf, and really really love Amsterdam in particular, where I spent a whole week dodging stag dos and taking roughly nine million snapshots of the unbelievably pretty canals, visiting the Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum, the tulip museum – very sweet; and I was lucky to be detoured by one photographer to see the vast swathes of rainbow tulips growing happily and stripily in a field on the way to a shoot – another photographer drove us via a windmill, so my dutch experience was complete! I also went to the Anne Frank House, which I found almost unbearably moving and heart breaking; I walked around on the verge of tears and in awe of what a wonderful man Otto Frank is/was. The literary talent of Anne Frank is amazing, too, and I wish we could have seen what she could have produced if she’d lasted just a few more weeks until liberation. Other highlights included the ‘Katten Kabinet’ – a canal house turned into a museum devoted solely to the depiction in art of cats throughout history. To top off that visual pleasure, asleep on the ticket desk as you enter lay a tabby, as though trained specifically for the purpose of easing the hearts of tourists missing their own animal kinds… This wonderful visit prompted my boyfriend to link me to this utterly brilliant video, featuring the hilarious french cat ‘Henri’ (full of ennui) considering the nature of his existence…. Watch it!

Modelling adventures on this trip included modelling in a box, in a cupboard, modelling with no limbs, modelling with two taxidermied ferrets (who I named Alexander and Margaret) and other such beauteous events, making for some interesting shots ranging from the very simple to the very quirky. I will be showing some images from the 12 days soon. But first…

I was lucky enough to be whisked away to Paris by Jeremy Howitt last month. We’ve worked together many, many times now and had been thinking about working in Paris for a while. It’s really nice to be considered for such a trip – Jeremy has been inspired by  Parisian photography and I just absolutely love the place, and having worked together so often we knew it would work well. It’s a real compliment to be chosen for a big project, and a testament to the coolness of an ongoing and successful working relationship. 🙂

Jeremy cooked up a plan for french travelogue-style shots, some hotel-room lingerie and these shots below; loosely Brassai/Helmut Newton-inspired. In practise, modelling in such a very busy part of the city was not at all easy, and took a bit of bravery (and the ability to stay wrapped up warm until the very last second, then undress in a nano-second then shoot fast for 3/4 mins between the streams of couples casually strolling up and down the stairs), but we both think these shots are worth the effort! Jeremy did 99% of the styling for the trip, which consisted mostly of very elegant, chic and sophisticated clothing in black and white. Here I’m wearing a ‘halterneck skirt’, some wonderfully dangerous high heels, and a sheer body underneath, avec gloves. We used the lamplight, a limited pool of glow.

My favourites from this set – a brief part of the trip:

Jeremy’s decided he’d like to develop this particular theme (streets at night) with me in a couple of months when we will be re-visiting Paris (and checking out the current Helmut Newton exhibition) in part deux.

…And I’ll blog some shots we took during the day times very soon.