Naiad & Idyll

Evening!

Hello to everyone who’s stumbled across this blog recently after the recent double re-publication of my ’10 Things You Might Not Know about Nude Models’ piece, over on DIY Photography and on Model Mayhem. I’ve been quite amazed by the level of positive response it’s had from both photographers and models, and have had lots of messages since asking for interviews and translation rights all over the intersphere… I’ll be honest, I’m a bit behind on messages as I’ve just been overwhelmed, but will get to them all as soon as I can!

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Slightly relatedly, I am planning some gentle world domination for the second half of this year, and, prompted by a suggestion made in one of the comments below this recent facebook update…

… I have started dropping pins in a google map, based on where I need to go in order to position myself in front of the lenses of those various members of my photographer/artist bucket list. I think some hefty inter-continental travel is in order, judging by the scattered placement. It’s good to get a clear visual of a possible itinerary. I have started to become increasingly independent from the ‘usual suspect’ portfolio sites over the last few months, as much as I value them, and I like the idea of maintaining a massive, global picturesque vision of possibility against the backdrop of a world map.

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I have some newsI’m creating a brand new website/blog for my writing (poetry and fiction), which I generally do under a different name (stray modelling articles such as the recent ’10 Things’ one aside!). It’s nerve-wracking and very exciting, and I’ll be revealing it to you here very soon – just as soon as it’s ready for public consumption. I really hope you’ll all like it and your support would mean a lot to me.

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And, finally for this belated blogtastic update, I have some brand new images to show you from the watery waves of a Cornish shoot. These images were shot by the truly lovely, and rather excellent, Imagesse, who is always a pleasure to model for as I know his mind is always racing with narratives as much as mine; a fact proven, unexpectedly, by the arrival in my inbox of a little story as well as the accompanying images.


“…so there I was, meandering along a forest trail beside a lazy river, my path lit by shafts of autumn sunlight breaking through the canopy. Gradually, the moving water developed a sense of urgency and soon my stroll was accompanied by the sound of tumbling rapids. Rounding a bend into a deep gorge, I stopped to bask in the peace and wonder of this place. Several minutes past when I thought I heard a voice above the sound of the falls.  There it was again, a soft female voice, singing a clear song.  Now puzzled, I turned towards the source of the sound. As I raised myself above my rocky seat, I was presented with a vision, the like of which I had never seen.  There before me, on a mossy perch beside the white water, sat a beautiful woman.  Clothed in nothing but her own skin, she seemed unaware of my presence yet at one with the river.  Spellbound, I watched her hands play with the swirls and eddies of the dark, peaty liquid.  Unable to move, unable to breathe, I realised this vision was a naiad; a rare and benign female nymph who belonged to this fresh water idyll. For those dreamlike moments, time stood still, until my reverie was disturbed by the crack of a branch snapping nearby. That distraction made me turn my head for but a few seconds, but when I turned back, that beautiful creature was gone.  All that remained was the trees, the rocks and the river.  The endlessly moving, river……”  

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…

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.