Balancing Act

I’ve just finished packing for my third shoot with a photographer who’s working with me this time in my nearby ancient woodland tomorrow morning, just for an hour. Having amused myself with the curation of some very fanciful outfits (I love it when I’m given free rein with styling, even if there are only so many sets you can get through in such a quick session!), I thought I’d update with some images sent to me which were taken in Vienna.

(I need to get myself back to Vienna again soon – SO much to see and do there!)

As you can imagine, some of these were a bit challenging, but challenges are fun, are they not? 🙂

(Organisation and set design by Roland Pum)

By Peter Eibler:

By Manfred Klejna:

More by Peter Eibler:

Hope you are all having wonderfully balanced weeks.
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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!

Sharps, Flats, Shapes & Curves

Another quick update, hot off the press after a weekend off which has revolved around a family dinner, seeing friends, lunch dates, a vintage fair, walkies and the management of french pronouns (le/la/les before lui/leur, but vous/me/nous before le/la/les. FYI) with my buddy Michel Thomas and his slightly irritating female student who delivers every phrase in a breathy monotone, I just wanted to show a collection of shots taken recently at mine and Ivory Flame‘s ‘duo’ day at Eye For An Image Studio in Banbury. The theme was ‘Shapes and Curves’. Between us, we’ve definitely got some shapes and curves; and it’s nice to hang out with my good friend Holly in front of the lens.

Four photographers attended, one after the other, and I’ll post some of my personal favourites from those I’ve been shown.

Hit this (Satie’s Gnossienne 1) for an instant soundtrack as you scroll down; you’ll probably recognise it from various films, including the gorgeous Chocolat (which is fitting, as I’ve just finished my Easter chocolate): 

(I’ve requested a bit of light relief on the side while I finish learning Liebestraum, the ultimate romantic masterpiece, due to my utter inability to sight-read after a ten year gap making it a bit of a sudoku-style brain training practice not to mention the necessitation of finger strength excercises that make my wrists want to die, a bit; it is getting there though and sounding better and better each day, but Satie is always so evocative and beautiful, and pleasingly simple to pick up on the first run-through, thank God. So now I have the ultimate procrastination piece to linger over when my frustration at the same chord appearing twice in the same bar but with every single note accented differently starts to bubble… C FLAT IS NOT A NOTE. NOR IS E SHARP. Let’s call it B and F, shall we? AARRRRGGGHHHH. F DOUBLE SHARP, SURELY, IS SIMPLY G. I’d been away from the game so long that these ‘amusing’, ‘helpful’ quirks have had to be relearned until they can be calmly ignored/memorised, which brings me to…)

By James (‘CalmNudes’):

By Mark Bigelow (who is now doing lighting workshops on his improvisational way of working; it’s a lot of fun to prance in his playboxes of shadows!):

By Prashant Meswani:

And by Eddie Ray (including a single exposure during which two become three):

Thanks photographers! 🙂

Life is a Blur…

…. with some marvellous details caught in the light and some defined/definitive moments of pure grace, joy and beauty… (e.g. just the other day I had a pretty glam-filled day of modelling for the very talented Yerburys again at the SWPP convention, at the Presidential suite at the London Hilton, no less, then rushing to see the pre-Raphaelite exhibition at the Tate; brilliant; this being a strong candidate for favourite-ship (I can’t help it, I’m a romantic) – (and we got in for free, despite it being sold out!!), then rushing off to the opening of the Beauty of Women exhibition at The Menier Gallery, which featured 3 photographer/artists I’d worked with. I was exhausted at the end, having survived only on a crappy vegetable samosa and a very unglamourous (but tasty!) stop at a dirty chippy for sustenance… Exhausted but happy!

…But yep, life is a blur (a bit like my commitment to refraining from spontaneous and non-sensical punctuation and sentence structure, and the over-use of parenthesis, for the purposes of this (and other) blog post(s)). That’s why I’ve made the decision to drastically reduce the number of photoshoots I do this year. I’ll only be doing about two a week, and only really at the weekends (not including trips abroad, of which I have already planned quite a few). This means I’m having to often book things an insane number of months in advance, because there simply aren’t that many weekends in a month, it turns out. I feel bad about it, but I’m also really excited as I know it’s a good decision! I need to force myself to have the guts and weekday discipline to focus on what I really want, life-dream-wise. I’m sure you understand. And I will still be loving my photoshoots at the weekends, and the wonderful opportunities to travel that this work is bringing me throughout the year. This is what’s happening between now and August-ish. After that (and for shorter periods before then too), I will probably be backpacking.

My previous blog post reminded me that there was an un-blogged set Keith Cooper did with me in Cheltenham Film Studios. These remind me of watercolour sketches. I like the abstract body shots most, I think – especially no.s 6 & 10. 🙂

(Perhaps I’m in the mood for bums.)

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!

Cracked Earth, Sleek Fashion and Tumbleweed

Very excited to show you these, from my most recent photographic adventure with photographer Jeremy Howitt. As you may have noticed, we do end up shooting in some fun places, and when I mentioned to Jeremy that I’d be in California in October he took the opportunity to visit too! I am having a bit of a dilemma here about which images to post first, but think I’ll go for the ones taken at Lucerne Valley dry lake bed. (Edit: I might be lying; I’ll probably post everything.)

Jeremy had in mind some images he’d seen of some dry, cracked earth, and I jumped at the idea, as I have never shot in a location like that before – one where you can literally see the ground splitting apart – and I knew it would make for some amazing shots! Luckily, we found an absolutely perfect spot and also managed to coincide our jaunt with a storm which was making its way in over the San Bernadino mountains, which made for the incredible sky you’ll see below. (No, it really wasn’t photoshopped in!). Jeremy has already posted a thread on PurplePort about the trip here, if you’d like to read his version of events.

As always, I’m very grateful to Jeremy for choosing me to model for him yet again, and in such amazing places! Some of these images are just so spectactular – a wonderful combination of landscape photography and figurative art. In this area we focused mainly on keeping the pose(s) simple while Jeremy experimented with perspective. I especially love the fourth shot here (which I then go on to post a million versions/crops of… sorry!… Help?) I think this amazing place deserves to be seen in both monochrome and colour. Any preferences though?

Previous to this set, we had visited El Mirage, another dry lake bed in the Mojave Desert, but one whose landscape is completely different. I really love how simple these shots are – in such a vast, empty space the poses are everything.. all the world’s a stage, etc., etc., and I love the dusty tones on the horizon. (Clothes provided by Jeremy.)

I like to call this the ‘Batwoman’ set:

And we also managed some quick nudes, despite having to chase the black fabric half way down the desert at one point. That wind was fast!

And finally, a quick set we did with some tumbleweed found on the side of the road. We were pretty determined to do this (dappled light = goodness!) and again the wind played its part; it took great restraint and gravity control not to be pulled around while lifting it up. They are surprisingly heavy. And utter wind traps. Pretty amazing little (big) things, tumbleweeds!

So, I’m afraid this has been another bumper blog post… I have been spoiled with images again (I also have square-crop versions of most, and the colour/mono debate is evident once more…) so please do declare your favourites with any comments! Thank you!

Beetroot and Rocks

It is completely and utterly unnecessary, not to mention irrelevant to the purposes of this blog, to let you know what I had for dinner this evening, but I think what I just made needs to go down in history.

Beetroot, walnut and goats cheese spelt risotto.

Method:
– One onion (or a few shallots) in butter in big shallow pan
– Add garlic
– Two chopped cooked beetroots
– One courgette
– Handful of walnuts
– 100g wholegrain spelt (serves 2)
– Sizzle briefly (that’s the food, not the cook, though I was wearing an indecent amount of glamorous eye make up from today’s shoot)
– Add about 450ml of vegetable stock, and a splash of white wine for luck
– boil/simmer until the spelt absorbs most of the water
– grate in hard goats cheese
– Inhale gorgeousness
– Grind in a load of black pepper
– Admire the bright pink concoction as it bubbles away
– When liquid is absorbed, serve into shallow bowls and top with a handful of fresh watercress.

Delicious.

In other news, I’m happy to say I’ll be modelling for the Yerburys at the SWPP Photographic Convention in January (8th-14th at the Hilton at Edgware, London), for their two ‘Superclasses’, ‘Boudoir to Nude’, which has just three places left (on Tues 8th) and a portraits/creative lighting class (on the 11th) which has already sold out. It’ll be my first time there, and I’m sure will be a lot of fun! Maybe see some of you there, so come and say hi!

And finally, here are some shots made by the very lovely Bob Freund, taken in the stunning, surreal, wonderfully spiky Joshua Tree National Park in California. I spotted a coyote there one day (I was lucky enough to go there several times in the course of a week) and spent one evening lying against rocks in the dark watching the amazing star-ful sky! Very very peaceful and eerie. Bob found a particular spot in the park that he’d been searching for years, since photographing it once and wanting to go back; that’s not an easy feat, when the park is so huge, and required an initial detour to a patch of deceptively beautiful, violent cacti. Luckily, they didn’t get us! Thanks Bob!