Twigs, Sticks and Weaves

Afternoon! I had another highly creative play-around in the studio (Unique Capture, in Milton Keynes, this time) with Karen Jones at the weekend, and have already been sent some shots I think are sooo lovely. Karen and I have worked together a lot on quite a range of styles and settings, and these latests shots are way up there with the best of what we’ve done, I think! It’s really nice to work on ‘themes’ with Karen, and it’s always good teamwork.

The original plan for this booking was something completely different, a ‘part two’ to a theme we’d already started (and which had resulted in some lovely shots, I think) but on a bit of a whim Karen decided to abandon that idea, for now, and work on some other ideas, including one set using twigs in the studio. Funnily enough, this had been on my ‘to do’ list for a while, and was also the plan of the photographer I worked with the just day before (luckily the shots are quite different though)! I have modelled in studios and outdoors in nature (as the eagle eyed among you may have noticed), but I hadn’t before brought these two disparate tropes into synthesis before, and the idea of bringing nature inside and posing it against an indoor, modern studio setting, makes for all sorts of connections about both life and death, joy and sadness, doesn’t it? We did a bit of classical ‘mother nature’ style stuff, and also some more ‘messed up’, ‘earthy’ portraits  for which it seemed only right to backcomb my hair into an enormous tangly state (it needs little encouragement, to be honest). Those came out kind of glamorous (which was nice) though. Karen had made a necklace using moss. So clever (and a tinsy bit itchy, after a while…)!

These twiggy ones were done with natural light, which is often very flattering, I think.

Karen’s soft processing and the luminous light here reminds me of the film 300, somehow:

And one we liked without the twigs:

Then, another idea Karen had was inspired by an ‘oriental’ accessory. I remembered that I once bought a Thai hat on the floating market of Bangkok (why have I never used that on a shoot before?), so I whipped it off my shelf and brought it along, braided my hair and put on this rather funky jumpsuit Karen had brought along and kindly donated to my modelling wardrobe afterwards! I’m not usually one for wearing orange, but I do love it and I think it made for some cute, bright fashion-y shots. I really like the slightly retro tint in this first one especially!

Some monochrome nudes, for a different feel…

And a ‘Black Widow’ experiment:

Thank you Karen! Looking forward to the next one!

Pipe Cleaners and Autumn Leaves!

Evening! The owl-eyed among you may have noticed my rapid pulling-down of my most recent blog post, ‘Firebird’, which featured some extremely cool dance-y studio stuff. Unfortunately I was told that the designer needed her pieces to be kept under wraps until June, so the blog post will be reappearing around then, by which time the shots will be a fun and fresh surprise again if your memories are as terrible as mine.

Today, I’m bringing you some fun and cute stock shots! It’s always nice working with photographer Paul Viant at Belmont House. Such a gorgeous, shabby chic country house; I feel quite at home there!! The main theme was ‘crafts’, so out came the pipe cleaners, the scissors, the wool and ribbons, the dried leaves and the upholstery projects.

Behold the autumn crafting, day dreaming and the blowing on windows to draw hearts on the glass! 🙂

We did lots of other little sets as well, including one where I was asked to lie outdoors on a huge, damp (but blissfully comfortable) bed of leaves, acting as though I was taking pictures of myself on my cameraphone. So I did…

Also, just a little thank you to everyone who is so patient when contacting me. I’m working a 7-day week at the moment, doing my usual impression of being more than one person at once, with several projects on the go, and my correspondence speed is far from ideal (it’s never something I’m amazingly proud of, I’m the first to admit – though it’s not through lack of effort, I assure you); though I do always get things done! 🙂

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EDIT:

A little while later: inbox zen.

Screengrab:

I would like to thank: my friends and family, the tiny dog that sat on my lap for most of this 6-hour email session, the chair for supporting my bum (though it got a bit numb at times), my brand new polka-dot 2-person teapot WITH INBUILT FILTER (full of, variously, Earl Grey, Orange Blossom and English Rose) and my own sheer unadulterated determination to be good. Exquisite!

Vitality

Sometimes half the fun of keeping a blog is trying to out-do yourself in contrasting the style of images shown from one blog post to the next. It’s a bit like writing a novel, playing the piano and going for a lovely countryside walk, then having an evening of body-popping/winding to slickedy-slick Justin Timberlake, who I think I might slightly fancy again, maybe (despite not actually fancying him).

(‘I can’t wait to get you on the floor, good looking’ is currently all I can hear in my mind. ‘…Going out so hot, just like an oven…oooooowww’.)

(I’m sorry.)

So here, in total contrast to the previous post, is a shot or four taken by Chris Lloyd at Eye For An Image Studio recently. Loved doing these!

Bedroom Glamour

Sorry for letting that last post run a while, but in between a brilliant trip to Germany’s Black Forest as well as a great little trip to the Manchester/Stockport area, I wanted to allow the news of the new book to take precedence for a while here in my little online space. 🙂 However, my desktop is BURSTING with new images from various people which I can’t wait to show on here, so… onwards!

It was lovely to hear from Tony Ornstien, a photographer I have worked with quite a few times but hadn’t seen in a while, a few weeks ago and recently I went over to his and his wife Jennifer’s wonderful, mad house (it is crammed with enormous, intriguing art, and built like a ‘train carriage’, which means you walk through a seemingly endless stream of differently-styled rooms all in one direction). I was booked for another dose of photography, since Jennifer requested some new art for their walls. It’s always fun to work with this duo, and Tony wanted to create some natural, intimate, relaxed, elegant bedroom (‘boudoir’, maybe) scenes. This style is intimate, and somehow classical and retro at once, and the atmostphere is vaguely similar to the image I have down the side of my blog here, ‘Bis’ by Pamela Hanson, which I (obviously) love. Liberated and friendly and natural. We found that the trick was to act, move and actually perform the particular movements or mini-narratives, rather than pose stiffly in a scene, and there was a lot of silliness involved.

The final set was the ultimate in multi-tasking at the end of a shoot; clearing up my things and modelling at the same time… 🙂 I am pleased with many of these (and there are a lot of shots – trying to decide on one or two favourites for my website!) and I hope to visit Tony and Jennifer again sometime soon!

P.S. To the person/bot who keeps trying to spam my old posts with vacuous automated comments about how ‘informative’ and ‘well put together’ my content is, and then suggesting I take a look at their loans website, please kindly fuck off. If you knew how strongly I felt about people who make money through interest, you’d understand how liberally I am deleting your ridiculous attempts to advertise your probably-virus-filled evil website through my ART blog.

A celebration, some wedding princessing and some Lions (and a monkey)

Hello!

Thank you all so much (those of you who have commented on my facebook wall and sent me messages; you know who you are!) for my birthday wishes for yesterday! I had such a nice day and it very surreal racking up so many good wishes on my facebook notifications – I felt very popular, haha! Seriously though, it’s so appreciated and really reminds me how nice it is to hear a ‘happy birthday’ from people even when you haven’t heard from them in a while and that I must always remember people’s birthdays myself!

Today’s post is going to involve a series of tenuous links.

First, I will tell you about what I did yesterday… I went to visit the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Science Museum in Oxford in the morning. Some really impressive shots and the staff member on the desk was so chatty, telling us all about the various controversies, and the artists who’d visited and what they’d said about other photographers’ work… I really loved one shot of a white bird lifting out of the water, with it’s emerging wings spread in blurry motion. It looked so ethereal and beautiful! LOVED the polar bear too, plus lots more. Had a delicious light lunch at a lebanese restaurant afterwards avec some borrowed (must order it myself next time..) sugary mint tea.

After that I had my traditional family tea and cake ceremony in the afternoon – fodant fancies featured heavily, as always.

Then at 4pm I was taken to London and got there for an early dinner (really tasty veggie burger of portobello mushroom, baby spinach and goat’s cheese) and courgette fries at Byron Burgers in Covent Garden, before (feeling we might explode) going to watch THE LION KING at the Lyceum Theatre!!!! I had been wanting to go and see this for years and years, and occasionally, when I remembered the lack of it in my life, had a little moan… so it was a masssive treat and something I’d really really built up in my mind, so much so that afterwards I announced ‘It’s amazing that it didn’t disappoint me at all’, which my friend said was hilarious and should probably go on their poster… Haha (oops). Seriously though, the moment I left the theatre I wanted to just go back and watch it all again!! From the first second of the show, with the characters hurtling down the aisles to the stage while the most incredible powerful music seared into my ears, I was spellbound and genuinely a little bit teary. And then the creativity and ingenuity of the set designs, the use of space and the way they showed the passage of time, the sunsets and silhouettes, balletic gazelles, giraffe men on stilts, the elephant, costumes and colour, were all so utterly jaw-droppingly mesmerising. My favourite aspect of it by far, though, was definitely the call and response singing. After I come back in my next life as a Lebanese/bellydancer/Columbian/Shakira hybrid, I think I’ll come back as a big African mama, singing magical heart-stopping soulful Savannah tunes*. Ha. Rafiki, basically; the crazy wise lady with the staff, who tells Simba to ‘look into himself’ to find his father, and teases him into going back to reclaim his Lion-y throne and sorting out the hyenas and marching slinkily and powerfully back up Pride Rock. Aaaaah. 🙂

* Joke. Pretty sure we only get one chance at things, and sadly, I’m lily white. I did once get cast as a lion though (for hair reasons) in a school performance of Pyramus and Thisbe. My friend played the wall.

Anyway, I will be adding to my ‘White’ website gallery soon with some gorgeous new wedding images. There is a bit of a medley below!

Shot by Mike Croshaw at the brand new Cheltenham Film Studio. We did so many different styles in two hours (including pin up!) which I will hopefully show soon:

These were taken by Sabel Gonazalez recently around the centre of Oxford. The male model is the lovely and handsome James Pike, hair stylist Nikki Wright and make up artist Laura Pusey.

Finally, to complete the wedding theme bonanza for now, here are some outdoor shots by David Ballard., taken last week:

I’m going this afternoon to my local animal sanctuary in hope of finding a buddy for my little Chi! Can’t wait to meet the current members of the centre. I have a feeling I’m going to want to take quite a few home though… In related news, here is a photo of me holding a howler monkey called ‘Chiquito’, a temporary resident at an animal rescue centre I visited in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, in December. The centre was founded by a couple of european vets who met and fell in love during a work placement in Costa Rica. They set up house together and when the locals knew there were animal doctors in the area, any stray/hurt/lost animals were scooped up and delivered to their doorstep until it became necessary to expand and put up purpose-built enclosures for various lost and found animals to recuperate (The place is emphatically not a zoo!) until they are ready to be released back into the wild. I hope I can go back there soon! Chiquito was soooo sweet. We had to hold his tail strongly in case he jumped away (but he didn’t; he just wanted to snuggle!).
OK, here’s a little hand-licking deer I met there too (a little too tame to be released now, apparently):
Bye for now!

Portraiture workshop

I meant to post these two shots a while ago after discovering them on Redbubble and contacting the photographer. It’s amazing what you find sometimes; there is so much out there I haven’t seen and I’m sure there are lots of photographic gems floating around in the cybersphere! These were taken by John Buchanan during a portraiture workshop in Lacock I modelled at a while ago, run by Dominic Falcone.

I like modelling for group workshops; you meet so many enthusiastic, budding photographers buzzing to learn and it can be a lot of fun (and requires quite different skills from one-to-one shoots). I’ve got a couple of good ones coming up in the next few months, and have built up a rather wonderful wardrobe for boudoir, bridal… and bridal boudoir… shoots, etc. On that note, I’ve spent a frankly embarrassing amount of time recently updating my lingerie collection with some beautiful new additions: vintage-retro pieces, French silk, black lace, elbow-length gloves, a sheer babydoll dress… and lots more. I only learnt to use ebay a few months ago (honestly!), so I suppose I had some catching up to do. I currently have my eye on a beautiful, frivolous and dramatic ball dress, as well as some intriguing and beautiful world costumery, but really should stop while I’m ahead… or should I? 

Clue: I probably won’t. Especially as I’ve recently been adding to my ‘bucket list’ (now carried around with me digitally on my phone, for when inspiration strikes – or needs to strike!) of ideas and themes I think would work really well and haven’t done before. Ah, it’s all just an excuse to dress up!