Tuition with Stefano Brunesci

I was asked by Stefano Brunesci to model for another tuition session back in March. The attending photographer was Chris Sinn, who wanted to learn a thing or two about Stefano’s methods and style (he wrote on his blog afterwards, as part of a lovely write up of the day: ‘there is just something about his lighting and style that makes me drop my bacon sandwich and inspires me to do better’!)

Stefano is a great teacher, not least because he is completely and utterly honest about what he does and how he does it, from lighting (he does achieve a lot in such a compact home studio!) to interaction with the subject. From a model’s point of view, I can say that Stefano is really, really great at encouragement – VERY vocal while shooting, which helps a lot and also goes a long way towards setting the particular mood that he tends to go for. His shooting tends to be quite fast-paced, so there is less ‘Pose. Click. Pose. Click’ (though there’s nothing wrong with that, and in general I can often be quite a ‘deliberate’ poser) and more ‘let’s just go a bit crazy in front of the camera without stopping’, which results more in the kind of energy of image you’ll see below.


First, I’ll show some shots by Chris, who I thought did very well and is a great photographer himself.






Here’s one Stefano took as a demo shot during the tuition, to show one of the lighting set ups:


And after Chris had gone, Stefano and I did a quick mini-shoot ourselves for fun. I do mean quick – these were taken in ten minutes:








(Embarrassing outtake….)

… Any favourites?

Romance

I really love these shots taken by Kev at London’s Beltcraft Studio. We had a really fun shoot trying all sorts of things, and I think/hope there will be more images to show in the near future. For now, though, sometimes you just need to lie down with the roses….

And..

5

Hello! I’m back from the scorching heat of summer-time Germany and ecstatic to have received a memory stick containing images from a shoot I did with Norwegian photographer Sjur Roald in May. This was such a fantastic day; five dance-y models (two full-time dancers, one singer, a model and a model/writer) all combining in one studio (The Cottage Studio in Sussex) to produce some varying states of entanglement and drama. It is always so much fun to work alongside other models and I want to say a big thank you to Sjur for making it happen; it’s not easy (or indeed particularly inexpensive) to coordinate the whereabouts of six different people, and I’m so glad this came together. I think Sjur did an amazing job!

The four other models are: Gem, Samantha, Gestalta and Fiona.

Click to view the files larger.

It was right after this shoot that I went to shoot ‘La Source, River Adur‘ with Jeremy Howitt. That was a good day!

Any favourites?

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! 🙂

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!

Bulbs and Benches

This morning I wrote roughly a million words of my WIP. Feeling very inspired at the moment, if a little exhausted after a much needed 24-hour jaunt to a place I adore. And now I’ve just come back from a garden centre, of all places. Why is buying birthday presents for my Dad so difficult?! Anyway, I think I’d quite like my own garden one day, if only so I can buy pretty watering cans. Sadly, though, I never even remember to water anything when I attempt to have plants on my window sill. After I came back from Amsterdam, I put one of those one-euro tulip bulbs into a pot, only to discover, months later (and, I admit, having never watered it), that the bulb had completely disappeared. It wasn’t there anymore. I had been displaying, in this non-fruitful but expectant interim, a small pot of soil. I imagine it had given up on me and decided to disintegrate, thinking ‘I’ll just be soil, it’s easier’. I hope one day I’ll be the sort of person who can water a plant. In the meantime, and between some other things I’m doing today, I thought I’d post a quick miscellany of images I haven’t blogged yet, but which I love, with thanks to the photographers.

By Barrie Spence, Scotland:

By Rayment Kirby, Sussex:

By OnePixArt, Beverley Hills:

By Eddie Ray, taken at Paul’s Studio, Reading (inspired, of course, by Rossetti and Arthur Hughes):

By Davefish, taken at Eye For An Image Studio in Banbury, Oxfordshire:

By Paul Bartholomew, Oxfordshire: