The Albion Beatnik Bookstore

The Albion Beatnik Bookstore in Oxford, recently closed, was one of a kind. A totally unique haven for book and music lovers, with a hefty collection of loose leaf tea. You can imagine: I spent quite a bit of time there. I was granted access to using this characterful place as a photographic location last year for a couple of shoots, and briefly advertised this (it pays to be on my mailing list, take note..!) the following were taken by Paul Jeffery, who grappled bravely with minimal light options and cramped dimensions in such a brilliantly chaotic place. Throw a piano into the situation, plus a touch of costuming towards the end (a good art model always packs her finger cymbals for a shoot!), and this is what you get:

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Rainforest Treasures

Working with Zoe is always an adventure – ‘come on’, she says, as I try and find my flip-flops and follow her out through the grounds of the enormous rainforest estate. The other thing it always is is laid back. I love this about Zoe – the shoots just unfold and you see what turns up. In this case, what turned up was an urge in Zoe to find a massive rainforest leaf or two and relieve the trees of them especially for me to hold. It’s quite an honour to touch such big leaves – they’re truly Jurassic. Another thing was a desire to erect a black backdrop in the middle of the rainforest – it was one of the most surreal ‘studios’ I’ve posed in; snakes and spiders almost certainly all around us, hiding out and wondering what on earth we were doing, whispering to each other in Strayan.

I think Zoe’s photography is beautiful – it seems to focus on the strength and power of women and her subjects often look like superheros you wouldn’t want to mess with (not to say she doesn’t capture the softness too), and through her (mostly) yearly retreats which have been running since 2002 all over the globe, bringing wonderful people together, she’s created quite a phenomenon. I have loved attending the last several years and made some really good friends. Long live inter-border art-making in cool environments! 🙂

The first few are with Carlotta, Elilith, Anne, Brooke, Tara, Cheyanne, Titania and Jessamyn (who are all brilliant women, from various continents, who I love hanging out with).

In some of the below, my hair is wet from posing under the indoor waterfall, as one does.

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My local studio…

I’ve had the pleasure of a few shoots recently with the wonderful Stuart Thomson in my local, Oxfordshire studio recently. I can’t recommend Stuart enough – he is such a laid back, easy going, friendly person and has been an enormous help to me in providing the product photos for my skincare range, Leafology, which launched in July. I suppose I pride myself on being a one-woman band as far as that goes, creating the recipes myself and making them personally, by hand, in small batches in my home studio, designing the labels myself – everything (it’s quite a bit to juggle along with everything else I do, but enormous fun!)… but when it came to the clean, white product photos I wanted on the main gallery pages of the range, it didn’t take long before I realised my shadowy, awful attempts weren’t going to cut it. Cue Stuart, who easily arranged a light set up so intricate I felt quite envious of the products – not sure I ever really have that many lights on me. Anyway, this is all a big pre-amble, but when I’m in the studio for that, Stuart and I have tiny mini-shoots now and then, and I’m delighted with some of the results. Here are my favourites:

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Infra Ghost

Phew, this post marks the end of a multiple-hour email blitz – I am getting on top of some new plans and now have modelling trips lined up for Venice, Holland, Germany, Barcelona, and potentially a few more… After my little break from modelling around the EU quite so extensively, stretching my ‘admin muscle’ is quite a workout. 🙂 Just in case you haven’t seen this yet, this sign-up form is my new system for contacting people when visiting different parts of the country/world. Do it now before you forget! 🙂

I had a lovely shoot in Far North Queensland recently (as part of Zoefest) with Aspiring Imagery. I’ve worked with Brian a few times before, and this time he was working on a project which required me to pose as little as possible, just existing in the moment. I suppose I went a step further and (as with many of my recent shoots) wore almost no make up. It was fun – nice to have the space and go into a bit of a relaxed state/zone. For me, the ‘stand out’ shots are the infra red images and in the second here, I really look like some kind of weird, ethereal, ghostly alien, which is always pleasing…

Thank you, Brian! 🙂

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Winter’s Wildflower

In January last year, I modelled (again) for my friend and talented artist, Bella Kotak, on a shoot she’d conceived using a very special cloak. This cloak had evolved over the years, and been worn by models before me, and if you read her blog post all about it, it seems as though it became a symbol for her own growing confidence in her art. For our shoot it was adorned by hand with flowers left over from previous projects, one by one.

We agreed to meet one frosty morning in the ancient woodland I am lucky enough to have just 5 minutes by car from my home. There was only one small problem; my car door was frozen shut and I couldn’t get in my car!!! Much panicking and chin stroking later, it finally blessed me with its opening and my trusty carriage had me on my way, if a little (fashionably?) late.


(Full credits with links are at the end of this post.)

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Leaf patterns & Chopping boards

Hello and happy Friday-before-Christmas! I’m briefly re-enlivening this blog for a few posts.

It feels a bit funny writing on here again after SO very long. Many of you know by now that after 8 years or so, I’m spending most of my time away from the camera these days (due to other burgeoning interests and the current galactic system that dictates that the daily apportionment of time is finite). That said, in my sort-of-absence over the last year or more, I’ve done a lot of modelling for a sculptor and, most recently, I was working on a British film which will feature Hugh Grant (though holding Thor’s hammer remains my most exciting actor-ly claim).

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Two’s Company

It was a total pleasure to work twice in quick succession with James a while ago – during the first shoot we had at a beautiful location near my house (15th century ruins, a river… and the mist was rolling in during the early morning so atmospherically!), I mentioned that a model friend of mine, Jessamyne will be staying with me for a while the next week as she was visiting from LA. He snapped up the opportunity to photograph us both together (we hadn’t officially advertised it) and went for dreamy, pre-Raphaelite-esque styles, towards which Jessamyne & I naturally gravitate in taste/style anyway. It was lovely! For that second shoot, the three of us went to my local ancient woodland and basically played around in the trees with flowers in our hair… bliss! During her stay, we did lots of sightseeing around my hometown, Oxford, and I saw it in a fresh new light (I already was in love with it, but now I’m even more so) – we did the open top bus among other things, which I really recommend. Honestly, you can’t walk a single centimetre here without incredible history, literary figures, politicians, world events, science and arts and all sorts of eminent leaders jostling along with you.

(The rest of the time we basically did face masks, watched period dramas and ate vegan chocolate with figs… :-))

I’m looking forward to seeing Jessamyne again later this year in wonderful Australia! It’s going to be amazing!

With thanks to James for letting me share these photos. 🙂

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