Monbachtal

Another blog post in quick succession, but I’m keen to show off some images from another session in Germany, working with the excellent Steven Billups in the Baden-Wurttemberg area.

These were all taken on film, so we took relatively few compared to the average photoshoot (digital shoots can results in hundreds and hundreds of images), and there are so many that came out beautifully, we think. I love the tones and shapes and textures in these, and the water’s caught really well (not always the easiest thing, capturing moving water). There’s always such a sense of uncertainty with film – it’s not like digital where you can look at the back of the camera for reassurance – you have to trust you’re doing the best job you can (both the photographer and model), so maybe there’s something extra valuable about the feeling of getting it right!

Congratulations to Steven for selling quite a few prints recently of a shot we did last year, too!

Gaia, Jetty

I have yet another collection of images to show you from photographer Jeremy Howitt today. A recent concoction of curves, bokeh, grass and reflections…

Jeremy found this beautiful location in Sussex and I had the immediate idea that I should lie down for this first close-in, abstract crop – I have no idea why, it just felt obvious when I saw the frame of the long grass in the foreground and water behind; and Jeremy got it pretty much how I’d imagined, if not better, with a slightly voyeuristic hint and beautiful focus – I love the three little dots of bokeh in the diagonal line as well! Then Jeremy played around with some reflections as I sat/stood/lay on the little wooden jetties that surrounded the lake. To finish, we did a little ‘Gaia’ set in the nearby field. We don’t often do portraits so thought it would be a good idea, then finished with some explosive hair, naturally.

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…

Fires and Falls

Hi everyone. I’m back from a hugely productive trip to the incredibly visually eye-mazing country that is Switzerland (images and video to come!), and raring to update this little portion of the internet.

As part of my trip to Scotland last month, I worked with GDelargy Photography. The plan was that he would pick me up at a point in the Highlands where I’d just finished shooting and drop me off at my accommodation in Glasgow that evening, shooting along the way! What a clever idea, making the best possible use of travel time between locations by shooting at all the beauty hotspots along the way! Scotland, of course, has more than its fair share of picturesque scenes…

…Unfortunately, the amazing weather I’d experienced at the beginning of the trip took a little turn for the worse, and we were quite limited in what we could do, even with my newly-bought pink polka dot wellies from a Highland cornershop.

Still, it was a wonderful drive. G was great company. Glen Coe was beautiful despite pouring rain. We stopped at one location for a possible shoot but the wind was so severe it just wasn’t going to happen. Fortunately, G had a couple more places up his sleeve. One was an area of the most exquisite, fiery orange-coloured heather. (I’m calling it heather; it might have been something else.) I squelched my way across the boggy ground, found the most colourful part and lay down in it.

Later, we politely ignored the ‘danger, slippery rocks!’ signs to get these shots at the Falls of Orchy. I love the strong levels of contrast in these images (I’ve got such a thing for rich blacks), and my pale skin really pings out of them. Several quick poses here, but I think the first is my favourite. We got to Glasgow late after a quick stop for pizza at Dominoes. I suppose I don’t eat there often as I apparently broke normal pizza-buying ettiquette by enquiring about the herbs (i.e. do they count as one of the toppings, since they are listed? What are they?). I started requesting basil and oregano, and was met with a baffled look. Apparently, herbs are just herbs. All the herbs in the world ever go on the pizza, maybe. Fine. It tasted good.

I’d like to get on with arranging a second trip to Scotland for this year as there were a few people whose dates I couldn’t match up with, and am considering another (briefer) visit, but am left pondering my diary heavily, wishing I could insert a month or two between August and September. Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Happy Monday!

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!

Queen’s Well, Glen Esk

Hello from Scotland! I’m having a ‘catch up’ evening here in my lovely fresh-laundry-smelling room in Edinburgh (well, let’s be honest, almost every evening is a ‘catch up’ evening when on tour), and wanted to update my blog as I hate leaving it for a week without updating!

It’s been a brilliant trip so far, travelling through Edinburgh, Fife & St Andrews, Dundee, Perth, Strathcarron, Glasgow and back to Edinburgh for a final shoot tomorrow. Everyone on this trip that I’ve worked with has been wonderful, and some beautiful images have been made! The first part of my trip shocked me by showing me some glorious weather, and I actually got a bit sunburned while in Dundee making the images below – could not believe it!! (Don’t worry, the sunburn has already gone.)
It’s been a usual conglomeration of memorable moments, this trip. From guiding a nervous woman through Birmingham New Street Station on the way up (she said that particular station scared her, though she didn’t say why… and then she told me that she was on her way home from her father’s 80th birthday party. ‘Was it good?’ I asked, and she said ‘It was a bit strange.’ It turned out she hadn’t spoken to him since she was 12. She seemed desperate to talk to someone about it. I got her on the right train at Birmingham anyway), to being bought a tartan-scarf clad duck doorstop at Strathcarron’s local weavers, from riding a horse nude to sinking in boggy amber heather in my specially-bought-that-morning polka dot pink wellies, from enjoying a delicious Scottish Brie and Grape sandwich with China Rose Petal tea at Glasgow’s famous Mackintosh Willow tea room to buying socks for a shivering, bare-foot homeless man after realising I had no cash, but only my card (and knowing from various nude situations that having wet feet is the worst thing about being cold) – he seemed so pleased to be given them, and smiled dreamily into the bag looking at them, but I watched him for a while in secret and I did not see him put them on… 😦 
Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed all of my shoots so far – it’s been an action-packed 10-day trip (though it’s not over yet!) and I’m confident that everyone I’ve worked with has gone away with some brilliant images – and it’s been a lot of fun seeing new parts of Scotland!
These images below are courtesy of photographer Jim Furness. We had a great day and got on brilliantly (such that we’re shooting in Switzerland in a couple of weeks!). Reading the blurb on his website, I knew we’d be on the same page in terms of intention and inspiration, and creating. I stayed at Jim’s house the night before and met his lovely family of Bollywood enthusiasts, and we had a fun evening watching clips in their lounge! Considering I love India (and hope to go back there to see more of it sometime – anyone want to book me there..? :-)), love Indian music and love dancing, it became increasingly ridiculous to think that I’d never experienced a Bollywood film. I would seriously love to be in one. The dance moves are a real mix of styles that I already know – contemporary, street, bellydance – flamenco even – and I’m inspired to watch some films once I’m home! After this shoot, by the way, Jim blasted Bollywood music out of his open-top car as we drove back to his via some typically gorgeous Scottish scenery – a surreal, triumphant end to any shoot!! 🙂
First, we walked to Queen’s Well, built over a site where Queen Victoria stopped for a drink at a spring on one of her pony treks in the Angus glens. On the way, we saw an adder – the only poisonous snake in the UK, if I’m not mistaken. Then we continued the water theme on the way back, with me balancing on a rock and Jim balancing perilously himself to get the shot. It was such a beautiful day – no one was around so I really got to enjoy the sunshine! You can see a slideshow with music here
Please click on the first image and scroll through to see them bigger, as always. Small shots don’t have so much impact. 🙂

Many more updates on their way!

Curves & Refraction

Whooooosshh!!

That’s the sound of me zooming through my emails, obviously. I am really terrible at keeping on top of them and frequently tell myself off about it (though I have been told I’m not as bad as some!), but have made a good dent this evening (got some lovely ones, too, including being asked to be interviewed for an upcoming feature) and may even carry on for a while after a quick detour to blogsville. To anyone waiting for a reply, thank you (as always) for your patience.

Today I shall be showing you some images shot by Bob in California (www.robertccochran.com – and the website comes with some incredibly relaxing music), which I think are quite special. Enjoy!

I love the steps in that last one. Bob’s asked me to suggest a title for it; I’m thinking ‘Drift’ or ‘Launch’. It has elements of both.

And thanks for your comments, both on and off the blog – it always amazes me how many people I meet who tell me they read it.