(Some of) the many faces of 2018

I’m not doing a 2018 version of my usual ‘highlights from each shoot’ bumper post this year – simply because I have the work of precisely 70 photographers I’ve modelled for this year that I’m yet to share! (What can I say – it’s been a busy one even by my standards!!!) So I’m keeping calm and carrying on, and doubling up this blog post to show the work of TWO photographers I worked with this year, with the theme of ‘portraits’.

First, I am delighted to show three of my favourite images here which were taken by Joe B all the way back in January(!). He was going (as you can probably tell) for a sort of ‘Hollywood’ feel to these, and it was really cool to see what he was able to achieve, especially as the studio technology was playing up a bit and it all became a bit of a challenge, skilfully worked around in the end with some striking results:69694-a1515186953714 (1)

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A Herring Factory, a Piano & a Window

When Bragi Kort told me the next location during our week in the westfjords of Iceland in June was going to be an abandoned herring factory, I was half expecting (/dreading) rotting fish flesh and a bed of bones. But it wasn’t quite like that, thankfully, and in fact Bragi was right to be so excited – it was a fantastic location full of massive shapes, textures, industrial machines and window lights. A photographer’s dream and I love so many of his shots I’m accidentally sharing 40-odd here all at once… Including some taken at one of the hotels we stayed at which (to my absolute delight) had a piano (and an open-minded owner!).

I think a personal favourite is the set with the huge upside-down, rusting cone-shape (basically it was a space ship). It was a bit precarious and we had to be careful not to get too close; we were actually very kindly guided around by the owners of the land for our safety, before being left to do our thing.

As you’ll see, I’m suffering from a horrible bout of ‘colour or mono?’ indecision, so am showing some of both. I think I’m quite drawn to the colour ones for many – I love the muted tones.

If you like the images below, make sure you’ve also had a look at this other bumper post, which shows a totally different side of Iceland – the outdoor moonscapes and magnificent beauty of the landscapes (with little old me frolicking about among it all).

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The Sunflower

Congratulations to Steven Billups who had the following two images juried into the Natural Nude exhibition at the SE Center for photography, Greenville South Carolina (one of the jurors being Kim Weston). The first is of me, hiding behind a sunflower (as one does) and the second, Dune Shadows, is of the wonderful Anoush Anou, a friend I haven’t seen in far too long (we once hiked the Grand Canyon together!) – hope to visit both of these people in the US when I visit next year! Anyone wanting info on that will hear from me once dates are planned if they’re signed up to my mailing list.

I can’t believe it’s been so many years since I was last in the US. I’ve been to Australia a lot in recent years and that’s taken over my far-flung travels a bit. Anyway, I’ve been home here in the UK for just over a week now – had such a creative time and shall be updating this blog with lots of results. I literally created a spreadsheet a couple of days ago listing all the shoots I am planning to blog; friends, there are 71 columns of photographer’s names. So, um, stay tuned..!

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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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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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