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:
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.
(that’s me with my leg in the air!)