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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(that’s me with my leg in the air!)z-ella126

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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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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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I never practise; I only play.

… Has always been a favourite line of mine, apparently uttered by someone really jaunty and clever, and on my bedroom wall for a while (possibly still there), though when I google it I can’t find any credit, so who knows? Anyway, I like it, and it always bring to mind my favourite musical beast, the piano. (Various vids of me messing around with Debussy etc. over on my facebook profile).

So when I was asked by the lovely model Nicole Rayner if I would go and model for her (because she’s also a lovely photographer as well as a lovely model) at Pipewell Hall, I couldn’t resist. I’d shot there a couple of times with the Yerburys and remembered how beautiful it was as a shoot location (I like to pretend I’m mansion-shopping when passing through). Anyway, I’d had a play on the very old grand piano they’ve got there as soon as I arrived, while I was waiting for Nicole & Richard Egan to be ready to photograph me/us, and played the music that was on the stand, Moonlight Sonata, while people bustled in and out. I dream of having a grand piano. No offence to my own upright, which I inherited from my great aunt, but they are just so utterly beautiful.

Pianos are also quite good for leaning across, I suppose. It was slightly naughty of us, I think, but I have so much respect for pianos, even when nude, that I hope they would be able to trust that I treated it very well. With many thanks to Nicole who basically did these as a favour to me at the very end of our shoot, at my insistence, as I fell in love (she had to balance very precariously in order to get far away enough to take these, due to the position of it, so extra points to her for not falling on top of me):

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We also did this in the garden shed (AKA stables?)…

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Thanks Nicole!

And if anyone is wondering what else I’ve been up to recently, take a look at this: www.leafology.co.uk!

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(Image by Steve Doman)

This feels a bit naughty somehow, but I’m just going to copy and paste a travel notice I’ve just published on a portfolio site. It’s all a bit exciting really – I haven’t posted any local availability for ages. Hope to hear from anyone interested! You can contact me directly via ellarosemuse@live.co.uk if any of the below info piques your interest… Continue reading