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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Black Rocks, Snow & Rushing Water

Hope all my blog readers are doing magnificently well! It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, and I’ve had quite a lot of extraordinary shoots alongside running my self-created natural skincare business, Leafology, and working on other projects… I hardly know where to start, but I’ll skip around in chronology as always, I think – it’s more liberating!

VEF_3576I was invited to go to Iceland with Bragi Kort (photo guide and Icelandic local) and Alex Nason (US photographer), for a week-long jaunt a couple of weeks ago around the westfjords of what, to me, feels always like another planet. Iceland is like something utterly unknown. It’s basically the moon, though surprisingly green in places (well, it is the summer, sun never going down, ‘n’ all; when I travelled back from Heathrow airport to my home in Oxfordshire I was dismayed to feel darkness closing in in the evening – even after just a week of permanent light it felt utterly alien – claustrophobic, even!). Alex has sent some absolute gems to me by email, since we’ve all been home, and Bragi has edited about a million photos and sent me tons of favourites in various processing styles. Can you imagine the absolute overwhelm (in a good way) of not knowing where to start with sharing them? I’ve decided to apply some kind of order to my thinking, and divided all his edits into 4 categories (we did all manner of things, from mermaid-esque stuff to shots taken in a quirky hotel in the middle of nowhere, from an abandoned herring factory (yes, really) to lupins (which I am obsessed with) and from outdoor pools to…. a piano (constant love of my life; I write this having just come back from a piano lesson, during which I nailed a few more bars of Grieg and sighed at my utter forgetting of basic music theory since I did grade 8 a million years ago and let it all go to rust…). I also managed to bump into good modelling friend Anne Duffy (Australian-based star some of you will know) and met (and posed nude with 5 mins later) the wonderful Icelandic selkie Svala, as well as spending the week road-trippin’ with my brilliant roomie, US model Lucy Magdalene.

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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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(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:

Portrait of Ella..... Continue reading

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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