Since coronageddon kicked off, and my usual photography bookings became rarer than truths from a government adviser, I’ve been filling my time with lots of online tutorials, walks, trying new recipes, and roughly 40% of the time, looking after my 13 year-old daughter – which largely involves making sure she gets on with her allotted schoolwork and regularly shovelling food to within arm’s reach. In addition, it’s been nice (for us both) to introduce her to some new creative activities such as music recording, digital art and editing photographs using Lightroom.
I confess there may be a longer term dream that she’ll one day take over the editing side of my photography business (when she’s not at university or becoming a massive success in whatever “proper” career direction she chooses) while I do the bit I enjoy most – taking pictures. Editing, to me, is a means to an end. Unlike many other photographers, I really don’t enjoy the editing process. However, predictably, my daughter has taken to Lightroom like a duck to water and within an hour of my initial guidance, was using functions that I rarely if ever use myself.
And so here are a few of my photographs as edited on Lightroom by “my young apprentice”. She chose to work on these images from a “Urban Ballet” themed shoot at my Strangetown Studio featuring the wonderful Emilie Walt. Not necessarily how I’d have done them – but that’s the whole point. I’m rather chuffed with her results…
I’m actually embarrassed at how long it’s taken me to finish and publish these images of Ivory Flame‘s gypsy caravan-themed shoot (we’re talking YEARS). In my defence, I’d already worked my way through editing the 700 or so images from this very inspiring and productive shoot when my laptop conked out and all of my Lightroom work-in-progress was lost.
And then, predictably, I got absorbed in other, current work and never got around to starting again with this shoot. It’s taken a global pandemic, social isolation and the disappearance of all work engagements to give me the opportunity to dip back into these images and start again on the editing. Silver linings, eh?
In a way, I’m rather glad to be attacking these images now because I’ve been developing a collection of painterly Lightroom presets that I think work beautifully with Ivory Flame’s wonderfully ephemeral and Pre-Raphaelite style.
As if Ivory Flame, an amazing authentic gypsy caravan, and a ruined cottage wasn’t enough to inspire heaps of photographs, Gillian’s horses came over to get in on the action…
And here’s a final selection from the hundreds of shots (that I’d be more than happy to share if there were time).
I’ll no doubt be raiding my dusty hard drives for more previously unpublished stuff during the zombie apocalypse. But for now, huge thanks again to the stunning Holly (Ivory Flame), Gillian (for the caravan and wonderful hospitality) and my little group of togs who made the whole thing feasible.
One advantage of the enforced isolation we now find ourselves in is having time to do things we’ve perhaps been meaning to do for a long time. For example, I’ve been able to delve into my deepest darkest archives and find whole shoots that for one reason or another, I never got around to editing.
What I’m going to share today, are images from a shoot I organised FOUR years ago featuring the truly unique Ivory Flame and with a “gypsy” theme (that she does so well).
The other star of this shoot, and the inspiration for the whole idea, is a genuine antique “gypsy caravan” that is owned by my good friend, Gillian, an award-winning designer. When Gillian showed me the caravan, which is at the bottom of her beautiful country garden, the idea for the shoot (including choice of model) instantly popped into my head.
What may not be immediately apparent from the images is that this was early spring and was blimming freezing! It was also spotting with rain and a cold spring wind was blowing through the garden, but Ivory Flame is a consummate professional and soldiered on regardless.
That’s all for now. I’ll post a few more soon.
Always nice to have modelling royalty at Strangetown Studio and Miss Deadly Red certainly brought a touch of colour and class to a recent workshop. I set up shoots in the studio and around our lovely building that encompassed a bit of vintage lingerie as well as some wonderful latex looks.
The difficulty when posting results from these workshops, even though I didn’t take as many shots as the attendees (too busy sorting lighting etc) is choosing which images to post – I was delighted with every single image from this shoot.
I’ll be aiming to run one workshop per month in 2020 and if you’d like to be considered for joining our little group, please get in touch. Numbers are strictly limited and so far, former FOTO-CLUB members have snapped up most or all of the places but I’m hoping to add a few more new faces too.
There are some shoot ideas that just hang around in your head for years and then one day, the opportunity arises to make them a reality. Such was the case with the forthcoming FOTO-CLUB “Gypsy Caravan Shoot With Ivory Flame“. Ever since I first worked with the wonderful Ivory Flame a few years ago, I’ve thought “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to do a gypsy-themed shoot with Ivory Flame and a traditional horse-drawn gypsy caravan…”.
And then, as if by magic, when looking around the beautiful house and gardens that were to be used for the “Luxury House Fashion Shoot” a few months back, there, at the end of the huge garden… was an original, authentic gypsy caravan. Suddenly it fell into place and I quickly asked the owner if it would be possible to use it for a shoot.
There was only ever one model I wanted for this. Ivory Flame. The epitome of ethereal and natural “English Rose” beauty with a bucket of Pre-Raphaelite influence and a hint of Celt thrown in.
I look forward to posting the images here soon, but there are still spaces if you’d like to join us. The venue’s address will be revealed once you’ve booked but it is near Lapworth, Solihull.
The FOTO-CLUB trip to Spain in September was based at a beautiful villa in the Mijas Golf development just inland from the Costa del Sol. The quaint “white village” of Mijas was a fifteen minute drive from the villa and provided an ideal backdrop for a “gypsy”-inspired shoot with ex-pat model Kristi.
I lived near Mijas for a number of years and so knew which parts of the village might make the best shoot locations. Apart from the narrow streets lined with whitewashed traditional houses, we also used the church door, village square (and it’s water features) and the “balcon” area that overlooked the coast below.
When needed, Kristi popped into local shops to change outfits. The white buildings acted like huge reflectors, bouncing the natural light beautifully even on the sunniest of days.
And finally, as you might imagine, in a busy tourist town like Mijas, our shoot attracted quite a bit of attention, with groups of Japanese tourists gathering to take photographs over our shoulders but I think this last photo sums it up – a man and his young son stop to watch Kristi as she walks by while his wife walks on ahead…
Once in a while, you discover a shoot location that simply demands a certain theme. When I first heard about, and saw photographs of, a “lost chapel” in woodland near the nearby border with Shropshire, I knew I had to find it and see if was as amazing as it looked. It was.
But it wasn’t easy to find – the student who told me about it had failed to find it on the first attempt and it was only due to a slight detour and a warning about what to expect, that helped me to find it on my first expedition. I walked for 30-40 minutes uphill through beautiful countryside before having to wade through brambles and tree branches to actually reach the building. Once there, though, it was clear that this was a very special place and I decided that, as I had imagined, it was the perfect place for a “fairytale” themed workshop/shoot.
The model I had in mind (who was local, and had the look I had in mind) dropped out with just a few days notice so I turned to the most versatile model I know – Emilie Walt (who you’ll spot in various guises in previous posts). Emilie lives some distance away and public transport to our location early on a Sunday morning was non-existent so I arranged to drive her there. As usual, Emilie went above and beyond what would normally be expected of a model, making her own hooded cape and bringing along other suitable props.
Even though I’d been to the location before, it still wasn’t easy to locate when I arrived with the group on the Sunday morning (there was much more foliage and even taller brambles, for a start). But we were rewarded with an excellent shoot and far too many images to post here.
Thanks, as ever, to the brilliant Emilie.
Another model who never disappoints is Ivory Flame. This image was shot using the continuous modelling lights on the Bowens heads.