Wednesday, 20 October 2010


Well, Dubai was fun! Ridiculously hot and humid, a breeze was like an oasis in the desert. I stayed on the 44th floor in my friend's apartment (ears popped each day on the way up and down! I hate lifts but am proud to say I remained calm at all times; even I didn't fancy all those stairs...), managed to avoid tan lines (I'm not entirely sure how I did that; probably a mixture of paranoia and factor 40!), got a henna tattoo (slight infactuation with tattoos on feet - and yes, it's pretty much faded now), went on a desert safari where we surfed around dunes by car at top speed (felt like a rollercoaster - totally unsafe - amazing!), saw a belly dancer (and indulged myself in some new costumes), went to a 12-hour beach party at Nasimi beach and saw Armen van Helden, Chicane, Zero 7 (MUST persuade them to let me join the group as a guest star one day...) and others, swam in a pool surrounded by sky-scrapers (I woke up on my lounger and briefly thought the sky was falling down on me; scary perspectives out there!), saw all the various superlatives (7 star hotel, tallest building in the world, biggest gold ring in the world - that's a lot of bling!), floated in the beautiful warm sea and was shown around the textile, spice and gold souks by a guy who bought a jet ski but forgot to use it more than twice.... What a fascinating place Dubai is and full of interesting, ambitious people. Omnipresent, palpable sense of possibility. Really pleased I packed quite a lot into one week. Lots of inspiration for one of the characters in the book I'm starting to write and some other things I have in the pipeline at the back of my mind. Other interesting facts about Dubai: 51% of every single business over there is owned by a sheik, no one is allowed to be unemployed (i.e. they kick you out if you are, hence the many abandoned vehicles lying covered in layers of sand-dust!), you go to jail if you write a cheque and it bounces, and there is NO income tax.

(Sorry about all the brackets... It's lazy of me but I like the fast pace.)

Anyway, I worked recently with Tim Pile, who has a bit of a thing for interesting perspectives and angles in his photography. I was very pleased to be shooting with him (and two other photographers he often works with, Mary and Dinah) as he's produced some fantastic work so far, describing himself as an 'improving amateur' and shooting for a camera club and national/international competitions. The location was very unique and characterful - the Victoria Baths in Manchester, so we had about a million sets to play with.

Here are some of my favourites from the day. Tim likes to experiment with treatments to bring out the best in the shots, so I'm posting a variety. I call this first set my 'floating down the shaft/falling down the rabbit-hole) look:

I also have these from Dinah:

The lighting conditions in the first shot were very challenging, but I think it came out really well and makes an interesting, quirky image. It was a tiny room full of a very eerie, green light. I'm sitting in a rocking chair, like a strange Miss Havisham; just me and the shadows...

The previous day, Tim came along for part of my shoot with Rebecca Parker (see previous blog entry) and got his own take on the fields of heather, again working with his interest in unusual perspectives:

Sunday, 10 October 2010


Here are some new images from Iain Thomson:

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Rebecca Parker

I worked with Rebecca Parker at the end of August. If you haven't seen her creations before, you really should go and look at her website. Her images are exquisite - a wonderful mixture of dreaminess, drama, strangeness and simplicity. Rebecca does all of her photography and digital manipulation/processing herself, and now also does the make up (including mine, below). I think she's secretly a control freak... Only joking. The multi-talent definitely runs in the family: Moonmomma made the beautiful pearl and blue-green headdresses I'm wearing below and they combine efforts often on various things. What a crafty team!

I'm so glad we were able to do these while I was in Birmingham on the way to a shoot in Manchester. Rebecca was exactly how I hoped she would be, after emailing each other for quite a long time, and I think we have such similar tastes that I totally trust her creative vision. The location was 'Gentleshaw', and we rocked some heather for some portraits, some lazy lavender fashion and then some mean gypsy styles indoors. Here is the evidence so far (there will be more images to come):

I also want to show this image I've recently seen. I flippin' love it and keep going back to stare at it. Wow:


Rebecca will soon be organising some workshops/classes, to share her knowledge and techniques with other photographers and creative types. Definitely contact her for more info if you're interested, and do feel free to hint heavily that I should be the model she demonstrates on... ;-)

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The greatest challenge of all...

... Thinking about what we are doing.

My dream...
...To see a part of the world which is completely unspoilt. The careful, decisive undoing of ruin; a second chance.

'We must believe what we know. We have shaped the earth in our image.We have very little time to change.'

Luckily there are some rumblings of hope. (But not if we pretend it won't take a previously unseen amount of dedication, effort and radical re-thinking of almost everything we do in the western world.)

It's feature-film length and a call for humility in the Earth-human relationship. Do watch this documentary to the end. 'Home', by Yann Arthus-Bertrand.