Friday, 29 April 2011

I'm in Lewis!

video

Check out a little moment of fame! I did some extra work last year, and here I am in 'Wild Justice', an episode of the TV drama Lewis. For those who don't know, Lewis is a spin off from Inspector Morse. We shot this in the centre of Oxford, and I happened to bump into a good school friend who was also working as an extra that day, so we had a great time catching up!

Don't blink! I'm there in the crowd, about 4 seconds in, watching the procession as Hathaway runs dramatically behind me... He kept doing this massively exaggerated skid-to-a-stop as we took the scene over and over again, though it looks like they didn't use it in the end. :-) The procession was blocking his and Lewis' way en route to solving a case... Dun dun derrrr!

I'm very grateful to someone on facebook for spotting this and sending me a link to a video (can you imagine the eagle eyes required to notice me?! Impressive!). Thanks Paul Jackson!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Blue

It's that time of year again... As soon as the bluebells arrived I alerted the various photographers who were on standby and squeezed in some arrangements for early morning/evening shoots. These flowers don't wait around long; you've got to be on their schedule. They're such a pleasure to sit in; I try my hardest to squish as few as possible in the place I now call 'my bluebell patch' and have taken to spritzing my self with Elle Macpherson's 'Calming bath and body oil', lavender scented, to discourage any bluebell-loving insects from settling on me.

I don't care that I've done this type of bluebell shoot before and still have many more coming up over the next ten days - one of the things I love about these short woodland sessions is that, somehow, each photographer always seems to get completely different results, whether by using different angles, wanting different themes or just because the light is so changeable, varying itself in intensity and colour minute by minute. I love the morning mist. It turns out I'm shit at getting up early unless shooting, so I love the fact that these 6am alarm calls are kick-starting me back towards my new year's resolution with a vengeance. It's an amazing feeling to be back at home having done a good 'day's' work when most people are just setting off for theirs. :-)

I've already received some images from Mike Castle, who is primarily a traveller (not the irish kind) and secondarily a photographer. He likes things not to be overly posed, preferring a beautiful scene with a girl in it, rather than a girl posing in a scene. This was my third shoot with him (see here and here for previous stuff). I love the relaxed feel and bokeh in these (and am delighted to be able to use one of the few technical terms I know, photography-wise). Here goes:


Lean and stooped, clumped at the feet
of elephantine trunks, by scrubby roots
and washing open spaces, grow
the bluebells. Emitting 

periwinkle, leaving stains
on butterfly tongues, they knit together,
their dense heads close,
soaked overnight like pooled ink.

In sun they wisp, slight and arcing
as if to say there’s nothing to see;
this is what we do. As if being blue
means nothing more than reflecting

sky. On the ground, the clouds are spaces
to be grown in, hushed, amassed; barren
blanks to be sewn up,
like bubbles linking in water.

 
We then found some blossom:
 
It's Good Friday today - Happy Easter everyone!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Unity

Yes, more (and still probably less than half way through) shots from Spain. This time with a distinctly circular theme...

 (above by John Evans.)






 (Above featuring Hannah Ashlea.)

John and Greg's book 'Andalusianudes' can also be bought in a smaller size. Click here to preview!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

More...

... from Mr Gregory Brown.

Red on the bed:



 The local bar owner presented Hannah and I each with a flower. I thought it should feature:


These were taken in some spare moments just after I'd finished packing up my stuff on the last morning, before we had to make our way to the airport:


 I love the perspectives and angles on these - and I love the painting in the background, which somehow suits. Stairs are always fun (also did some cool stuff on these stairs with John Evans, who will be featured again v soon):


The place was full of books!



If any of these particularly stand out to you for my portfolio (and in fact any of the ones from this trip to Spain I've posted so far), speak now or forever hold your peace!

Notes on Vanity

1. 
On my website, I list a number of things I'm not interested in doing in terms of my modelling. It's the closest I have to 'terms and conditions', I suppose. For example, I won't knowingly wear real fur. I won't take part in anything I deem potentially offensive (religiously or politically). I won't pose in ways I feel are overtly sexual or gratuitously explicit. It's a pretty standard little list (I realise these things are quite subjective, but that's largely the point), except for one thing I include: 'vanity'.

Here is something you might not know about me: despite the fact that my images are often described as 'pretty', 'soft', 'romantic', 'lovely', etc, and despite the fact that I recently responded to a flattering comment on my facebook page with the words 'Don't forget I only show the pretty ones!', I am not scared of looking unpolished, 'imperfect' or unpretty. This is what I mean by saying that I don't want to do 'vanity'. I am interested in emotion and expression - and HONESTY, which means I'm not afraid to explore the areas of humanity which aren't so pleasing to the eye. (I'm rarely taken up on this, but that's OK too. :-) ) I'm also happy to be completely unphotoshopped in photos (and often am). I'm totally happy with my body, which is a completely different feeling from subscribing to the idea that it is 'perfect'; it isn't - my bones are such that I will always be pearshaped (apart from perhaps, as my Mum used to promise me, when I get pregnant and my breasts grow to balance things out...). Which brings me to...

2
Awareness. Awareness is the thing. I'm aware of my strengths and my weaknesses. I'm aware of angles which make me look hot and angles which make me look definitely not. I have a massive amount of body awareness. I can isolate muscles most people don't know they have. One of the things recommended to new models who want to 'learn to pose' is to practise in front of a mirror. I confess I've actually never ever done this, but I usually have a good idea of exactly what a pose is going to look like. I think this is to do with my dance background more than anything, and then also from noticing what works and what doesn't when I've looked at the images after a shoot. It's always fun to see the images on the back of the camera during a shoot anyway, as you can see how the lighting is working for what you're doing, what kind of crops/compositions are happening and what's going on in the background! But what I mean is this: I generally have a good idea of how to work with my strengths. I'm aware that I'm not perfect, but I'm also aware that I can look good, and that I'm lucky to have a healthy body which functions well and does what I ask of it, so I think it would be a bit hideous of me to complain or worry. I think this realisation, along with my modelling, has made me completely comfortable and happy in my own skin, so much so that vanity isn't even an issue.

I'm also much more aware of what my face looks like than I used to be... This is going to sound bizarre, but for the first 12-18 months of my modelling (I've been doing it for just over 2 years now), I kinda thought that a lot of the nice shots were slight flukes; that I didn't look like that in real life and that I was essentially getting lucky or even 'getting away' with things a bit. I thought I must be - it made me giggle. I was just 'me' and I was getting people piling on huge compliments.... 'Beautiful', 'stunning', 'gorgeous'.... all that stuff. By contrast, I can accept now that the camera doesn't lie and most likely never did - a nice shot of my face is a nice shot of my face, whether due to flattering lighting or what, and without magic or trickery (except the sort that shows your face the wrong way round by way of left-to-right hocus pocus!), therefore, I might have an alright face.

3
In some ways, I am probably less vain now than before I started modelling. I wasn't massively vain then either, but I worried more about what people thought of my appearance, which in my opinion is closer to the true definition of vanity. Today I got on a train with zero make up on (as I only had time to do it on the train, in order to not miss it!). My younger self would have found this perversely exciting, a sort of thrill but mostly terrifying, since people would see my ACTUAL FACE. I now realise that a. I really don't look different without make up on, it's just that my features aren't 'enhanced', and b. even if I did look rough, gross, half-dead, etc (although see 'a'), absolutely no one would care or even notice. It's silly to think that they would. I'm just another stranger in the street, not out to impress anyone, and that's fun.

I have always thought that most people are beautiful if you look at them properly. What's beautiful to me is character and a person's story, and if you can see that in the way they hold themselves, in little details about their manner and in the movements they make with their unique features and structures - if they have grace, kindness, un-self-conscious openness, an endearing awkwardness, stress, fear, vulnerability, humour; slight hints of emotion, history, the things which make up a life and leave traces on their physicality, then a person holds massive interest for me.

4
It's possible to pose so much, for example for 8 full days in a row, that when you get home you find yourself noticing the way your cat is sprawled out on the grass outside and think, 'Oh, good pose; nice shape; good leg angle.' At these times, you wonder if you're more than a little mad, but that's OK. I know at least two people who pose in their sleep. (Incidentally, I always appreciate people who, like me, sit weirdly without noticing, just because it's comfortable, with legs stretched or curled in unexpected possibilities. I get particularly creative in the cinema.)

5
Possibly, an ultimate compliment in the art world is calling someone a 'goddess'. I see this a lot - I've had people using the word when commenting on some of my images, and I've used it myself in relation to other images of models I think conjure up something mythological and timeless, womanly and powerful. It's a great word. However, I sometimes find it a little awkward; it seems so extreme and worshipful, like there is a pedestal for the model put up by mere mortal onlookers. It's meant as a positive thing, of course, and it's hugely flattering, but it's also a little uncomfortable. I don't know if anyone will agree with me or know what I mean, especially as, like I say, I have been known to use the word myself.

Hhhm. I was thinking yesterday, when I felt guilty after being booked through an agency for a 2-hour shoot but was sent home after 10 mins (as the art director was happy they'd got the shot they wanted), maybe I need to learn to be more of a diva...

Monday, 11 April 2011

At the beach! ... And around the house (when the house is a spanish villa!)

Just a few more from Spain (see last post)... This time by Gregory Brown.



 (Yes, b&w/colour indecision - I have many versions of each!)













 



 More soon...

Greg and John (already!) have a fantastic book available featuring Hannah Ashlea, the other model on the trip, and I. Check it out if you'd like to own some copies of the photographs they took during the week: Andelusianudes, by Gregory Brown and John Evans.