Monday, 18 February 2013

House of Flying Daggers

Hello from Belgium! I've just completed my final shoot and am relaxing now here in Brussels. Below are two quick behind-the-scenes shots taken on my phone from a shoot with the lovely Johan Verlust and the excellent make up artist and hair stylist Fraukje Van de Wiele.I'm looking forward to seeing the proper images from this shoot (this was just one set we did, but I rather liked it!). :-)

Highlights in this rather multi-lingual country have so far included free plates of radishes, free limoncello and ouzo(??) (I didn't have the heart to tell the enthusiastic waiter I don't drink, so I drank), a successful foray into the world of the waffle (I quite liked it!), restaurants that claim they have 'no legumes' after I settle in and  order the one vegetarian thing on the menu, pasta legumes... Seriously? The entire restaurant has no vegetables? Slightly worrying. (I left, obviously, and stumbled instead into an AMAZING restaurant that made me very happy (goats cheese served on a bed of apple, scattered with honey, strawberries, raisins and walnuts), so if that's not evidence for the 'it's meant to happen' brigade, then I can't possibly think what is.)

I have also done some non-foody things here in Belgium, I promise - e.g. I spent a lovely, lazy afternoon dawdling around art galleries - including Magritte's crazy surrealism - (this was my first trip to Belgium, so I left myself a little bit of free time), and topped up my postcard collection by a humble 47. Yep, I don't buy shoes (though I am hoping to stumble across a new pair of trainers soon, as my super dooper spin spot dance ones make me just a tad too spinny during planking, etc., and really shouldn't be worn when driving), I buy art postcards! Seriously, though, it really excites me. I'm going to create my third new massive board of them for my room. I even had a practise run on my brand new hostel-friend's bed, when I got back. (I'm too cool.) I'll probably blog a picture of the results, along with my previously made board, in case anyone else shares my joy of 'I get a print of this amazing amazing amazing painting for 1 euro'. And the Grand Place is beautiful, and somehow reminds me of the incredibly brilliant main square in Mexico City. (Though maybe that's just because that's the last 'main square' I saw. I don't know.) I also went to Bruges yesterday with a lovely American girl I met, and we had fun jumping around in front of the windmills on the outskirts of the old town. I think I'm going to have to do a bit of research to find out if the vial of blood we saw really is likely to have belonged to Jesus or not; if so, that's really quite amazing.

Anyway, I get to wander around Brussels a bit more tomorrow before getting on the eurostar, partly on the search for some statues of some kids (and a dog) pissing, or something. I've been promised an equal mix of delight and anti-climax. Haha. On my next trip (I might possibly come back sometime in the summer), I'm going to also look around Ghent and Antwerp, I think, as I've heard that Ghent in particular is a great place to visit.

And now, I'm blogging some images I've been excited to see and show you! There's something a bit 'House of Flying Daggers' about these images, I think (despite that beautiful film being set in China, not Japan). I was asked to model for a photographer on behalf of his friend who is submitting a design project on Japanese modes of dress set in a western context. This kimono was the one actually worn by Ally on her wedding day; so it was such an honour to wear it! It was so beautiful - and very heavy! - and I learnt that, while the western fashion is generally to show off a woman's waist, the opposite is true in Japan, or at least in this context; my waist was padded to be in line with my hips!! For what I'm used to, that's not the most flattering stylistic decision, but it's interesting, isn't it? Different aesthetics for different cultures... It was such a fun shoot, and I think the photographer, London-based Will White, made them so stunning! The make up was by Ema Doherty. We got quite excited about all the jumping around... and as soon as Will handed me the parasol, we both immediately knew without speaking that I had to do a 'caught in the wind' jump. I'm looking forward to a second shoot sometime soon. And I CANNOT WAIT to go to Japan later this year; I just find the culture so fascinating and beautiful, and there are so many different contrasts and aspects to it. I've been wanting to go there for so long!

Which are your favourites?

...And if anyone cares to educate me about some beautiful Japanese films I should watch, please do!