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A Tiger in the Attic

May in Scotland can be very unpredictable weather wise. It can range from hot to snow, however the day I booked Tigerbelle for a location shoot was distinctly grey and cool, both of us had wrapped up in warm clothes just in case. I picked Tigerbelle up from Montrose station and we headed of to St Cyrus beach, it was a handy location as we were restrained by time and had to return to the station for a specific train. Anyway we parked the car on the cliff top and worked our way down to the beach, first making for the derelict buildings whilst the beach was quiet and free from dog walkers.

We had a quick scout about and jumped straight into things with images from a ‘newly’ opened building.

Moving on from there to the next building, we climbed into the attic I had used before but this time I took some outfits to use. Though nude always works well there because of the light through the skylight window.

tigerbelle
tigerbelle
tigerbelle

So on with the outfits, which being white were extremely tricky under the lighting conditions….

tigerbelle
Tigerbelle

Time for a quick break whilst speaking to a dog walker, who was actually one of the rangers in this nature reserve. The hope is that in the future these buildings will be restored and used as a natural history museum.

The downstairs area for a brighter themed scene, again though, difficult lighting for camera work.

Tigerbelle

At St Cyrus there are plenty of rock formations that would be ideal to use for nude work, however by the time we finished the derelict building the area was beginning to be busy with dog walkers. So we headed straight to the waterfall to take a few scenes there. On the way we tucked into the cave whilst there was no one about….

Tigerbelle

Eventually after dodging the public we get a few shots at the waterfall…

Tigerbelle
tigerbelle

Then lastly we had a few attempts at poses at rock formations but the weather was closing in and both of us were starting to get chilly. At this point I decide it was a good idea to throw Tigerbelle into the sea, well it was cold and damp anyways……why not get colder and wetter! It was way too cold for lots of shots but we did get a few.

tigerbelle

Sadly we had run out of time and we made the slow torturous climb back up the cliff. It was a grand day out all in all, and it is always a treat to work with Tigerbelle and have a general chinwag with a few chuckles thrown in.

Lorelai

Late April I had a studio shoot with a model I had never worked with before, her name was Lorelai and hailed from St Petersburg, i picked her up at her B&B which was 5 mins from the studio. It was a lovely warm day and I did consider whether a beach shoot would have been better but I had already booked the studio. Anyways, the usual routine….kettle on whilst Lorelai applies  make up, a quick brew then on with the show!

Starting with some body shapes

 

Another brew and a light change….

 

Then some textures ….. starting with the Artemis Lace.

 

Then some other bits n bobs……

 

Then we tried an experimental theme, not shown here, and finally a change of lights and ideas.

So for the first time working together I think we kind of gelled and produced some good images. Lorelai was always open to ideas and interpreted them superbly, a highly recommended model. She’s on Purple Port, go check her out, you wont be disappointed.

 

Amber – Cancer Survivor

Some shoots I can remember quite well but this Summer has been a bit unusual, in some ways devastating and in other ways uplifting. As such I have had a series of shoots with Amber and because of the events that unfolded I can’t quite recall specific details in order. Amber had pretty much taken a back seat to modelling and only really models for fun and creativity. She had taken on a full time job and spent most of her free time with family, however life took an unexpected turn in late Spring when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. From here on life changed dramatically for her, at first she couldn’t quite take it all in and it all seemed very surreal because she didn’t feel ill at all. She went for a series of tests and biopsies, the emotional trauma started to kick in about this time and she passed out during the first biopsies. When you feel perfectly fine and healthy its hard to believe that your life is under threat, but such was the case. The emotional rollercoaster is a ride no-one wants but you may have no choice but to hang on and hope you don’t fall off. After a few of attempts at  biopsies the results came back positive for cancer, however there was no knowing how much was there and surgery was the only way to make sure, furthermore time was of the essence….or rather, time was running out. Suddenly life took on a whole new aspect, there was talk of removing lumps and cancerous material, also the possibility of losing her left breast.

It was at this point Amber asked if we could do a shoot on the beach, a kind of pre surgery shoot. The unspoken potential was that this would be the last time her body would be whole. So off we go, down to her favourite beach at Kinshaldy/Tentsmuir for a mixture of clothes and location nudes. Her spirits were high and we both had a lot of fun on the beach, whilst we talked a lot about her condition she still maintained that lust for life and a wonderment of the world.

So skip a few weeks later and Amber is in hospital minus her left breast, a medical balloon where her breast should be and a scar. The hope had been that some material would be removed and that would be the end of it, life isn’t always that simple though and the roll of the dice doesn’t always roll in your favour. Seemingly the cancer was pervasive and the entire breast had to be removed plus chemotherapy was needed to kill of the remaining disease. The rollercoaster ride didn’t seem to be stopping any time soon, the whole emotional drama was overwhelming I think and if it hadn’t been for her kids then I’m not sure she would have taken the chemo. Her physical recovery was good and she had nothing but praise for the hospital staff, plus she was added to the list for reconstruction surgery. There is no getting away from it though, she was mentally drained and emotionally fatigued, at this point you need friends and support the most. Strangely though it wasn’t forthcoming, lots of people shied away from her and support or even just human contact was missing, the loneliness was an unexpected blow to an already weary mind.

At this time I decided to get her in the studio, I’ll be honest here I kind of tricked her into it. I asked her to come along and help me with a new lighting setup…which was actually true but I could have done it without her. I just felt she needed to do something normal again, something familiar that she used to do before surgery. So I picked her up and we headed into the studio. I didn’t have any real ideas as such, I just knew that getting her in the studio would spark off her enthusiasm to be creative and I would just do whatever ideas she wanted.  Practical therapy if you will. When we got there it was easy to see that Amber wanted to show the surgery but also wanted to be sensual and show that losing a breast does not make you any less of a woman. I think this is an extremely important point, while losing a breast is a big deal for a woman it does not mean they become any less beautiful or attractive, the essence of womanhood is still there. With that in mind we did a series of glamour-ish portrait type shots.

The studio shoot really seemed to perk Amber up a bit during a dark period of loneliness and mental turmoil. I suggested we do a studio shoot any time she liked, for her to be creative or outrageous in any way she cared for. By the time we returned to the studio again she had been through two rounds of chemo, it knocked her health and wellbeing out of kilter, as we all know its a very hard process for the body to cope with. I think losing her hair was another reality check about her condition, after a bit of a down period she ordered a new wig and organised another studio session. A rather bizarre one I have to say, when I picked her up at her house she was clutching a jiffy bag, it turns out she had been sent a box of silicon nipples. The hospital had sent her to get a reconstruction appointment and part of it was to measure and match the remaining breast. The result being an interim solution of a box of stick on nipples. In a weird way I can honestly say I have had a box of nipples in my hand….seriously, you couldn’t make it up!

So the studio session featured the stick on nipples, which I have to say fell off a few times but actually was quite successful. However the most important thing about them was…it made Amber feel good about herself, she was well chuffed with them. Obviously they were never meant to be in a photoshoot and quite a bit of post processing had to be done, however they were a successful and welcome addition. The studio theme was again about being sensual and even sometimes on the risque side, a no holds barred celebration of womanhood. This time we were being experimental and not every theme worked but we did have a good time working out what works and what doesn’t.

This brings me up to date shooting wise with Amber so far, she has just finished her third bout of chemo and is halfway through the chemo sessions, the hardest ones are the next three seemingly, then there’s more medication after that with perhaps radiation treatment. All in all though there is hope and the likely hood of a full recovery is good. It does make one pause though and reflect on life. I think had Amber not gone to see about her condition when she did I don’t think she’d have much of a future or even be here today. On a brighter note, the images produced from our shoots has made Amber more popular than ever and she has some shoots lined up with other photographers…..as she says….I’m not dead yet!

 

Helen Stephens does it again!

So April rolls along, strangely enough right after March…how consistent! And Helen Stephens comes for a visit after her workshop weekend with Photoclassic and two other models, Keira Lavelle and Sophia Blake. So we end up in the studio and I’m still pretty excited about the pearl skirt, needless to say we used it.

An interesting feature for the day was that the smoke alarm was erm…alarming. A massive ladder was brought in to sort it out….I was seen using a screwdriver!!

Anyway we bash on with some nude shapes to start of with, using an overhead light set up.

 

Pretty sure we had tea and snacks  to give Helen’s muscles a rest, it may not seem like it but nude shapes can be quite arduous and very tiring. The kettle went on, a few chinwags took place, then we continued with the pearl skirt.

 

……………with the sofa!

So keeping with the sofa, we changed outfits….One of the best things about working with great models is that they are excellent at using props and various outfits. Earlier in the year I went to a vintage clothes sale and bought some dresses and other stuff for silly money. I managed to get a designer dress for £15, it’s lovely shade of purple but strangely these images here worked out best as mono.

 

Moving on for a quick change of seating and outfits….

 

Then finally for some portraits, the lace was from Artemis and the red jacket was from the vintage clothes fare.

 

It’s always the same……too many ideas, never enough time.  Nevertheless it was highly productive; with so many good images it’s always a dilemma when you have to shortlist them for editing.

So back home for Vegan haggis, neeps and tatties. A very fun day as always with Helen.

If you haven’t had a shoot with Helen yet then you are missing out on something special. Highly recommended to anyone and everyone…however….brings snacks 😉

 

Keira on Body Shapes

Well by the time I had got to this shoot I hadn’t actually shot in the studio for nearly 6 months, mainly due to financial reasons. However it was a delight to get to work with Keira again, always good fun working with this lovely personage. This time I wanted to explore a single light set up and body shapes, we used examples from other photographers as a jumping off point and inspiration. Once we got the light set up….a tricky business this time, we were off and running.

There were so many good body shapes that I found it very difficult to find titles for them all, so in an act of pure randomness I decided to use the names of the things I found in the kitchen cutlery drawer……. as you do!

The Tea Cozy

The Tin Opener

The Nut Cracker

The Bottle Opener

The Cork Screw

Chopsticks

The Whisk

The Thermometer

 

Well I didn’t waste too much of the winter as I designed a skirt to use in the images for studio work, and Allison made it. The skirt was split at the front and back with the bottom hem attached to wrist cuffs via a small chain.

However, more of the skirt in future posts. We moved on to do some moody work in a theme I call ‘Between Gentlemen Callers’

This is not me…

 

But this is how I am…

Between Callers….

Again?…Do I have to?….

Finally we used a lace top that I got from Artemis and ended with a portrait…

Implore…..

Children of the Damned

 

Yet another shoot in which we run out of time, but that’s not really a problem as we will return to carry on working on the ideas we missed out on. Keira is always a pleasure to work with and results speak for themselves really..

 

Stephanie’s Studio Day

November 2017 we had a studio day with Stephanie Dubois, strangely enough it was the only studio day to have no women photographers, normally the women out number then men by a long way. Anyways, most of the guys wanted to do portraits, so I set up some simple lighting and Stephanie did the rest in her usual engaging and professional manner. She’s always a delight to work with. As normal on a studio day I took the last two slots and when everyone had been and gone (clutching their prized images in their hot little hands) I set the lights up for a different look for portraits and 3/4 length.

And with a short break for a cuppa…off we went with a Whiz Bang!

 

 

Adding a little lace…….

 

Then a red jacket I got from the vintage fare….

 

Then a raggedy sheer dress…..

 

Then a spot of colour….to end the portraits

 

After another cuppa and a break……I change the lighting and theme and we use one of Stephanie’s designer outfits made by Kathrine Davidson.

 

 

Then the same outfit but this time in white………

 

Another cuppa….and another light change, something more dramatic using a spotlight this time.

 

 

The last image of the day is called Prisoner of the Mind, it’s a portrait of Depression.

 

Then as it always does…the day vanished and it was going home time, another fab shoot with this lovely lady. Everyone was very impressed with her work and her willingness to get good results. I can’t recommend Stephanie highly enough, always professional and always lovely.

 

 

 

Artemis Fauna at St Cyrus

How time flies like a flying speedy thing with wings and a jet engine on boost!

Anyway August 2017 came around and I was very much looking forward to a day out with Artemis on the beach, a different beach from usual this time, St Cyrus. I was there earlier in the year with Amber and we got some special images however the weather was a bit crap and we didn’t get much of a chance to have a really good look about. This time though although the weather was warm it was a bit overcast which kinda worked in our favour as it reduced the heavy contrast for location work. St Cyrus has a cliff path and its quite a steep climb from the car park to the beach, at the bottom is a small group of buildings that Amber and I used the last time. So we headed off to the left along the beach toward some rocks and we found a cool cave, now many people obviously know about the cave but St Cyrus isn’t exactly near me so I didn’t have a clue it was there. Anyways….we made full use of it!

 

There were just too many good places to shoot….and right next the cave was cliff face above a pool….

 

Then….around the corner was a massive waterfall and a ruined building…to get there we had to negotiate through the rocks and dodge the incoming tide. Due to the tide being quite close we only had a limited time at the waterfall, plus the beach was getting busy with people. However we did get some cracking shots.

 

By now we were risking getting cut off by the tide so we scrambled our way back to the cave area…..just to the side of the cave was a large rock formation, seemed a shame to waste it really. The beach was getting quite busy with dog walkers and tourists, a colourful dress was in order…..Artemis wore one too! j/k

 

By this now it was time move away from the more popular area and across to some abandoned buildings next to where I had shot the last time but didn’t get round to. The farthest away building seemed quite interesting with a lot of debris.

 

 

It get’s even messier….

 

Then simpler and less busy…

 

 

By this time the day wearing on so we worked our way back to the car with a final shoot at the last building.

 

Then last but by now means least…..the attic…..

 

By then we were both well hungry and we hauled our sorry souls back up the cliff path and headed to the local cake shop for ….erm….filled baked potatoes, by the time we had that we were too stuffed for cake and headed home. It was indeed a grand adventure of a day with lots of great images and Artemis is always special company and a joy to spend time with. Her modelling speaks for itself and if you haven’t worked with Artemis then you are seriously missing out. We’ve already booked again for Aug 2018, something definitely look forward to.

 

Gemma

The first I time met Gemma was an interesting and unusual day, I was scheduled to attend a work meeting at Hamilton so I contacted Barrie Spence at Pavilion studios to arrange a casual social drop in for a chat after my meeting. Little did I know that it would be my last day at work and that the meeting was a ‘parting of the ways’ at work, it has to be said it was an amicable parting and final arrangement, albeit unexpected. Anyways I turned up at Pavilion Studios to see Barrie and met Gemma there…working on a shoot for another photographer. So I asked Gemma to give me a shout when she was next up in Scotland, which she did in August. I managed to get a camera club studio day organised  which made her trip worthwhile.

The last photographer during the day had Gemma in lingerie so I carried on with that theme for starters…

 

Then a quick change of outfit…..a loose fitting black piece….

 

 

Then a little splash of red from the cloak…..

 

 

….then a complete change to some red velvet….and why not!?!

 

 

Did I mention tea and snacks?…..well we had some then moved on to different lighting for some 3/4 length shots with many changes of outfits…

 

 

Again we were against the clock and I had to make sure Gemma got the right train back at Dundee Station so she could get her connecting flight back home, however we got a lot done and were very productive…in between tea breaks. Gemma is an excellent model and highly recommended……she is also a MUA for shoots and film work.

An AV slideshow for this shoot is here http://www.mrspider.co.uk/?page_id=3764

 

 

CherP in the Studio

Still Summer in 2017 when I saw a casting call in Purple Port from a local model that I hadn’t worked with before, sadly I only had 2 hours to shoot. However I got in touch with Cher and organised a studio time, as anyone who has been to the studio knows its a bit tricky to find and many folks get lost in the darkest depth of Fife…never to be seen again! It’s very much a dangerous prospect and only the adventurous sally forth in search of said studio!.

Anyway Cher got a bit lost, as many do, but we eventually got there in the end and without further ado we got down to some shooting…and tea….can’t go without a cuppa!

Then some nude work on the sofa….

 

Adding a little lingerie….for a splash of colour!

 

Still on the sofa theme…..let’s add a leather duster…

 

 

A quick cuppa then moving on…..and some lace…

 

…..and leather…..

 

And finally something a little softer…..

 

All this in only two hours including tea!…good result!

Anyways, Cher was excellent and highly recommended, very professional and friendly with a super look and style. If you get a chance to book her do it….cuz I most certainly will at a later date!

Heather May Corvid

 

 

Ok so despite my last blog Summer did actually happen in Scotland and it was on one hot Summers day that I booked Heather May Corvid. She and Sassy Su had hired an apartment to stay and use for shoots in the middle of the old part of Aberdeen. Now I do like the challenge of Hotel/Apartment shoots, the light is unpredictable and you have to adapt to the conditions of each scene, some rooms are dark and some are lighter etc etc. Then there’s the decor and furniture, lots to work with and lots that can be a challenge.

Anyway we started out in a dark room with a lovely window, however not much light coming through it…which softened it.

 

And just a little lace…..

Moving into the main sitting room with large windows and curtains, a bit more light now for this high key image…..

 

However there was an office block across the street that could see inside so we decided to make the room dark and moody…with some lingerie..

 

In the hall I spotted some low level skirting lights….could be interesting I thought….worth a bash!….. ala The Carpet Crawlers

 

The dark and moody was the way forward so we headed back into the main room and moved some of the furniture about to create a scene….with more lace.

Then back to a little nude work with much shifting of sofa and chairs…and keeping the moody feel…..

Finally time was running out and we finished with some portraits with the able help of Sas holding the reflector…..

 

What a fab afternoon!….Heather is a lovely model and expert tea maker, very friendly and chatty. She has a lovely look and an infectious cheery smile. Such a pleasure to work with.