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Lilith Etch

I can’t remember how Lilith and I managed to organise a shoot together, I recall her getting bookings before her West Highland Way hike, anyway I am very glad we did. I also remember it being an evening shoot which is unusual for me, however it was very much a fun shoot with laughs and friendly banter along the way. I picked her up from the station and as I was putting her bags in the boot of the car she went round to the drivers side of the car, as she was from Sweden this would have been the passenger side. I asked if she was driving, she looked confused, looked at the steering wheel then laughed and we swapped places. The whole evening went along in the same jocular and jovial fashion. First some art nude shapes.

Lilith Etch

A little more shapes using the cylinder props…..

Then adding some raggedy clothes to add textures and flow….

Lilith Etch

Some more colour and textures and floor work….

Lilith Etch
Lillith Etch
Lilith Etch

And finally when time was marching on we did some three quarter length shots before packing it in for the night….


I know this blog is more image heavier than normal but there were so many varied images that I felt needed shared, this is indeed a testament to Lilith’s versatility and modelling ability. The time was up on our shoot and yet I felt there was still much left to do, perhaps some other time I hope. Lilith is a lovely person, very much a free spirit grounded in reality and experiencing whatever the world has to offer. It was a delight working with her and I hope everyone takes the opportunity to get the Lilith experience when they can. Highly Recommended.

FIAP at a Crossroads

So it’s been over 2 years since I entered a FIAP salon, this was due to FIAP rules. However my FIAPp distinction should be coming through soon which means I can enter salons again, but what do I aim for? I have 2 paths I can take; I can follow the Diamond levels which means I am no longer listing acceptances but listing awards instead, or do I compile an MFIAP panel. It’s a tricky decision, I have more than enough for a panel but I think I would value the Diamond levels more, even though FIAP say the MFIAP is the pinnacle distinction. I must admit I miss entering salons so maybe I could do both. I’m not sure, perhaps the easiest option is to do both but at a leisurely pace.

I have to say I’ve hated waiting the two year gap, it feels like being in limbo or waiting for a bus that never arrives. Anyways I thought I’d post some random awarded images from the Platinum level…there were 33 of them so I wont post them all. All of them can be found here

Curvaceous, Fredau – PSA Gold

The Cross, Salon Gold – Lulu Lockhart
Rachelle S, DPW Gold, Salon Bronze 4 x HMs – Rachelle Summers
When Angels Sleep, 2nd Prize, Salon HM – Joceline Brooke Hamilton
A Red Diaz, Salon Silver – Helen Diaz
Madame Bink Salon HM
Shelter, GPI HM, CFU Bronze, Salon Gold – Rachelle Summers
Kimono and Ivory, IAP HM – Ivory Flame
Snared, ICM HM – Stephanie Dubois
Red in a Red Hat, Salon HM – Chrissie Red
M Lavelle, Salon Praise -Keira Lavelle

Normally during the EFIAP levels I park an image once it wins an award, I find it more efficient to do this and move on to other images, strategy is important when entering salons otherwise a lot of money could be spent needlessly. However if I am to do the Diamond levels the strategy changes entirely, instead of parking I need to re-use any awarded images because awards are the main focus. Another aspect is that to gain 50 awards per year is a fairly ambitious prospect but not only that, the first year is only 8 month therefore it would take some concerted effort to gain the first level in the first year. Perhaps that’s a good challenge to do before compiling an Mpanel…..if so I’d better get a move on!

Artemis in Shapes and Colour

So in August 2018 the lovely Artemis came round for a shoot, studio stuff this time as last year we did a stonking full day on location at St Cyrus. Artemis arrived as I was struggling with the overhead octobox, lashing it to the wall to try and balance the thing over the studio floor. So after a quick chinwag and a cuppa we set about getting some shots of shapes and shadows.

Artemis Fauna
Artemis Fauna

Then a little colour for good measure…..

Artemis Fauna
Artemis Fauna

Then we used the same light source for these two portraits..

Artemis Fauna

So after a quick cuppa…we changed to the table top and again a single light source from a strip box…

Artemis Fauna

A small of touch of red next I think…..

Artemis Fauna

Then for a complete change we did some clamshell lighting for 3/4 length images…

Artemis Fauna

Then…..I showed Artemis my wife’s gown and she fell in love with it, so much so she asked me to get one for her and post it when she got home….it’s the Stork gown.

Artemis Fauna

Then finally I had this idea for twa lads on the sofa pigging out on beer and snacks! Which we turned into a humorous GIF..


And so ended our shoot together…always a fun time with Artemis, always productive and different…..always looking forward to the next Artemis shoot.

Jessica Taylor

On to Summer of 2018 and Dionne and I booked Jessica Taylor for a shoot, in the studio. As you do in the summer! It was a scorching day and I picked Jessica up from a very busy St Andrews and headed to the studio which was also very hot inside, perfect for some art nude though. First of all we had a cuppa while we waited on Dionne to arrive, cuz after all when its hot you drink hot tea…logical really. Once Dionne arrived we got down to shooting…

Jessica Taylor
Jessica Taylor

Then a quick change into some more lacy stuff….a top Artemis sent me.

Jessica Taylor
Jessica Taylor

A couple more changes….an Ivory Flame dress

Jessica Taylor

A change of lighting for some magazine style shots..

More lighting changes for some floor work, some sheer and lingerie..

Jessica Taylor

Some horizontal clamshell portraits

Then finally some art nude to finish the day off…

Jessica Taylor

And before you know it time was up and Jessica was dying for her meat feast pizza!!, It was a fab shoot, Dionne and I got some amazing shots and I cannot recommend Jessica highly enough, she is a lovely personage, engaging, funny and chatty….if she’s in your area make sure you book her.

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.