Helen Stephens Studio Day

It was still April when Helen Stephens came round for a shoot, I had managed to organise a studio day with camera club members and I had reserved the last 2 hours of the day for myself, It was a bit of a marathon for Helen but she powered through like … ah..erm…a powering thing. With lots of different looks and styles throughout the day, not to mention make up changes, a very demanding day to say the least.

Anyways, by the time I got round to doing my couple of slots I was a bit puggled myself as the studio was turning into an oven, mind you better hot than cold I reckon.

 

Change of clothes…or should I say…putting clothes on…

 

 

 

Blue Kimono style…..so, kinda taking clothes off again…

 

 

Then maybe my biker jacket…..just to roughen things up a bit…

 

 

So some more stuff with the clam lighting set up….a tad more colour…

 

 

Then I’m thinking…..too many clothes now…let’s get rid of them…

 

 

Ok..Ok ….just a little bit more….

 

 

Then to bring the shoot to a close we do some overhead shots……and as usual I’m up a ladder kinda hovering over Helen not being able to see what I’m taking and hoping I don’t fall on her!

 

 

Another fab day all in all and although I only had a coupe of hours to shoot I was amazed at the variations and diversity of the types of image we managed to capture, not all of them are shown here, Anyways we packed up and headed home for a well earned snooze and a hearty meal, Helen played a stormer that day, well beyond what was expected, I know the other camera club members felt the same. Helen Stephens is  highly recommended, if you haven’t booked her yet then stop pissing about and get yer act together, book a  top model and all round lovely person.

 

Ivory Flame at Tentsmuir

Well Spring sprang with its usual Scottish unpredictability, it was overcast with a chilly wind. I turned up with Keira Lavelle at Tentsmuir car park to meet Ivory Flame, the idea was to do an hour duo shoot and Keira would leave for another shoot with her next photographer.  This shoot with Keira would form the story of Ran, the Sea Goddess and Keira the Witch, some samples here to start with; Ivory Flame playing Ran on the beach.

An hour passes so quick and we had to say goodbye to Keira, meanwhile we pressed on through the forest looking for a specific location…..which proved to be quite elusive!

However on the way we got a few shots from another location I had in mind, using a red cape in the forest to add mystery and interest.

However the location proved to be a wind tunnel of the cold sort but Ivory Flame performed like a trooper.

On our tramp around the woods we found some gorse to shoot against…..

and a mossy floor…

Then a quick return to the cape as featured in The Hedge Witch..

Then eventually near the end of the day we found the little section of the forest I was looking for, it had a changed a little but it would do for our purposes. This next theme was inspired by some paintings…..its a common theme of a washing woman in a river, I wanted to try and replicate that style using topaz plugins to emulate a painting.

I have to say this was extremely difficult and I still haven’t got it right yet, though Ivory Flame certainly did, we did quite a lot of shots round this one and she nailed them every time. It’s the post processing that I’m still working on. I think I’ll return to this theme at a later date.

On the way home we found a favourite fallen tree that been shot a few times, in fact I think Lulu Lockhart fell off the log just a couple of months ago when working with another photographer.

By this time what warmth there was of the day had definitely gone, which means it was time for us to be gone. All in all it was a very busy but totally productive day. The Story of Ran and Keira working out beautifully and both Ivory Flame and Keira were stunningly good. The Hedge Witch story also worked out much better than I expect even though it was an extremely short story, the images speak for themselves really. This was all down to Ivory Flame who got the concept immediately and ran with it to perfection. There’s no need for me to recommend Ivory Flame as her reputation is way beyond my recommendation. Her work speaks for itself.

So back home for dinner featuring Rhubarb Crumble made from the Flame’s father’s allotment, and cooked up by Allison…yum yum!!

Keira Lavelle in Spring

April 2017….what a busy month, well at least one week was, with 3 shoots in one week it seemed like it was going to be a bit of a marathon. In the end it wasn’t, though in one Day I had two shoots with an overlap of Keira And Ivory Flame, which worked out very well.

Anyway it all starts with Keira in the studio, as usual stopping off for snacks on the way ,after picking her from the train station. Kettle on, lights sorted out, make up done…..erm Keira that is, not me ~cough~

So we started off with a newly made raggedy shift type thing that Allison had made, simple stuff to start off with.

Let’s add a chair….

Now let’s add some…erm more tea!..while I think of what to do next!

Oh I know …. a table and a cape!

Let’s use the table for unconventional purposes…..

Oh is it tea time yet?!…what a good plan….then something a bit moodier!

Oh let’s do some portrait-ish style of the half clothed sort…

Then full nude…just cuz that’s the way we roll….

Then more te…..no wait we need to head to the beach and meet Ivory Flame, no time for tea or snacks. Keira packed all her bags and just wore the costume for the beach and her big overcoat, and we scooted to the beach, only 10 mins away. These shots With Ivory Flame formed the story of Ran the Sea Goddess and Keira the Witch, here’s a quick sample.

Ivory Flame and Keira Lavelle

Ivory Flame and Keira Lavelle

Keira Lavelle

Then before you know it time was up and Allison had arrived to take Keira to the train station to meet her next photographer, while I continue shooting with Ivory Flame.

Ayways, it was another killer shoot with Keira…she is an absolute delight to work with, virtually unstoppable, constantly posing, she stretched and bent her way through the entire shoot producing so many amazing shapes and expressions for me to work with. Then on the beach on a cold day she simply ran into the freezing water without a moments hesitation…and I do mean ran. I can’t recommend her highly enough.

 

Ran the Goddess and Keira the Witch

Ran:-

Ran the Sea Goddess scoured the beach on the aftermath of the storm,  she fully expected to find a soul in need.

Earlier she was dozing in her watery chambers when she heard the cry of anguish, pain and fear. Immediately she called forth a huge violent storm. She sensed a soul in trouble and the presence of sailors not far from her and sent the storm in their direction. The scream had pierced her senses and awoke a feeling of outrage and retribution.

Now that the waters had calmed a little and the storm subsided the beach should reveal at least something though she was unsure what. The sailors, she knew, had met their demise on the sea bed and by the looks of it all had been accounted for but she was still looking for the source of the wail that caused her to react.

The beach so far had been empty and desolate but she would not give up.

—————————————————————————-

Keira:-

The sack on young Keira’s shoulders was heavy and burdensome, it dug into the muscles on her back as she struggled to follow the priest down the old path to the beach. The priest was a newcomer to the town, he only arrived 2 years ago but in that time he had converted the entire town to Christianity and wormed his slimy way into the favours of the town elders. His influence and alleged piety convinced the elders to hang her grandmother as a witch, she would have been hung too had the elders not convinced the priest to keep her as a servant and dogsbody. Her parents had died from a plague that swept through Ireland when she was a baby so her grandmother had raised her up to be a healer and midwife…and yes if truth be told; a witch. And as such her mind was quick and powerful with heighten senses, even now she sensed the apprehension in the priest as they approached the beach. You could smell the fear through the unwashed clothes he wore, this hateful man who was usually overweeningly confident and arrogant now walked with less assured steps.

Once on the beach they were accosted by a horde of Vikings and presented to their chief, the priest talked quickly with gestures, he had come to bargain for the town’s safety, buying their freedom with the sack of valuables that Keira carried. The chief called to one his men to inspect the sack for it’s worth all the time his eyes lingered on Keira, the lust blatant and unashamed. The man inspecting the sack nodded his approval and the priest sighed with relief and pushed Keira into the arms of the Chief. The Chief and his men were armoured for battle and the smell of metal and sweat invaded Keira’s nostrils but the lust on his eyes froze Keira to the core. She had suspected that the priest was up to no good but she did not expect to be part of the bargain.

The Chief shouted a command to his men and they hauled her off to the long boat, he would deal with her shortly and perhaps give her to his men later if they found no satisfaction on the next raid. He caught the priests oily smirk as he watched Keira being taken away, the hypocrisy of this so called priesthood smacked of cowardice. With one quick and powerful motion he buried his axe in the priest’s skull, let their God cast judgement on him now.

The men boarded the long boat fully armoured, with effort they planned to make the next raid before too long, they pushed off from the beach and before leaving the shore line Keira managed to glance back onto the sandy shore to see it stained red with the blood of the dead priest. She turned to see the Chief watching her as he barked out orders to his men, their language was alien to her but the intent is evident and the men were eager for the battle and conquest of the next raid.

The Chief however was intent on the conquest of Keira. Once the men and the ship were on their way along the coastline he approached Keira at the end of the long boat and stripped young Keira of her clothes, leaving her with just a simple shift. Keira was terrified by the brutality and the size of the man, she now understood that this would be her life from now on, subjugation and sexual slavery. She was thrown down and pinned to the deck, although frozen in action her powerful mind screamed out in terror, anguish and injustice as the Chief vented his lust upon her.

Almost immediately a violent storm struck the boat from nowhere, no warning or signs given, any man standing or not holding on to anything was instantly blown off deck and into the sea. The sky turned black and the sea churned with enormous waves that tossed the long boat  around like a cork. Man after man were cast into the boiling water only to be dragged under by the weight of their armour. With one massive wave the boat tipped on its side and Keira was flung into the salty water, there was no time to recover from her ravishment but her survival instincts kicked in and she scrambled to keep afloat unhindered by heavy clothing or armour. She swam away from the gradually sinking boat and headed back to shore. The storm strangely aided her in her struggles and she was blown towards the shore, however it was a long swim and the cold water drained her strength. Every ounce of energy got harder and harder to muster, a distant beach seemed almost in reach but the effort felt beyond her. The need for survival pushed her on but increasingly she sank more and more under the water and every time it drained her further.

Eventually she felt sand under feet ……..

and she scrabbled ashore with her last reserves of energy …..

only to collapse at the waters edge.

—————————————————————————-

Ran:-

At the water’s edge she finds a scantly clad young woman, obviously cast up and beached due to the storm.

The poor bedraggled woman was exhausted and unresponsive to simple touch. Ran pulled the woman further from the waterline and upon closer inspection found that she was in a serious way, her breathing was shallow and weak, her body cold as death.

She dragged the near lifeless form along the sand and into the shelter of the nearby dunes.

She was certain this was the source of the scream though it was difficult to be sure, she stripped young Keira and checked for more serious injuries but apart from bruises and scrapes she found none. The young woman was simply exhausted and near death, her heart had barely enough energy to beat and Ran knew soon it would stop, the life energy had run out. There was little to be done with normal healing skills, however Ran was not mortal and had no such limitations.

She probed the mind of this washed up form and found it to be strong and interesting, obviously some training had been used at some point. And of course she was very beautiful, perhaps she could keep this one as a lover.

She hesitated though, the healing gift she considered using was frowned upon by the other gods and was not to be used lightly, for it gave the healed mortal a life that exceeded their normal lifespan by a long way. Their health would not be affected by disease or old age but they would still be mortal. On the other hand her mind was unusual and the gift would have to be used now before it was too late….she looked deeply at Keira and was overwhelmed by her beauty.

Ran  rested Keira’s head upon her lap and bestowed the gift of the gods, for good or ill the deed was done. Keira did not respond and Ran wondered if she was too late but gradually her breathing returned to normal and she could feel the heart beat in her chest becoming stronger.

The heat from sheltered dunes warmed  Keira’s body and the life started to return to normal, she moaned a little and tried to move but was still too weak, at last she opened her eyes to find her rescuer looking down at her. Ran’s own beauty  was angelic and her demeanour soft and gentle, the touch of her hand was like silk  and her caresses were gentle and loving. A stark contrast to the brutality of the Norse Chief, she stared into Ran’s eyes and was spellbound. She instantly submitted completely to Ran…

Oh yes, thought Ran, you will do nicely…..

 

 

To be continued….in the next chapter titled ‘Out of the frying pan….’

Ran played by Ivory Flame

Keira played by Kiera Lavelle

Concept and photography by John McNairn

 

 

The Hedge Witch

The Hedge Witch has always lived…..

In the Deep Dark forest…

With Herbs and Magic ………

She visits the Sick and Needy…..

She comes to those who call for her…

No matter who….

No matter when….

She will come…..

In mortal guise….

But a price needs to be paid…..

For she cannot last forever….

She may Summon you…

And you will heed her call….

For she needs a piece of your Soul….

And you will give it Gladly….

And then she will rest….

In the Forest Deep….

Until called for again….

 

The Hedge Witch – Ivory Flame

Photography and Concept – John McNairn

Lulu Returns

Sadly I didn’t get to work with Lulu Lockhart last year but we did organise this shoot many months in advance. This year she was coming up to Scotland with Tim Pile to attend one of Tim’s lectures at Edinburgh PS, and whilst she was here she took the operchancity to get a few shoots at the same time. As usual I picked her up from the train station and immediately started to catch up with various things in our life. Although it was now spring it was still way too cold for location work so we invaded the studio and settled down to do some bits and bobs on the sofa.

Lulu Lockhart

Lulu Lockhart

A quick change into a Rob Roy shirt and a cuppa tea, discussions on worldly events such as Brexit and Denmark…

Lulu Lockhart

Lulu Lockhart

Then out came the red Kimono….

More materials…

A Large splash of Red!….

More tea, snacks and chattery…..then some Monochrome and a final colour to finish off the day!

Lulu Lockhart

Another delightful shoot with the lovely Lulu, hopefully it wont be so long until the next time. An all round general lovely person and class model, it’s always a fun time and highly productive too.

Highly recommended as I’ve said a few times before.

 

The Curse of Ophelia

Ophelia’s heart is broken and her mind doesn’t fair much better, in an act of desperation she returns to the woods and waterfall where she and her ex lover lay entwined. A blissful moment to relive, where the sound of the forest and waterfall mixed with the strong but loving caresses of her loved one.  But that past emotion is now a shattered memory, as dead as the roses she carries in her arms; the last gift from her lover. As with many young men his eyes roamed too far and found another lover, another conquest and another heart to break.

Heart brokenly she scatters the dead flowers on the forest floor where they once loved, she will no longer cherish them as the bruised memory is simply too painful.

She makes her way the top of the waterfall and pauses for a while, the cold fast flowing water swirling around her feet creates the only feeling she has sensed for a long time. The last few days have made her numb and melancholy, each passing day has seen her dip in and out of mental anguish and insanity.

She peers below now and then to contemplate the dizzy drop to the bottom of the waterfall, she feels no fear and no anticipation just a crushing ache that is unbearable  She prays to the Gods for relief and mercy but receives no answer and no sense of devotion.

There is no need for preparation there is just the act, a simple step, a small thing really, an act of no consequence.

She falls down the waterfall, striking hard the rocks below and drowns, however the Gods do not look kindly on those that take their own life, even if they are negligent to the prayers of those in desperation.

Ophelia is marked and cursed by the Gods for her own demise, they command her spirit to remain at the bottom of the waterfall, there to lure errant young men to their doom. For 500 years she is to use her feminine wiles and enchantments to trap and blind man’s senses and guide them to their death and she once died herself.

However over the years fewer men came to hear her calls and enchantments, her spirit became even more troubled and loneliness ate at her and she became even more desperate to ensnare young men even though they died in her pool.

Near the end she could barely stand to even look at the waterfall and as the years marched on and on she covered her eyes.

Eventually 500 years pass by and the Gods release her from the pool but they still do not grant her death, merely freedom from her pool.

Amber Castle

So she leaves the pool a free spirit but times have changed and the world has moved on, she  does not recognise this new world of machines and strange devices. She retreats to the forest and mountains close to her pool, and there she dwells still …. a lost disowned spirit roaming through the heather and playing with the trees, always waiting for a chance to rest the rest of death.

The Curse of Ophelia.

Played by Amber Castle

Written by John McNairn

Photography by John McNairn

 

Elle Beth in the Studio

Elle Beth had contacted me months and months before we actually got together for a shoot, she obviously believes in planning well ahead and it seemed ages ago that we originally set a date for our shoot. However late February soon came along and needless to say I had the Flu or some other buggy thing and I was not on my sparkliest form. I dosed myself up with lemsips and such like and picked Elle up from the station, we drove off to the studio, stopping off for snacks obviously…cuz snacks are important. In we go, kettle on, tea made, and whizz bang wollop away we went.

Simple shapes and form first….

 

I also found a fantastic Asian shop in Dundee that sold a huge range of high quality fabrics, so I bought some……as you do.

 

Elle Beth

Elle Beth

Elle Beth

After some more tea and a natter about good locations for shoots in Scotland, we changed the lights around went for some more Hollywood style dark shots.

(Have to say by this time I was struggling and feeling a bit poorly…hey ho)

It’s Sofa time!!

Elle Beth

Then another change for some Clam Shell lighting…..I just love this lighting technique for three quarter length portrait style shots, it lends itself beautifully for adding textures.

We finished in good time as Elle needed to get a specific train and I wanted to make sure we made it without any drama, which we did. Anyway I hope to work with Elle Beth again she is a lovely person and a very professional model, quiet but friendly and good at listening. Modelling wise she knows all the right poses for the right situation and takes direction well when needed, another highly recommended model to add to the growing list.

On a slightly separate note I used these images to try out a new post processing technique I kinda haphazardly stumbled upon. More practise required but its getting there.

 

A Soft Summer

So it would appear that Rachelle Summers and I have now had our tenth shoot together, how time flies and it certainly doesn’t seem like ten, we have still lots of ideas and locations to shoot. So here’s to the next ten shoots. I have to give credit to Virtual Images and Ivory Flame as the set was inspired by one of their images and Cheryl Elizabeth’s hippy tent. I used a mixture of the two sets as a jumping of point for this shoot. Lots colour and soft cushions etc etc.

As the shoot went on we built up the cushions and colours but started of with a plain white textured quilt.

Rachelle Summers

Rachelle Summers

 

A little lace top…

Rachelle Summers

And a splash of colour….

Rachelle Summers

Rachelle Summers

 

Now for something a little experimental….

Rachelle Summers

Adding a little more colour and texture…..and the precarious use of a step ladder!

Now to blitz everything with more colour!

Rachelle Summers

Some portraits….

And finally a little swishing around with the fan on….

 

I got to admit to feeling a bit poorly during this shoot, I was suffering from a stinking cold however we managed to get there with cups of tea, laughs and much friendly banter. I also noticed later that I was the 1000th person to add a reference to Rachelle’s Purple Port page. That is a huge achievement for a model and it is well deserved, Rachelle works extremely hard and is very professional so I’m not surprised to be the 1000th person.

Here’s to the next shoot 🙂

 

 

Anna Johansson

One cold January day…no wait, one extremely pigging freezing Janaury morning in which even Frosty the Snowman got chilblains and frostbite  I arranged to shoot with Anna Johansson, she was staying in Dundee although she hailed from Sweden. Needless to say I organised it to be a studio shoot…way to cold for anything else. So in we go, kettle on, tea made and make up put on…erm not me that is. Whiz bang flash and we’re off to a flying start…

Anna Johansson

 

Then…oh look…it’s chair….how strange?!

 

 

Anna Johansson

Then something a little more creative perhaps…..

Anna Johansson

Anna Johansson

Then more tea and snacks……cuz snacks are important!    ©(HS) 😉

also it’s time to get a step ladder out….and hope I don’t fall off and collapse onto the model from a great height, that would not make a good reference!.

Then we moved the sofa over, its becoming nearly as famous as the chair now..

Anna Johansson

Anna Johansson

Anna Johansson

And lastly some portraits…..to round the morning off.

Anna Johansson

Anna Johansson

Anna Johansson

Anna Johansson

Anna Johansson

 

What a very pleasant way to spend the morning, Anna is a fabulous model and a very lovely person too, great fun to work with and makes the shoot a very enjoyable experience. Sadly she is now back in Sweden and I hope she comes back to Scotland again in the Summer, if she does I sincerely recommend booking the Anna Johansson experience because I sure will be.