Thursday, 25 February 2010

Collaborating with an Angel Part 4

So now we are at the next stage which is the hair and makeup. Yes the hardest bit of all making me look good. The photo's are kindly taken by Neeta Madahar, so I give credit where credit is due. In the background you can see Kelly Cox who will be doing the hair and makeup. The look you see here has altered somewhat since it was taken but you can get some idea. Also finally a shot of the crepe paper irises we so diligently slaved over all weekend and Neeta has kept going with them this week too!

We tried the jewelry on and played with different ideas regarding the hair which is now going to be up in a geisha style with a curly twist. (Well, you see what they have to work with) The false eyelashes on this photo have been upgraded to some expensive Shu Uemura numbers which look very fabulous. I was also in my corset for much of the afternoon with the top half of the dress which has now been made to fit me perfectly. Never has so much effort gone into every detail of a shoot. It makes me feel very special I must say. Far more than I deserve. The nails (which are false in case I break some in the days leading up to the shoot) will be attached tomorrow by Kelly then off to the nail bar to get them painted like the iris petals. I shall be taking a real and fake one with me to show the nail technician. This girly business is quite exhausting. I have no idea how the stars keep up with it all. So the look is established, the work and prep has been done. Tomorrow will be the set build and lighting tests, followed by the shoot on Saturday. Keep your fingers crossed, that the next installment will be a happy one and all goes well...

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Collaborating with an angel Part 3

There have been two major stages in the run-up to the Floraportrait on Saturday, the first being the making of the irises I will be posing with. This was a complex affair consisting of a trip up North to my parents in order to spend many hours assembling the irises. We had a production line including Neeta (the smiling beauty with Harry the cat), my mum (pictured) myself and my mums next door neighbour Debbie. Each iris is made of crepe paper with wire throughout each petal in order to bend them into shape, including 3 petals hand drawn with white and yellow pastel then assembled complete with leaf and stem. The finished article will be seen in the next post. We had 100 to make. Work began at 3pm on Friday, we packed up at 2am Saturday morning! The next day was a long stint with Debbie joining us for the daytime shift, Neeta and myself kept going till 3am. My dad took on an evening roll as 'Jeeves' offering drinks and his amazing DJ skills; ending up with many a sing song often to Frank Sinatra. The day shifts were punctuated by offerings of home-made cake and tea. As you can see I gave into red wine at one point. Sunday morning was reserved for some posing practice with the watering can. I shall be using it to pour water (surreal celophane streams) onto my irises. I have also prepared some music for the shoot (as requested) to keep me relaxed and feeling great throughout. It has been decided that I will channel Liz Taylor and Cleo Lane throughout the proceedings, taking on a diva-like persona, exuding sexiness and style (I'll believe it when I see it). I have absolutely no doubt that Neeta can perform miracles with her camera, lighting and make-up. I carried on making iris's in the car on the way back home. We were both tired at the end of the weekend, but had had a thoroughly fantastic time chatting and eating our way one step closer to 'Laura with Irises' ...

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Collaborating with an angel Part 2

So time has past and the next installment is here. The next stage of my metamorphosis was the collating of ideas & meeting Kelly Barker first in Winchester to measure me up for the dress/top I am wearing for the portrait. She has made several of the beautiful outfits for the Flora series so far. I brought my corset (yes the one made by the mighty Roz Culling for my book launch) which will be worn underneath. One trussed into it she took the measurements and we discussed the neckline and sleeves which will come to the elbow on a diagonal to keep my arms free for multiple bracelets. Then onto Solent University campus in Southampton to meet the stylist Jennifer Anyan. As this is a fully collaborative project me and Neeta are also stylists for the sitting which is another new experience to be part of. So far every step of the way this has been a journey of first experiences, which at the ripe old age f 35 is a big deal. Jennifer suggested Bulgari bracelets for the shoot and we poured over all the bits and pieces we each brought. I had several kimono fabrics in orange, jewelry a stunning orange, gold and silver obi leant to me by photographer Brittain Bright. Neeta had boxes full of butterflies which will be used on the day.

It is now beginning to feel tangible and Monday I will be going back for another fitting in the calico pattern that Kelly has made. Neeta has today informed me that she has found some orange fabric with butterflies on it, so we are good to go. My sample of crepe paper (imported from the USA, yes everything must match perfectly to the irises) is next to me. We are making the irises next week at my parents house in Derbyshire. A road trip up North is always a good idea in my book and gives the portrait added meaning with my mum becoming part of the process also. Mixed with the real flowers they will be put through the dress so that I appear to emerge from the sea of flowers, pouring a small green watering can with celophane water to add to the surrealist element of the portrait. Till next time...

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Collaborating with an angel Part 1

So it has been a while since I wrote about life in the world of photography... what have I been up to? Well, I have entered into the unknown with a collaboration on a portrait of yours truly with Neeta Madahar for her 'Flora' series. Yes little ol' me with irises!
The process has been fantastic so far and the shared control of the image has been a real eye opener as the sitter. As a writer, reviewer and the like I am asked to pass comment on others work. But to be part of the work brings all my creative juices to the surface and sleeping is becoming problematic as ideas come thick and fast. Firstly we had to decide on the flower that would be part of my picture. The only rule was that the flower chosen must also be a woman's name. I chose Iris as it reminds me of my nana who loves blue flowers and the colour os so striking. I have a coat which is pretty much identical to the colour. A rich, vibrant, yet classy tone that stands out without shouting out. We then had the base colour which will be used with a bright orange (one of my other favorites, see the film 'Tall Guy' and you will understand) and a pale yellow. There is a slight Japanese element (another favorite aesthetic) and butterflies. The symbolism is as abundant as I am. Metamorphosis, flight and growth all important to me on both a personal and emotional level.

Inspirational images were chosen to express my goal to become a goddess within the plethora of goddesses Neeta has already photographed. The Hollywood greats were in vast supply, my ultimate heroines being Liz Taylor, Bette Davis, Marlene Dietrich, Ava Gardener, Louise Brooks, Greta Garbo and Anna May Wong. Then the pose practice! Surely the hardest part of all so far. I am not a natural in front of the camera. An amusing Saturday night was spent with my long-suffering boyfriend doing his best to be the next David Bailey. When the camera was in focus (not often) he managed a few shot where I at least look human. See image to see what I mean. There is much more to tell, so wait till the next installment, I'm off to pose (not really)