Monday, 26 April 2010

Collaborating with an Angel Part 6

OK so it's been a long time and the stage is set for the first shoot, yes there is more to come....
apologies for the delay, my life has run away with me a bit. The day was long but fascinating and tiring, both physically and emotionally. I have a new found respect for models. Standing still for extended periods of time under lights with a group of people watching (albeit a lovely group of people) is exhausting. 9am start and straight into hair and makeup. To create a geisha-style hairstyle mean having various lengths of tights stuffed with bubble wrap inside them inserted onto my noggin to be covered with my own hair to 'big it up' so to speak. False eyelashes, heavy makeup to withstand the lights and lots of chatting with the fabulous Kelly to create the glamorous look needed for the portrait.

There were several tests with me in the set as it was being assembled and lit throughout the day to check for positioning. After lunch and the final touch-ups we were ready to go..

The dress had been carefully covered with irises, I was pinned in and in position, then the hard work began. I had to overcome sudden nerves as the camera was loaded each time, the reality of the situation suddenly came over me after spending so long preparing and discussing the portrait it was really happening. The beautiful butterflies (real ones attached to twisted coloured wires) were great to focus on and distract me from the rest of the movement on set. Neeta gave me reassuring words of encouragement as I tried to channel the spirit of our inspiration Liz Taylor. The word 'wonderment' was used a lot as I had to look at the the butterfly as if it had just caught my attention and filled me with awe and surprise. Half way through this I had chance for a break and my first peek at a Polaroid of myself. Neeta looked at me with expectation and I looked at myself...

It's hard to describe, but despite all the work I couldn't see myself in it. By that I mean my identity had altered so much I didn't feel comfortable with it. I felt awful. Neeta sensed something was wrong and was upfront with me and said that I should tell her honestly how I felt about it. It was then that my emotions got the better of me and I felt so embarrassed. everyone on set took it in their stride announcing that everyone had pretty much done the same thing and there was no need to feel bad about it. All we had to do was to change a few things. So after a 5 minute breather outside it was back in make-up (me constantly worried I was being a prima donna) to let down a few more curls from my hairdo so that I was more 'me'. That's all it took and we were back on track.

It was 8pm by the time all 30 shots, digital shots and Polaroids had been taken. I was aching but glad that we had done it. Then everyone had to play in the set before it was dismantled. After choosing a Polaroid to take home and the removal of make-up, packing of cars, I hopped in with Vicky to head back to London, thinking this was the last time I would be 'Laura with Irises' for real.... little did I know there was more to come.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Ed Kashi

With the impending Ed Kashi Prix Pictet commission coming up next week at the gallery I am looking forward to the event on Wednesday evening. He will be in conversation with Francis Hodgson and Mark Jacobs. I know Francis and love his direct approach to photography and his critique of it. No doubt he will be asking probing questions about Ed Kashi's experiences. Mark Jacobs also has a fluid approach to the artform that so many of us appreciate. There are only 50 places for the event and more than half are already taken. If you want to go please email Pictet at asap before all the places go. There is also a book priced at only £5 which will be available to buy and get signed on the night.

Here is some info on the commission and the event:

Madagascar - A Land Out of Balance
The Prix Pictet Commission is an invitation for a photographer, chosen from the Prix Pictet shortlist, to create a portfolio of images related to the theme of the award in association with a charity supported by Pictet. For 2009, Pictet chose to work with Azafady, a UK charity and Malagasy-registered NGO that helps the poorest communities in Madagascar develop sustainable ways of living and increase local access to healthcare and education.

American photographer Ed Kashi was awarded the 2009 Commission. The resulting portfolio of photographs, Madagascar - A Land Out of Balance, will be premiered at Diemar/Noble Photography in London from 20 April – 1 May 2010.
Kashi’s pictures chronicle the compromised beauty of this threatened island, described as one of the greatest present-day ecological disasters yet recorded. As the writer Helena Drysdale says in her catalogue essay to accompany the exhibition, these photographs show a deteriorating situation ‘In the south, the failure of the rains has speeded up the desertification. The Masoala Peninsular has become a national park, but this has not prevented the pillaging of the rainforests by illegal loggers – aided by French shippers and the Malagasy government – or the subsistence farmers’ slash and burn. Madagascar’s soil continues to bleed unquenched into the Indian Ocean, and the Great Red Island slowly but inexorably dies.'

The Prix Pictet Secretariat, Candlestar, 8 Hammersmith Broadway, London, W6 7AL +44 (0) 20 8741 6025

I look forward to seeing you.