This is my Snow Queen concept that had been brewing in my brain for a while. I was so pleased to finally get an opportunity to make it a reality. I was surprised and honoured to have been contacted to be a included as one of several featured photographers in a new film that Masterworks was producing for their Living History Series. Panatel was making the film and it was to be aired for the first time at the opening of the Drawing With Light exhibit. I was beside myself with excitement about the project, though I didn't realise so much of the filming would be an interview with me as I had rather hoped more of the footage would be capturing me at work. So I set the scene with the bed and the snowflakes in the trees, kept out specially after the rest of the Christmas decorations where put away for another year, and a feather pillow on hand for exploding. I planned the shoot for the day after the dreamy model, Julia, was to return to the island, and on a day that my favourite make up artist, Natasha Rosdol, was free to work her magic.
I have had an idea for this shoot ever since my friend Eugene posted an available bed on Bermuda's Freecycle on Facebook. It is the most amazing online community where you can give away things you no longer need or when you are in need of something yourself. My kids will tell you that my favourite saying is "one man's trash is another man's treasure". I was lucky enough to respond about the bed first, but I did admit to my friend that I didn't actually "need" this bed, but rather it was what I had been dreaming of for a shoot. He is one of those beautiful souls who floats among the chaos in a cloud of Zen-ness. His response to my guilt was that the universe was presenting me with this gift because I had earned it - that I had done many good deeds as well and I must release the guilt I was feeling. Isn't he just dreamy?
So I was thrilled to be able to gift on the love of the bed from Eugene by taking some photos of the lovely Julia, who said she had never had any taken professionally before. She is just seventeen and more comfortable in her own skin than any other young woman I know. She has an awesome family who have taught her what is truly important in life and that authenticity comes out her very pores. Not that I would ever push a carreer like modeling on anyone, but I have to say, Julia would be great at it if ever that sort of path ever took her fancy. Her Mama Bear is a glorious spiritual singer, and I am secretly hoping that one day Julia will do something wonderful with her voice as well, but for now, she is away studying important things like how to better the lives of others.
The idea for this particular shoot has not been the only idea bubbling away in my mind lately. I have plans - big plans. I am angling towards doing the creative shoots a lot more and am sending out happy thoughts that a studio with great light will find its way into my life and I can start doing some fabulous glam sessions. There are so many truly beautiful people out there who cannot see their own beauty and I want to help show them. I have teamed up with the ever so talented Natasha Rosdol, who is make up artist extraordinaire, and she and I are planning on making magic together. Watch this space for an oficial launch sometime this spring. in the meantime, you can see the magic she performed on Julia - can't wait to show the before and afters - Julia is obviously an angel already, but Tash just highlighted her lovely features and emphasised her beauty for the shoot.
This dress is another story. It is actually not a dress at all. It is actually just a load of tulle I bought off e-moo (Bermuda's E-Bay) and sewed together. Since Julia had flown in the night before, she was too exhausted to come over for a fitting to see if I could complete the dress on her. The next morning, things were crazy and Julia ended up arriving only moments before the film crew arrived. So I had to be whisked away to the front garden for my interview and I had to leave Julia's mum in charge of completing the dress. Luckily, her mum is one of those creative types who can make a meringue out of tofu. When I returned an hour later, the dress was fabulous and just as I planned myself. And although the dress was a dream, apparently I had missed quite the drama. Poor Julia hadn't had time for breakfast, and soon enough, standing for hours before the mirror being sewed into the dress, lunch time came and went and she started to feel faint. And that she did! Her mum had to cut the dress off and start again, and that was when I arrived. So when we did the shoot for the film, the dress was slightly falling off and the poor girl didn't yet have a stitch of make up on her face. It was all rather stressful but she handled the chaos with grace and an enviable sense of calm while I was secretly having kittens. But the show must go on so poses were struck, feathers were flung and images were composed.
Luckily, the film crew didn't spend too much time shooting me shooting, for the main thing they had apparently wanted was the interview. Once they had gone, Tash could complete her vision of the look she wanted Julia to have with the make up, and we could do the shoot properly. After some time picking out the hundreds of feathers stuck in Julia's hair, we resumed shooting for real.
I couldn't wait to use the new crowns I had given Oslo, Indigo and Ben for Christmas in the shoot and ended up using them all and am thrilled for each gives such a different look.
The bed was initially a very shiny silver colour and not at all in keeping with my image for the shoot so I painted it several layers to give it that lived in feel and now it is pure romance. Lugging our insanely heavy Tempurpedic mattress out to the back garden was not an option so instead we dragged the box spring which was also heavy but not quite so bad. Of course we then had to layer up the blankets so it at least looked comfy. I placed the bed in the most over grown spot I could find as what I really would have loved was vines creeping up the bed posts, but sadly, none of the folliage was quite that long. It looks pretty lush all the same and I love the drama and feel of these images.
The feathers were one of those things that were ideal in my plans, but the reality was that they just didn't work out that well. Tash and Julia's mother were wonderful feather flingers, but they fell in clumps and didn't look much like snow in the end. But as my sister and I always say, all you need is one, and this one I think makes up for all the lumpy bumpy bits in eyes ones. It feels cold and blizzardy and all round properly snow queenish.
Towards the end of the shoot, we suddenly remembered that we had planned for Julia to have crazy hair so Tash lept in to give her that finger in the electric socket look. Such fun and just what we wanted.
After we had said that's a wrap and Julia was once again cut from her dress, I remembered I had also wanted to use the magnifying glass so although the light was less than ideal, I took some shots which I love all the same. Sometimes, when I have spent so much time setting up a scene, all I tend to do is shoot the full scene rather than mix up my angles and focal lengths.
I love this last one - I know I process a lot of my images with the twilight feel but there is something so romantic in the moonlight feel of the image - doesn't she just look blissful in her dance?
The photography exhibit is on at Masterworks until September and apparently the film is on constant replay though I have not had a chance to go back since the opening night when it was too noisy to hear anything and too crowded to see any of the fabulous photos on display. I definitely am looking forward to seeing the film, though not without more than a little trepidation - it was one of those things that the next day, I thought of all these clever and meaningful reflections on photography and art which I wished I had shared in the interview but of course didn't. So please head on down to the Botanical Gardens and see the show and if you have time, sit and watch the film on the other amazing photographers also featured - I can't wait to hear what everyone has to say. xxxx