I think I have been dreaming about doing a Princess and the Pea shoot for over two years. I never could find the time and certainly hadn't figured out how on earth I would pile up 20 mattresses. But I decided I had waited long enough and so with the onset of winter, I carved out a Sunday afternoon and set about putting together the scene. I made Ben promise to be back with the children by a certain hour in relation to the best light, which he didn't do, so by the time the were home and I had dressed them, the sun was setting and light was fading fast. Although I had to shoot on an insanely high ISO, I think the grain and soft light gives these images a depth they would otherwise not have had. I love shooting dreamy imagery and fairytale themes are my new favourite - I think I should do as many as I can with the kids before they get too old. What a way to look back on their childhoods.
Originally, I had planned on only photographing Indigo as the princess, but Oslo when Oslo saw the set up, he was gung ho too. I then had to scramble around finding something for him to wear as well which made the shoot even later. He'd lost one of his fabulous cowboy boots out the car door the week before and so I resorted to giving him a pair of my boots. Frighteningly enough (for it meant how big he really is getting), they almost fit! I love how he looks like a puppy the way they have big paws and it gives you a sense of how much more growing they are going to do. I went for the look of the disheartened Prince who had gone around the world to every kingdom in search of a real princess he could fall in love with and how he had lost all hope.
My original plan was to make the bed the full 20 mattresses though I had no idea how I would balance that many on top of each other, let alone even find enough mattresses. Then I had an idea about what I could use instead. A few years ago, I bought all these fabrics to use as backdrops, but rarely use then as it is quite a palaver to get them out and set them up on my stands so they just sit in their rolls in a corridor near my office. At first I was reluctant to use them for this shoot for fear of ruining the lay of the velvet with all the necessary folding, but at last decided it would be worth it. The setting up took me so much longer than I expected since I had to fold each colour to the right size to fit the day bed. It would have been dark by the time I reached 20 layers so I stopped at ten. Plus, I think it may have started sliding and tipping with twice that amount. I think it still looks dramatic and fabulous and obvious which story it is, even if there aren't enough mattresses.
Petals is a gorgeous flower shop and I had been working on a project for them for their up coming opening of their new shop so they had given me loads of glorious blooms to use in the shoot. I was in heaven and really think they add a richness and vibrance to the session that otherwise would have been lacking. It is amazing how even just a few simple blooms can make all the difference to even a very low key shoot - just adds a little special something and gives the subject some added interest. I will talk more about the Petals new shop closer to their opening but for now, enjoy their flowers here!
I suppose these sleeping photos of the little princess don't make any sense since as the story goes, she didn't sleep a wink and was black and blue from the discomfort of feeling the pea through all those mattresses I guess these shots can be from the next night when they took the pea out and she had a decent night's sleep which is perfect since the pea is in the gold box anyway - perhaps just before she marries the prince and the place the pea in the Royal Museum.
Ah ha - the culprit of the sleepless night and all those bruises!
This one below is one of my faves. I love that, once his mother has told him that she is indeed a "real" princess, he is presenting her with flowers, and perhaps a proposal of marriage. Just to clarify, I find the whole idea of falling in love in an instant, while very possible (I did with Ben), a bit mad to rush into a wedding. There is plenty of time so I trust in the story of the Princess and the Pea, they waited a suitable time after falling madly in love before actually tying the knot, so as to be sure their love was more than skin deep and would truly last a life time! Since these are pics of my children, I know their sibling love will never fade so I am allowed to love these pics ever more!
A proposal - see - he didn't rush into things too much - was at least five minutes.
The pea ready for display in the Royal Museum. Oslo actually bought this box when we were in France last summer with his own money. The antiques shop owner was Dutch and when he heard that Oslo was a quarter Dutch, from Bermuda and wanted to spend his hard earned money on this wee trinket, he dropped the price especially. So sweet. Oslo loves this box and I so remember how special treasure type things were to me at his age.
I want to once again give the hugest shout out to my darling children. They are such stars when it comes to allowing me to dress them up, boss them around and ask them to kiss and cuddle when they really would prefer a hint of distance. They understand how this is important to me, even if they don't realise these types of images will mean the world to them one day too. So thank you Oslo and Indigo for your creativity and imagination in helping with your outfits and ideas for the shoot, and for always cooperating so beautifully for my photos. I love you both too much for words, or photos! xxxx