The concept was to find a project that we could collaborate on, to stretch us creatively, have some fun along the way and produce some great images. I know they have been done loads of times before but we decided on the elements; earth, wind and fire as themes. Yes I know we could have done water too but we only wanted three so wind is a bit watery - creative license :-) We started with wind - our watery icy version of wind. Make up was by by Alex Clarke – assisted by Lucy Moat, styling Kathy Smith and Creative Hair styling from Mandy, Emma and Liam from the Vanilla Rooms. Our beautiful model was the very patient Paige Bradbury.
Our styling went off at a bit of a tangent when Kath suggested we looked at the Twin Peaks images of Laura Palmer wrapped in polythene. The great things about personal projects is that you can do what you want! If you notice the finished images do feature polythene quite heavily and to good effect I think. We could have used a silk voile but a decorators polythene dust sheet is cheaper and very effective.
We started the day with a few studio shots but eventually ventured to St Margarets bay for some location shots. The temperature was around zero and poor old Paige had to walk through snow in her sandals to get to the water line. The outside element of the shoot consisted of wrapping Paige in a fleece quickly unwrapping and taking a few shots - it was seriously cold. To round off the shoot we were met by officers from Kent Police who were interested to see what we were up to - flashes on the beach in the sub zero temperatures had got their attention. I showed them a few images on the back of the camera and they went on their way.
The second in the series was earth. Make-up was by Lucy Moat, styling Kathy Smith and our model Catherine Heydon. I was slightly concerned the day before the shoot when Lucy told me that she had been to the model shop to buy plaster of Paris and lichen - I had visions of an impromptu face pack. I didn't have anything to worry about, the plaster was used to make small tile like pieces which were sprayed gold and stuck to Catherines face.
The outfit for the outside shots was a length of brown fabric which Kath creatively draped and pinned around Catherine. The finishing touches of ivy and green party hair spray were then tastefully added for our organic, couture look. Amazing what can be achieved with so little when you have the imagination and confidence. The only learning point from this type of costume is that pinned creations and model mobility do not go hand in hand.
Again we took a few studio shots then headed off to Pines Calyx gardens for the outside shots. If you are looking for a venue for a wedding or corporate function then Pines Calyx is well worth a look.
The third and final element was fire, makeup by Lucy, styling Kath and our model this time Charlotte Stringer. Again the makeup was incredibly creative, Lucy used micropore tape to mask the patterns. The outfit was another DIY masterpiece by Kath - this time using car spray paint to achieve the bright colours.
Photographically I wanted something different so constructed a ring light made from tea light candles, sadly the ring itself was too big which meant that there was insufficient light hitting the models face. When you apply the inverse square law to candles you realise that the light source needs to be very close to the subject.
I also wanted to use fire in the foregound of some of the location shots but managed to forget the fuel for the fire - another epic fail. Anyway, I decided not to use any cheap gimmicks and do a few simple studio shots followed by some location work at the abandoned farm.
At the farm we were assisted by my lovely wife Hazel. Every time I gave posing instructions to Charlotte - I noticed that Hazel and our MUA Lucy would be doing exactly what I was saying, bend your leg, stick your hip out etc. Hilarious I wish we had recorded a BTS video.
Overall I am really happy with the results from all three shoots and would like to thank everyone who was involved. There is no doubt that collaboration work like this helps us all. Will you be seeing any of these looks at one of our weddings - probably not but who knows ....