A bit dull down at Skylarks Nature Reserve this morning. “Where do all the butterflies go when it’s like this?” I asked Jan. So she found one for me – a lovely brimstone hanging upside down, buried in the grasses.
Naked, that is. I’m often asked if I feel uncomfortable, or even exploitative, when photographing nude women or men. I don’t. We all are naked under our clothes. Theirs are just younger and more beautiful than mine.
Clockwise from top left: Mischkah. Model: Mischkah Lady of the Mist: Model: Rosa I Dream in Pink: Model: Eachelle Penance: Mason Nearly Nude. Model: Mischkah
A few pictures of Hannah, pulled from the archives; my favourite model, not just because she’s my grand-daughter but also because she’s so versatile. Girl in a Red Scarf was a serendipity moment. Hannah was waiting to go on set when I noticed the drama created by the red wall, the scarf and her pink hair. This is literally a grab shot as she moved a few seconds later and the moment was gone. It did fairly well in the international Salons, garnering twelve acceptances and a Silver Medal. Sunshine and Showers was taken for a competition at Beeston Camera Club. The category was Wet and Hannah’s young man was stood on a stepladder pouring water from a watering can. We hadn’t factored in the wind and she did get quite wet when gusts blew the water In her face. It was all for naught, as well, because I had to add rain in an overlay anyway. Not only that but the picture didn’t overly impress the judge on the night. Geisha Girl was shot at my daughter Beverley’s home. I took my portable lights round and Hannah’s sister, Sian, painted her face. The flowers were a leftover bouquet from Mother’s Day which was languishing in he shop at half price so we made good use of them. It got accepted into five international Salons.
Wild Child and The Chase came about because I wanted to photograph Hannah’s dad’s Harley Davidson. We couldn’t get it into the studio (two flights of stairs) so Dave Severn arranged for us to use a small room in a car dealership. Wild Thing has only been sent out once (I stopped competing just after I made it) to a circuit in Finland, but it was accepted into three of the four Salons. The Chase has only seen the light of day at Beeston Camera Club where it scored 20/20.
This is the first Nature picture I ever entered into competition in the FIAP International Salons, on a wing and a prayer really. It was accepted into twelve Salons worldwide and, although it never won any awards, it encouraged me to keep competing. I still don’t like wasps, though.
I met Gail Noble through a multi-photographer / multi model day and was instantly impressed by her unique ability to lose herself completely in a character.
We went on to do a couple of shoots after that where we could explore different ideas, aided by the fact that she is also a very talented seamstress, able to create her own costumes, as in the portrait of Gail posing as Queen Victoria. The background to Her Majesty is an interior shot from Southwell Minster in Nottinghamshire.
We has fun with Stand and Deliver, making full use of a wind machine, although I’ve lost count of the number of people who have told me she’s holding the knife in he wrong way. She looked pretty determined to me so I wasn’t going to argue with her! All I did to this one was add a few trees and a bit of mist.
Fear Not the Dark was taken at the initial shoot mentioned above and is a (nearly) straight shot, only needed the addition of a flame in the lamp.
Left: Off Duty Top Right: Bad News Bottom Right: Aircraft Overdue
I met Mike at a studio session that had been organised by Dave Severn of Studio 3 by Severn. It was quite a chaotic day with multi models and multi photographers, all ably organised by Dave and his wife, Pamela. It meant that each photographer had a limited amount of time with each model before being moved on. I enjoyed working with Mike and had hoped to spend more time with him in the future but, unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen now.
Angel number 4501 is summoned to His Presence, or HP, as he likes to be called. “I have an important job for you, 4501. There’s a music festival tomorrow in Everyman’s Park.” HP’s magnificent voice rolls out, setting clouds, cherubim and seraphim a-tremble. A few feathers shiver and fall off 4501’s wings. “I was very upset at the amount of sin that went on at the last one – drugs, blasphemy and …” HP lowers his voice and the Heavens still. “… you know, s-e-x that went on.” 4501’s heart leapt in anticipation. The celestial voice rumbles on. “It will be your mission to point out the error of their ways to these young people, put their feet on a new and better path.” OK. So it’s Mission Impossible, but I’m going to a music festival. “Of course, HP. An honour to be chosen. In what guise shall I descend?” A rock star? A Hell’s Angel? Oh please, not a groupie. “You will temporarily take over the body of an ice cream salesman called Kevin.” HP taps his foot and watches as 4501 plummets to earth, his heavenly raiment already changing to jeans and a Nirvana tee-shirt.
Hell, Saturday morning
His Satanic Highness kneels on the backs of two recently arrived politicians, his backside bare and pulsating with inner evil. A ring of hellfire encircles them, holding back a legion of imps and fiends with singed hair and blistered skin. “Kiss my arse!” roars HSH. “A day back on earth for whoever braves the flames and kisses my royal arse.” None are brave enough to risk self imolation until Black Bart steps forward. Seven feet tall, once a grave robber and now an upper level demon, he’s been a thorn in HSH’s side ever since he fell into an open grave and drowned in the seepage. One almighty leap and he’s through the hellfire, skin smouldering and bubbling, smoke seeping from all his orifices. Bending at the knee, he kisses the putrefying buttocks before him. Beelzebub, as he likes to be called when dealing with the Damned, rears up and points upwards, searing a hole through the charcoal-blackened vaults. “Go, Lulu, enjoy your day.” Black Bart only has time to say, “Lulu? What the f–” before he vanishes in a swirl of silk and Chanel No 5.
His Presence watches the materialisation of the ravishing young woman, her modesty barely covered in wisps of green silk. “You’ve outdone yourself this week, Lucifer.” He prefers the old names to all this high-falutin’ Royal Highness stuff. The Devil laughs. “Kevin the ice cream seller won’t stand a chance. Shall I make the first move?” The two deities settle down to their weekly game of Celestial Chess. Lulu basks under the hot sun and a thought pops into her mind. I’d kill for an ice cream.