When Helen told me she wanted to base the shoot around her statement deep purple Gucci bag I was soo excited! I headed over to my beloved Pinterest and refreshed my memory on classic Gucci imagery, in particular looking at the way bags are photographed. On the day I felt prepared to capture all the details of the bag as well as the rest of Helen’s outfit. I think it is really helpful to keep looking at imagery to stay inspired and look at your subject with fresh eyes.
I really love capturing geometric elements in images and the location was perfect for this. We shot outside of Rose Lane’s Car Park. It’s the funkiest building EVER! The spots of the building contrasted the stripes of Helen’s trousers, whilst the warm yellow perfectly complemented Helen’s hair and bag. We were absolutely buzzing!
We then wandered down to All Bar One and spotted their sweet yellow chairs and could not resist taking a few photos. We had a drink, a lil rest and a catch up before moving on to the next location with the second outfit.
The second look was all about being bold in what you wear, choosing items because they make you feel happy and confident. We were feeling thirsty for yellow. On the hunt, searching for the perfect yellow backdrop. The mission was a success as we found the cutest yellow camper van, and certainly made the most of it. We then found a yellow house where the building opposite was casting fantastic shadows. We were spoilt for choice and I was feeling trigger happy! We also decided to take some photos in front of a blue building and a grey building to make Helen stand out more in the foreground. The blue building in particular created a romantic, dreamy feel to the images. Gawwwguss!
Helen films the fun we get up to on our shoots together, so go take a look at her channel - https://www.youtube.com/user/helenmelonworld/featured
When I started getting into photography I had a fine art mind set. Creating art and unusual imagery was my forte. One of my favourite locations to take photos was in the fields behind my house. I would regularly visit these fields with all sorts of costumes and props, along with my beloved camera and tripod in hand ready to create magic. It was exciting and exhilarating. Some times an idea would come to me in the morning and I would rush out that same day to take the photo and upload it to Flickr and Deviantart. The fields represented a space where I could feel free and at peace with my mind. Any worries I had would wash away as I felt at one with nature and my passion.
Let me give you a bit more background to why these fields are important to me. When I was young I used to walk my dog Misty with my sister Lucy countless times. No matter the weather. We would take a camera with us and take photos of Misty running around as well as silly photos of ourselves, of course. Those images mean a lot to me. Especially now Misty has passed away and my sister lives across the pond with her husband Ryne. My friends and I would regularly go for walks across the fields where we lived. This gave us an opportunity to catch up, vent and create many happy memories together. I also have fond memories of walking across the fields with my high school crush (now boyfriend! Woo!). The fields separated his house from mine, so we would often walk across the fields to go to one another’s houses, exchanging glances and holding hands, sharing in-jokes and anecdotes. Good times.
Seven years after my last portrait in the fields, I decided to return to take another self portrait. Why did it take me seven years to return to the fields? Lots of reasons. Mostly because my style of photography had changed dramatically. I moved away from artistic self portraits and focused my attention on fashion and portraits. I gradually started to slip away from the fine art element especially during my last term at university. I realised how much I loved meeting new people, learning their stories and taking pictures of them. Personally, I started to feel more self-conscious and suffered from terrible anxiety for a few years. I didn’t really want to be in front of the camera and felt far more comfortable behind it. A couple of years ago I started dabbling in self portraits again, but only ever focused on headshots and never went outside. I didn’t feel confident taking my camera outside with me and would feel frustrated quite quickly. A month or so ago, I set up my camera in the lounge, put up my backdrop and started to take photos. But something wasn’t clicking. Looking through the shots, they were not how I envisioned them to be. I knew something had to change.
Thursday morning was rainy and miserable. The day I hoped to revisit the fields. It wasn’t until 2pm that the rain decided to disappear. I got myself ready, grabbed my camera and tripod and headed out to the fields. I walked down the back alley towards a side gate where I had previously taken photographs. A lot has changed in seven years. Before the gate was clear with bushes either side. I was in shock to see the gate was overgrown by brambles and wild flowers. In fact you couldn’t see the gate at all! A few years back, It was agreed that the field was going to have a new housing estate built along with a superstore on it, but the contractors ran out of time to start the building work so nothing went ahead. Instead it was left to let nature find a way. It was quite surreal approaching the main entrance of the field where the footpath sign usually would be, to find it wrapped up amongst the wild flowers and the path almost invisible. The normal path you could take was entirely overgrown, so I became an adventurer, creating my own path and exploring the fields with fresh eyes.
My feelings were inescapable. I felt at peace again. Everything I was thinking about in my day to day life had left my mind. All that mattered was being there in that moment. It was perfection. I think the elements were on my side that afternoon, there was no rain to be seen, the sun was coming out to create dramatic lighting and the wind was insane! I swear the wind was trying to knock me and my tripod down! My hat certainly flew off numerous times but none of that mattered. It was all helping me to create photos which reflected how I felt inside. I lost track of time and could have spent longer taking photos there. I went home with the biggest smile on my face.
Chloe and I teamed up again to create another epic photo shoot together. Woo! The look of the shoot was to focus on street style, clothes that Chloe felt confident in within a dark colour scheme mixed with pops of colour. The make-up was to mirror this too, using natural make-up and a bold colour on the lips. I really love natural make-up with a bold lipstick colour to add a bit of sophistication and bad-assery to the look! Noice! I met Chloe outside of the Odeon in Norwich, and we wandered down to King Street to start shooting.
Our first location was outside a cafe. We stopped here because the colours of the cafe tied in well with the outfit Chloe was wearing. We tried different angles and compositions to incorporate the textures and repetition of the cage on the window, and settled on the composition below as being “the one”. I wanted to pull back because in the back of my mind I was thinking about a photograph I had seen for Ian Drury’s album cover for “New Boots and Panties!!” When looking at that photo, there is certainly a story unfolding. In Chris Gabrin’s photo, I start searching the image for clues and looking in the window for further details about why they are standing there. Seeing Chloe sitting outside the cafe and looking down the road might suggest she is waiting for someone or something. I like looking into the window of the cafe in this photograph too and seeing what I can find just like the album cover.
We then wandered to the Waterfront and took some photos outside of the shutter door and round the side of the building. The Waterfront is a very interesting building with lots of character. Using this as the backdrop for the photos created cool textures and repetition. This is what gets me excited when I take a photograph. We took the photos on partly sunny evening. I had to continuously change the camera settings to ensure the sunlight did not overexpose any element of the photo, and then correct these setting for when the sun went in to make sure it was not too dark. We kept Chloe’s outfit the same for when we took photographs in front of the shutter door, and changed into the second look around the corner. The second look was a baggy Kylie Jenner T-shirt which Chloe bought from her website. Chloe loves Kylie and couldn’t wait to show it to me! Whilst we were shooting this look, Chloe’s boyfriend Glen was strolling passed so he came over to say and to see what we were up to. On photo shoots Chloe is very eager to try out new things. She is very creative and makes the whole process lots of fun.
We then walked down to Wensum Lodge and took photos in their car park. When I look for backgrounds for my photo shoots, I don’t ever look for a large area. Instead I look for little nooks or corners with cool textures or colours. The elements must work with what the model is wearing and also suit the overall look of the shoot. For the car park photographs, Chloe wore a red flannel shirt and a black crop top. We also changed her hair to be in a top knot rather than the space buns. This change keeps the photos interesting and develops the story behind the shoot.
Our last location for the shoot was a little further down the way. We stumbled across a huge yellow barrier in front of a temporary wooden fence. It seemed quite unusual. The crackled texture of the barrier was similar to the door we found by the Waterfront. Using this location brings the previous setting together, making the shoot coherent. Although we moved between several different areas on King Street, I wanted it to feel like we were in one smaller area. We achieved this by keeping the textures and colours similar throughout. This last location was lots of fun as Chloe came up with lots of interesting ideas, like jumping off the barrier, twirling off the barrier, walking away from it, sitting or swinging on it. She gave me such an amazing selection to pick from for the final photos. Chloe is a star!
Concluding our shoot, we were nattering away about life and sharks. All of a sudden Chloe starts panicking as she has something in her eye. She asks me to try to get the thing out of her eye because she doesn’t like touching her eyes or anything to do with eyes! I am just the same! So we were standing on the street making very loud wailing noises whilst I tried to get fluff out of her eye. It was a very dramatic way to end the shoot!
I love this photo shoot with Chloe. It was lots of fun taking the photographs of her because she is such a radiant beauty, a really interesting person and is also up for having fun and a laugh throughout. I can’t wait for our next shoot together.