Hold more peace
With the hurly-burly of modern life and all its excitements and challenges, it's less often than you'd think, and less often than I'd like, that I get to shoot EXACTLY what I want. So back at the beginning of the year I decided to block out some weekends for my own photography and see who I could get to come along with my ideas and make it happen. Absolute score is all I can say... I sweet-talked a couple of epically beautiful girlfriends, Alicia and Dee, into modelling for me, inveigled my awesome friend Alan (who is a bloody good photographer btw) to come share in the fun and help me lug kit around (I'm a wimp) and persuaded my lovely neighbour to let me borrow his house by the sea in Southwold for the first May bank holiday weekend.
You have never seen anything like the tetris I played to get all of our stuff into the Ce'ed. I'd have taken a shot of it when it was done, except my camera bags were well and truly buried under endless suitcases, outfits, tripods, sleeping bags... you get the picture. Then it was up with the Dirty Dancing soundtrack at the girls' insistence and ho! for Southwold across green fields, flowering hedgerows and the English springtime in all its glorious first fanfare.
My plan was to shoot a very dreamy series of images - to move away from my usual style and into more romance. I'd talked through ideas with my impossibly glam designer friend, Anna Jauncey www.annajauncey.co.uk who could probably not wash her hair for a month and turn up in a burlap sack and still knock your socks off (actually that goes for Alicia and Dee too. The standard of female beauty around me lately is frankly depressing). She lent us some pieces to experiment with and really talked the girls through their styling (damn woman was in Spain that weekend). Whether or not I succeeded in a dreamy look I'm not sure.
Saturday was spent scouting the area, eating too much and trying out lighting effects I wanted to put into practice the next day.
The forecast changed at the last minute and heralded a corker of a dawn. We all fell into bed on Saturday night, full of fish & chips and plans. It seemed like no time at all until the alarm broke through my slumber. I opened the curtains and absolutely SCREAMED. Perfect light. The girls were staggering around in ballgowns, bleary eyed and applying fresh, dewy make-up. I think I speak for Alan when I say how happy I was to be required only to put on several layers of woollen clothing and double check my batteries were charged.
We piled outside. Argh! Thick layer of ice across the car. Sunrise was only 15 minutes away although the sky was already a pale pink. Scrabbled for a cd case and frantically scraped windows clear. Zoomed along the clear quiet country roads until we got to the dunes. Race up the hill, get the girls up on the top, make them remove shoes and outer layers (remember, thick layer of frost)... and shoot some epic silhouettes.
It was a truly special moment... we were all alone. The girls danced straight and slim in the dawn with the sea murmuring behind them. Someone had dropped a match in the sky and the world came alight. Moments like these you never forget and I hugged myself inside and felt alive.
I'm not going to bombard you all at once with shots from all the sessions we did in one go (tiresome for you) so here are my favourites from when the sun kissed the sky that cold Sunday morning...