Levels

This is a post about levels. For anyone who works in the industry, you’ll know what I’m talking about. For anyone else, you’re probably like, ‘levels of what??’

Well, I’m here to clear that up. A model’s levels refers to what sort of work they do, and every model will have her or his own levels. For example, I work up to fine art nude but some models work up to fashion or lingerie or adult. The levels we refer to in the industry are sort of on a scale, usually getting more revealing/intense. The more revealing levels are referred to as ‘higher levels’ as understandably, not as many people are comfortable shooting them.

Not only do all models have different levels, those definitions of the levels vary depending on the model too, so it’s always important when booking a model to make sure you’re both on the same page. You’re usually pretty safe if you’re booking a model who works up to fine art nude and you’re only planning to shoot up to lingerie for example, but it gets a bit more tricky when you come to shooting the higher levels. In my opinion, communication is key here (a bit of advice for newer photographers there!)

I thought this post might be interesting for those who aren’t in the industry because you might see these words coming up and not really know what they mean.

As I mentioned, the way levels are usually put forward are in increasing intensity so that’s the way I’ve chosen to lay out this blog post. Be aware that this post is my personal opinion on what these levels mean and the ordering of those levels is the way I see them. This post is meant as a general overview because I thought it might be an interesting thing to explore and write about. Not all models will feel the same way about each level, so please keep that in mind (and I believe it’s up to the model, not the photographer to define these levels for her/himself).


Fashion

If a model shoots to fashion, it is fully clothed work, i.e. clothing that you would wear anywhere. This covers many different styles and types of clothing, as there are many different types of clothes! This label would cover anything from modern fashion, to period costumes, to outdoor wear, sportswear etc.

It is possibly worth noting here that just because someone is a fashion model, it doesn’t mean that they will shoot in any clothing. The model always reserves the right to say they don’t feel happy or comfortable posing in certain clothing, especially if the clothing is provided by the photographer (because obviously a model is unlikely to bring clothing of their own if they didn’t want to wear it, I guess!). Reasons for a model declining to shoot in an outfit could include: poor fitting or wrong sized items, not wanting to wear something somebody else has worn, or not wanting to wear something in a certain situation (like wearing evening wear in the middle of a high street).

I’m pretty easygoing when it comes to wearing stuff provided by the photographer. I’ve worn loads of stuff that I wouldn’t ever dream of dressing myself in because as long as the photographer is happy then I’m not too bothered. But that’s my choice, not every model will feel the same way. There have been occasions when I’ve said no to certain items of clothing and I’m always within my rights to do so.

Here are some examples of my fashion work. In order, the photographers are:

© Garden of the Muses © Brian Cooper © Michael Szabo © ASN Photography


Lingerie

Lingerie can cover many different types of photography from subtle shots of people in lingerie, to more erotic and suggestive work. It’s important to find out what the model is comfortable with in terms of posing and expression when shooting to this level. Lingerie shots with a more sensual feel to them are often referred to as boudoir and are usually shot on or around a bed/bedroom setting. Some models who work up to lingerie might be okay wearing sheer lingerie and some might not. Boudoir and sheer are sometimes considered separate levels to lingerie, so I will provide examples of each.

Lingerie shots: © Michael Szabo © Photopurity

Boudoir shots: © Paul Smith

Sheer shot by © Allen Sheffield and a Sheer/Boudoir/Erotic shot by © Phil Lonergan


Latex

I believe latex modelling is a separate level to fashion and lingerie, simply because the nature of latex. It might make some models uncomfortable, even if they shoot a lot of fashion/lingerie. Firstly, it’s skin tight. Secondly, it’s a bugger to get into sometimes, so unless you have a friend, fellow model, designer or assistant to help you, it might not be for everyone. Latex shoots would need more planning than fashion or lingerie anyway, so it’s unlikely that as a model you would suddenly be asked to model latex, but it could happen and if you wouldn’t be comfortable doing it, just say so!

I’ve mentioned in my other blog post about my time in Bulgaria that I modelled latex for the first time in october 2018. Here are a couple of shots of me wearing Kaoris Latex and a behind the scene shot of me and Stacie Mai applying shiner before we were photographed. If it wasn’t for Stacie, I don’t think I would have been able to get into some of the pieces I modelled over there, which is why I think latex should be a level in its own right! Photography by © Colin Grist


Topless

Topless modelling and glamour are often both confused. For me, topless modelling means that you’re naked from the waist up. Glamour is more about the lighting and the posing and isn’t always topless (although a lot of glamour is topless). What I’m trying to say is that just because someone models up to topless, it doesn’t mean they want to shoot glamour. I fit into this category. I don’t really do glamour, simply because I don’t think I have the right look for it (there are so many models out there better suited to this style than I am!) So although I’m happy to model topless, that doesn’t mean I’ll stand straight on to the camera with my hands on my hips and smile… I’m more comfortable with more subtle/soft styled images.

I know I’m repeating myself but make sure the model you’ve booked knows the style you’re going for if you’re booking them up to topless. Communication 😉

Also, mood boards are helpful.

Examples of modelling topless by © Kevin Sheldon and © Derwood Pamphilon

More glamour-type shots (this is about as glamour as I get!) by © Graham Savage and © Brian Cooper


Implied Nude

Implied nude is generally accepted to be images where the model appears to be nude, but nothing is on show. Think something that is Facebook or Instagram friendly. No female nipples or genitalia on show. So for example, a shot of someone curled up, or a portrait where the woman’s arm is across her chest. That sort of thing.

Implied nude is where things start to get a bit more tricky when we start to discuss whether the model has to be nude when the photograph is being taken or not. Some people say yes, some people say no. For me, as long as the model looks naked, why should it matter? Logic, right? Some models may feel more comfortable wearing a strapless top or nude coloured lingerie, if it’s not visible in the finished image.

For me personally, as I shoot up to art nude anyway, I’m not bothered about actually being naked but just covering up what needs to be covered up for the shot… But if a model doesn’t shoot to art nude, it doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t shoot to implied nude. It’s just important to check first wether they would be comfortable being nude for the set and just not have ‘anything on show’ in the final images, or if they just want to sort of pretend to be nude (if that makes sense!)

Here are some exampled of implied nude work. Each of these images is deemed ‘Facebook friendly’ as there is nothing on show. In all of these images, I was completely nude (except for the mesh one of course, but I felt this was another example of implied nude, because you can tell I’m nude under the material but you can’t see anything).

©Paul Smith © Shihari ©Lightyear © Garden of the Muses © Joan Blease © Paul Smith 


Fine Art Nude

My favourite. There are many different names for this level such as: nude, art nude, fine art nude, classical art nude, figure, figure work, figure nude etc. This basically means that the model is naked but the poses are never explicit in nature and are rarely sexual.

When I’m explaining what I do to muggles (non-magic folk…. I mean, people who are not involved in the industry), I often say that they should think of the paintings you see in art galleries, but just photography rather than paint… And then they usually get the idea. Non-sexual nudity that depicts elegance, grace, and feminine beauty.

Some models will shoot what is called ‘full frontal art nude’ which is a half step above what I usually shoot to. This just means that they aren’t as bothered about posing slightly open legged in some shots.

I’m pretty sure that most people who follow my blog will have already seen plenty of my fine art nude images so I don’t need to post many here for you to get the idea. Just think of what I do most of, and that’s what fine art nude is! Note that most of the poses I do have my legs crossed in front so I don’t show ‘too much’.

© Kevin Sheldon © Garden of the Muses © Michael Szabo


Erotica

Erotica is one of those levels that is less about how much you can see and more about the general feel of the image. Some models who shoot to lingerie will be able to pull of an erotica theme without getting nekkid, so this level isn’t about the nudity per say. It’s all in the posing, the lighting, and the expression on the model’s face.

For me personally, I’m not overly comfortable having someone photograph my crotch, whether I’ve got underwear on or not, but that’s just me. I’m more at home with the crotch-facing-away-from-the-camera poses, especially when I’m shooting this more sensual style… Nude or clothed. Whenever I’ve been asked to shoot erotica, I just let the photographer know that I’m not comfortable with that type of posing and they can decide whether those poses are integral to their ideas or not (and either book me, or find someone who will shoot the poses they want!)

I once heard someone describe the difference between erotica and adult in a way that stuck with me. I can’t for the life of me remember who said this, but I like it:

“Adult is about what you can see. Erotica is about what you can’t”

I don’t think I can put it more succinctly than that! I really like that way of looking at it.

Here are some images from about three or four years ago that are on the edge of the fine art nude/open leg/erotica level. I don’t trust all photographers to shoot images like this: On this occasion, I did it because the photographer, John Gould was particularly talented at capturing such images and we had discussed this before hand.

A couple of images taken by Phil Lonergan, also about three or four years ago that depict an erotica theme that doesn’t revolve around complete nudity or explicit-ness.


Open Leg/Adult

I’ve lumped open leg and adult work together, simply because I don’t actually have any examples of either of these levels to show you since I don’t shoot them. But they are distinctly different and I’m guessing that models who shoot to these higher levels will all have their own comfort zone and their own definitions of what separates open leg and adult.

From my understanding, open leg work is rarely sexual in nature, despite you being able to see everything. Adult tends to be more sexualised and explicit. Also, there are many different types of work that come under the umbrella term of adult work. I’m not the best person to delve into that side of things! I’m sure that if you’re wanting to shoot to these levels then any model you’re thinking of working with would be happy to explain to you what they’re comfortable with and what they mean by the different levels that they work up to. I think, it’s just really important to have a conversation about these things with whoever you’re working with and make sure you’re both on the same page.

I’m not sure where these levels are for males because obviously shooting to art nude is as exposing for males as it is for female models shooting to open leg. I’ll have to ask a male model for clarification on this!


And that’s that, my post about levels! I hope that it’s not bored you too much and that if you didn’t understand what these terms were before (as either a new photographer, or someone not in the industry), then I hope that my ramblings have made it all a bit clearer for you and not just confused you!

One quick note before I sign off: I’d like to talk briefly about what’s called level pushing as it seems like a relevant side note to this post. The term level pushing refers to when a photographer attempts to get a model to work to a higher level than what she/he usually shoots to or has stated that they are comfortable shooting to on that occasion. This can come in many forms such as repeatedly asking for poses above the stated levels, belittling when the model declines, attempting to trick the model into posing in such a way, taking shots when the model is getting changed or moving between poses, refusing to pay the model if they don’t shoot to the higher levels, and intimidation/coercing/forcing the model to shoot those levels. I’m certain that I don’t need to explain why this is wrong to anyone reading this, but I assure you it is a lot more common than you might think.

Level pushing doesn’t always have to be sexual in nature, either. It can simply be asking a model to pose in a way in which she doesn’t wish to, in an outfit she is not comfortable in or with props she doesn’t want to be associated with. For example, some models don’t wish to pose in sheer lingerie but are happy nude. That’s her choice. Some models don’t want to pose with weapons of any kind. That’s her choice. Some models don’t want to smile on photographs. That’s her choice. Some models don’t want to have their hair/make up a certain way. That’s her choice. No means no, regardless of what you’re asking. I’ve had photographers repeatedly ask me to do something over and over and I believe this is level pushing and very disrespectful. No means no. It’s that simple.

I urge all models (particularly newer or part time models, who may not have come across this sort of behaviour before) to be aware that this is something that happens and know that you should only ever work to what you’re comfortable with. You’re the one in control, keep it that way. It’s your body and it’s your image that is being captured so anything you pose for should always, always be your choice. You also do not need to give an explanation as to why you’ve decided you don’t want to do a certain thing. You can simply say no.

I urge all photographers to keep this in mind too as it’s very easy to destroy all trust in the model-photographer relationship by not being mindful of this issue. If a model says no or that she’s not comfortable then that’s the end of it, you can just move on to something else! The work we do is creative and should be fluid. And let’s face it, if the model is not happy or comfortable then the pictures just won’t be as good, and that’s a fact.

I have personally dealt with level pushing on several occasions and it’s not nice. Being someone who is quite shy and anxious (I know, shocking, right?), I find situations like this particularly awkward. The more experience I’ve had, the better I am at dealing with such issues but it’s never nice. I love my job and I love meeting and working with people from all walks of life, from all over the world and I won’t let the few disrespectful people ruin that for me. I hope that by writing this post, it’s bringing a bit more awareness to this issue so we can stop it happening 🙂


Thank you so much for reading this post, and I hope it’s been helpful or at the very least interesting!


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“Woman’s nudity is wiser than the philosopher’s teachings” Max Ernst

So apparently, I can write the blog posts but actually getting around to posting them is another thing. Ah well, one step at a time, eh?

This post is another shoot from my time in The Netherlands, last March (March 2018). I travelled from Den Haag to Zwolle to spend the weekend with a lovely couple who go by the name Sybarite. I spent two full days with these guys and had a blast as we worked together through a variety of sets to create some amazing images.

I have to mention briefly that I was fed some absolutely amazing food in the time that I was staying there, too. Being catered for as a vegan in a household that isn’t vegan is something I’m very grateful for. I’m always wiling to just feed myself when I’m staying with someone as it seems easier, so when people go out of their way to accommodate my ethical food choices when it’s not part of their routine, it’s lovely. But anyway, this post isn’t about what I ate!!

Sybarite have many different themes that they work on with different models that cover an array of styles and levels. Before we started shooting, we sat and discussed the themes and chose the ones we were going to work on together. Some of them didn’t appeal to me and some of them were above my modelling levels, but there were plenty of the themes that I was happy to model and actually quite excited about doing!

All of the work I did over the weekend with Sybarite was nude, but you’ll be able to see just how varied the resulting images are and the many styles we worked on over the two days. I often say to people that nude work gives you so many more possibilities than simply ‘this is a shot of a nude woman’. It’s an incredibly versatile way of working and I hope that this post helps to show that!

For this post, I’ve chosen my favourite image from each set to share with you… Except for two of the sets (which funnily enough were the first and last sets I did with these guys). They were my favourite and I couldn’t reduce it to just one from each of the sets because I liked too many of them, so I chose my top three from each of those ones 🙂


This was the first set we did and you can tell why it’s one of my favourites, as you will with the last set too. Classical, and very Misuzu! This idea came to us spontaneously as I was talking about my recent trip to Greece where Greeks kept thinking I was Greek… Sybarite had the column and the material to give that goddess vibe and we just went for it and nailed it in just a few minutes.


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Okay, so this image is not exactly my usual style as I’m never overly into the bondage type of shots, but there’s more of a story here which is why I like it… What I mean is, that it’s not just bondage for the sake of it. It’s expressive and even though it’s a bit (very) dark, it works to get a feeling across but while staying classy with the posing.


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The Netherlands is a beautiful country, as depicted in this lovely landscape shot. I will tell you though, whatever plant that straw stuff used to be, it really hurts your feet when you’re walking barefoot (and there’s a shot of me sitting down in the same location and my god did that one hurt 😛 ) The Netherlands is very flat. I’d heard that before, but you don’t realise just how flat until you’re there. It’s crazy.


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This is part of a series about witches and magic. Right up my street! The ethereal and spooky look in this image was achieved through the use of smoke bombs and off camera flash. I was asked to try and rub dirt over myself for these shots, but it just wouldn’t stick to me because it was too dry and just kept falling off. I was gutted because I was looking forward to getting all muddy and grubby! Especially as it was the last set we shot on the first day.


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This image is from the first set we did on the second day. It’s a sort of sci-fi theme, where I’m supposed to look like I’ve been beamed down from a space ship or something. Like in the opening of the Mr Bean TV series. In fact, the photographer had a lot of fun when we got back to the house later that day by making a video using the opening of that TV show, but instead of Mr Bean getting beamed down, it’s this picture of me… I’m not even kidding! The grass was cold and wet, but it was worth it to get this image!


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I got to keep my shoes on for this bit, which was just as well because it was more dangerously spiky than the other landscape shot. And wet as well. But look, it’s flat here too!


And last, but by no means least… More classical Misuzu-style shots. This bridge was incredibly beautiful and set in a wonderful location. The scene looks Autumnal but it was actually taken in March, the start of spring. I’m glad this location looked the way it did because I feel like I’m very suited to that autumn vibe. Maybe it’s just because it’s my favourite season, or maybe it’s that my skin tone complements the hues of autumn… But anyway, we came across this bridge by accident and obviously had to stop and shoot here. It suits my classical posing style perfectly and you can see why they’re my favourites!


And that’s that. Thanks Sybarite for having me and looking after me while I was with you, and for taking these wonderful shots. I had so much fun!


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“As you move out of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes your new normal” – Robin S. Sharma

So where did January go? And now we are halfway through February already. Wow. That was fast.

I seem to be in a minority of people who actually enjoy January. I find it a good time to restart, reboot and realign. I take on a lot of tasks to further my personal growth as most of you probably know. This includes yoga, mediation and various creative endeavours. I did my best and I’m feeling refreshed, ready to take 2019 as it comes.

So I’m actually blogging this year. Look at me, blogging. Here I am.

Every year, I always say that I will  blog more but something had shifted this year, and I feel like I’m actually going to stick to it. Because I enjoy it. And it seems a fair few people enjoy reading what I write. So it’s worth it.

I’m going to mix it up a bit and not try to just narcissistically post a million pictures of me and my musings about each image (I mean, don’t get me wrong, there will be a lot of that… it’s my job, I can’t help it!) but I will also try to write a bit more about what my job entails and my thoughts and opinions on things work related. I think it would be good to give people who aren’t in the industry (models, photographers, make up artists, designers etc) a bit of an insight into this world. It’s not as glamorous as it seems. Sorry to burst your bubble. But it’s way more fun than you probably realise and some of the behind-the-scenes stuff is interesting. I want to share anecdotes and stories too. And maybe some stuff completely unrelated to my work, who knows. Hopefully, that’s all going to be coming over the next few months.

But anyway, for now, I hope you’re having a happy February so far! And here’s one of those narcissistic posts I mentioned earlier… I have a lot of fun shoots I want to share with you from last year, and my lack of blogging has prevented that. I’m making up for it now.


So, in March last year, I organised my first modelling tour in another country. It was scary as hell but I did it! I was lucky enough work with some fantastic photographers while I was there, who were not only talented, but extremely kind and generous people.

I had an amazing few days in that country. I even got some time to have a nosey around Amsterdam and take some pictures of my own. It’s a beautiful place that I will always want to return to.

I didn’t just stay in Amsterdam on this visit. I went to Den Haag and Zwolle too… And got to travel on the double decker trains that I remember from a family holiday when I was 11 years old. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was no less excited as a 26-year-old to be riding that train, than I was when I was 11.

The images in this post were taken in Den Haag by a photographer who goes by the name Shihari. We used his apartment to shoot in and had a fantastic day. I wanted to share a few of the images with you here.


So I stayed with the photographer on the night I landed and we were scheduled to shoot the next day. I was woken up the next morning by the photographer calling my name and knocking on the bedroom door. I blearily responded, wondering why on earth someone would interrupt my beauty sleep (and I’m telling you now, I need my sleep!!)

Turns out, he forgot to tell me before we said goodnight that the light in the room I was staying in is beautiful in the mornings if the sun is shining, perfect for photography… And he was right, so we immediately started shooting.

As I’d just woken up, I hadn’t got any make up on or even brushed my hair, but for the sort of shots we were going for in this amazing light, it didn’t matter… And here they are:


So after that wake up call, and shooting for about half an hour, making the most of the amazing natural light, we had some breakfast and then I got ready properly so we could work on some fashion images. He has a lot of 60s style clothing that I love so we had fun shooting this. I think that era suits me well!

It was even more fun when I was wearing a jumper dress and he said, this needs something… And then proceeded to cut a hole down the front of it! This is why I love working with creatives. They never stop coming up with silly little things to do to add to an image and they aren’t scared to try things. Even if it risks ruining a dress. So here we go:

From a small cut to add a bit of intrigue… Right up to completely ruining the dress (and an instagram safe version, for good measure!)


Nobody who shoots up to classical art nude can resist shooting some of that style with me… It’s what I’m best at and what I enjoy the most as I’ve mentioned in a lot of pervious posts… So we shot some of that too. The question is, do you prefer black and white or colour? I’m leaning towards colour on this one!


Finally, one of my favourite images, purely because it’s so silly. The day I was staying with this wonderful, crazy photographer, he was having a new backdrop delivered. It came while I was there, in a cardboard box and wrapped in plastic. After he opened it, he handed me the discarded plastic and asked me to do something with it. So I did. I wrapped it around myself. But apparently, this wasn’t enough. It needed a little something more… Ah yes, a hat! Perfect! Talk about recycling! 😉

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So there we have it! A brief look into my shoot with Shihari in March 2018… Sorry it’s taken me so long to get around to posting this. I really did have an amazing time on this shoot and definitely hope to return to The Netherlands again at some point in the future!

Thank you so much for reading this! Until next time…


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Greece: Abstract [Post #7]

In case you didn’t read Greece: Classical [Post #6], I’ll reiterate what I’d said at the start of that post:

I’ve just realised that I had intended to post #6 and #7 in this Greece series a while ago… Like, months ago… And… Well… I forgot. Oops? I have since been back to Greece to work with Rick again (earlier this year, in April). But I figured, since I’d already written this post (and the previous one!) before I went to Greece for the second time, that I might as well post them! So… Sorry it’s a bit late, but here it is, Greece: Abstract [Post #7].


So this post and the previous one consist entirely of pictures of olive trees. Okay, not just olive trees. Photographs of olive trees, with me on and/or near to them trying my best to reflect their beauty and shapes with my body.

Most of the work I did in Greece revolved around the olive trees. It was part of an ongoing project that Rick has been working on. So there are a lot of these type of pictures. I’ve split them into two types, so I don’t overcrowd one post.

In the first post of these two, Greece: Classical [Post #6], I showed you the images with a more classical posing style.

This post, Greece: Abstract [Post #7], is where I will be showing you more abstract posing, but still with the olive trees.

Are you still with me? Good. Is this introduction sounding a bit familiar??


Okay, so I’ll admit I was a bit tempted to copy and paste most of the previous post in this one, just to be weird… but I figured that would probably be a little bit boring for anyone who’s following this series of posts. And it wouldn’t be funny after about 500 words. It would just be annoying. So I’ll just assume you’ve read the previous post and continue on.


The last post was a more classical take on fine art nude photography. This one is not. I said before that most of what I do is the more classical style of things and I said how much I love it. Because I really do.

But there is one thing I like more than classical fine art nude modelling. And that is the style I will be showing you here. The more abstract style of fine art nude. It is my absolute favourite.

So when Rick described his idea for these shots to me, all to do with becoming one with the tree, as though I was the spirit of the olive tree itself…

I first thought to myself, ‘yey’. And then I thought about how this really is the sort of thing I love doing most. It is the absolute best. And I get to do it in Greece!

It was fun to be able to be a bit weird with the beautiful old olive trees. All in the name of art. I love my job, I’m so lucky to get to do this.

The posing in a few of these images is similar, but I couldn’t choose which one I liked best, because of the way the trees or the photography vary in each one. They all have a reason for being included here.


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©Garden of the Muses

I love how this tree gave me a little ledge to get off the ground. There is an emotion of sadness about this shot, and the sunlight isn’t as harsh or strong as it is in some of the other shots. I think it really gives this image a bit of something else, it’s a bit softer. I think also, because Rick captured some other olive trees in the frame, but also there was a lot of bare ground in this location too, it feels a bit more secluded (less crowded by other trees) than some of the shots we got.


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©Garden of the Muses

This is one of my favourite shots from my entire time in Greece and one of my favourite shots ever. It is very much about becoming one with the tree, but still with that softness I mentioned about the previous image. I love it!

[What you don’t get a sense of from this shot, is that in between shots, I kept nearly falling off from my little perch. I’m genuinely not as graceful and ladylike as I look like I am in the finished product… But hey, falling over and stumbling around is the fun part. Capturing amazing art in the process is the part that makes the scrapes, bruises and slight embarrassment at my clumsy nature all worthwhile!]


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©Garden of the Muses

This would be quite an awkward pose if it were meant as a straightforward, classical fine art nude shot. But for something a bit more abstract, it really works for me. I feel like I succeeded in making shapes with my body, while staying true to the lines of the tree (you’re probably there thinking, ‘you’ve lost me’), but the reaching up really captures that idea of being one with the tree.


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©Garden of the Muses

I don’t know what it is about this shot, I just love the asymmetry of the pose and the stark contrast in the editing style. It’s definitely an odd shot, but that’s a good thing. I feel like there is a story waiting to be told about this image. Maybe one day, I’ll write it.


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©Garden of the Muses

The thing I love most about this image is the weird angle it’s been taken from. I don’t know why but it just makes the whole image for me. I see this as almost like mother nature crying out for humans to stop destroying the planet. Or maybe that’s just the vegan in me…


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©Garden of the Muses

This image is pretty much the same pose as the image above it.. But because both images have different olive trees in them and have been taken from different angles, have different levels of light on them and been edited differently, you get a completely different image. I like them both.


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©Garden of the Muses

The height of this tree is what makes this shot work for me. It looks so tall, strong and open; which contrasts the small, closed off nude figure at its roots. Magic 🙂


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©Garden of the Muses

This shot is really different to the other images in this post. I think that’s why I really like it. It’s very anonymous and definitely keeps in with the theme of becoming one with nature. I can almost see myself merging with the trunk. it’s definitely one where you have to look at it again to figure out what’s going on in the shot. I like photographs that make you do that.


Number 2 and Number 7 are my favourites from this post. I really enjoy making shapes with my body. Weird ones. Curling up into a ball, arms and legs at opposite angles. It’s fun to shoot too. I hope the pictures were worth it! Let me know which one is your favourite!


And that’s it for my posts on my November 2017 trip to Greece! I hope you’ve been enjoying reading these posts as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. I apologise for being a bit weird sometimes. Actually, I take back my apology. I’m unapologetically weird. It makes life more fun.

Stay tuned for the next adventure! ❤


And I’m also sorry that I forgot to post the last two posts in this series until just now 😀


If you like my work and want to support me, feel free to buy me a coffee by clicking here for PayPal or here for Ko-Fi. I’m also on OnlyFans, so click here if you would like to sign up to see images before anywhere else, exclusive content, and selfies!

Thank you 🙂


 

Greece: Classical [Post #6]

I’ve just realised that I had intended to post #6 and #7 in this Greece series a while ago… Like, months ago… And… Well… I forgot. Oops? I have since been back to Greece to work with Rick again (earlier this year, in April). But I figured, since I’d already written this post (and the next one!) before I went to Greece for the second time, that I might as well post them! So… Sorry it’s a bit late, but here it is, Greece: Classical [Post #6].


So this post and the next one are going to consist entirely of pictures of olive trees. Okay, not just olive trees. Photographs of olive trees, with me on and/or near to them trying my best to reflect their beauty and shapes with my body.

Most of the work I did in Greece revolved around the olive trees. It was part of an ongoing project that Rick has been working on. So there are a lot of these type of pictures. I’ve split them into two types, so I don’t overcrowd one post.

In this first post of these two, Greece: Classical [Post #6], I will be showing you the images with a more classical posing style.

The next post, Greece: Abstract [Post #7], will be where I will show you more abstract posing, but still with the olive trees.

Are you still with me? Good.


When people ask me what I do, obviously I say ‘I’m a model’. After clearing up the initial confusion with most people where they assume I must be really famous and in magazines and fashion shows all around the world (oh if only), I let them know that, actually, I’m a freelance model and that I work mostly with photographers to create artwork.

If they’re comfortable enough understanding that this can be an actual career (“No, I don’t have a ‘day job’, modelling is my ‘day job’…”) then they usually ask me what kind of stuff I do. This is the point where they struggle to shut me up as I love talking about what I do, because I love what I do.

I’m predominantly a classical fine art nude model. At least, that’s what I consider myself to be, therefore, that is what I am. Right? Anyway, by that, I mean that most of the work I do is about femininity, beauty and grace. I really love this kind of work and, apparently, I’m pretty good at it… Which is why I end up doing so much of it. Life is good.

This style of work is what I’m going to be focusing on in this post. So if it’s not your thing and you like something a bit more weird, hold on until the next post. You’ll like it.

If a more classical style of work is your thing, then here you go!


1.

1

©Garden of the Muses

This olive tree was absolutely beautiful and had so much character that it was almost like modelling alongside another human. There was a gap in the tree, where my body is positioned in this shot, that was just the right size for me to be in. It was a very wide tree, meaning that I could model in front of it (or inside it, as is the case here), without obscuring its beauty,

[I was unsure wether to put this image in the classical post or the abstract post. Because to me, it seems a bit of both all at the same time. Ultimately, it arbitrarily ended up in this one so the number of images were a bit more balanced across the two posts].


2.

2

©Garden of the Muses

I love the way this tree leant over, so I mimicked that lean with my upper body. I like how my feet and legs are distinct from the tree in this shot (that part wasn’t actually intentional, but I think it really worked!). They almost serve as extra tree roots in my imagination. I also love this shot for the anonymity. It really works here.


3.

3

©Garden of the Muses

A very classical style of pose. This olive tree was a lot taller than most of the trees I had the pleasure of working with, so it allowed me to stretch up and use my height as part of the posing style (a lot of olive trees are shorter).


4.

4

©Garden of the Muses

You can see just how much shorter this tree is in comparison to the image above. Here, I was still able to use my height to pose, but in a different way. By adding a bend at the hips, it worked to create an interesting angle in the image. My body almost makes an ‘x’ shape here, which is quite interesting in the shot. I like the depth of this shot, where Rick captured other olive trees as part of the whole picture.


5.

5

©Garden of the Muses

Another taller olive tree. This shot I find interesting (here we go being weird again, sorry) because it is almost like the left hand reaching up is causing the growth of the tree, and the right hand reaching down is causing the grounding/rooting of the tree. This shot is very magical to me. I really feel as though it looks like there is effort or movement in the shot. I wish I really could help trees to grow. I wish I was like a fairy or a nymph or a pixie or something, and not just a human that sometimes looks like one!!


6.

6

©Garden of the Muses

I’m hanging off this tree. This tree was another with lots of character and depth to it. It wasn’t particularly short but its trunk was very wide and textured. It had lots of branches for me to use to hold on to (and, as I did here, hang off) to get some lovely poses.


7.

7

©Garden of the Muses

This olive tree was tiny, probably a lot younger than some of the other ones in this post so far. But still very beautiful. It had an angle that was perfect for me to lean into to get this very classical looking shot. It was the perfect height for me!


8.

8

©Garden of the Muses

This is the same tree as in the image above, but a completely different pose. This time, the tree worked as a seat for me. Thank you little olive tree.


9.

9

©Garden of the Muses

I’m not sure if this was one tree that had split apart, or two that had grown close to each other. I think it’s the former. Anyway, it served as a perfect place for me to model as there was a lovely natural ‘v’ shape between the two trunks (or two parts of the trunk). I was able to mimic the ‘v’ with my arms and create shape with my legs. Another really lovely shot.


So what do you think? Let me know which one is your favourite! For me, it’s either Number 7 or Number 9. I’m not sure which…

Also let me know if you have an opinion on any of the things I’ve said about any of the shots. Or if you have anything to add 🙂


If you like my work and want to support me, feel free to buy me a coffee by clicking herefor PayPal or here for Ko-Fi. I’m also on OnlyFans, so click here if you would like to sign up to see images before anywhere else, exclusive content, and selfies!

Thank you 🙂


 

Valentine’s Day 2017

Valentines Day. What a load of shit. Chocolates, flowers, cards, teddy bears. Waste of time. Waste of money.

Just kidding.

… Okay, mostly kidding.


I’ve never really been a huge fan of V-Day, and that’s not coming from someone who is single and bitter at the world. I’m not. I just find it all a bit forced. I mean, as a couple, you have your anniversary to celebrate. If you’re married, theres the day you met, your fist date, your engagement day and your wedding day. So why all this V-Day nonsense on top of all that?

I don’t care how in love you are or how well you know someone, your ideas of what to get your other half have got to be maxed out when you add Valentines Day into the mix as well.

Everyone is showing off what they received as if that in some way validates their relationship, rather than simply being with the person who bought them all the useless junk in the first place. Especially now with social media and everyone fighting for the approval of their peers or strangers they’ve never met through likes and comments.

Madness.

Huge cards, bouquets of flowers so big that they make you sneeze if you even think about it, so much chocolate you’re at risk of being diagnosed with type II diabetes in your early twenties. And all this not long after Christmas. It all gets a bit out of hand if you ask me.

That is, until like me, you start to think bout Valentines Day as a way of celebrating the concept of love, rather than this bizarre, ego boosting shit fest. You don’t have to be in a relationship to experience or celebrate love. You have parents, children, siblings, friends, co-workers, pets… You have love for many people in your life. Even single people can celebrate V-Day.

For the last three years, my Valentine has without a doubt been Yorick. My bunny. I love him more than anything else (sorry Matthew).

I also always make sure that I take time to wish a ‘Happy Valentines Day’ to a few of my close friends. I want to make sure they know that they’re special to me.

They’re important.

I love them.

So it makes sense for me to let them know they’re on my mind on a day where we are all gathering around to celebrate love.

And then there is the thing we all shy away from. Self love. You can’t fully love others unless you fully love, accept and care for yourself. That’s the hardest love to give.

So I made sure to show love to myself on Valentines Day too. I did a lovely self-love yoga practice and meditation to let myself know that I’m important. I’m there for myself. That probably sounds a little silly to everyone who isn’t into that kind of lifestyle, but I wanted to mention it, because it’s important. I think so, anyway.


Valentines Day… It doesn’t have to be about couples and all that lovey-dovey nonsense. It can be about your friends. About yourself. And of course, our pets. Because honestly, animals are the best people we know. Unconditional love.


On that note (and there are some images coming, I promise), I wanted to share my favourite quote about love. In the spirit of things, you know?

Chick flick alert: Love, Actually.

One of my favourite movies ever. It’s about love. Not everyone ends up with a ‘happy ever after’ in the film. But everyone’s okay. Everyone’s alive. Everyone has love in one form or another.

That’s life.

It’s not always picture perfect.

But it’s ours.

That’s what Valentine’s Day means to me, anyway.


So here’s the quote:

(Hugh Grant, by the way! *swoon*)

Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.


So here are some of the pictures I ended up with from a little session in my home studio set up on V-Day. Doing something that I love. Modelling. And photography. Okay, two things that I love.

I bought a couple of little props and just went for it.

I won’t say anything about each image like I usually do.

I’ll just let you have a look through, see what you think.

Some shots appear twice as they’ve been edited a little differently. I think they look cool side by side.


Love

valentine-1wm

valentine-3wm

valentine-11wm


Classical

valentine-14wm


Chocolate and Wine

valentine-29wm


Heart

valentine-35bwwm

 


I hope you enjoyed looking through those. I had fun shooting and editing them!

Just because you can’t take life too seriously, I’m gonna end this post with a few outtakes. Me, stuffing my face with chocolate. Classy.

Peace and love. Namaste.


 

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation” – Oscar Wilde

This is me writing the blog post that I don’t have to write. I got other people to write it for me. I was going to write something, but then I thought, why write something myself when I can get other people to write it for me? Okay, so I’m kidding, obviously (everyone knows I love to witter on about nothing in particular!)

But I did think it would be cool to ask people I’ve worked with to choose their favourite image of me.

So I did.

I contacted some of my favourite togs and requested that they pick their favourite image of me.

One they’ve taken.

A few of them got back to me with an image and a little something to say.

*I’ve decided to order these images in order in which I met each photographer (not necessarily, the order in which the photograph were taken as a few people I’ve worked with on many occasions!)*

So here we go, I’m taking a back seat on this one.


Paul Smith (Cellar Door Images)

https://www.facebook.com/cellardoorimagesuk/

https://www.instagram.com/thecellardooruk/

Misuzu

The image I’ve chosen of Misuzu comes from our very first shoot in March 2015. She’d very graciously stepped in at the last minute to fill a cancellation I’d had and I wasn’t really sure how well the session would turn out. I needn’t have been worried as she completely blew me away with her posing skills and her ability to emote on demand. I wanted a Peter Lindbergh feeling to this set and Misuzu was able to provide that slightly vulnerable and yet completely connected to the camera look that such a shot demands. I love the natural light, the shabby backdrop, the £3 charity shop outfit and the texture in the floor and chair. Exactly my sort of image and Misuzu is a vital component in it.

I love this image too. Clearly a favourite since it is the main picture on my website. One of my very first paid shoots… Just as I was figuring out that modelling could really be my job! I have several favourites with Paul, but I think this one will always be up there.

Here is a link to a fantastic set we did that was published on the NIF Magazine website: http://nifmagazine.com/warehouse-times-paul-smith/


Phil Lonergan

2.jpg

My favourite image created with Misuzu is the light sabre triptych. The concept of this image had been in my head for months and I had really struggled to find the right model to do it justice. This was the first time I had worked with Misuzu and she made it so easy to get the images I wanted. The shot was captured using a light sabre in a totally darkened room, a 15 second exposure with an off camera flash on the final pose. I did some final editing using Photoshop and Lightroom. We didn’t just take a picture we created a fantastic image.

This was a fun shoot. Lots of playing around, experimenting and giggling. One of my favourite shots from this shoot was a more classic art nude shot, but with the light sabre in there as a prop!


Stephen Plant

1

This photo is from my first shoot of many with Misuzu. Not only taken in Spring bust also you might say in the ‘spring’ of our seasons working together. Misuzu’s natural beauty, grace, elegance and poise even though she was fairly new to modelling impressed me so much, not to mention her character and personality- and many shoots later still does. We have co-created so many memorable and beautiful images together bur this one always appears in my mind first.

Whenever me and Steve shoot together, it always a fun shoot. Not only because we get on so well, but because I learn so much about nature each time (fungi, insects etc) and get a nice day out in the countryside with his glamourous assistant Mickey (his beautiful canine companion).


Buzz

http://www.fujixphotography.co.uk

1

When I was asked a while ago by Misuzu, to pick my favourite image that I’d taken of her during our shoots, I had no idea how tricky such seemingly easy question could be. We’ve shot together in my lounge, in a hotel room and at the side of lake. During the shoots we’ve managed to shoot some very different looks, using natural light and a variety of strobes. I have never come away from a shoot with Misuzu feeling anything other than delighted. On getting the images from the camera onto the big screen of the computer that delight usually only increases to something like elation.

I generally tend to “see” in black and white and the setting on my camera are such that I can take black and white jpegs straight out of the camera and to Social Media with no post production. Once I have the RAW images downloaded onto the big screen I refine the images using Silver Efex Pro. Maybe it’s just me but the world always looks better in stunning shades of monochrome.

I have at least one image from each of my shoots with Misuzu printed out and displayed somewhere, and I initially thought that one of these might be “my favourite”. However, on looking through the images from our shoots together I finally decided on one from our “Beauty and the Beast” set. We’d been working up by the lake at Joel Hicks Studio and already had a great set of images taken on the jetty. In search of something a little different we wandered away from the lake and came a across an excavator and dump truck. As usual, with Misuzu I suggest something that involves danger, a ridiculous prop or something just plain stupid. Misuzu gives me a hard look, then smiles and happily goes along. It pretty much always works out and we manage to produce something really nice. On this occasion she had to traverse a patch of long unkempt grass and climb onto the tracks of a large dirty excavator whilst maintaining some degree of dignity and ultimately being somewhat, mostly, completely naked. Whilst Misuzu negotiated the aforementioned assault course, I busied myself with modestly setting up camera and pleaded with her to “be careful”. As usual, despite the midges, the spiders, the lack of clothes and the hard uncomfortable steel tracks, Misuzu managed to pose as gracefully as ever and without any complaints.

The contrast of gentle beauty and grace against the waiting power and energy of the excavator are things that bring me back to this image time and again.

I don’t think I have anything more to say. Buzz covered it all. Pretty much. Totally. I’ll just move on…


Derwood Pamphilon

3.jpg

I was inspired to photograph Misuzu in this setting to show her elegant shaping in the huge space of this disused industrial location. I love the symmetry and elegance it portrays. This is one of many fabulous images that we shot together and my firm favourite.

It was so much fun to shoot in this location. It was funny because my feet were black from the dirty floor by the time we had finished! I love my job!


Michael Szabo

3

I love this image because the outfit choice (orange dress, sunglasses and hair style), along with the shape of Misuzu’s body and the tones of her skin. It was a tricky shot to take due to the composition consisting of very light and dark areas, but the Nikon managed to capture it perfectly.

(F2, 1/200, ISO100)

I always love what Michael does with the shots from the shoots we do together. I’m particularly fond of his photoshop work but I have to agree that this one is one of my favourites too, despite the fact that it has had very little done to it!


Misuzu Photography

shapesnstuff-1wm

Of course, I had to add a favourite of mine thats mine. Does that even make sense? Anyway, I love this picture because it’s quirky, dark, creepy and weird.

How do I manage to quote myself on my own website? *cough* narcissist *cough*


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