I haven’t completely disappeared and I’ve still been modelling, but my online presence has sort of diminished. I had a very busy November!
I was a NaNoWriMo participant this year. If you don’t know what that means, it means I wrote a novel last month! Yes, a novel. The way NaNo works is, you write at least 1,667 words every day in November to stay on target for hitting a 50,000 word count.
I wrote something every single day in November, finishing with a word count of 54,155. I wrote a novel that has been inside me for nearly a decade. It’s a story I’ve been wanting to bring into the world for a long time and to know that I finally did it is… Well, it’s amazing.
To anyone who has ever taken part in NaNo, whether you hit your goal or not, well done for doing it. It’s a really daunting task, but I was lucky… My story wrote itself for the most part. There were points where I wasn’t sure that it was actually me directing my characters’ actions, rather they were choosing their own adventure! Sitting down and writing a novel is a great experience and I think it’s something everyone should try at some point.
I now have a first draft of something that I can work on for the foreseeable future to get it up to a standard whereby I might actually want someone else to read it…
During November, I also completed a 30 day yoga programme by Yoga With Adriene called Empower. It was a lot of fun and physically challenging, but I completed that too.
I love yoga because it gives me time to myself to reflect and quieten my mind. The Empower programme wasn’t like that, it was more of an intense work out. It was tough and I like a challenge, thoroughly enjoying my 30 days of it. That said, I’m happy to get back to the slower, self-love, reflective, mind-body awareness, soothing yoga for the most part (maybe a little of the more intense stuff mixed in here and there!).
Again, something else I challenged myself to and succeeded. Adriene is doing (as she does every year) a programme that runs throughout January, and if anyone is interested in doing this with me, it would be great! It’s always more fun when you can share the experience with someone else. I’m quite looking forward to it.
The last thing I wanted to talk about (and probably the most important bit!) is… *drum roll please* I’ve started working behind the lens as well as in front of it. Just for fun, not for work, but even so, it will help my modelling work immensely if I understand the process from both sides.
I had a DSLR when I was 21 but I didn’t dare to take it off automatic: it confused the hell out of me and I really struggled to get my head around how photography actually works. I figured it’s best for me to stick to the side of the lens I know how to rock, right?
But recently, I have been experimenting and I’ve found that I’ve actually taken some pictures that I not only like, but love.
In November of last year, I worked with a photographer when I was touring Gloucester. He showed me some of the sites because he had worked in the city centre for a long time. I got some pictures while we were wandering around… Then later on, he taught me how to take pictures at night with a long exposure. He explained how the aperture changes what the lights end up looking like on your final image. It was the first time that phrases like ISO, F-number and shutter speed had any meaning to me. Before, it all just went straight over my head and I couldn’t understand it. Here are some images of Gloucester towards the end of last year.
It was another six months or so after then that I started to look at my camera more seriously again. I did a location shoot with another photographer friend and then afterwards, I took some pictures with my camera. I picked up a bit more advice there and got some fantastic pictures in the beautiful woodland location we were in (it helps when the person taking you is extremely knowledgeable in all things nature and spotted some great things to photograph that most people miss!)
My Dad helped me to transform my front room into a little studio space. It was partially so I could try out some ideas I had and partially to have somewhere to shoot if the weather is cold or rainy, so shoots don’t have to be cancelled or postponed.
Wy Dad taught me how to set up all of the lights properly, then I had a go at some studio photography in the comfort of my own home. I started to photograph my pets in there and got some images that I’m rather proud of! Turns out, the modelling gene runs in the family: my fur-babies are superstars!
I spent a few days in Wales with my Dad earlier this month (yes, I know it’s not wise to go to Wales in December… It’s wet!) He helped me to understand the technical side to getting some amazing landscape images. I got some pictures of the beach and of the fog coming down the mountains.
Personally, I’m really proud of the pictures I’ve taken so I hope you like some of them too. I’m aware they aren’t perfect (learning curve, right?) but I’ve created something that I like and that’s what’s important to me. I’ve learnt that my style is very dark, I seem to prefer darker images and that I favour high contrast too. Not everyone’s cup of tea, I’m sure, but I’d love to hear what you think either way.
I often think about how fortunate I am to have met the people I have and to have been given the opportunities I’ve been given. Especially around this time of year. I’m very lucky to have been helped and supported by many family members and friends. I was always encouraged to be creative as a child and I never grew out of it. That’s probably how I ended up becoming a model, because I get paid to be creative. I’m really going to put more effort into my photography from now on. I have a studio in my front room and family/friends who know lots about photography. What excuse do I have not to?
I want to take a moment to wish everyone who reads this (and everyone who doesn’t) an amazing Christmas and New Year. Have fun, stay safe and make sure 2016 goes out on a positive note and start 2017 without anything from this year holding us back.
I now have a studio that I can put up in my front room. If you’re not a photographer then ignore this, but if you are and might be interested in booking me in this space, here is a list of the stuff that’s in there and a link to the PurplePort casting call:
- A white background that can be backlit (it works really well, I’ve had a play around with it!). It turns around to be a black background and has a green screen cover with a bit that trails on the floor.
- Four studio lights (two for the back ground, two for the model with soft boxes)
- Barn door
- Coloured gels
- Tri-flector and stand
- A frame and clips for hanging your own backdrops from (I’m hoping to get a black and a white one of those soon too)
- Sekonic light meter to help with set up.
- Full set of triggers.
- I will be getting speed lights soon too and I have a soft box for them already.
Expect to see more work from me in this space from both sides of the lens (it won’t all be bunny pictures, I promise!)