I searched long and hard for a quote to start off this blog post…and found just the thing courtesy of style icon Audrey Hepburn, a woman who didn’t have to try too hard when it came to fashion and style.
I’ll share the full quote with you towards the end of this blog as I think some of the images I made on a recent photoshoot will make it resonate with you, the way it did with me.
This weekend, after lots of internet chatter over several months with good friend and fellow photographer Tim Charlesworth and young friends Georgia and Jaime, we finally found a date we could all make for a photoshoot in Liverpool. The idea had grown from reading an article in the Telegraph shared by Tim which made reference to ‘street style’ photography, the trick being to make it look as if the person being photographed doesn’t know that they are the subject of an image, although they are aware that they are. I should mention here that this should not be confused with the current vogue for the more candid genre of ‘street’ photography where the subject doesn’t usually know they’ve been photographed.
And so, having gathered images on a shared Pinterest board which had been gleaned from the internet and magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s, a theme was agreed, a date set and our adventure started to take shape.
It was almost two years to the day since a previous photo-shoot with the girls was almost scuppered by the great British weather, and so in between household chores on the Friday I found myself checking the forecast and getting a bit twitchy as it changed hour by hour, threatening thunderstorms and torrential rain. Last time we had a ‘plan B’, this time there would be no such luxury given our intended location around the Baltic Triangle in Liverpool which Tim had scouted several months before.
Awake at 5.20 a.m. (yes, you read that correctly!) thanks to Mr E who was going to spend the day at a record fair, the weather looked reasonable enough, I pulled the quilt up and had another hour in bed before getting up, seeing to the dogs and checking my camera bag and equipment one last time before I set off to pick up the girls and rendezvous at Chez Charlesworth.
As Tim drove us all to Liverpool, we all enjoyed an intelligent and lively exchange with the girls over the EU referendum, however I noticed the weather was closing in and by the time we reached the Wallasey tunnel, it had started to rain. I started to quietly pray to the weather gods to be kind to us otherwise this was going to be a washout! Thankfully, as we arrived at our destination, it was grey but not too damp…but the threat was there and so we set about working quickly.
I’ve probably mentioned this before, but our photo-shoots with the girls seem to follow a bit of a pattern, albeit unconsciously. We start off creating images of them together, Tim (Mario) Charlesworth then works with Jaime (I think he wants another 50k hits on his web-site ;-)) and I create images with Georgia and then towards the end, we all come back together. This shoot was no exception and during our day I found myself marvelling at the difference a year makes. Both of the girls have matured into beautiful young women, have grown in confidence and are clearly more comfortable in their own skins and the images we made together have a lovely editorial feel to them. I love that the girls actively contribute their own ideas to the photo-shoot bringing both freshness and dynamic energy to the images…very often all Tim and I have to do is press the shutter!
We took a break from shooting to visit the Baltic Bakehouse…what a find! Home-made bread (Mr E loved the sourdough loaf), builder’s tea & earl grey, danish pastries and butties restored all our energy and we set off again to create some more pictures. There was, as always, lots of fun and laughter on this photo-shoot, not least of all the fear of hands creeping out of hidden doors ( G & J have very fertile imaginations!) and of course, beautiful legs (you had to be there didn’t you Georgia? xx). As ever, you do find little snippets of art and inspiration along the way, graffiti takes various forms, but I do rather like this one.
As I heard a clock chime 2.00 p.m. and one of our young friends stifled a yawn, it was time to call it a day and we headed home to North Wales with cards full of great images to the sound of gentle snoring in the back of the car (don’t worry Jaime, I’ve deleted ‘that’ photo on my phone x), not even the torrential rain could wake our hard-working models.
Incidentally, I had a very interesting exchange over the ether recently with a good friend who made an observation that I was lucky to be invited on so many of these photoshoots, but I explained to her that this, like so many, was no invitation and that it was all our own work. As a group of friends, we enjoy spending time making plans, collaborating on ideas and bringing it all together in a photo-shoot. I do agree that I am lucky to have so many like-minded friends in my social circle that want to do the same thing, but do you know, anyone can do it…you just need a little imagination and inspiration!
As ever, all these images are taken on my wonderful Fuji XT-1…and the 50-140mm…such an amazing combination! The majority are natural light, with a few off camera flash thrown in for good measure.
And so to that quote…Ms Hepburn was wise indeed, in its’ entirety it reads…
The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows and the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years…
I see this in my young friends each time I photograph them, and for this reason, I consider myself both privileged and blessed to watch though my viewfinder as my young friends blossom and grow, trusting me to capture them at their best, and also to have such good friends who share my passion for engaging in an exploration of creativity and the making of memories.
I have so many lovely images from today, but I’m keeping some back for Georgia & Jaime.
Just jotting down some more ideas…watch this space!
Until next time
P.S. If you want another take on this adventure…take a look at TC’s website…here’s the link, Tim’s web-site it has music too! (Note to self…more sophistication required!). There are a few in here I wish I’d caught in camera!!