As I mentioned in my previous post, Finnish designer Mirjam Lehtonen had lent me some pieces to use for styling a music video. To thank her, and make the most of the costumes, I shot some self portraits, some of which also included other pieces we borrowed for the video, styled in a different way (those pieces I've mentioned below the images, everything else is by Mirjam).
I haven't written in here for a while as I've been so busy! In the interim, I travelled to Chicago and New York, and have been assisting my partner on some video projects. More about those later!
If we have time, we always attempt to take a Halloween photoshoot at Playful Promises (last year's theme was Victorian Spiritualism), despite this being one of the busiest times of the year, leading up to Christmas. I wasn't quite sure what we could do that would be different to previous years (in 2013 we did a semi-B-movie style shoot and 2012 was cat inspired), and not be typically "spooky".
I started thinking of '70s horror films, in particular the strong colours of Suspiria and some of Lauren Thurman-King's amazing work.
Miss Deadly Red is one of my favourite people to shoot at the moment, and she was such a good sport about wearing smelly fangs, being covered in blood and having a fake eyeball shoved in her mouth.
Shop for the lingerie featured in the images here!
I had a hankering for a glittery eyepatch (you know, as you do) which Liv also makes (I've yet to photograph it, but it's badass!), and she sent over another headdress to shoot as well.
The "Firebird" headdress features blood red materials, flowers and beads; it seemed quite vampiric to me, and the flowers made me think of vanitas paintings.
I've been quite into reds and purples recently, so I contoured my face with reds (Love + from Sugarpill and Love Sick by Melt Cosmetics) to pick up the colour. On my eyes I wanted an ethereal, glossy effect so I used the same colours as the contour as well as Bulletproof for the black and Lumi for the highlights, both from Sugarpill. I used a clear gloss over everything and added a touch of red glitter. On the lips is Shien Costmetics Cobra Lily and Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar in Role Play (which was also the "blood").
I chose a white wig from Geisha Wigs to be a complete contrast to the headdress.
I did this last year, so I'm doing it again this year!
As I've mentioned before, I don't have a lot of spare time (or the budget) to organise creative shoots, but I've managed to squeeze a few in here and there. I feel like although I've not shot all that much, the quality of my work is getting better! You can view my entire 2014 portfolio (and previous years) here, and let me know what you think.
These are my favourite picks from the "non-work" creative shoots I've done this year.
Very early in the year, I shot the beautiful Suri Sumatra (top left), who I've known as part of the cabaret scene for a while. There was a *little* difference between this shoot and the rest of my work; she was very pregnant! She's since had an adorable baby girl, but it was wonderful to shoot some different pregnancy photos. Suri has an amazing wardrobe full of costumes, and I love the old gold theme she worked with for this styling - she looks like a mythical goddess.
I worked with Miss Betsy Rose (top right) a few years ago, and she's just so wonderfully photogenic! She told me she had some corsets to shoot for Ava Corsetry, and wondered if I'd like to join in. We shot so many different styles, I still have more shots to edit! I particularly love this one :)
I finally teamed up with aerialist and contortionist badass, Jackie Le (bottom left), for a circus-esque shoot at The Aeronaut in Acton (if you haven't been yet, make sure you do!). This was the first time I've shot anyone on an aerial hoop, which was a lot more difficult than I first imagined... but I love the results!
Betsy Rose was back in my studio with fellow burlesque stars Jolie Papillon and Missy Fatale (the 3 of them being Gin House Burlesque). We did some triple shots as well as singles, but it's this shot (bottom right) of Missy Fatale that I love because of her awesome snake!
I think my Playful Promises lookbook total this year has been 6.. not including the lookbooks for Wolf & Whistle! Some shoots took multiple days! I'm so pleased with the results, both photography-wise and for our brand.
Top left was the AW'14 campaign, where we swapped out elaboate locations for a minimalist '60s inspired look. Top right was for our 10th Anniversary circus collection, so I could be a bit more creative with lighting, and I loved the results (probably my favourite shoot!). Bottom left is our SS'15 campaign, and bottom right was our quirky, creepy Halloween lookbook, inspired by victorian spiritualism!
I've just shot the AW'15 campaign, which I absolutely love! Three of my favourite models, Miss Miranda, Miss Deadly Red and Veanne, in one of my favourite locations (we actually used this for AW'12, my first lookbook for the brand).
Here's a cheeky preview of two of the shots
Here's to 2015!
Not only is Liv Free a beautiful model and wonderful makeup artist, but she also has a line of accessories, Creations by Liv Free. Making everything from masks and eyepatches to opulent headpieces and horns, Liv has created a stunning collection of everything I want!
She had previously made me this stunning halo and I also have a horned headdress that I still need to get around to photographing. Liv's pieces are always extremely well-made; the Halo has been in and out of suitcases to multiple different countries and still survived!
Liv got in touch with me to see if I wanted to shoot her new 'Pavo Cristatus' headpiece, and I can't turn a kokoshnik down ;)
My first thoughts when I saw the headdress (apart from the obvious Peacock-inspired colours) were of traditional Indian art, in particular the South Indian Mysore paintings, which featured a lot of bright pigments and gold leaf. I also thought about Vladimir Tretchikoff's paintings, in particular his best known "Chinese Girl" painting.
I wanted to channel these bright colours into my self portraits, which also made me think of glorious Technicolor films of the 1940s and 50s (here's an example, note Carmen Miranda particularly!).
I had originally planned to paint my hands and arms blue rather than my face, but that was too impractical to shoot with, and I'd been wanting to do a blue face look ever since seeing B.Ames & Valentine Steaphon's amazing makeup! I wanted the eyes to pop in a contrasting colour that would be picked up by the lighting.
Face - Afterparty and Tako (not currently available)
Lashes - Glitzy
Lips - Shien Cosmetics Cobra Lily with a dab of Hi-Viz pigment
I actually ended up going out with the same face, which turned into a rather Beetlejuice-ian look :D