Last week my artist friend Cassie came to visit for a couple of days.  Before she moved away she was a regular model and source of inspiration and also one of the few people I could discuss art and photography with without her eyes glazing over after a couple of minutes.

Cassie doesn’t do chocolate box art, she is a conceptual artist, her work really gets the old brain cells working overtime.  One time she wanted me to do some reference shots and create a look that resembled a body coming out of the ground. We tried to do it by clever lighting and using shadows but the definition between the two wasn’t positive enough so eventually I came up with the idea of lining the bath with a large studio backdrop, filling it with water and plonking her in there to get the definite line we needed. I ended up standing on the edges of the bath photographing her as she stuck various bit of herself out of the water, only occasionally coming up for air.  That was one of the very few occasions when I’ve thought, ‘Please God don’t let anyone come in, they’ll wonder what the hell is going on!’  I’m sure you’d love to see those pictures!

It seems that since she moved away she has also been suffering from a lack of people to bounce creative ideas off and so it was a real treat for both of us to get together and pore over art books, discuss ideas for future projects and create images for the pure joy of it.  Plans are afoot for an exhibition in the future but in the meantime here are a couple of images from our short playtime in the studio on Friday.

I’d dashed down to the market to get in some incense sticks so we could shoot the smoke trails. My, they make a lot of smoke! I’m surprised we didn’t set the fire alarms off.

I love how you can see the tubes and spirals in the smoke, funnily enough, both me and Cassie said that the most enjoyable bit was watching the flash hit the smoke, it was like watching our own lightning storm. Brilliant ( you needed to be there, it looked loads better than it sounds, honest)! We had to hold our breathe a lot of the time because the slightest movement sent the smoke everywhere. That meant no laughing (tricky). We also had to turn the heating off because it’s a big  hot air blower, not good for languid and meditative smoke photographs, the smoke just went everywhere then disappeared. Eventually the cold drove us out of the studio and back to the office for a look at the results. These  are my favourites.

I love the zen like simplicity  and the negative space in these two final images. They are the  kind of image that get people saying, ‘ what’s it supposed to be, love?’  You either get it or you don’t, it’s all subjective – and that’s a good thing. Wouldn’t it be awful if we all liked the same stuff?


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