I have been riding round today looking for a suitable meadow with a woods behind it, facing the in the right direction for the light, for my spring reshoot next week.
I saw a great meadow near what used to be Walkers Steel. I had to drive down a very bumpy track to a farm taht looks like it has been cobbled together from bits of wood. I got attacked by the guard geese as I was knocking on the door of the house. The door was wide open but although I shouted, knocked and rang the bell no one came, and all the time the geese were hissing and trying to peck me!!
Just as I started to drive off an old man came to the door so I told him what I was after and he was fine with it, he even offered me rhubarb from his garden.
I found some horns on ebay, hopefully they will be here quickly. I have appraoched Brian about modelling for me, he likes to idea of being a God but not so keen on the ravishing of maidens as he’s gay.
I have also found a new model, Sarah, she is through Debbie Hardy of Studio 25. Thanks Debbie. I phoned Sarah this morning and left a message, just waiting for a return call. I saw pics of her and she is lovely. Should be a good shoot.
The industrial advice part of the brief has been puzzling me a bit. I can’t think of anyone who specialises in pagan photography – but anyway, I contacted Gareth and Debbie Hardy who specialise in people photography.
They, like me are primarily social photographers who love their subject. Doncha just love it when you can talk about photography till you are blue in the face and nobody’s eyes glaze over?
I was a bit nervous about showing my workbook, musings and scribbles, not to mention my pics to pro photographers but it was really useful .
They gave me a lot of critique on the photographs, confirming what I already thought about some of them. They also contacted a model for me who will work for a cd of pics, I have seen images of her on MySpace. and she looks perfect for my Spring reshoot.
What they did say was, why am I not using men? Good point, never thought of it. Since they have said it though I am thinking of asking a chap I know if he will model on the spring shoot as the horned stag of Beltane:
“The Beltane rite is, in fact, the Pagan version of the modern marriage ceremony…. On Beltane Eve, a very long time ago, the young men of the village would go into the woods and don stag horns and skins in a kind of ‘play fight’ with the rutting stags to see which was bravest. The man who got the better of the stags (a kind of Old English version of the bullfight) would take on the roll of the Stag Lord for the Beltane revels on May Day. This is still called the ‘Stag night’.
The Goddess, at this time of year is dressed in white, her head wreathed with May blossoms and with a veil hiding her face. This aspect of the Pagan Goddess represents the young maiden who is about to become the Mother.”
HHmmmm wonder where I will get some stag horns from. Time to make a phone call.
Doing my research for the seasons I came across a very detailed website which chronicles all of the Pagan.Celtic festivals Here is an extract from it.
Samhain = Autumn
“Samhain marked the first day of winter, when the herders led the cattle and sheep down from their summer hillside pastures to the shelter of stable and byre. The hay that would feed them during the winter must be stored in sturdy thatched ricks, tied down securely against storms. Those destined for the table were slaughtered, after being ritually devoted to the gods in pagan times. All the harvest must be gathered in — barley, oats, wheat, turnips, and apples — for come November, the faeries would blast every growing plant with their breath, blighting any nuts and berries remaining on the hedgerows. Peat and wood for winter fires were stacked high by the hearth.”
Having a look round over the last few weeks I have saved some of my favourite sites, just follow the links on the left to find some truly inspirational photography and fashions.
John Keats said it so much better than I did:
From John Keats’ poem, To Autumn, 1820:
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel;
to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
I checked out my little spot for my planned shoot next week and discovered that all the bushes behind my lovely brown leaved ones have sprouted and everything is now a lovely verdant green. Not really the autumnal look I’m after. Might have to have a rethink.
I have been looking at the work of John Constable, http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/detail/Detail_constable_john.html?noframe his use of very autumnal colours in his paintings is partly where my inspiration for the autumn shoot is coming from, I love the richness and the lushness of all the colours he uses Autumn was the time when all the food was stored up for use over the winter, I hope to try and capture that feeling of abundance, early autumn richness, golden leaves, fruitfulness and contentment in my shoot.
Well, they do say that if you don’t ask then the answer will definitely be no! I plucked up the courage to ask an ex professional model I know vaguely if she would be interested in modelling for me, and she said yes! Fab. Below is the email conversation between us. Her contact details have been removed.
From: Lesley@wowphotographic.com [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: 07 May 2008 14:02To: Re: Is that offer still open?
Server back up!
Monday would be lovely – as long as the weather holds out.
Dont worry about the skirt – I’ll com up with a contingency plan – I can design and create a garment from nothing more than a bit of fabric and some double sided tape – I should be on Blue Peter!
What time are you available from – do you want me to come to you with all the make up etc? I want to make it as easy as possible for you so just tell me what suits you best.
—– Original Message —–
Sent: Wednesday, May 07, 2008 1:11 PM
Subject: RE: Is that offer still open?
ACK! I just made plans for tomorrow!!! L Had an email from a friend I’ve not seen in ages inviting me to their’s for a BBQ in Bowland.
How long will it take? I can prob do Saturday morning if you have to have it done by the end of the weekend, if not Monday evening would be PERFECT!
Sorry to be a pain!
I may have a brown knee-length skirt if it hasn’t already made its way to the charity shop. I’ll check the ever-growing bag in the garage. If not I only have beige, black, or a brown and purple print.
From: Lesley@wowphotographic.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: 07 May 2008 13:02To:
Subject: Re: Is that offer still open?
How is tomorrow evening for you? I was thinking that if we could get to the college for about 6.30 ish we should have some nice light to play with and there won’t be many people around. We will have to do your make up, hair and create you a dress from voile before we get there.
Is that too tight a timescale for you? If it is we can do it at the weekend, again evening is the best time as the sun is in the right place (ish),the shoppers have gone home and the drinkers haven’t yet come out. We will have a minder with us in any case. (not trying to scare you but better safe than sorry)
Do you have a brown or orange short skirt to wear? I have tops to go under the voile ( can’t be showing off too much flesh in public!).
heheeeee!!! Can’t wait.
—– Original Message —–
Sent: Wednesday, May 07, 2008 12:49 PM
Subject: RE: Is that offer still open?
Yeah, no problem, I don’t mind at all. When??
The rest of this week is fine for me, next week I’m busy Tuesday evening and Friday. Other than that, I should be pretty free.
Don’t be worried about working with a “professional” – I’m at least 10 years out of practice!!!! J
From: Lesley@wowphotographic.com [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: 07 May 2008 12:49To:
Subject: Is that offer still open?
Hope you had a great weekend, nice to have a bit of warmth, finally!
Is that offer of you modelling for me still open, pretty please? I have shown my ‘autumn’ pics to my tutor and he isn’t keen because on them, firstly because they are my daughter and she is a bit over represented in my portfolio and secondly because she hasn’t got quite the right look. The good thing about this is that I do know exactly how I want the pics to look – so no faffing about – the bad side is we will have to shoot on skanky Blackburn College car park because there are some bushes there that have a very autumn look to them and you will have to dress up in some odd stuff.
Really, really hoping you will say yes – I know you will be fab – and also a bit scared because – I have never worked with a professional model before!!
Planning my next shoot for ‘summer’ and was doing some research when I came across this on the internet. Very fortuitous as I was hoping to incorporate a horse into the shoot and new I find I can!!
It is a really interesting site – I spent far too long on it. Here is an extract from it:
“Horses, cattle, and pigs represent fertility. Horse, cattle, and pig bones are found in Welsh and Celtic graves, (Powell, 28) indicating that they were very important to those cultures. The prosperity of the clan is reflected in the prosperity of its herds. Cattle were a major Celtic food source (Davidson, 52)and as such, would be proportionally important to the success and survival of the tribe. Later, pigs became added to the diet of the Irish. Horses were also seen to symbolize fertility. Davidson (54) Davidson described rituals where the leader of the tribe mated with a horse. The bull, which is the leader of the cattle, symbolized the herd and its fertility just as the king would symbolize the clan and its fertility, thus joining the fertility of the horse with the tribe’s. “