John Keats: To Autumn

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.

Need a contingency plan!

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, 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.

conversations with models

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: [] 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: [] 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?

Hey Lesley,

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: [] Sent: 07 May 2008 12:49To:
Subject: Is that offer still open?

Hi ,

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!!

Kind regards


summer shoot coming up

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. “

Hey…… I got a reply!!

I got a reply to my email asking for help from Gareth & Debbie at Studio 25 in Great Harwood. In record time as well, thanks folks.

They invited me (I invited myself really) to go for a coffee and a chat about my fip.

My email to Studio 25:

It was very fortuitous you e mailing me at this point – say no if you want to – I’m about to ask a favour. You may or may not know that I am upgrading my photography HND to a degree at the mo.

I am now on my final assignment. Part of the assignment is to ask advice of an expert in the industry – that’s where you come in!! Would you let me come and have a chat with you about my work and ask for advice and critique???? I’ll buy you both a posh coffee :))
kind regards

what a great day!!!

Did 2 shoots today with two differentmodels for ‘winter’. Both models did really well. I fully explained what I was after.

The fact that in t’olden days people used to die when it was winter – food and fuel was in short supply – unlike these days when we have an abundance of everything- winter was a time to be feared. will post pics later when I have sorted through them.

Blow, blow thou winter wind

Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkindAs man’s ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh-ho! sing heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then, heigh-ho! the holly!
This life is most jolly.
Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
Thou dost not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As friend remember’d not.
Heigh-ho! sing heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then, heigh-ho! the holly!
This life is most jolly.

From: As You Like It by William Shakespeare

Unexpected find

I did a charity shoot yesterday (too long winded to explain) but the girl that I was shooting, although she had never modelled before was a natural. Fantastic bones! Watch this space!! 

After some of the girls that have been presenting themselves to me over the last few weeks this one was a breath of fresh air. Lovely.

monday morning shoot

Well, got up at 7.30 to start lugging lumps of dead tree into the studio in preparation for today’s shoot with my ‘winter’ model. Actually I have two models coming today – and anther one up my sleeve if I need her.

The weather is overcast like I wanted it to be but not a breath of wind so we probably won’t be shooting outside unless I can get volunteers to waft their arms about and create the wind!!  Maybe not.

The studio set up worked first time, I have done my test shots, using the step ladders as a stand in model, and it all looks ok so far.

I used honeycombs on the lights to keep it all very directional and there is a snoot on the model’s light because I want her to be in a small pool of light, the end result should be really low key, very gloomy.

The reason I want it like this is because I want to signify the fact that unlike today when we all have central heating and ample supplies of food and clothing, in the past the winter was a killer. When it came it was severe and lasted a long time.

Tricky to try and get all of this across in one pic, hope it works.  The model I have  is an ex professional model and when I explained to her what I wanted to do she grasped the concept straight away. I am really looking forward to this shoot.

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