Sunday, 17 July 2011

Architecture and Immorality: Architexture

Well, you won't find any immorality here (not unless you are of the opinion that nudity is immoral - which I am not). The title was chosen by Jeremy Howitt, (a homage to an eighties album, as I understand it) with whom I recently spent a couple of days shooting around some locations local to me. Some of these spots I have shot in several times before, and others were completely new to me. Despite numerous interruptions (including a marathon running through one of the locations we were intending to use, and a number of groups of bored teenagers) we spent a very productive two days making the most of the beautiful Derbyshire countryside and ruins, capturing the contrast in texture and architecture between the various locations. (If I could coin a new phrase to summarise this series, I'd call it 'architexture,' as I think it captures the various different textures that compliment the settings). I'm really pleased with this selection of images, which show quite a variety, and I really enjoyed shooting with Jeremy. This is a small selection from the many photos we created.
We shot in several locations, including:

Abandoned Stately Home
I love the fallen grandeur of this location, only about five miles from my home, which was once designed to be a symbol of wealth and decadence. The building is a victim of greed, as it fell into the ownership of a group of wealthy businessmen in the 1920s, who chose to expand their wealth by selling off the most valuable assets of the property - including the roof. This led to the downfall of a once spectacular estate, and within a few short years, centuries of grandeur lay in ruins. The structure of this building remains in tact, though it has been stripped of ornamental splendour. It's a superb location to shoot in (though I wish the staircase remained in tact).

Peak District Countryside

Ruined Church
(Also the first image at the top of this page)

There's always something evocative about a ruined church, conjuring up images of a forgotten past; centuries of congregations, gathering together to celebrate joyous occasions, and commiserate mournful losses. Hundreds of footsteps that once echoed within hushed and pious stone walls, are now laid to rest beneath weathered headstones, within the walls of the quiet cemetery beyond the crumbling remains of what had been the hub of village activity, now at the mercy of the weather. (Please forgive the soliloquy, although this church does have literary links to both Byron and DH Lawrence, so perhaps it brings out the poet in me).

The most remarkable feature of this decaying church, is that despite being open to the elements from all angles, the main door remains on its hinges, steadfast in spite of years of disuse. The door is set in a stone archway, and though the ornate lead-work that once adorned the door is long gone, the imprints remain, and the structure remains solid and proud.

On arrival, the door was wide open, propped by a chunk of stone that had once formed part of the church walls. It stood open on its hinges, as if welcoming generations of churchgoers who had long since ceased to attend. As I stood against the open door, leaning my back against the warm woodwork as the sun fell on my skin, the aged wood emitted a powerful and evocative smell, which I adore. There are very few scents that I find so pungent and sensual as the aroma of timber. I love the smell of freshly hewn wood; the autumnal waft of wood burning on the breeze; the charcoal tinged smell of burnt ashes; or the texture and scent of ancient, worn wood. This old door has no doubt outlived its creators and lives and breathes to this day, by some miracle free of graffiti and still firm on its hinges, welcoming scarce visitors to what is now an exposed and pitiful church, where it once offered security, shelter and warmth within. The scent of the oak, warmed by the sun, seemed to emit imagined memories, as I enjoyed the smooth texture of the age-old door and the worn iron handle, breathing in a hint of the past.

We closed the door and shot against it from the outside of the church, and I wondered how many times it had been shut in the past, holding true for all those years, and protecting the treasures within. When we left, we propped it open again, leaving it as we found it. I could have revelled in the scent of that door for hours. Though its purpose is now redundant, I hope it remains firm on its hinges for many years to come.

Derelict Farm House
I love the texture of the stark brick wall here, in contrast with the skin tones and the shimmery material of this skirt.

Images by and copyright of Jeremy Howitt.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

All things Weird and Wonderful!

A series of images taken very recently with the superbly talented, award winning, Gregory Brown in London. Greg is renowned for his superb lighting and quirky props, so we spent a couple of hours making use of some musical instruments, and a few other interesting items. I've met Greg many times, and modelled for some of his tuition days, but somehow we had never actually shot together. I'm glad we finally found the time and made the opportunity to shoot, as it was a very fun and productive shoot in which we rattled through a few sets in only a short space of time. We also have some further out-of-the-ordinary ideas for future shoots. ;-)
As always, feel free to comment on favourites.

Images by and copyright of Gregory Brown.

Also, a reminder that if you would like to work with me, please, please get a move on! I put out casting stating my availability for June and July, and the majority of responses asked me about my availability in August. For reasons which will eventually become evident, I am unlikely to be available in August, and I would encourage you to book me sooner than later, rather than lose out on the opportunity.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

High Road to the Highlands

Here's another selection of images from the very lovely Alex Ingram, taken in the Highlands of Scotland in May. I rather enjoyed wading out into this (rather chilly) loch.

Images by and copyright of Alex Ingram.