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Dress by Edward Lord [15 Nov 2011|05:17pm]

Absolutely gorgeous dress by Edward Lord. Headpiece by Her Curious Nature.

Styled by Sabina Emrit (see on Access Fashion), assisted by Akeela Bhattay and Hannah Jones.
Model is Elizabeth Miles from Lenis.
Make-up by Victoria Reynolds.
Hair by Vincent Silvester.
Retouching by Catherine Day.
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Alopecia: Nyal [14 Nov 2011|08:55pm]

On Saturday morning I had the pleasure of meeting Nyal, a ten year old boy affected by Alopecia. His mother Varsha, along with the rest of the family, drove down from Leicester and we had a great informal chat about Nyal's treatment, how he copes with the hair loss and shot some images. I'll definitely be using one of these images in the exhibition. Not only is it great to have this image as a contrast to the images of women that I have, but it also adds another dynamic with Nyal being a child. A very photogenic, polite, and all-round lovely child at that.

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Creative day [13 Nov 2011|01:01pm]

Had a rather epic creative day today. Woke up bright and early to photograph Nyal, a ten year old boy with Alopecia. His family came down especially from Leicester which was rather lovely. Then helped Agy with some portraits in the studio, both with her and myself modelling (I hate posing for people). Then I started the beginning of a very exciting new personal project. These are just some out-takes.

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A foggy day [10 Nov 2011|04:03pm]

Spent yesterday afternoon photographing singer Charlene Soraia out in the autumnal woods. As we wrapped up fog began to settle to the crackling of the pylons around us.

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Agata [31 Oct 2011|10:01pm]
Took a walk through the graveyard with Agata the other day. There's something so appealing about photographing someone smoking. Especially when they're extremely photogenic, like this lady is.

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9 Questions To Ask About Someone's Big, Life-Changing Trip [31 Oct 2011|10:01pm]
A little while ago I started reading Gretchin Rubin's book "The Happiness Project". It inspired me to do a few things that would make me happier like de-clutter my life by getting rid of all the clothes I no longer wear (went to charity shops). I'm still reading the book which is full of interesting ways, big and small, to boost your happiness. I also started following her blog and found this article "9 Questions To Ask About Someone's Big, Life-Changing Trip". It got me thinking about my recent road trip and I thought I'd ask myself the questions to get a better idea of how I felt about the trip. I am terrible for coming home from a trip and needing time to "process", both the pictures and mentally, so here's some thoughts on my three week trip around the US west coast.

What was the best moment of the entire trip?
There were a lot of moments throughout the trip that felt like they kept trumping the last. One of my favourite days was when we were driving up the 1 to Big Sur, where every turn showed another mountain and the gorgeous coastline below us. Enjoying a cocktail (pear martini) over this view at Nepanthe was amazing.

What are two interesting things about the west coast that the average person doesn't know?
Firstly that somewhere between LA and Big Sur there is a patch of land where a bunch of zebras hang out with horses. Seriously. Secondly that ham, egg & chips comes on two places in Eureka, as displayed here:

Tell me about one person you met
My particular favourite was an Afghan man that we met in Eureka early one morning. We were looking for somewhere to go to Breakfast on a Sunday but it appeared most of the places didn't open until 10 or so. He owned a corner shop and recommended that we have doughnuts for breakfast, cackling through his rotten teeth. He told his life story - his journey from Afghanistan to America, bringing his family here, working his way up to owning the shop and "living like a king". He corrected us for not speaking proper English until we mimicked the Queen's English, and he nodded and said, "Yes! Now you speak proper English". I wish I had a photo of the chipper chap.

Now that you've been there yourself, when you think of the west coast, what's the first image that comes into your head?
The strongest image that comes into my mind over and over, from the entire trip, is the morning that we went to Burning Man. After hours of driving through the night further and further into the wilderness, it was beautiful to watch the sun come up over the mountains and hear the cheers of the fellow festival goers. There was a buzzing air of excitement with people jumping out of their cars and RVs and the sounds of BMIR on the radio.

What was the hardest or most frustrating part of the trip?
The hardest part by far has got to have been the heat at Burning Man. Some days it felt manageable, other days it was punishing. I knew before I went that I would struggle with this (I'm not good with heat). Given that our tent shack was a poor excuse for a shade structure, some days I was literally praying for the sun to go down. That and constantly being around people for three weeks. Sometimes I just need to be alone!

Did anything go wrong that seems funny now?
A couple of times I regretted being so incredibly hungover. It was normally the sign of a good night and at times was a joke about both of us feeling nauseous simultaneously. Driving up Mulholland Drive with both of us ready to be sick made the breathtaking experience an.. experience. One I can look back and laugh at now.

What little, ordinary thing did you miss from your usual routine?
My cats! Pixel and Salvador missed us a lot.

What did you learn about yourself?
That I want to travel more. I never held the US as a place that I wanted to visit until we got there. In fact I didn't even realise that the west coast was that beautiful. I also learnt that I want to take better photographs of landscapes. It's difficult - they don't move like people do. I learnt that talking to strangers doesn't always lead to suspicion - I spoke to lots of strangers, made friends with people, and they didn't tell me to go away, they welcomed me.

Now that you've been to the west coast, what are two other places you'd like to go?
I really want to re-visit San Francisco for a little longer. It may be on the cards as we intend to go to Burning Man again next year. I'd also love to visit Croatia as I've heard that there's a lot of derelict buildings and untouched coastlines. Which is ironic, because I hate sunbathing, have a fear of the sea but love seeing the coastline.
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weekend away [27 Oct 2011|11:57pm]
Took a few days break with Mills down at O's place out in the country. Went for walks in our romper suits and I played spot the roadkill, my favourite game when out in the country. I'm always fascinated with wasps in rabbit's eyes for some reason. Ate far too much food, laughed just the right amount and covered ourselves in gooey face packs whilst watching terrible TV. It was perfect.

I have orange hair.

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self portrait in inglewood, ca [21 Oct 2011|06:19pm]
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Agata [21 Oct 2011|06:09pm]

Took a walk through the graveyard with Agata the other day. There's something so appealing about photographing someone smoking. Especially when they're extremely photogenic, like this lady is.

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Road trip: California, the end [10 Oct 2011|12:23pm]
[Click here to see all the road trip posts]

Once we had left Burning Man - dust drenched and a little weary - C drove a whopping 19 hours back to L.A. I think we were both desperately in need of luxuries such as a bathroom and a bed and we (unfortunately) booked into a cheap hotel in Inglewood, simply because it was cheap and next to the airport. By this point I didn't really care - we had seen our fair share of dodgy motels and given that we'd just spent seven nights on an air bed in the desert, this crappy little place worked a treat. It had the most beautiful sunlight coming through at sunset (our room's one redeeming feature). I became a little obsessed shooting images at sunset.

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Road trip: Burning Man [06 Oct 2011|07:15pm]
I honestly didn't know what to expect of Burning Man. I admit that I didn't do all that much research before our arrival - I left that down to C. Although we made sure we had the basics down (enough food, water etc), and I knew it would be very hot, I deliberately didn't want to psych myself up about it: I just wanted to do it, be it. We drove through the night from Klamath Falls and arrived in the queue a few hours before sunrise. The queue was long and by the time we got in the sun was rising over the mountains. Driving through the night meant it was hard to take in the desert terrain around us. All we could see were shrubs on the side of the road and not much else. It wasn't until the sun came up that we realised where we were and what an astounding view we would be surrounded by for the next seven days. People were whooping, cheering, and generally getting into the spirit of "coming home". But for us, this was our first experience of coming home, for we were virgins.

My first impression of the Burning Man experience was confusion, I expect. The camaraderie of the burners is a little different to what you experience in London. Within a few hours a kind lady had cooked us bacon and sausages, we'd help build part of a bar, and we'd drank an awful lot of free booze. I bumped into my cousin which was just plain weird - I bump into him at every single festival, despite this one being on the other side of the world with 50,000 other people. I was, to put it blunt, a little bit drunk so I'm not entirely sure what happened there. The first thing I did when we decided to investigate the playa was to remove my clothes and just stay in my underwear (which I did all week). Finally, an acceptable place to just wander around in your underwear. It was refreshing to see so many naked people because seriously, some days it was simply too hot to wear clothes.

I was incredibly (and repeatedly) impressed by the effort that people had made with structures. It's hard to imagine a "bar" in the desert but some of these places were just incredible. At times it felt a little strange being there from another country - we hadn't had the opportunity to contribute to something so vast, so all we could do was keep donating cranberry juice and mixers to our favourite bars. Plus drink their booze, naturally. It really was a world that you can't imagine until you visit it. At night the playa looks like Vegas, neon lights flashing, flames blazing. There was so much to do from crystal healing to all night raving. So. Much. To. Do.

I didn't take many photos with my proper camera as I feared the dust that covers everything it comes into contact with. So here I'll let the photos speak for themselves. All I know is that we will be going back, learning from our lessons, and making next year bigger and better!

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Road trip: Portland (landscapes) [01 Oct 2011|06:25pm]

I've never seen such a wide open stretch of amazing terrain before. We stopped off at numerous points to dip our toes in creeks and streams and to take in the absolutely stunning view of the mountains.

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Road trip: Portland (Elisa & Phillip) [30 Sep 2011|02:54pm]
Our trip to Portland was a bit of a whirlwind given that we were only there for about a total of a day and a half. The drive from Eureka was absolutely breath-taking. By the time we arrived at Elisa's in the evening we were a little kapooped but excited to be in a house (and not hotel) once again, plus we were met with bundles of energy from our host! That evening Elisa and Phillip took us to a fancy sushi bar (mmm, my favourite) and some cocktails before we had a relatively early night to get some rest in. We slept in their daughter's bright pink bedroom.

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Kal Lavelle & Fiona Bevan [26 Sep 2011|12:49pm]
I popped down to The World's End (Finsbury Park) to catch Kal Lavelle's acoustic night last night. Thoroughly enjoyed her performance of 'Shivers' and 'Disaster'. Fiona Bevan also performed a couple of tracks. Her voice reminded me a little of Minnie Riperton.

Below is a video of Kal performing "Disaster" which is the first song that got me into her music. Great track!
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San Luis Obispo to Big Sur [18 Sep 2011|08:58pm]
After we had thoroughly slept for what seemed like eternity we had a good chat in the morning with Karen and Dale who gave us lots of tips for our lengthy drive up to San Francisco. We had a quick wander around San Luis Obispo which was wonderfully quaint and even had a breakfast at Big Sky (does every breakfast in America come with eggs and potatoes?). Cute mugs...

We stopped plenty of times but I forget the names of the fifteen million beaches we drove past, but I do recall my disappointment at there only being one static elephant seal at the lookout spot. I had envisioned hundreds of noisy seals, only to be greeted by this fat lump:

Anyway the lookout spots were pretty amazing. I don't think I've ever seen such a beautiful long stretch of beaches. I kept wanting to say "pull over!" and take the same photos over and over again. And again... the whole mountains next to the beach thing, got me every time. It was a great winding drive around the mountains that constantly had me on my toes. Turn a mountain, see a beach, turn another mountain see yourself driving through the clouds and an epic landscape in front of you.

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Road trip: London to Chicago [08 Sep 2011|07:11pm]

To say that I had been desperate for this trip would be an understatement. It's been a number of years since I went away for any period over a week and this was my first journey to the states. I don't know what I had come to expect - after all, it's not like we had a definitive journey planned out. The plan was to hit the road and see what happened from there. And that's what we did - starting at Heathrow where we sampled free booze (my favourite thing about Heathrow) and boarded for our layover in Chicago. Found these lovely bottles of Hennessy which went down a treat on the flight.

After an enormous amount of time queuing and being interrogated at passport control we managed to miss our connecting flight to L.A. Chicago airport doesn't look like the kind of place where you can just pull up a chair and snooze for a couple of hours and, already desperate for a bit of sleep, we ended up checking into a classy Super 8 motel for a wee four hours sleep before returning to the airport for a new flight to L.A. I quickly settled into my love of photographing in hotel/motel rooms. One of my favourite things about travelling! Especially when the rooms are so trashy.

Our new flight was at the crack of dawn so we got to watch the sun rise over Chicago. It was rather spectacular.

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Alopecia: Sue [17 Aug 2011|10:18am]

I can get a little nervous when I know that I am expecting someone to the studio for the Alopecia project. Most of the time we have spoken briefly on the phone but not yet met. However I knew that once Sue and I had spoken on the phone that things would be just dandy. Her free spirit attitude reassured me that this would not only be an easy shoot, but probably end up being the kind of scenario where we stay in touch, despite the long distance. Sue drove all the way from The Wirral to my place in London - almost four hours - to let me shoot her for the project. She brought along her lovely son who was an intelligent and sensitive boy (I don't seem to meet many of those) and it was obvious that they had a great, open and understanding relationship. Much like I do with my own Mama.

Sue was an absolute pleasure to chat too and of course photograph. She has an incredibly photogenic face and some of these shots are my favourite from the project so far. Click below to see the images larger and in more detail. I am so happy with these! You can see them on the Alopecia project page.

We also shot some images outside (which I don't normally do for the project). It was nice to just shoot a few outdoor portraits, instead of being in the studio.

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Kittens [16 Aug 2011|01:26pm]

These days it seems that I am surrounded by kittens. Everyone is on a kitten spree. These little lovelies belong to my friend and old housemate Lucy Sparrow. Check out her amazing felt art at sewyoursoul.co.uk.

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Rinse Presents: A Retrospective [15 Aug 2011|10:45am]

I really enjoyed the RINSE visual retrospective private view on Thursday. Shaun Bloodweather has shot some amazing portraits of people signed to RINSE and I really enjoyed the way it was presented (I'm not much one for elaborate frames etc). His portraiture style is pretty simple in terms of lighting but incredibly effective. C & I sipped a rum and coke whilst admiring not only the photography but the various elements of design that were also on show.

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James, 2010 [14 Aug 2011|10:01am]

July, 2010.

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