Committing heresy: I (mostly) hate Helmut Newton

21 Nov

Are you following my new instagram? πŸ˜‰

I first came across Helmut Newton’s work when I was about eight. I was having a chocolate brownie with my mum and her friend in a Covent Garden cafe, and the smallish framed pictures on the walls featuring tall busty women in, if my memory is still working, wet t-shirt contests, all bore dates and the words “Helmut Newton”. The women looked so similar I assumed it was one model and that was her name. At age eight, I also thought that a wet t-shirt contest was about who could get their t-shirt the wettest…

Three thoughts I have about Helmut Newton.
1) He looks like Robert De Niro if you ironed him.
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2) His life is fascinating- I don’t hate the man, just most of his pictures…
3) … which are an eclectic mishmash of spectacular and bloody hideous.

Over a decade after that sighting, I was working as a professional model and finding that Mr Newton is the untouchable pinnacle of fetish and erotic creative achievement according to many people I worked with and spoke to online. Bob Carlos Clarke is another (I adore his work but suspect I wouldn’t have got on with him.) In the same way Joe Public thinks of Kate Moss first and foremost when discussing modelling, Helmut Newton’s name is synonymous with many genres that make up my workload. I can’t get away from the man! More specifically, the phrase “Helmut Newton style”.

These images are by Helmut Newton.

If you would like to book me for a femme fatale, glamourous nude or lingerie shoot in a gorgeous hotel or any other location with perfect hair and make-up, in black and white then please, oh please do! I love the first three images below!

Charlotte Rampling
Daryl Hannah

I don’t love these ones…


And don’t get me started on these.


When somebody says “Helmut Newton style”, I have no idea whether they are thinking about nude models in five star hotels with stunning hair, make-up and old fashioned decadence….. or unflattering angles on an unmade bed, legs splayed, fellating a gun. Helmut Newton has several styles and they do not look like the same photographer! I can only imagine the horror for a new model expecting the former, being booked for the latter and realising that yes, Dr Jekyll is also Mr Hyde.

I understand that his images were risque for the time, that they were influencers, but it was easier to be edgy in the 70s. When I first started modelling, I thought a gothic shoot in a graveyard with Crow make-up and photoshopped bats was an amazing idea. Fortunately, I moved on. Yes, Newton’s work is historically significant- I’m not suggesting that he be confined to history’s dustbin, just suggesting that a name should not turn a bad photo into a good one.
If this picture wasn’t a “Newton”, what stops it from being very thin woman with ‘spade’ hands and her legs hanging open?
If this wasn’t a Newton, why isn’t it just a cheesy, overacted, rather unflattering shot?
I think that one thing keeping his images from being thought of as trashy is his choice of models. Helmut mostly worked with extremely tall thin women with long limbs and fairly small breasts. Women with ‘fashion’ figures can often make almost anything look daring and edgy. There are poses that fashion models can pull off but make a curvier model look lurid and tacky. This is a prime example. The pose makes smaller breasts look bigger and most big (natural) breasts look like droopy udders.
Charlotte Rampling, Daryl Hannah, Carla Bruni… his choice of model also happened to be particularly beautiful celebrities- of course his images will remain in the public eye as long as the subjects do! Would they still be considered timeless and iconic if he had exclusively picked pretty women from the local bar?
This isn’t just any woman looking bored, grabbing her tit- this is Catherine Deneuve looking bored, grabbing Catherine Deneuve’s tit.

In my opinion, Helmut Newton had some truly beautiful photos and some equally dire ones in a mostly cool-ish portfolio which was helped by his choice of subject and use of stark black and white (somehow it makes many photos look more ‘arty’.)
As a fetish model, I can appreciate his daring to try weird stuff and as I usually do my own hair and makeup, I find the glamourous styling makes its way onto several of my personal moodboards. I love his hotel shots and sometimes his framing is just perfect. It’s why I’ll gladly consider a Helmut Newton style shoot with you… but first I’ll ask “what style?” ;P

Doing it better…

I’ve actually wanted to write this blog for quite some time… and then the pieces fell into place when a forum post on Purpleport started up…Β  So I frantically mailed a few photographers I greatly admire who, in my opinion, do “Helmut Newton style” better than Helmut Newton.

John Tisbury
Model: Vic

Models: Katy Cee and Iveta (both retired from modelling)

Max Operandi
Assisting Don McCrae

Model: Your humble blogger. That’s me.

Model: Ella Rose

Model: Rosa Brighid

As I just realised I only have one image of me in an entire blog, here’s one of my all-time favourites, by Gregory Brown.

Now, I’m sure one of you is going to tell me that many of the images above were heavily influenced by Newton. I know. I am very aware of this, but the fact is that Helmut Newton was also inspired by other people and somebody (can’t think who!) said that you can copy whatever you want but what matters is being better than the original. πŸ˜‰

It’s okay to disagree with me- come and have a chat about it if you want! I’m just glad I got that off my chest. ;P


P.S. Here I am demonstrating how to correctly work with a cat. Take note, Helmut Newton- wherever you are in time and space!

Incorrect cat-handling.

Correct cat-handling.
Photo by Elena Isac.

A little bit of news…

14 Oct

I’ve been all mysterious recently… I had to postpone photoshoots (which I NEVER do). I’ve been in hospital. I’ve mentioned new projects. I’ve hinted annoyingly. It’s time to reveal all!!!
I hate secrets... πŸ˜›

First news: I love my job but I am aware I cannot model forever. As I’ve said, I’m not going anywhere just yet but I have been rather busy behind the scenes. As I travel so much and love to write, I’ve set up another blog/website, twitter and instagram. In fact, it’s a lot like this blog but with more selfies, travel advice, news from my boat and pictures/tales from my adventures around the world.

If you didn’t know already, I’m very into my postapocalyptic everything. I (apparently) look like a videogame assassin from the end of the world when I’m not modelling, and will be sharing my style sources and how-to tips for the interested. I live on a narrowboat and take pictures of her. (Yes, all boats are ‘she’, even if they’re called ‘Thor’.) I know all about travelling cheaply (London to Utrecht for Β£13, anyone?) as well as weird underground off-the-beaten-track places to go in about ten different countries. I have a LOT of fascinating friends who may also make appearances. If any of this sounds interesting and/or you’d like to continue supporting me in my next (ad)venture, which I really hope you will, then please come and see me at these places and share the links. All are welcome but this is especially true if you’re a fellow adventurer, blogger and/or woman. I’d really like to support you too!

Oh, and yes, “F.Roswell” is also a pseudonym.

Here’s a static visual trailer for the site. (Ahem… what I mean is, here’s a bunch of photos…) πŸ˜›
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Seriously though, I’d really love and appreciate your support in this- it’s a completely new project for me and I’m starting from scratch but I have big plans. This little blog couldn’t have got as far as it has without your shares and support- thankyou.


On to the second news: on June 22nd, I was sterilised.

Almost every parent I know says that having a child is one of the most life changing things you can do. (Possibly THE most, in my opinion.) Nothing can prepare you for the reality and it is a permanent, life altering decision. Hold that thought…

As many of you may remember, I’ve been fighting to be sterilised for a long time. If you’re a newcomer, my rant is here but I’ll summarise:

I’ve never wanted children and hormonal contraception is not good for me. As I’m nearly 30, I decided enough was enough and wanted to be free of the worry once and for all. I am aware that this is a permanent decision. I have been reminded of this by friends, strangers and medical professionals and I have been fully aware of the permanence of this option since I was eight.
None of my friends with children are continually reminded by shocked people that their decision to bring another human into the world and be responsible for them for at least the next eighteen years is irreversible. None of my friends have been told β€œyou’ll change your mind” on announcing their pregnancy. The decision whether or not to bear a child is a serious choice concerning our bodies and fertility and if age 28 (as I was) is old enough to permanently become a parent then it is old enough to permanently choose not to. What matters is having the right to make the decision in the first place. You (or ‘one’) may feel I’ve made the wrong choice, but that choice should be mine to make.

As I said in my viral rant, I got a rejection letter regarding funding. What had not been explained to me was that while funding was denied by my local hospital (which could be for any legitimate reason), it was not denied altogether- I’d just have to go to a different hospital. So when a different hospital called me for an appointment, I was grouchily prepared for a stern finger-wagging and another assertion that I was too young to make such a permanent decision. (As though parenthood is temporary…)
Not so. I walked into the doctor’s office and… SURPRISE STERILISATION! I embarrassingly enough burst into tears at the shock and relief. Yes he went through the usual questions (permanent, surgery risks etc, other options) but prefaced each question with the words β€œI legally have to ask…” which made all the difference. So we set a day for surgery and off I went!
The actual surgery, waiting times and hospital details were stressful and horrid (if you have questions, mail me directly- I’m happy to be open but don’t want to publicly overshare medical stuff) but the nurses were amazing, took care of me and ‘my needy boyfriend’ (the drip I was attached to) and as I was severely dehydrated, I spent the night in hospital where I got a 5am wake-up call in the form of a woman giving birth on the floor below. Changed my mind yet? Naaaaah…

Moving on! Photographers- please worry not. I have two tiny scars- one hidden in my bellybutton, one hidden just below my pubic hairline. I’m back to what passes for normal in my life. πŸ˜‰

So there’s my news! There’s a lot of change and things moving about in my world at the moment and I’d be lying if I said things weren’t pretty scary. I’ve done casting calls, travelling, photoshoots and all of the everyday things that come with modelling for over a decade and the thought of building another business (Life Out There) from scratch is daunting to say the least. If you know anyone looking for writers or traditional illustrators, there’s someone riiiight over here! πŸ˜‰

Of course, the day I decide it’s β€œlast hoorah time”, you’ll all be the first to know but for now, lets have more pictures!!

As I’ve blogged about two different sides of my life, what better pictures to post than these ones by KinkyStyle?! Still a fetish model, but almost everything in the shots are mine (and the coat was made by yours truly…)



Assorted meows!

10 Sep

As this blog is mostly about the relationship and camaraderie internet models have, how better to start it off than with a crowd of us off-duty and celebrating friendship and love? (Uh-oh- hippy Roswell’s out again!) πŸ˜› A few months ago, I had the honour of being a bridesmaid for photographer, blogger and plus size model Kitty Morris (formerly Wood). Meow. Kitty. See what I did there? πŸ˜›

Kitty has been writing a fantastic series of blogs about different aspects of her wedding which are really interesting and beautiful- click here for some purple dress and cactus action….
For me, it was not only a chance to see someone I love dress up like a mermaid rockstar and marry a besuited Dothraki but also to make new friends and catch up with two other models I hardly ever get the chance to see. (It’s Jess and Liv Free, who also did Kitty’s and my hair and make-up, and rocked it.)
You may remember them from previous blogs!
Jess and me

Liv and me!

I actually took far fewer photos than I expected as I just wanted to enjoy the moment- and photographer Click Click Bang was already on the case and considerably better at photography than me!
Here are a couple of mine:

Gurning again with Liv… we are just the sexiest! πŸ˜‰

Look at Kittys mermaid hair!

What happens when three off-duty models get in a photobooth

And here are some much better ones from Click Click Bang
Look at that bouquet. LOOK AT IT!!!

Happy (and nervous) bridesmaid!

“…that’s when love walked in...”

L-R: Fal, Jess, Kitty, Me, Liv

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The cakes. The one on the left is made of cheese. It is a literal CHEESE CAKE!!

Seriously, read Kittys blog for extra awesomeness. πŸ™‚

On to some more meows…

Photos by MattB
Outfit by Yummy Gummy
Kitty ears by Lady Allura
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It’s been my experience that there’s always a little drama in any environment but if you believe the media, the modelling industry has it in disproportionate bucketfuls. Watch Top Model, watch a documentary- hell, watch Zoolander- the model stereotype is about 30% eating disorder, 20% pouting and 50% cattiness. While just like any stereotype there is a grain of truth to it, my experiences among fellow internet and travelling models have been almost entirely positive and supportive.

Though the majority of us look different and of course we all work in our own ways, theΒ  lifestyle of any travelling model can be remarkably similar no matter the genre or country! I never thought I’d know two models who have lived out of their vans while travelling with their dogs, for example. πŸ˜€
Late cancellations on tour, expensive train fares, shoots you weren’t expecting to be just so damned awesome, a once-in-a-lifetime publication or booking, sad news while out of the country, loneliness, happiness etc etc etc. It’s no wonder that the community spirit is often so strong when we’ve all experienced the same very specific situations! There are even facebook groups for stranded models who need urgent hostel or airbnb recommendations. We have no agency to find work for us. We work our butts off to get jobs and contacts- posting castings, applying for castings, updating our portfolios and contacting photographers and designers directly. Our reputations as both skilled models and professionals are what puts food on our tables (yes, we eat!)
Though as I’ve said, we’re a friendly bunch, one thing I’ve seen bring out the ‘inner bitch’ in both models and designers is lazy networking. It tends to be a newbie model crime- I’ve been guilty of it and so have most people I know so maybe it’s a rite of passage like cheesy poses or mixing up your measurements- one you can look back on and see how far you’ve come both in terms of skill and professionalism. Either way, let me explain…

Most of us are more than happy to help other models network. I’ve had messages from photographers whose model has had to cancel but recommended me as a replacement. I have recommended other models to photographers who have a certain project in mind. On request, I’ve given honest feedback on portfolios in exchange for the same honesty about mine. Model networking is a two-way street. What really grinds my gears is receiving a message asking simply for a list of my photographer or designer contacts. I’m more than happy to give advice to newbies regarding how to find work or make contacts but simply asking for mine is lazy and rude. (“Please tell me who pays and who lends corsets.” Well how about I just cut out the middle man and give you money and corsets?!) The same goes with models asking to be recommended to a designer- if I don’t know you, I will not risk my reputation vouching for you.
Designers get some especially ludicrous messages from chancers which produce amazing rants online! (“please lend me this exact latex dress for a hen party in three days time- I’ll take pictures of it on my really good cameraphone.”) I’ve explained how to work with designers in this blog here:

Another thing we don’t like is when people (and this can be anyone) pay us a compliment by insulting other models! We all know that a huge no-no for models is misrepresenting yourself by overphotoshopping, lying about measurements, shaving your head with no warning etc. Photographers have every right to be annoyed at that and every right to have an aesthetic preference. We all do- but if I am booked for a job due to my curves, that is great for me so please don’t ruin it by telling me that certain other models were passed over because they look like a bag of spanners. That could well be my friend you are talking about.

Of course, stereotypes being what they are, I must say (again) that the vast majority of my experience working alongside other models (and women in this industry!) has been fantastic. This includes things I have witnessed – like models in trouble who have posted online for help and got it within minutes, even at 3am. Like having/seeing the level of help and care offered in comparatively minor but scary health situations- a panic attack or hypoglycaemic meltdown for example. Like the way people rallied around to help me find extra work when I had a frighteningly large number of bills come through at once (yet again, thankyou for that, from the bottom of my little black heart.)

I’m off to be a tourist next week (for the first time in what feels like years) so I’ll blog again in a couple of weeks (the big one…) πŸ˜‰

For now though… adding some ‘cattiness’ to the modelling world. Prrrrrr… πŸ˜›


Photos by Luci Alice
Outfit by Dawnamatrix

Older and Wiser (ten years of modelling)

31 Aug

I turned 29 on Friday, marking ten years since I did my first ever photoshoot. (What a decade-long ride!!) As I’ve been inactive here for the past couple of months- though VERY active elsewhere- I have so much news to put into some semblance of order and tell you:

I was spotted by a talent scout at Infest festival back in 2006 and began modelling that very day. I signed up to the portfolio websites of the time and that’s the scintillating tale of how I got into modelling. I should really make up a story involving a rogue fashion designer, a kilo of Scottish oatcakes and the Illuminati… πŸ˜›

2006: First photoshoot EVER!
Cyberfaith1 Cyberfaith2
by OfTheNight

I often get told that I don’t look as old as I am. I have my moments in which I feel terribly jaded but I also have the same sense of adventure and awe at my weird life as I did when I began this crazy decade. Though I have my ‘off’ days, I’m so grateful for the freedom I have to see anything I want, dress in anything I like and meet an incredible range of people. I have no intention of hanging up my travelbag yet and over the past year I have enjoyed more new experiences than ever… and that’s partly due to a change in attitude. I’m going to sound like a grumpy old woman now… πŸ˜‰

2007: the year I met the fetish modelling industry- this picture was the flyer image for London Fetish Weekend!
Photo by Gothic Image, latex by Libidex, ropework by Esinem

Back in my day, when I was a wide-eyed innocent young thing, there was no mass culture surrounding internet fame the way there is today. There was no Zoella equivalent, or that annoying-ish Russell Brand guy that’s taken over the cooking channel. When I began modelling, I saw a small group of beautiful and talented women rise to the top of the internet modelling profession. Some of these have now retired, some are still going strong. And then the second wave came, and now the third. Each wave of strange bohemian artsy-nudesy internet models has brought different kinds of beauty, new looks, more exciting women to get to know. There are still standout models at the top of their game but now things are different…

2008: Upping my ‘fetish model’ game
Photo by Arwendur

The rise of ‘internet famous’ has changed the industry. Certainly in the fashion, fetish and glamour genres, people begin to pay attention to how many social media followers a model has. This includes bookers. I began working in the fetish industry very early on and the scene runs a lot of competitions and giveaways based on votes. While a public vote sounds nice, the fact is that a person with 100 social media followers stands no chance against somebody with 100,000. It makes business sense- a person with hundreds of thousands of fans will get a lot more exposure for the brand.
It was a no-brainer: if I was to keep my place as a respected model I needed more social media fans. I spent about two years doing photoshoots and updates I thought potential fans would like and my fanbase grew albeit slowly. This social media following had NO effect on my paying work. None. I was still making a full time living from modelling but the added stress of self-shooting mediocre content in the hope of growing my followers began to take the joy from my work. I noticed on modelling forums that the top questions were no longer “how do I perfect this pose/style this hair/stay healthy while travelling?” but “how to I grow my social media fanbase?”
On September 6th 2015, I walked away. Though I have been automatically entered and shortlisted in competitions since, I have not entered any myself. I stopped shooting boring (to me) snaps and poured my efforts into creative castings, visiting ‘bucket list’ places and enjoying modelling once again. I still love latex fashion and the friends I have made at fetish fashion shows. I still regularly appear onstage at events. I have no intention of stopping and am now sponsored by several well-known designers but now, when I work, my first thought is ‘how can I make this picture awesome?’ rather than ‘will this picture help me get more fans?’
In all honesty, I can say I feel this is one of the best decisions I ever made for my mental health and my creativity. ❀

2009: Still quite new to nude modelling!
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Photos by Titus Powell

One of the main creative things I am proud of making is this blog! I never thought I’d still be burbling at you after all this time! πŸ˜› This blog has helped me make sense of my crazy life, got me paying work as a writer (which is what I originally wanted to do after all), helped put a very dangerous person behind bars and ironically got me the following that I had originally hoped I’d get from social media! My statistics show an insane amount of views- thankyou all so much.
If you’re a regular reader, you’ve probably noticed that my posts have become more of a ‘travelling model memoir’ than ‘here’s my butt in latex- please vote for me’. That’s going to continue- this blog is now my platform for sharing advice, observations and funny stories from my life in this industry. I have also been writing elsewhere on another blog… I’ll give you the links in a post very shortly. πŸ˜‰

2010: I think that’s the year this blog started! I learned so much during this trip to Spain- it was my first time being booked abroad for paying work(!)
Photo by Gregory Brown

I’ve been photographed in sixteen countries, featured in multiple art exhibitions, had magazine covers worldwide, represented some of my favourite designers on the catwalk and even after that, one of my favourite things about this job is still meeting interesting people and hearing their stories. Most of my best friends are people I have met through modelling.
In fact… photographer, blogger and plus size model Kitty Wood (now Morris) honoured me by asking me to be a bridesmaid at her wedding in June. ❀ It was an incredible experience and a memory I will treasure (at risk of sounding extraordinarily soppy!) I’ll post some pictures from the wedding in my next blog- they are well worth seeing!

2011: Shooting for Zivity with Kitty (of course). She always brings something different or unusual out in me!
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Photos by Kitty Wood

It was in 2011 that I finally took the plunge and left my job at the local hippy/spiritual/beautiful things shop (that’s a whole other set of memoirs!) and began modelling full-time. Less than a year later in 2012, I left the city I had been living in due to sad reasons that have no place on this blog, and travelled the world for two years without a home at all.
If I said I’d enjoyed living that way, I’d be lying. I LOVE to visit new places but if I’m going to see amazing sights on my own terms, meet strangers and put the world to rights on a mountaintop at 3am, I need to be travelling for the sake of it. Having a huge suitcase attached to my hand made the mental baggage I was travelling with worse and I ended up physically injured due to the sheer weight of it all! I now have a home of my own and though not all memories of that period are good, I wouldn’t change them.
I got lost on a bus in Queens (New York), possibly hallucinated Morgan Freeman, went on a crazy latex walk through Montreal, did a guerrilla fashion show, had my own private blues concert, toured four countries in four weeks and by the time it all ended, I did feel that I had changed. I was less afraid of Things Going Wrong and it has made me a calmer person- though I’m still a feisty creature, I no longer annoy myself with it!

2012: I never told anyone that I was in so much pain during this trip. My host/photographer Paul Ward and co-model “A Raw Muse” were some of the most interesting, kind, fun, welcoming people to be around that during the shoot I cracked my first smiles and laughs in a very long time. (I’ve even posted a very embarrassing outtake below)Β 
I can’t remember what on earth we were laughing at but it must have been HILARIOUS!

You may have noticed that the pictures posted so far are all art-nude and/or fetish. That’s because it’s only in the last few years that I’ve been regularly booked for other work! I was the face of a jewellery company for a few years, did some studio days with my vast outfit collection and always brought options to photoshoots but the majority of my work was either nude or fetish related. But… just as the ‘internet famous’ phenomenon has changed the internet modelling industry, another high fashion ‘trend’ has also trickled down to the internet crew; plus size modelling.
No, I’m not officially ‘plus size’ though at a UK size 10 (occasionally a 12), I would be if I were taller. (The ethics of that are for another blog or person to address.) I am plus size when it comes to bras as I do not fit standard sizing. Either way, I’m very curvy and up until a few years ago, I was probably the UK’s only professional curvy nude model. That’s unusual in itself as the preferred size for nude models had been either very petite or very tall and willowy. It had never even occurred to me to try promoting myself for fashion work but with the rise of plus size fashion models and the plus size acceptance movement, I am now getting booked for fashion jobs on a fairly regular basis!

It is a very strange feeling- watching the world change around you- even if it’s only a very small corner of the world. In the grand scheme of things, me getting an increase in fashion bookings means nothing, though it has had quite an impact on my life. I cannot imagine what it must be like to live in a rapidly developing country, or to be a few decades older and watching somewhere like Los Angeles change. I guess one day I won’t have to imagine! πŸ˜›

2013: A fashion shoot in Sweden with Josefine Jonsson. We bonded over our love of birds. ❀

Of course, fashion loves youth (though even that is very slowly changing) and I am getting older- as we know! As a curvy lady, I’m likely to age more obviously than petite models though so far things are staying in their rightful places! πŸ˜€ Looking back at my pictures though, I have noticed a difference in my face BUT I cannot work out if it’s from physical aging, life experience, weight loss or just getting better at knowing my angles! My cheekbones seem more pronounced and there just seems to be more oomph in my eyes. (When I am not as tired as I am now, the previous sentence will annoy the hell out of me- I can feel it!)
By the time my boobs are in my shoes and my face starts to look like an elephants knee, I will no longer be modelling professionally- that shouldn’t be a shock! A common gripe among models is being informed by the well-meaning public that we’ll need to find a job to do after all the glitz and glamour is fading. (Glitz and glamour? HA!!!) We know. Believe me, we do. Most of us have degrees or other paths we were following before we took a photographic detour! My degree is in writing and that’s what I’m doing now. I’m also painting and I take commissions. *cough*
I’m not going anywhere yet but I’m starting to put wheels in motion. I’d rather have my next career ready before I stop having my picture taken for a living even if that doesn’t happen for another five years. Then again, life is unpredictable so if you haven’t worked with me and want to, please get in touch to let me know because once I do retire, I will not be returning… πŸ˜‰

2014: The faraway look from my first few shoots has gone. And it’s an editorial!
Photographer is Emma-Jane Photography

I sometimes feel silly for asking advice from fellow models online- after ten years, shouldn’t I already know how to handle X situation or do X style make-up? But the modelling community comes with a sense of camaraderie- especially among the older or more experienced women. I hear advice I wouldn’t have considered, find myself answering questions I never thought I’d hear or writing down hilarious and bizarre sentences so that I never forget them. (“I’d never dress you up as a merman! What do you take me for??!”)
Something I learned from another model a few years ago was to take a few days off each tour to see the sights. What was the point in travelling if all I saw was the inside of a hotel room? It was around then that I started documenting my life outside of modelling- the food I tried, people I met and things I saw. That little piece of wisdom changed my life- I rediscovered my love for adventure and there are certain photoshoots that I would not have considered doing had I not begun to explore on my owm terms and become more comfortable with pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

2015: Shoots like this, of course! The blog I wrote about this one (“Death Becomes Her”) is one of my most popular of all time!
Photographer- Rebecca Bathory, Dress- Joanne Fleming

And now I’m writing a blog I never imagined writing in a million years! πŸ˜€ I’ve posted a lot of my life in here and sometimes (usually at airports at 4am) the things that seemed so exciting and strange a decade ago are commonplace- like working around the world or travelling solo.
But then I write it down.
And then I read it.
And then I pinch myself. πŸ˜›

And even now, there are still things on my modelling bucket list!
I want to dress up as a Cenobite, I want to shoot in Iceland, I want to be in a film, to shoot an art-nude bodyscape set with a snake, to shoot in Australia, to buy another custom-made latex outfit!

And I think that’s why I’m still here- the core of what keeps me doing this. I still feel I have something to give- more creativity to shoot. Here’s hoping…

NOW: Lastly, here’s something I shot with the AWESOME Leigh Eros in Scotland. I’m wearing a chestplate I made myself and christened ‘Helga’.


Guys With Cameras…

1 Jul

I’m back in action! πŸ˜‰
My first photoshoot is next Wednesday so I’ve been spending a lot of time being creative and updating my art portfolio as well as roadkilling leather jackets for some events I have coming up…

I’m almost fully booked until SEPTEMBER now, but have just three days available for bookings in the beautiful Lake District with one of my best friends and legendary art-nude model Madame Bink. This is the FIRST time we have offered a duo shoot so places are likely to go quickly.
Please follow this link for details and testimonies from other photographers, and here are some pictures of the two of us:
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Now, as I have been fighting my way through the ‘inbox rabbit hole’ and two weeks of unanswered emails, I have noticed an interesting pattern which has led to this blog post which has some advice and a spoonful of snark. πŸ˜›

Ignoring spam and anything unrelated to modelling, here is a rough percentage of my inbox:
Bookings, enquiries and updates: 70%
Photo comments and messages from fans: 20%
Booking requests from total newbies and non-photographers: 10%

Total newbies are not a bad thing at all- I actually like working with new photographers and enjoy helping begin a portfolio- it’s a challenge for me on every level (posing, styling a variety of looks, answering questions etc), and it’s one I enjoy! I often get messages from photographers telling me that they want to book me when they are better at photography but booking a professional model can help improve your work instantly.

These two shots are by C Young- she was just a student when I posed for her!
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It begins with peace of mind; we don’t need direction, will turn up on time and most of us are also good stylists with impressive shooting wardrobes. We know how to work with any angle and lighting and can help you get the very best out of your time. There are few better ways to kick-start a new photography hobby (or fledgling career) than by booking a professional.


a common complaint I hear among new photographers is the catch-22 situation; they must get references from well-known models in order to prove themselves trustworthy, but no model will work with them unless they already have references (which is an understandable request)!

If you are a new photographer with very few (or no) references, this is how to go about working with a model:

1) Book a studio they know and trust. (Β£)
You get your one-to-one photoshoot in privacy, with a knowledgeable studio owner in case of any equipment malfunction, plenty of lights and backdrops and your model feels secure in her/his environment. (And yes some studios have fantastic outdoor areas for photographers more interested in location work.)

2) Book a duo shoot or work with a team. (£££)
Your model(s) have the benefits of a chaperone, while you will have a greater variety of images working with another model or styling team. At the end of the shoot, you will also have more than one reference.

3) Allow your model to bring a chaperone. (_)
I personally do not work with chaperones- I find them distracting and feel that if I am uncomfortable enough to need/want one, I shouldn’t be shooting with you BUT if your model is happy to shoot with a chaperone, it’s another way to keep him/her comfortable and feeling safe. Also, if you pick the right chaperone you also have a free lighting and wardrobe assistant. πŸ™‚ However, the wrong one can turn a promising shoot into a dire one. In general, a friend or relative of the model is best.

4) Book a place on a studio day or workshop. (Β£)
Studio days usually offer reduced rates with the benefits of extra equipment, wardrobe and backdrops, giving you excellent value for money and one-on-one time with your model.
Workshops are usually more expensive but also give you tuition, though it will be in a group. Either way, you get experience working with a model who will then be able to give you a reference, though I recommend a studio day as models work with so many groups at once it is often hard to build a rapport with every individual.

I understand that some of these options entail spending a little extra money but your reputation is worth investing in. If you build from a good foundation, it will pay off in the end.

I’ve worked with some wonderful people and I love seeing their work evolve over time. It can be daunting booking somebody who’s been a part of the industry for a long time (not just me- any professional model) but I promise, we are a friendly bunch and will not judge you if you forget to take the lens cap off. πŸ˜›

This photo is by Black Lotus and it was one of her first ever model shoots!

Friendly advice over- the snark zone is below…

In this industry, the term GWC means a β€œGuy With a Camera” (as opposed to a photographer). You do NOT have to be an industry professional to be considered a photographer but you do have to do photography and this means having a portfolio. I don’t mind if it is full of pictures of your nan, your baby, your dog or the local landscape, but please prove to me that you have picked up a camera!

I am not going to sit on my naked backside for any random person willing to pay my rate and I have had too many messages recently from men asking me to help them “start a portfolio”. They never seem to have other models, photographers or studios in their contacts list, always want a full day shoot in a remote location and seem very anxious to discuss things on the phone. Funnily enough, I don’t give out my phone number to everybody that asks for it!
A high court judge will not come over to fix your minor marital dispute; s/he has actual cases to judge.
A firefighter will not pop round to get your stove working; s/he has actual fires to control.
I am not going to come and hang out with you, maybe posing for a snap or two, when I have web content to shoot, fashion shows to do and portfolio shoots to pose for.

There are easier ways to hang out with a hot naked chick than a fictitious interest in taking my picture: book an escort, say please and thankyou and treat her with respect.
And on that note, may I politely request you not make me part of your sexual fantasy? If you do, I’ll make fun of you on this blog and the next one gets their screenshot put here for all to see:

β€œHello. I’d like to book you for a photoshoot- my wife also models so could it be a duo shoot?”
β€œOf course! What would you like to shoot? Do you have a link to your work and your wifes portfolio? I’d love to say hello before we shoot.”
This is followed by a stash of terrifying photos resembling Ann Summers vomiting all over Scunthorpe Swingers Night.
No, mate. No.

The problem is, the GWCs give the newbies a bad name and that’s not fair.
I’m happy to work with new people so long as they are genuine (and most professional models can tell newbies from chancers a mile away)! I wouldn’t be here as a full time professional model if photographers hadn’t given my curvy brown-haired two-photoshoots newbie ass a chance even though I didn’t know what implied-nude meant. I’m grateful to the people who did give me a chance and I’m happy to pay that forward.

Look at my innocent little FACE!!! Photo by Darkest Angel, in 2006!!!

Now, if you have managed to get through this entire blog, grouch, very old photo of me and all, have some more pictures! πŸ˜‰
There are from a long time ago but I just rediscovered them. Photographer Chris was also new to the hobby but he came with glowing references so of course I hopped on a plane and spent two days in Spain shooting latex! I do rather love my job… πŸ˜‰

And as his lovely wife also modelled too (but not for Scunthorpe Swingers Night) she made a guest appearance in ‘the medical room’! HOW cool??!

Next blog, I have some very special ‘off duty’ shots to show you. For now, it’s time to get the acrylic paints out again…