O were my love yon lilac fair, wi’ purple blossoms to the spring. And I a bird to shelter there, when wearied on my little wing……Robert Burns
As most of you regular readers will know, I shop a lot at Op shops (goodwill). I find some of the best stuff there in the way of props and costumes for photo shoots. I went a few weeks ago to my favourite one here in Katoomba and found this glorious lilac coloured dress. Long, with beautiful lace around the waist and sleeves and a magnificent sunray pleated skirt, I fell in love with it immediately. Imagine my surprise when I asked the price and got told $4.00. I paid for it and ran away before they changed their mind or realised that I was committing highway robbery.
I came straight home and put my lilac beauty on a mannequin to admire and imagine what I was going to do with her (yes I had given her a name & personality already). I had been to an awards dinner with my son a few weeks previously and met a lovely young lady called Alexis, who I knew would be great for an image, so showed her my work and she jumped at the opportunity to be a model for me. Suddenly, looking at the dress, I knew that she would look gorgeous in it, and when I imagined my dress on my model, the theme came easily to mind.
All tee’d up for the photoshoot, I asked my trusty Kirsty from KLB Images to be my assistant and of course she said yes. I knew of an old shed right near my place and it all lined up perfectly. I had a spare dress on hand in case my lilac beauty didn’t fit but I needn’t have worried about it. Not only did it fit, but the model and dress were made for each other. At the location, we took lots of different photos but as per usual, the shoot took on a life of it’s own. Both Kirsty and Alexis had ideas as well which I loved and the position of the sun added an extra dimension that I hadn’t really considered.
Thankfully, I always tell my models that what I plan and the finished product are not necessarily going to be one and the same because what I had planned just didn’t work for me. I always have a basic concept but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is set in stone. My work isn’t planned to an inch of it’s life. It’s not how my brain works. Instead, I allow it to take shape organically and I just follow along. One of the photos I took, the flash didn’t fire and it was all dark except for a rim of light around her face when she looked out of the window. It turns out that was one of the best shots of the day. Not that the others were bad…. not at all. But that one had a mystery and screamed to come to life so I let it. I named it Until Forever Ends. I have another photo from this shoot that is being used for an exhibition next year which I’m completely in love with but I won’t show it until it is on the wall of the exhibition.
Kirsty and I loved working with Alexis so much that we have some more shoots planned now with her. Some for me and some for Kirsty. Yes, I love it when a plan doesn’t come together but takes on a spirit and life all of it’s own. Here are some of the photos of the day, as well as the lousy quality iPhone photo of lilac beauty on the mannequin when I first brought her home. I’m sure you too can see how the dress and model were made for each other. I hope you love these as much as I do.