For about the last. year or so I have been, from time to time, heading out on wee Photography day safaris with my friend Becky. She and I met about a year ago and became fast friends, bonding over Photography, Star Trek and a number of other fandoms. It’s been lovely to make a new friend, at a time in life when new friends are so often an elusive possibility, and to have an accomplice with whom I know I we are both free is likely to be up for heading somewhere new or familiar, camera in hand, to explore, be outdoors and generally goof around whilst also giving new approaches and new subjects a try.
Last Sunday we went to Ayr beach, each of us just with one camera, one prime, to see what the day would bring and have fun with photography, and I got some really great photos that I am proud of, and so did she. That and we got to walk on the beach, which is always great, but was especially nice due to the fabulous Indian Summer we are having at the moment. We went on to explore Dunure, a small and delightfully quaint fishing village with a ruined castle, lovely and well preserved harbour, just a quarter of an hour or so down the old coast road to the south of Ayr.
I should mention, while I have your attention Dear Reader, that Becky is a fantastic photographer and artist – she was short listed for the Aesthetica Prize this year. You can find out more about her and her work here – Becky Probert Photography – I am very pleased that she chose to feature a portrait that I took on that page.
Anyhow, here’s some photos from the day in question…
Yesterday I managed to take advantage of a last minute opportunity to shoot with a model I have wanted to shoot with for a long, long time – Bobbi Castle.
It was great to be back in a studio and working with a model, collaborating on a concept and making art again. It has been a long time.
You can see more photos in the usual places, the full set on Flickr (you will need to log in and turn Safesearch off) and a selection on Viewbug and 500px and Model Society (some of which may require free accounts and choosing settings that allow nudity).
Over the last eighteen months or so I have called a halt to model photography of all kinds, in recognition of COVID-19. Clearly there have been much more serious issues for many people, but it has to be said that getting out in Nature and shooting with a model, whether working on my ongoing body of work of nude figure studies in nature, or doing a shoot with a specific purpose, is one of the things that keeps me feeling grounded and that I am creating work, expressing myself and caring for my artistic side.
Late on in 2019 I found myself getting back in touch with a handful of people I went to primary school with, and one of them in particular has become a regular correspondent and co-conspirator in fun. Odette and I have been conspiring to do some photos of her doing Yoga in beautiful places for her website for some time and this last weekend we finally got around to doing it.
So, you can see her site here and over the next few days it will be becoming more of a site and less of a holding page, but here are some highlights from our day of shooting…
I realise that Disney / Lucasfilm is a gigantic corporate entity that has already sucked millions of dollars out of the global population for the Star Wars franchise alone, and that they do not need my help or anyone else’s help in perpetuating the presence of this cultural behemoth in the zeitgeist, but…
It really is a nice, fun thing in a World that is locked down and in fear of a virus that has re-written our understanding of epidemiology and our assessment of our own mortality. COVID-19 has changed the World, in a few short months and not in any way wanting to brush aside the seriousness of the situation, or the unmitigated tragedy of the deaths of which a good number may well have been prevented, Star Wars Day has been a pleasant distraction, and so I embrace it.
I posted on Facebook that I chose the young Captain Ackbar from the Clone Wars era (who would later go on to be the Flag Admiral of the Rebel Fleet at The Battle of Endor) to be my character totem for the day. The rich diversity of characters and the epic sweep of time that go together to make up the Skywalker Saga within the wider Star Wars Universe is a joy to contemplate, from the scum and villainy of the Bounty Hunters and Interstellar Pirates to the Clone Armies of the Republic and the Droid Armies of the Separatists to the Empire, the Rebellion, the First Order to the Resistance and the Dark Shadowy Sith, the canvas is vast.
Who would you be if you could insert yourself into the Universe for a day? What would you want to experience?
Would you visit the Night Sisters of Dathomire and witness the secret rites with which they held sway over their World? Would you quest for the Zilla Beast on Malister Prime? My choice for this year is in no small part chosen because of my fascination with underwater worlds, and Captain Ackbar is a resident of the watery Mon Calamari. During the Clone Wars (I forget exactly which season of the show) he fought side by side with the newly crowned King of the Mon Cala against the Separatists under the waves of his planet’s oceans.
These little imaginings go a long way to freeing me, and indeed us all, from the tyranny of reality, even if only for a moment or a few minutes of a daydream, but that is the joy of imagination.
So, Happy Star Wars Day – The Fourth will be with you, always…