Bright lights, big city
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Photography Blog by Duncan Holmes

Bright lights, big city

Last week saw me making not one but two trips to Edinburgh! Rare for me, over on the West coast to make the long trek through morning traffic, but sometimes it’s worth the effort.
 
Wednesday was originally just a quick trip to pop my head round the door at Lady Jojo’s Boutique, host for Thursday’s shoot. Thanks to an enquiry at the weekend it also turned into an unrelated wee mini shoot. The original plan had been to shoot in and around the Botanic Gardens, but the monsoon came and soon persuaded us away from that idea.
 
Luckily, the model for the day was also the owner of a shop with plenty of floor space. Luckily too, she had rolls of fabric and lace that provided us with an improvised backdrop. It was a new departure for me, as the model was dressed in traditional Indian costume. Caroline, our makeup artist, provided some colourful looks to compliment the outfits and we had a relaxed afternoon of shooting.
 
 
A quick (well, as quick as tramworks, diversions and afternoon traffic allowed) bus into town and I met up with Joanna at Lady Jojo’s and had a quick chat before winging my way back to Glasgow.  
 
For someone who has an inclination towards genuine vintage and retro, a trip into Lady Jojo’s is a trip into some kind of mini heaven, exquisitely crafted in fabric. You could outfit all the female extras for an entire episode of Mad Men with the choice of pencil dresses and circle skirt dresses on display, with some cunning prints here or there to bring us into the current era. As well as stocking a number of suitable accessories, the boutique houses a display from Mairi Brunning Millinery, ranging from simple dinky little baby fascinators and hair combs up to the more elaborate hats and fascinators. From a photographic perspective, I was thrilled, there were enough options to be shooting for weeks and be coming up with a different look each time.
 
I’d been suffering from a cough and cold over these days, so when Thursday dawned early again, I was a bit wobbly and tired on the motorway through to the capital. A coffee and a bun restored my energies somewhat and I bathed in the sun on a bench in the Grassmarket as I waited to meet the stylist for that day’s shoot. The stylist was Roisin Ferguson, “The Fashion Mermaid”. She brought along an equally blue haired friend, Miranda, to assist. We descended on Joanna and Roisin made her initial plans for outfits for our two models.
 
We went for a quick coffee and returned in time to greet our makeup artist, Rachel Gallagher, on her arrival. She had recently worked with me on a shoot for Betty Spoke, so a familiar face and a skilled set of hands for makeup and hair for the day.
 
Jenna, the first of the models was next. She’d been one of the stars of my Razor shoot earlier in the year so I knew that she was perfect for the classic 40’s and 50’s style circle dresses from Lady Jojo’s. Aimee, our second model, also a familiar face from recent shoots, was due in somewhat later (though in the end, it was later than we’d expected due to travel links from Glasgow). She’s another model with a very vintage look about her.
 
 
Once hair and makeup were done, Jenna was arrayed in the first of her dresses for the day, a pink dress with liquorice allsorts print and a fascinator from Mairi Brunning Millinery. We managed to do a quick circuit of the old town, before the rain started to threaten us and got some great pictures.  
 
Joanna had to leave for an interview for a Scottish Enterprise Award (you just have to look at the attention to detail in everything she does in her shop, to know that she’s a very astute businesswoman, though not so great as a wiring technician), so we were left to our own devices with the second dress, a black dress with prints of 50’s style pinup girls. The rain was still threatening, so we took some shots of this dress under a nearby arch, down towards Castle Terrace, and then some more as the sun came out. These included some lovely dreamy shots under the shadow of some leaves by a wall and a very Marilyn Monroe moment as the wind seemed determined to have a rummage through Jenna’s skirt.
 
 
In the meantime, Aimee had arrived and was under Rachel’s expert hands in hair and makeup, so another change and both models were ready to go out together. This time Roisin had selected a couple of dresses with flower prints, one dark, one light.
 
We did some nice shots with the castle in the background before the rain chased us away again. This bout of rain was a bit more persistent, but luckily eased off before we all turned into pumpkins. We managed to squeeze in a few more shots before it was time to pack up and leave Joanna to lock up her shop.
 
After a full day on the town and the constant waft of chips from the pub down the road, we had a wee pitstop for food, where I had possibly the driest chicken breast it is possible to have without resorting to petrification.
 
 
I gave the two models a lift back to Glasgow, both fell promptly asleep in the car, so my conversation skills have obviously not improved.
 
I survived the shoot on adrenalin and the copious amount of coffee I’d consumed in the morning, by the time we got back to Glasgow for around 8pm I was really flagging. So much so, that my brief post shoot meeting with Betty Spoke turned into more of a hi / bye and she sent me away to get some sleep.
 

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