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Photography Blog by Duncan Holmes

Of light and shadow

In a busy week, mostly of my own making, I had arranged two back to back studio shoots on Sunday. No plan survives the first battle, so the original idea for the morning shoot for a sci-fi themed piece was kyboshed by a sick model. Luckily the model who was due in that afternoon was able to come in earlier. Then whilst travelling the length of Glasgow in search of a blacklight, I got another text that my makeup artist for the afternoon’s shoot was also cancelling due to illness.
 
Cancellations are one of the tribulations of shoots, especially casual time for print type shoots, rather than formal paid work, but I was almost in tears and panicking a little as I wandered B&Q in search of blacklights they did not have.  Over time one does learn who to rely on for important shoots, especially the paid work, but time for prints or other barter arrangements can be a good way to test shoot with folk and see what they can and can’t do, without the pressure of a brief from a client.
 
But, all was not lost, the morning MUA, June Long was willing to stay a little later (4 hours later in the end as we did not finish until 5pm), the designer, AJR Designs, who had been going to provide a Barbarella style costume for the morning shoot was able to improvise something completely different and a blacklight was found at Maplin’s on Gt Western Road by yours truly.
 
This all meant that we were able to start at the studio with only a 30-40 minute delay. This does not of course mean that we shot straight away. Hair and makeup have their own laws of time and space and one always has to factor into the studio hire time, the time required to render the attention to the model that the shoot requires. It’s something you often find with folk who book a studio for the first time, they don’t factor in the time required for setup and pack down, for hair and makeup, nor for simple experimentation with lighting. Experience has taught me to plan for such things, though this time I had forgotten to bring my book, so I just interrupted the studio owner for a gossip now and then, much to his despair!
 
June provided a wonderful hairdo for our model, Tuma as well as some beautiful makeup to compliment the glorious skirt that AJR Designs had provided for us. The addition of a carnival mask was just icing on the cake! So the first session went smoothly and helped everybody relax into the day.
 
 
Just after 12, the second designer turned up, frozen stovies and Tron style dresses in hand. Alison from Psychomoda is a force of nature, so not even a broken ankle held her back from coming along for the shoot to show off her latest creations. Any regular readers of my blog will know that she has been kind enough to loan some of her designs for my shoots in the past, so this was a chance to return the favour a little.
 
 
The first outfit this time was a skirt and corset combination, using blue EL Wire to provide the contouring. June provided some fluorescent makeup on the face and Alison acted as blacklight holder to provide the necessary glow. This was always going to be a shoot with a lot of experimentation with the lighting. A model with dark skin, against a dark background, lit at long exposures to allow the effects of the EL Wire and fluorescence to show. It took a while to nail down, and in the end the shoot did run over by an hour as June was let loose on Tuma’s back for the second outfit, that was backless.
 
This dress used pink EL Wire. The backless dress gave June a canvas for a surrealist combination of cogs and circuits, trimmed with fluorescent yellow grid work that matched the earlier makeup to the face.
 
 
 
Somehow we managed to squeeze in a few shots at the end with a white wig as well!
 
We’d been hosted for the day by Dreghorn Photography Studio and in earlier conversations he had said he would be willing to extend our booking beyond his usual opening hours, but it was still kind of him to extend an hour, on a day when he could otherwise have been spending quality time with his other half.
 
As thanks for his hospitality, I walked off with the quick release plate from his tripod, I blame the effects of the cold and too many lemsips.
 
I can now take a breather for a few days before the flurry of July/August work commences, with 4 weddings in 5 weeks, my Venus shoots (more on that in your shell like later) and a small band shoot in a launderette.
 
September is planned to be quiet, so that I can prepare for my exhibition in October and catch up on any backlog that might have built up in the meantime, just a few weddings to keep me ticking over and from getting rusty.
 

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