Saturday, July 23, 2011


At long last! Exercising Restraint is the title of the spread, but "exercising restraint" was the reality of waiting a couple of years for this concept to be shot, and then a few more months for it to be published so that now I'm finally free to share the final images, as well as some behind-the-scenes snaps.

The original idea... a page out of my sketchbook from about 2 years ago.

Joanna ensuring everything is perfect while Fred prepares to make his 1-2 captures before moving on to the next look. Seriously, we knew it had to be just right, because when you don't shoot digital, you only get a couple of takes.

Bronte striking her "Joan of Arc" pose. Ok, a true Joan of Arc
pose probably involves armour, but doesn't she look heroic?

Fred checking focus and Bronte holding still... for a very long time.

I was really happy this hair, but alas it doesn't show this view in the
final images... of course this is why we have bts images. :)

Just like the old days, with the photographer's head hidden inside
the black drape to focus the camera.

The final images published in TLC.

To get a copy of TLC magazine (so many more great fashion stories to see), go here. To see bts of the set being made, check out my previous post.

Photography and set prep - Fred Fraser
Styling - Joanna Kulpa
Art direction/hair/make-up/set - Liz Dungate
Model - Bronte @ LizBell

Monday, July 11, 2011

Running away with the circus.

I never actually wanted to run away with the circus. My few circus experiences as a child only impressed me with the overwhelming reality of smelly elephants and resentful and fearful animals.

BUT, I love the idea of The Circus, that romantic, freaky, bigger than life, stranger than fiction carny world. Especially Victorian circus acts, freak shows, all that chicanery of fake oddities mixed in with genuinely rare physical anomalies or extraordinary performance talents.

Sooooo, as much as I complained about the work involved (ask Fred), I could not resist the challenge of creating a trompe-l'oeil mural of a Victorian circus audience to be the backdrop for our diptych portrait of Stephanie the Flame-Eater. Fred also thought it would be fun to have her in the role of a classic Strong Man as the fun flip-side to her more feminine performance.

We did have fun, and ate a lot of cookies, and in the end it was way better than running away with the circus... plus no animals were harmed in the making of these images.

Watch the two-minute timelapse of all the prep involved, it's amazing how fast it appears to come together, ha ha.

Photography and mysterious dark room techniques - Fred Fraser (also uncredited barbell construction)
Make-up and body airbrushing -  Dana Mooney
Set and styling - me
Performance (plus providing some of the fun wardrobe and genuine flame-eating props) - Stephanie

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A life lived in colour

Or, maybe, a colourful life lived...

Either way, Frida Kahlo has been the inspiration for countless artists, historians, and... fashion spreads.

Aside from her native Mexican cultural influence, her bohemian lifestyle, her anguished personal life and association with (literally) giants in the art world, Frida could also be said to be an early adopter of the personal "brand". She had her own style and she remained true to it. Whatever you think of her art, she was committed and passionate, achieving an astounding body of work despite overwhelming physical and emotional odds.

So, when our brilliant stylist proposed that we do an outrageously colourful story based on Frida Kahlo, I was definitely inspired. And Fred having just finished drywalling our new massive wall, what better way than to break it in than with four different painted backdrop sets? And why not paint a few wooden chairs in fun colours and distress them to look old and worn? Why not indeed.

Here are some of my favourite shots, feel free to check out this month's Plaid Magazine to see the published story and more images.

photography - Fred Fraser
styling - Yvadnet Davis
model - Natalie @ Mode
hair/make-up/set dec - me