“Every word a woman writes changes the story of the world, revises the official version.” Carolyn See
Those of you who’ve been around these parts a while may remember the time a few years back where I leapt on stage at the Royal Festival Hall and got naked. In the process I met two amazing women (this one and this one) who I’m now very happy to call good friends. I mean, what a way to start a friendship eh? I think you could call us bosom buddies!
This evening Nat and I hopped online for some photos (and wine!). It happened that today she’s been at a virtual writers’ gathering and had been working on a lovely old typewriter. So I popped her on the shelf next to my old typewriter and snapped away.
We are shadows thrown upon the wall.
We are images, what others see;
How we see ourselves, true-
Or what we think we perceive
Or what we want to be.
The Shadowlands by Edward Steinhardt
A year ago today Missy and I were out on the wiley windy moors getting some truly expansive photos. A year on that freedom and carefree spirit feels a ling way away. But to the anniversary of our adventure I asked Missy if she’d like to be my Scenes on Screens subject this week. Happily she was game!
I had in my mind a dark stark shadowy image and she certainly helped me achieve that. By chance her own post this week is some monochrome magic. Very different images to this time last year but as equally complementary.
I wanted do something a little bit different for the 500th Sinful Sunday and as this weekend is also the first weekend those of us in England are back in confinement it seemed the perfect time to kick off my next lockdown photography project.
Last time I took a nude self-portrait a day to stay connected to those I most enjoy being naked with. But after 122 of those photos I don’t have the will to restart that one so instead it’s time to breathe life into an idea I had during the first lockdown but never got off the ground. With so much of our lives during 2020 being lived through the screen I wanted to use that as a tool in my photography. In Scenes on Screens I will use the computer’s camera and my own camera to shoot nudes of people in their own homes. I also want to make my laptop part of the scene, acting as the frame for the image.
I am hugely excited that the first person I have collaborated with for this new project is the wonderful Confess Hannah. She was originally going to be one of the participants in my Sound of Music week during February Photofest (whiskers on kittens!) but her work trip to London was cancelled so that didn’t happen. I just happened to be pondering who to ask to be my first subject for this new project when Hannah tweeted that she was struggling for ideas for this weekend’s Sinful Sunday. A few DMs later and we had a Zoom photo date in the diary.
I am constantly amazed and delighted by how willing people in this community are to get on board with my occasionally (ok, often!) strange ideas. Hannah was no different, willingly moving her computer around the room and adjusting the lights until we had an image that just felt right. I absolutely love how this has come out. Hannah clearly looks fabulous, but I also love the shadows in this shot and there’s the delicious voyeurism of peering in on someone naked in their personal space.
Thank you Hannah for being my first collaborator in this new project. And thank you to Molly for running this fabulous meme which has done so much for my own body confidence and through which I’ve met some of my closest friends. Right, who wants to slip inside my screen next week?
Last week we marked the last Sunday of LoveLustLondon’s thirties and this week we mark the last Sunday of Monstrous Jaffa’s forties.
When we took this photo in August we commented how nice it would be to see this glorious green just as the days are getting short and dark. Little did we know then that when I posted this birthday shot we would have a week of solid rain and grey here in the UK and be facing another lockdown. How far away this weather and freedom feels at the moment.
Happy birthday Jaffa – guessing your half century is going to be a little bit subdued but hope you get an appropriate celebration in due course!
Anyone who follows me knows just how much I love photographing in cemeteries. The crumbling headstones and roaming ivy just make the most magnificent setting for soft naked bodies. Of all of London’s Magnificent Seven Nunhead is my favourite – it is just so wild and overgrown and a photography dream. This is a shot of Maria from when she was in London a few years ago. It was nice to revisit the photos to pick out one I hadn’t used before. It was in that cemetery that I took this photo which is one of my favourite photos of my five years of blogging.
These days vagary is most commonly used when we talk about the vagaries of a situation, meaning an unpredictable or erratic occurrence. But the etymology of the word is vagari, the Latin word for wander.
This weekend’s subject is @lovelustlondon. This coming Wednesday he’ll be joining club 40 and he should be enjoying a vagari in Tibet but due to the vagaries of 2020 he’s not!
This shot was taken a few years ago when we took an early morning walk in Richmond Park. We are going to do a new shoot for his 40th but much like a lot of 2020 it’s on hold until 2021. When spring rolls around we’ll take a day trip somewhere out of the city and get some truly celebratory shots, but until then you can feast your eyes on this one!
“Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” ―
During my lockdown photo project, flowers became something of a theme. Each weekend I would walk to the market stall near my flat and buy fresh flowers to brighten up my home. Before they reached the vase they would become a prop for that day’s photo.
It’s funny that this quote features the word freedom, just as many of us have had or are having our freedom curtailed again. The other day when I was sending a flurry of shots to one of the recipients of my daily photos when I said “This is not me restarting lockdown project!” He quipped “Don’t say what you can’t commit to!” He knows my urge to be snapping away!
I’m not going to restart my own nudes projects (I’ve still got about 60 bloody shots in my bank that have yet to be published!), but I am going to pick up another idea that I had but didn’t get around to. It’s called Scenes on Screens. Instead of photographing myself during lockdown two I plan on photographing others.
The plan is I hang out with my subjects on Zoom or Skype and photograph them through the screen. Here’s a shot I took of Maria a couple of years ago which gives you an idea of what I have in mind. If you’d like to get involved and you know me (sorry, no strangers!) then DM or message me. Let’s not the creativity be stunted just because we’re stuck inside!
But until I get that project off the ground, here’s one of my flower shots from earlier in the year.
For rather obvious reasons I’ve called this Edit Us. This was a capture from the last moments of a wonderful evening with two amazing people.
Our plans had been in the pipeline for a couple of months and while we were all super-excited about it, I was ever so slightly nervous because I was introducing them for the first time. I knew they’d get on because they’re both brilliant people, but you never know how the chemistry is going to go. But I needn’t have worried because as you can see, we fitted together just fine.
The photo was taken by me and they’ve done an edit each. Which do you prefer?
I took this photo on 14th May, some two months into lockdown when there’d been a whooooole lot of time alone. I sent it to the recipients of my daily lockdown photos with the message ‘there’s one too many consonants between my legs right now!’
Tonight I’m putting the l back in to give a virtual high five to the wonderful Smutathon folk who are up against the clock, writing for 12 solid hours to raise funds for Endometriosis UK. Endometriosis is a chronic and debilitating condition that ruins lives. As Romantic Isa wrote in her story: “15 years of being told there’s nothing wrong with you while you’re in the worst pain possible damages a person.”
Despite Endometriosis being the second most common gynaecological condition in the UK, affecting one in 10 people AFAB, on average is takes 7.5 years to diagnose and there’s currently no known cure. Endometriosis UK is a charity achieving huge things with a tiny team and a small budget. With just seven staff and volunteers they supported over 25,000 people last year. Anything you can afford to give will go a long way. Please visit their fundraising page and donate now.