Workaholic

Sleeping Maidens: A New Project

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Up until now, my photo shoots have always been one-off ideas, rather than ongoing projects, but lately, rather than having 1000 individual ideas bouncing around in my head, I’ve had 1000 intertwined ideas filling my head, and stories to accompany them.

This is where my ‘Sleeping Maidens’ project comes in. Over the next several months, I’ll be creating a series of images with a whimsical, romantic, Sleeping Beauty-esque feel to them, inspired by Ophelia, to the Romanticism movement, to fairy tales and folklore. I’m so excited to put my these ideas into motion, and to see what I create at the end of these next months – perhaps a book?

Of course, every step of the project will be documented on this project, including behind the scenes images – perhaps even a video or two.

If you’re a model, makeup artist, hair stylist, wardrobe stylist, fashion, jewellery or accessories designer, if you’re a retoucher, a videographer who’s happy to step in and film some BTS footage for us, or a photography assistant, or anyone who feels that that have something to offer and wishes to collaborate with me, please, feel free to get in touch at:

emmastylesphotography@gmail.com

There is a moodboard available on my Pinterest account for anyone who is interested, and I shall be updating it frequently.

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Meg’s Collection

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It’s that time of year, when students are struggling with repeated all-nighters to meet their big deadlines. No, we weren’t all like that, some of us spent the entire semester pulling all-nighters purely because we wanted our final work to be perfect. Meg, a University of Derby fashion student, is one of those students. Just look at the detail that has gone into these laser-cut designs… beautiful!

I was the lucky photographer who she selected to photograph her collection. It was a beautiful day for a photo shoot, and as we had chosen Wollaton Hall, a stately home in Nottinghamshire that is open to the public (and a spot where I have worked before with a University of Derby fashion student, as well as for one of my own personal shoots), we had quite an audience, members of the public lining the various benches that surrounded the greenhouse, watching us work, complimenting our gorgeous model sisters. The sun was shining, perhaps a little too harshly, but we made do. Thank god for reflectors.

Besides a small incident with a bee somehow getting trapped in our model’s trousers (all was well – none of us have ever laughed so much in our lives!), everything went without a hitch. A shout out has to go not only to my lovely assistant, Gem, but also to Meg’s boyfriend, her chauffeur who stepped in as a second assistant when we were experimenting with spontaneous ideas. It was such a great team to work with.

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Katie Stainer Jewellery

Tasha 1#

 

I really enjoy collaborating with talented individuals; designers, makeup artists, models. I love to see how others look at the world, and to be inspired by them, and hopefully, I inspire them in turn, and if I see evidence of that, it’s just the best feeling.

This particular shoot was focused around the jewellery and accessories of the amazingly talented Katie Stainer, whose portfolio and online shop can be found here. I’ve always adored origami, though my skills in that area are limited to cranes and boxes, and the occasional fox, so you can imagine my envy to see Katie’s beautifully folded, waterproof jewellery, all made from vintage books and decorative paper. After far too long admiring her collection, we turned our attention to the task at hand.

Tasha 2#

Katie is a very down-to-earth character, the sort of person who nonchalantly folds a book into a headpiece as a spontaneous photograph idea that one of us threw out there, chatting about her favourite novels and TV shows as she did so. Therefore, she wanted equally down-to-earth images, free of over-edited, perfected models who had been pinched in, smoothed out, polished and slicked to perfection. Therefore, we chose to work with Tasha, a girl who is naturally stunning in her own right.

Tasha 3#

 

Our studio was makeshift, but wonderful, consisting of draped fabric pinned to the wall, alongside a wall of glass that allowed plenty of natural sunlight. While lately I have found that I spend more and more time in a studio space, I always try to find a space with large windows such as this one; I will always prefer the use of natural sunlight over makeshift lighting any day, and even when I do find myself turning to Profoto or Lasolite or Bowens for a helping hand, I try my best to recreate sunlight as closely as possible… unless I’m going for something completely dramatic, of course, such as during this shoot.

To top off the shoot, Katie was kind enough to give both myself and our team a necklace each from her collection, which I took as a sign that she was definitely happy with how our shoot turned out in the end.

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Phone Box Fashion

Jessie Phone Box 2#

 

Earlier this month, I moved into my first proper house, albeit a student house, shared with two lovely fellow students and friends, but it is cosy and homey and much nicer than most of the flea-infested monstrosities that we looked around last spring during the all-important house hunting. It took me exactly two days to notice the rusty old phone box that lies on the main road between our house and Derby city centre, and about ten days to then organise a photo shoot focused around the phone booth.

We’ve all seen countless red phone booth photo shoots, mostly featuring twee, vintage, stereotypical English wardrobes. I wanted to break away from that mould, and so I collaborated with model and dancer Jessie, to create something which I hope has succeeded in being just that little bit more edgy. We decided to restrict the colour scheme, allowing the phone box to do the talking, with just a pop of red lipstick to tie it all together. I admit, a small part of me wondered how well Jessie’s hair colour would suit the bright red box – would auburn and red clash? – but no, it all ties together nicely, doesn’t?

A touch of blue was added to our shadows in post production, and voila. I for one am extremely happy with the results. It’s amazing how many dancer’s poses can be achieved in such a confined space! A big shout out has to go out to Jessie for one that, for her constant stream of ideas and creativity.

Jessie Phone Box 1# Jessie Phone box 5#

Jessie Phone box 4#

Jessie Phone box 3#

 

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Model: Jessie Jing

MUA: Razwana Kausar

Styling: Emma Styles & Jessie Jing

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Wuthering Heights

Quote of Inspiration

Model: Ieva

MUA/Hair: Emily

Styling: Emma Styles
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As much as I love travelling, I really adore the local beauty of the Peak District, especially at this time of year, when the heather is blossoming in a beautiful sea of purple, as far as the eye can see. The smell is wonderful, the view is wonderful, the bees are a nuisance if you’re as nervous around them as I, but it’s worth the worry.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to put together an editorial shoot for Prototype Magazine, with a self-chosen theme of Wuthering Heights; a favourite book of mine, which I had recently re-read. Prototype is a small, independently run magazine, and so I thought it best to work with a small, intimate team to match the overall feel of the publication. I myself acted as stylist, with the lovely Emily working as both our makeup artist and hair stylist. Our model was the gorgeous Ieva. It was a wonderful day of exploring Hathersage, in the Hope Valley, and the surrounding countryside, laughing, picking flowers, very nearly falling off cliffs in my case… it was worth it. The shoot ended in almost getting stranded in the middle of no where, and an hour sitting in the rain, but again, it was a great day.

My location was only somewhat inaccurate for a Wuthering Heights themed shoot; while Hathersage’s heather fields are not the moors surrounding the Bronte’s home village of Haworth, Hathersage village was visited by Charlotte Bronte, and is thought to have inspired her when creating and choosing locations for Jane Eyre, so really, I simply borrowed a location from one Bronte sister novel for another. Bonus fact… it’s also the alleged burial place of Little John – as in, Robin Hood and Little John. His gravestone (which is actually marked, ‘Little John’, lies in the local churchyard, and you can decide for yourself whether or not the legend is true).

You can see the final images in October’s issue of Prototype Magazine, available here.

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KC and the Village

KC 1#

 

Derby is an interesting place. Yes, I have lived there for long enough now (if you’re counting it as my ‘official address’ since I took off across Europe), and I’m tired of this city in the same that that a wanderlusting nomad like me tires of every city, but there are a few spots which I never tire of.

One of them is Darley Abbey, a tiny village on the edge of Derby, though it is still very much within the city, like a little pocket of history buried right under our noses. Few people that I know have discovered this wonderful spot, or at least, not until I introduce them to it, and the moment I found it myself, I knew that I had to arrange a photo shoot there.

KC 2#

 

Together, my model, KC and I pieced together a wardrobe that we felt simultaneously clashed with and matched the setting perfectly, being edgier than the quaint English village, while blending our textures, patterns and colour schemes to suit the chipped paint and bare brickwork, adding a few pops of colour here and there; primarily KC’s amazing hair colour.

I’ve come to really enjoy taking on the roll of stylist, or in this case, co-stylist, as well as photographer, though of course I’m more than happy to hand over the reins to someone more knowledgeable and experienced than myself. While I think its important to collaborate with as many creative souls as possible, it’s great to flex my own creative muscles with these personal shoots, to experiment and discover new talents, and learn new skills. While I’m not about to start referring to myself as a stylist as well as a photographer, it’s great to create my vision through other – or additional – means.

KC 3#

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