Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Rachel Nicholson: The Old Yew Tree

So, similar to that of the Field Shoot, I had this other idea a while back. This being about a year ago, I think.

There's this old yew tree at Waverley Abbey...

... there it is. And it's just, quite frankly, a beautiful tree. It's actually growing atop some rubble left behind from the abbey and because of this, it has risen above the ground and all of it's roots are on display.

Now, I have seen a few pictures of models sitting on this tree in my time but in my opinion, I have always thought the tree to completely outshine the model in question.

So basically, I wanted to do something with the tree and make it just a bit more special. I thought about a really long dress, block colour and getting my model to lie upon these roots and have ribbons spiraling away from her body.

Now then, I shared this idea with Rachel Nicholson a while back and she was more than keen to do the makeup for me and we did discuss the idea of her being the model for this one aswell.

So come the 10th July, I had bought a very cheap, size 12, pale pink dress, a metre square of pale pink cloth and approximately 35 metres of equally pale pink ribbon.

After Rachel had finished her hair and make-up, we headed straight to Waverley Abbey and walked along the riverside up to the ruins. Rachel, might I add, did look rather dolled up for a day out at Waverley, but then, I looked rather like a pack mule with all my kit and so I won't make too many comments...

We got to the tree and, to our surprise (Rachel's horror), the tree was CRAWLING with children. It turned out that a maternity group's children were all turning 10 at the same time and they had decided to hold a birthday picnic party at Waverley Abbey that day. Oh goody.

Now then. We waited a very short while for the children to run along and play somewhere else and then we began setting up. Rachel got into the dress (sort of*) and I started to wrap the ribbon around the roots (I thought at this point that it would have looked nice with more ribbon in hindsight). Then, once Rachel was in the dress, we elongated it with the extra fabric and began the shoot.

(*You may have noticed I earlier mentioned that the dress was a size 12. Now as you can probably see from these images, Rachel is not even nearly a size 12 and so it may humor you to know that we had to severely gaffa tape her into this dress in order to do this shoot. :D )

Now, naturally, these children came with their insatiable curiosity and started poking their little 10 year old noses in. We somehow managed to do the whole shoot whilst enduring such grilling as:
‘Why are you wrapping ribbon around the tree?’
‘Why are you taping that girl into her dress?’
‘Why are your eyebrows so dark?’
‘Why are you wearing those shoes?’
'Did you buy that butterfly to match that dress?'

‘Why don’t you do this?’
‘Why don’t you do that?’
‘Do you like grasshoppers?’

I’d brought a little pink paper box to place on the ground in the shots just as a little extra, I asked the children if they would kindly go and fill it with pink flower heads… which kept them busy for a few minutes. ;)

Despite all the interruptions, I think Rachel and I did well and got a really, quite beautiful shoot out of it. And other than Rachel being hit repeatedly on the back by an enthusiastic girl named Polly with the pretense of helping her make sure the tape was stuck on properly, and me having icing wiped on my bum (Polly again) and grasshoppers put in my hair, we seemed to get off rather lightly as we didn’t get any shots with the children in.

… well, except this one. ;)

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