July Newsletter - Genevieve, Sylph Sia, Sass-Kia


July kicked off with a shoot with Genevieve out on the Sydney coast at my fave spot. Perfect Winter weather as usual, and working with a model of the calibre of Genevieve made for an amazing afternoon.

Genevieve hadn't shot many portraits previously but who would know? She was so comfortable in front of the camera and her performance background in gymnastics I'm sure helped her move freely and in an uninhibited way. 

I'm so happy with that shot. The light on Genevieve's skin, her poise and expression, her hair, the slight wind movement in her hair... 

Shooting portraits like this is always a result of a great collaboration - it just can't be done without that creative connection. It's not like shooting anything else and needs to be more connected. I'm always so grateful for the chance to create in this way with like-minded souls and Genevieve was so lovely to work with.

I love the expression that Genevieve invested into these shots. She really gave it everything.

This next shot was one of the last few of the day. We were walking back from where we'd shot the video, and as we were talking I noticed Genevieve's form with this amazing backlight. So we got the gear out again and did this last set with Genevieve in full flight.

Video - A Short Winter Story

On the spur of the moment I asked Genevieve is she'd like to do a video. "Yeah of course". So in a very impromptu way, we did this...


Sylph Sia

Sylph was in Sydney for a two week tour so we hooked up and I arranged a cool warehouse-style apartment in Chippendale to shoot in. I'd shot here before a couple of times and the light was pretty special.

Shooting with Sylph is always something I look forward to - there's a great confidence there because I know we're going to walk away with something special. The following are only a few of the images we did as most are still in edit.

We shot a range of material from edgy-lingerie-sensual to T-shirt polaroids. These Polaroids were actually Fuji FP100C, which people call Polaroid but the true Polaroid fill film was discontinued February 8, 2008. That film was really something special. For some good examples see the work of Marc Lagrange - his series Polarized. What that film did with skin tone was something else. For colour Polaroids, shot on 8x10 also, see the work of Paolo Roversi. The colours that Paolo got from the Polaroid colour film were truly sublime - virtually no primarys at all, perfect.

We shot some pretty edgy content using a sheer top that I'd brought with me. Sylph had some ideas for the top so we did it. Those images will probably be for her Patreon page and for my "Vanilla Life" magazine, which will be out soon.

Of course we shot some film too. Portrait-sensual style. Just my thing.

One of my fave portraits is the one below. Sylph's presence and poise is something else.

More images coming from this shoot!



Last time we shot together, Sass had mentioned wanting to do a video where she could express herself using her dance skills. So we arranged to shoot out at a new spot which I'd scoped on Google Earth the week before. Sass had actually been close to the spot I had in mind previously, so she knew the way down through the cliffs - that was handy. We walked around and got to the spot I was thinking of pretty easily, but I wouldn't try it at high tide!

This shoot was mainly all video and the main video is still in edit - and that will be for Sass-Kia's Patreon page. But I put together a short portrait-style video also...

That video was shot at my usual location out at Cape Banks, which we walked over to after shooting the main video.

Here's some stills too. We had such a blast, Sass was getting into the dancing in such a happy way, the vibe was really cool for the whole day - and these stills reflect that. There's no fake smiles or laughter, it's real. And wonderfully human.

And here's some film... and I love the out of focus feel...

The purists will say, "But it's out of focus" - yep sure is.

Wrapped Up

So that's July. Only 3 shoots, but a lot of video in there which is a lot of work usually - plus a few commercial gigs and a full time job - things have been hectic but I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Custom Portraiture Workshop

I'd worked with Damo once before when I helped him out with a shoot that he did with Anne Duffy. We had a great and rewarding afternoon that day - read about
it back here
. Damo was keen to further explore his portrait photography and obtain something a little deeper and more natural than what he'd been getting.

So this was essentially and 'Emotive Portraiture Workshop' - these are custom designed (and usually one on one) to suit the Client as they are very specific in order to tick off all the outcomes for each individual person. Damo's a great photographer. I asked to see his images from the day out with Anne. I looked at them and asked, "what can I teach you? You've done what you wanted to do right there". The images he showed me were excellent, they had all the qualities of great portraits, they captured presence, poise, beauty and personality aspects of Anne that only a stills camera in skilled hands can capture. His answer was "yes but I know Anne and she knows me, we have a great rapport so it's easy". Essentially he wanted to be able to do what he did with Anne - with any model. One of the key statements he made to me during my questions prior to working out the content of the workshop was, "my photos tend to end up looking like model posing 101".

So I engaged Flavia as the model for this. Flavia has an incredibly natural presence in front of the camera and doesn't go into auto pilot as far as posing goes. She moves and emotes according to what you want to do. But you have to communicate and connect with her so she knows what is required of course. In the end, a photoshoot is in the hands of the photographer - so there are decisions to make and there is control required. That sounds heavy, I hate directing and my style of directing is more like not directing at all!

So we would shoot near Flavia's place on the Northern beaches of Sydney. Just before the workshop I quickly scoped a place I went to years back to shoot seascapes but it was blowing a gale and showers were coming through. Not on. The other side of the headland looked OK and was out of the wind a bit.

So we met at Flavia's flat, got acquainted, had a chat, then headed down to the location. Weather was not good, but at least it had atmosphere. We shot for about an hour here doing a few varied things (for content detail you'll have to do a workshop!). Unfortunately, due to the weather, we couldn’t continue shooting outside and drove back to Flavia's flat to shoot inside. This was very impromptu and wasn't really what I'd planned for. The break in the session meant a loss of continuity to what we were doing. The up side was that we got to shoot inside and outside for variation.

Here's a couple of sneaky shots I got in whilst setting things up.

Shooting indoors, for me, is a very different workflow. Nearly all the emotive
portrait work I've done that I wanted to use as the basis for this workshop has
been done outdoors - with the wind and open space being primary components.

The variety though and the challenge that brings with it was good. We had to adapt on the spot, so important to be able to do that. Damo did get some great shots and I'll post them when I get them.

Polaroids and... Polaroids - Laneikka

Laneikka and I had worked together back in April. There's a blog post about that shoot here. She's such a talented girl, is just lovely to work with and understands my need for capturing emotion. 

So Laneikka needed some standard modelling polaroids for some agencies she was talking to. Easy. Studio strobe-lit photos are formulaic and take a bare minimum of skill and zero creative input from the photographer. I set up the Elinchrom strobes in the loungeroom plus a grey backdrop. Used two lights for the full length shots and one light, butterfly style, for the waist up shots. All done in about 40 minutes.

I had some styled art-fashion shots in mind to shoot on film - polaroids and colour 6x7. These were inspired by some recent browsing of Paolo Roversi's work, who I've admired for ages.

We didn't have the time or resources to create anythign exotic, lighting wise but I'm real happy with what we achieved in that small poorly lit corner of the loungeroom.

I ended up taking a window out so I could shoot from the right angle and still have good light. Also used a small 300W fresnel for a few shots and even bounced the Elinchrom soft box off a piece of white foam core in a few other shots. Using the Pentax 67 and a strobe needs a bit of thought as to the strength of natural versus strobe light as the synch speed is only 1/30 second. 

Laneikka had taken the brief seriously and brought along the most beautiful outfits - three of them that were almost perfectly matched to the reference images! So grateful for that. Her wardrobe is something else. Gina from GIAN Designs had designed and created some beautiful floral head adornments and also created a cool head wrap with some material.

The backdrops were a mish mash - I literally threw and draped various fabrics over the stands, knowing they'd be out of focus and merely provide some nice coloured texture to the images.

Laneikka put together a brief blog post on her increasingly popular fashion blog. You can see it here.


Darby's one of the best life/art nude models around the place. She doesn't do many portraits so this was very different and somewhat challenging for her, and challenging for me to shoot it right. I love that. I want to see the human, the person, beyond the physicality of art nude or life model posing. But that's just my thing, I totally respect others point of view and reference - this is mine.

Recent conversations with another life model said she found this very confronting, working with me in this way. The fact that I was looking beyond her physicality - that can be scary. People aren't really truly nude just because they have no clothes on - there's another dimension to nudity and nakedness - and that's where I want to go, sometimes. Thank you Darby, for goingthe extra mile.

All of these shot on film.

Wanna book this space to shoot in? Email Flavia:


Danza Emotiva - Nikolart

Here are some words about this shoot with the stunning Czech girl Niky, the rest of the images can be found in the Stories section.

This shoot was another one at Colin's place. Niky and her boyfriend Vaclav were staying in Sydney and made the drive out to Freeman's Reach - Colin shot first for two hours. I turned up at about 3:30 I think, got set up in the front room and we shot the first set there using the window light and black couch, which I'd used before with Taliah. 

Niky's an amazing model with such striking European looks and a soft and quiet personality - such a pleasure to photograph her.

I had a shot in mind for the dining room - but the light just wasn't right - too bright. I had the LED light set up but the background and to the sides was too bright for what I wanted. Managed to get around this by using the light stand in the foreground at my usually wide aperture creating a nice area of darkness on the right and a bit more mood.

I also managed to get some shots for my commercial portfolio which was great.

Still heaps more from the dining room left to scan.

Next off to the sunroom. I'd decided to shoot in from outside through the glass. We had to move around a fair bit to get the reflections right - and I ended up asking Niky to sit down so I could downward, which worked well using the door frames to frame her face. 

Back to the front room for some Helmet Newton and the finally the bedroom - where we also shot some video. I'm pretty new at video and Niky had never done it before and was actually a bit nervous about it. But she was superb, moving beautifully, sensually and freely.

The best part of the afternoon and evening was dinner. Colin cooked up some amazing steaks and also a vege bake. Colin's wife Bec came home from work and the five of us sat around talking for many hours. Vaclav's story of how he and Niky got together is a great one, especially the way he told it. 

So hopefully I'll catch up with Niky and Vaclav over in Prague!