Selfie photoshoot with Rankin

Attempting to look straight ahead is really difficult when all you can see is bright light. Apparently, I kept looking to the left and it was really important that I looked straight ahead.

Surrounded by men shining lights into my eyeball, I did my best to forcibly hold my eyelids open and prevent my eye from watering (note: I’m still not sure how you do that). Inches away, a lens closed in on my iris and the camera snapped and clicked.

All because I have ‘weird’ eyes.

A few hours before I had arrived at Rankin’s studio to have my photo taken. I was one of Hunger magazine’s selfie competition winners and this was my prize. The competition winners had been announced in January and since then I had kept close watch on my Twitter for any sign as to when the shoot would be. Just a couple of weeks before the shoot, they messaged to say the 28th was the day.

Turning up at the studio, I waited nervously. Fidgeting in my floral dress, I worried it wasn’t cool enough, that my hair was being it’s usual unruly self and a whole plethora of other typically self-deprecating niggles seeped in. I turned to the fellow winner I was sat with, hoping he could empathise. He introduced himself and told me he was a professional model. Ah crap.

The morning was spent watching shoot images from other winners flash up on the wall and studying the studio set up, mentally noting as much technique as I could before it came to my turn.

Shoulders down, jaw pulled up, try to smile. I constantly adjusted to what I thought was right, while a renowned photographer added his own adjustment instructions. Overall, it was feeling easier than expected.

I thought the comments about my interesting eyes were meant to build my confidence, to make me relax. But then they started trying to figure out what colour they were; green, brown, a bit of blue, it’s all in there. Then Rankin asked if he could take a picture of my eye for his eyescape series.

“Umm, ok…”

While I was surrounded by people focusing on my left eyeball, pictures of my veiny, red eye; complete with smeared eyeliner were flashing up, supersized on the studio wall. I’m glad it’s going to be edited down to just the iris.

I’ve not seen the final eyescape, but I was given a print of the portrait.

rankin photo

Great creative things

Creative inspiration doesn’t come solely from the medium in which you are creative. Photographers aren’t only inspired by photographers, or painters by painters, or writers by writers etc. Sometimes, this means the amount of inspiration out there can feel overwhelming. All these people are creating amazing things and it can make me feel stuck or inadequate. It can also deter me from actually creating.

I’m trying to put certain rules in place that mean I have to do something creative before looking for inspiration, but these are the the sources of inspiration I’ve found recently.

Youtube can be a big black hole of cat videos and hair tutorials, or it can be a tool to inspire and learn from.

Last week I was telling a friend that I miss learning about literature and language, that I’d love to go and do a masters degree on it. He made a pretty strong argument that the internet provides a wealth of learning material on anything I could want to know and it doesn’t cost the thousands of pounds that a degree does. I could even find essay questions, if I really wanted to (I kinda do…). So my recent discovery of Crash Course’s youtube channel came with a grin and a desire to compile my very own reading list. Slaughter House 5 is now on that list (aliens, time travel and Dresden? I’m in!):

And look! Essay questions!

Marina Abramovich is a new discovery too and it’s Netflix I have to thank.

Performance art has never really been something that I’ve gotten into. I’ve never had anything against it, but other art forms had a stronger pull for me. The documentary Marina Abramovich: The Artist is Present, is actually fasinating. From her dedication and passion, to the range of reactions to it; the documentary really pulled me in.

I’m also into inspiration that can tell you about your own creative process After reading this, I can tell you my blender is set to an 8 or a 9 : Amanda Palmer on The Ocean at the End of the Lane

If that isn’t enough inspiration, there’s more here. And if it leads you to create anything, post a link (if it’s linkable) in the comments. I’d love to see it.

Style post number two – a reluctant model

style steps (7 of 1) style_steps

She was determined to model for me. Clothes and jewelery had been carefully selected, make up carefully applied and a location chosen. Our younger sister has no qualms about being in front of a camera, she’s a former drama student and is too busy thinking of an interesting pose to worry too much. I much prefer to be behind the camera and can completely understand how my middle sister feels having a lens pointed at her.

But she did a stirling job.

style steps (5 of 2) style steps (1 of 1) style steps (6 of 2) pumpkin

I’m having my photo taken by Rankin in the next few days, I’m hoping I can relax enough to do as good a job as my sisters.