Owl is all you need - photoshoot at birds of prey sanctuary

When a friend of yours happens to run a sanctuary for birds of prey, and asks if you want to schedule a session with models, the only possible answer is YES! And so, thanks to Pete Whieldon, we had a chance to work with some magnificent owls and hawks. We scouted the place a day before to check the best spots and how light behaves there at different times of day. Here is Sylwia from our pre-shoot session. 

There was a heat wave going through UK and the day of our shoot was super hot, so we needed to be very careful to not put birds in any discomfort. But their caregivers (Pete, Sam, and Katie) were with us at all times, taking care of them and also of us. We had three wonderful models for this day: Jezeblelle, Misha and Katie (who knows all the birds very well), and Jules to deal with make-ups and hair. We worked with Barn Owl babies (Ace and Sky), Bengal Owl (Tikka), Eurasian Eagle Owl (Sammy), Little Owl (Roo), Tawny Owls (Oakley and Woody) and hawk (Ike). Dresses from Ewa Jobko and Adrianna Ostrowska worked beautifully in the woodland settings, even if we had to wash one of them as an emergency (I will spare you the details :P). Here are some images and the BTS video clip from the day.  Big thank you to the whole team!

Far, far away with Lilly Von Pink

We met for the first (but hopefully not last) time with a talented model Lilly Von Pink to create a selection of fantasy and conceptual images. We could not work in our typical venue, so hired a studio in Bournemouth which although pleasant, was very small. Some of planned images were quite a challenge to create because of space restrictions. But I dare to say we have managed well enough.
Beautiful dresses are by Ewa Jobko, magical staff by Shortie Props, silver ring by fantastic artist Iwona Tamborska, and our HMUA was wonderful Jules Robson. Finally, the images we used as a background we took during our trips to Exmoor, Poland, and Namibia.

The two who stole the moon

– Oh Coco, look at the sky, isn’t it the biggest chunk of silver you have ever seen?
– It is dear Horace, it is, but it is so far away. It tempts and tempts and yet no one can get it.
– But I could built a very long ladder…
– That would have to be the biggest ladder in the world.
– And I could climb it.
– But that would be such a long climb. You could starve to death before you get there and back.
– I have big pockets, you know, I could take water and bread and a piece of cheese.
– But you could get tired and fall asleep and fall all the way down.
– Then you would have to stand there and look and catch me if I fall…
– I could do this Horace. After all, this is what I am doing all my life, am I not? But what would you do up there? People say you cannot touch the moon. Look how cold is the light it gives. The warmth of human body could make it disappear. It would start waning and waning and would be gone in a few heartbeats.
– I would not touch it Coco. I would use a butterfly net to catch it.
– But it would have to be the biggest butterfly net in the world.
– And then we could carry it to the market and sell it and have enough money to buy you a hundred of new dresses and a hundred of new pairs of shoes.
– A hundred of new dresses and a hundred of new pairs of shoes – said Coco sleepily and smiled in her dreams.

Models: Coco GJ and Horace Silver
Moon and net: Shortie Props
Hair and make-up: Ety Make Up


Spider Queen

And suddenly a movement in the corner of the room
And there is nothing I can do when I realize with fright
That the Spiderman is having me for dinner tonight

(The Cure)

Some time ago I asked my friend Shortie to make me a spider leg. A couple of weeks later I hear the door bell and there is a postman with a very strangely shaped parcel.

“What is it?” he asks as I am signing collection of the parcel, “It is so strange”.

“I think it is a leg of a giant spider” I say a bit distractedly.

“Ah, OK” he murmurs as I am closing the door, confusion only slowly dawning on his face.

I nearly regret I cannot see his face just few seconds later. But then he brings my parcels on regular basis, he must be convinced by now that the ceiling in my head is not especially even (Polish saying, but I guess you got the meaning)

I ring Sara in Wales so she can start her make-up design and we start with Marcin to practice making a believable spider net. Few evenings, one can of glue and one packet of cotton net later we think we got it. Surprise, surprise my kitchen chair survived the experiments. 

Now poor Kas has to shave her hair again (we always do it to her, nasty as we are). And probably we will do it again. Oops.

So off we go to Wales, a bit nervous as we are going to spend a day in a studio making just one image and if it does not work it will be a bit embarrassing. Kas and Sara would understand (I hope) but there is a male model (only he is not a model at all) and he will want to have this picture. But the moment we get to the studio excitement wins and we just have a lot of fun. The studio is awesome and soon we find ourselves rummaging through its treasures, setting up a set for our nightmarish story, building the net, moving bats and spiders from one position to another until we have exactly what we want. By this time Kas has her make-up ready (Sara is so quick!) and we can start shooting. Not long later our Spider Queen is done and it is time to work on her prey.

Now, we have a slight problem. Marek, who will model spider’s victim for us, is wearing pink jeans. We need to cocoon him in a spider web, but heck, it is a bright pink, it will show through. What to do? Sara does not think twice. She turns to a poor guy (he is new to modelling, remember) and with a voice, you would not dare to oppose says “OK, pants off”. And he takes them off. Without blinking his eyes. I struggled so much to remain more or less serious. (We do love Sara, did we say it?).

We cocoon Marek tightly (his underwear is also pink, he must like this colour) and there is another problem. We will not be able to hang him upside down (oh yes, we do like to hang people, ask Coco, she knows). He is too heavy to do it safely. But fortunately there is a huge ladder, so we think for a moment and then change floor into a wall, Marcin climbs the ladder and here we have a spider’s meal hanging from a ceiling. Or so it seems and that is good enough for us Smile.

Big thanks to our fantastic team and to the owner of Manse studio for letting us be as crazy as we are Smile. Here is our image, some close-ups to better show Sara’s fantastic make-up, and a behind the scenes video. I hope you may like it.

Tierenberg Circuit 2015 – Best of Show Gold medal

We are just back from a great Gala of Tierenberg Super Circuit 2015 where Marcin won his PSA Best of Show gold medal as well as a gold medal from Bregenz salon for the “Ice Dragon Guardian”. We had a wonderful trip to Austria, and we had a chance to meet some wonderful photographers there, including a wonderful duo DDiArte that we have been always admiring, Richard Spurdens from Leeds and Marek Biegalski from Ireland.
Without Coco, Jules, and Shortie the Ice Dragon Guardian would not be the same, so big thanks to our wonderful team for putting their hearts into this image.
And here are some images and a short video with Marcin’s speech  :)

Merry Christmas

It is a bit worrying that I make Christmas entry just after talking about Easter shoot, but we have been so busy. Nonentheless, here are some images and behing the scenes movie from our crazy weekend at Mason’s in Wales where we had a real photo marathon: two days of shooting, 3 models, snakes, snails, chickens and countless numbers of looks.
There are alos great news on Kas (Oryx): she has defeted the cancer!
So in a very happy mood we are wishing you all a fantastic Christmas break

Milk dress

Six hours of throwing ice cold milk on Dita. Many hours of stitching the dress in Photoshop. Many hours of restarting Marcin’s Macbook which kept collapsing under a weight of so many layers opened. And here it is. A milk pin-up we were planning for so long after wonderful workshops with Jarek Wieczorkiewicz. It was a challenge but also a lot of fun.

Model: Dita

Make-up artist: Sorell Bown

Hair: Kamil Kucharewicz

And here are some backstage images to show you how it was done. Every bit of this dress was actually photographed, nothing was made in Photoshop, we only stitched the splashes together.