The women of Tyneside are notorious for their determination to persevere in wearing of high heels and tiny dresses whatever the weather conditions may be. Come rain or shine, and even snow, the NCB (no coat brigade) can be seen around the Bigg Market and the bars of Collingwood Street. They seem impervious to discomfort.
Last night I returned to the world of photographing models, courtesy of a workshop provided by Eric Murphy of the world-famous Bananastudio and his team. When it comes to posing models, I lack any real degree of competence, and after a long lay off this was already exacerbated before you add in the factor that we were shooting on location in temperatures close to zero.
With a couple of layers on legs and twice that number on my upper body, I thought I’d be fine, which was true, though I was never comfortable. My fellow photographers were similarly attired, yet we grouped together penguin-like in the chill air (which was ironically appropriate to the night’s theme).
The metal of lights, stands, lenses and camera bodies leached the heat from fingers, and though I have some neatly designed photography gloves these were soon augmented by a second pair beneath. It was bitter.
The performance of the models therefore was nothing short of remarkable. The theme for the evening was Batman; and here we had the two femmes fatale of the Dark Knight’s story. Selina Kyle aka Catwoman is the great unconsummated love, Pamela Isley (Poison Ivy) leaves him vulnerable to her charms through her expert use of toxins. Neither is known for their heavily insulated fashion-sense; in fact later depictions of Ivy have her sporting little more than strategically placed vines.
The welfare of the models was more in mind therefore than improving my limited skills, because I didn’t want exposure to take on a new meaning in my life as a photographer. In Ivy’s case the difficulties were increased by the limited vision she had as a result of wearing special effect contact lenses and perilous platform boots which were completely unstable on the cobbles where we were working.
All in all it’s a miracle that I got anything worthwhile, but thanks to the determination of Belle and Alexandra I did.
It wasn’t a lot, but enough for a Knight’s work.