Ramblings of a Roadtrip Stylist
Countdown to our Ireland Fine Art Photography trip and I am putting the final touches into the wardrobe. Exciting! I always enjoy getting outfits together for our Roadtrips; every trip is different and there’s always the unexpected, even when I know the itinerary and can see the locations in my head. We did a recce of the Ireland route last year, travelling from Dublin and then across to the West Coast, where our photo trip proper really gets underway. The landscape is diverse with plenty of opportunities for some very special photography.
When is enough enough?
With wardrobe, the answer in my head is - rarely. Even though I know we won’t need everything I pack in the bus, in it goes. But there’s a good reason for this.
I have two rooms full of clothes, shoes and accessories. I’m constantly adding to the collection and I have to admit that I don’t let go of anything unless I have to - if it gets damaged or if buying it was a mistake (obviously, hardly ever). The plain truth is that, as we all know, if you keep something long enough, it will come back into fashion. And truly, fashion is what you decide it is and should not be dictated by others. People are starting to get the hang of this idea which is why we see such individuality on the street, rather than in shop windows.
The other universal truth is that the same dress will look completely different worn by a different person in a different location. I have one little orange number which I have used several times over the years. It’s been worn by a number of models in such exotic locations as the Swiss Alps in the sparkling midday sun and the moody shores of Lake Garda at dusk. It didn’t look half bad in Dagenham Civic Centre either.
Every trip, I say I’ll take fewer pieces this time, really streamline the preparation process and avoid taking unnecessary items. Easy to say 🙂
For one thing, I can’t be 100% sure that all the garments will fit our models perfectly or suit their proportions. We don’t usually have the luxury of a fitting session before we go. People are just too busy and, of course, usually miles apart. Then there are the light conditions and the weather; these variables can throw a curved ball and we sometimes need to have a change of plan to make our models look their best - and they have to look their best. The photographers are putting all their training into practice here so I owe it to them to deliver my side of the bargain. It’s essential that we have choices, in case one garment doesn’t work out in a particular location, for any reason at all.
And sometimes, let’s face it, I just change my mind.
Creatives let loose in the landscape
Our first Photography Roadtrip in Ireland promises to be amazing. The Emerald Isle in Springtime is going to be a fabulous backdrop for our dancer and our Art Nude model. Last year, we traced some of the Wild Atlantic Way, marvelled at the natural beauty of the Connemara National Park, the lovely beaches, harbours and headlands and the cultural delights of the villages and towns in this beautiful part of the world. It really inspired us.
Both our models are creatives too which adds a particularly exciting element to the photography and to me as a stylist. Art Nude photography may not require an extensive wardrobe of clothes but I will be packing a range of accessories and fabrics for model Rebecca, adding new dimensions to an artistic genre which celebrates the human form. Rebecca is well-travelled and is looking forward to exploring Ireland’s rich heritage with us. She has a dance background so is a particularly graceful photographic subject who will draw on the landscape to suggest different body shapes.
Our other model, Alexa, is classically trained in ballet and she dances in a number of different styles, all of which our photographers will learn to shoot on our five days away. There’s much to consider when clothing a dancer, not least the physicality and movement of her art form. With this in mind, we always work closely together before a Photo Roadtrip, both contributing to the final choice of garments. Alexa wants to give the photographers a range of beautiful shapes and attitudes to shoot and can only execute certain steps in costumes which allow the freedom to move without restriction. Then there are the aesthetics of style, colour and texture; they all work together with the landscape to suggest mood and narrative, making each shoot new and fresh. A complex cocktail of ingredients goes into a dancer’s photographic wardrobe. I want it to be intoxicatingly visual.
But is it Art, Darlings?
Most definitely! Fine Art in this case. But am I getting carried away? I don’t think so. The care that goes into what our photographic subjects wear and how they feel - in their skin and their clothes - can be the difference between a good shot and an image which really stirs the emotions. And it’s my passion so I’m allowed to wax a tiny bit lyrical 🙂
Photographers are in for a treat with the beauty of the Irish countryside and these two talented models who will be dedicated to helping each of our six road trippers to capture some truly unforgettable shots. I'll stop now and scurry back up to Wardrobe. Watch this space for some news of the trip on our return! With pictures, of course.