It’s been quite a busy few week post-Christmas, with family shoots, model tests and personal projects filling up the calendar. On 6 February I took a small team to Bath for a test shoot with model Dave Hill-Souch, with who I’d enjoyed a quick street style shoot a few months back.
Dave had been keen to add some more looks to his portfolio to show off his versatility to clients and had discovered a treasure-trove of a clothes shop in Bath, Vintage to Vogue, which caters to the higher end of the vintage style market, eschewing the glorified jumble sale of many such stores with carefully-selected items from down the decades.
Dave had arranged to borrow two outfits from the shop, agreeing to supply them with images from our shoot. Any devotees of retro would love a rummage through the rails at Vintage To Vogue – it’s a goldmine. The two looks we were working with consisted of a full green tweed ‘country-gent’ ensemble and then a ‘man-about-town’ suit and booted look.
Dave’s 1970s house has a beautiful Georgian Bath stone outbuilding in the garden, which proved perfect for the country gent set-up with its lichen-covered walls and perfectly weather-worn wood doors. Working at the model’s home made it easy to use my Bowens studio flash on location, and we took some more ‘stylised’ studio flash images, where I used the Bowens flash as a key lighting, mixing in varying amounts of ambient light and other images were made using purely natural light.
Camera-wise, everything was shot on a Canon 5DMKII with 24-70L f/2.8 lens, which proved flexible enough for everything we shot, although I had other prime lenses on hand should they have been required. I’d been keen to shoot some medium format film but in the end that was an extra layer of elaboration for which there wasn’t the time.
For this shoot, I was lucky enough to have the massive talent of friend Caterina Maolini, a professional hair stylist who’s work has shown up in the pages of publications like Vogue and, most recently, Cosmopolitan Germany, often working with emerging fashion team The Round Peg, which is forging a growing reputation in the industry, and with other talented photographers.
Luckily, I could dovetail the shoot with a time Caterina was in town working on a shoot for a large clothing company. Additionally, I brought my friend Kimberley, herself a skillful beautician and salon-owner, to assist on the shoot and add an additional eye – her makeup skills proved very useful in defining the look for the second ‘man-about town set-up’. Dave’s young daughter Harriett was also on hand to help by holding light stands, taking a keen interest in the proceedings, even having a pop at art direction – you don’t get this kind of education in school.
As well as his vintage clothing, Dave had procured two pheasants and a gun to truly complete his country gent look. Thinking of absolutely everything, Dave had even arranged for his friend Jess, a creator of cupcakes extraordinaire, to bake us a batch of her wares, which we picked up on Bristol en route to Bath and provided great fuel for the team. I’ll be doing a shoot with Jess in March, which I’m sure I’ll really enjoy.
Luckily, the weather held off and although the skies were dark, and a strong breeze sometimes made itself known, there was no rain. Overcast conditions are perfect for flattering the model, the clouds forming a soft, diffuse light – like having a giant softbox on the sun. As the team had spent a fair bit of time on the country gent setup and there wasn’t a huge amount of daylight left, we decided to go all natural light for the man-about-town images, which we shot on a quiet residential Georgian street away from the shoppers and tourists – cars and ugly wheelie bins abounded but we didn’t need that much background and found a tidier spot. We were joined on this part of the shoot by burlesque Gemma AKA Geisha Go Disco, who I’ve worked with a few times now. Gem runs agency House of Go Disco and Bath’s popular Coco Boudoir Burlesque and Cabaret nights. Some dynamic couple vignettes and it was a wrap…
It was so much fun that it was only later in the day that we realised how perishing it had become and a final drink with the team put the lid on a brilliant shoot, not to mention a fabulous day out.
As well as working as a mature model Dave is creating an all-new Bath-based model agency, which is opening for business soon. SHOOTDHS Models is currently scouting for new exciting male and female model talent to represent. He says he ‘wants to offer clients a diverse range of models, so if you feel you have what it takes regardless of size, shape, creed or colour’. So if you’re aged 16+ and think you may have what it takes to model, get in touch via the website http://www.shootdhs.co.uk