I began the New Year eager to build on the experiences of 2014, determined that each shoot would give an opportunity to grow and improve as both a photographer and retoucher.
The first shoot of the year (with Holly, sporting her new pixie cut) certainly produced shots worthy of spending time retouching. I think at least a couple of the portraits from this shoot were my most accomplished studio/retouching work to date. [The level of skin retouching below is a little beyond what I would choose to do for personal taste, but I was attempting to show a capability of achieving a result popular with some.]
The session also showed what can be achieved when working with a model who is as interested as the photographer in creating mood and atmosphere.
Later in the month I had the opportunity to shoot my second catwalk show, at young designer Isaac Raymond's first London Show, held at an Autism convention in central London. This was closely followed by a second shoot with Naomi, a young musician of intriguing Italian and Japanese parentage.
We set up lights in her garage, and the mood for the shoot - referred to as the Garage Shoot - became quite light-hearted, which I like...
Early in February I managed to work with a model I'd been looking forward to shooting for a long time, having missed an opportunity to do so on David Long's Beach Shoot last summer. Stephanie Ellen came down to work in the Little Chelsea Studio Gallery with me and MUA Ruby Lonsdale, who I already knew from working with Brighton model Laura Hunter on the Perfume Shoot.
It was a great shoot, with a range of results...
A few days later I went to Hampstead Heath for a group shoot, mainly for an opportunity to photograph a freckle-faced American model, Maile.
The highlight of the first two months of the year though has to be Estrany. My New Year's Resolution in 2015 was to become more selective about the models I did shoots with, to do fewer TF shoots and pick out faces and types that I felt would be best suited to my way of working. Estrany was certainly someone who had caught my eye on other photographers' portfolios and I booked her knowing it would give me a first opportunity of dedicating part of the shoot to artnude. She did her own makeup and provided her own styling.
There is much goodness yet to be mined from this shoot and she is certainly a model I shall be working with again.
At the end of February I attended the final day of London Fashion Week and discovered Canadian redhead, Morgan - someone who would become the subject of a street fashion shoot during the next part of the year (see Mar/Apr)