Holla! Those of you who’ve read earlier posts will have seen the ‘be inspired, even by the little things’ comment from Roderique. A number of sources of inspiration came together for a shoot this past weekend.  A most enjoyable afternoon spent with Julie, Fiona (MUA), Julies mother Sheila and my daughter Sophie.

Julie, who I’d met through the 100Strangers project, had posted a photo of herself in a pink afro wig on Facebook and agreed to do a studio shoot with it.

I’d found FaceON magazinethrough the brilliant work of Brighton photographer John Farrah and wanted a make-up artist on board.

Julie’s good at doing her own but wouldn’t have had the wide range of brushes, eye shadows, lipsticks, glosses, eyelashes and other bits that a MUA brings along.

The smallest of things had one of the biggest influences. I usually have two pins on my R-Strap, the blue man for the Prostate Cancer appeal and pink ribbon for the Breast Cancer appeal. A much larger version of the ribbon worn as a wrap was way too little for Julie to wear, so the top of the ribbon shape inspired a high collar that would help frame her face.

Julie loved the look of the hostesses in the film The Fifth Element and asked if we could use a white wig instead of pink cut to have a horizontal fringe.

My local material shop put me in touch with a dress making tutor Valerie Eldred who in turn put me in touch with Sally Graham, a maker of high end wedding dresses and cruise wear. Despite this being a world away from the usual work she does Sally agreed to make the top. The sequinned material is an item picked up for a few pounds in a charity shop in Bromley.

To continue the colour that would frame Julie’s face I went looking for hat ideas. At first I was going to make one from scratch but quickly realised just how hard it is to work with the thick hat making material I’d got Sally to stiffen the collar. I asked all the many local charity shops if they had any hats, luckily in the last one I could check I got a yes. The lady running Harris Hospice Care in Hayes said her son had one that the school used as a prop, I was welcome to borrow it as long as I left my details.  A business card and a volunteered donation for the cause and the hat was mine for a week. Then the fun began wrapping the grey hat in the spare material from the collar.  I’ve always been the one to wrap odd shaped presents for the rest of the family, so I had a bit of experience to call on.  The trick to getting the right shape in paper or material when wrapping is to think about the folds and pleats. Running stitches were used as draw strings to get tension in the right places for the peak. Then tape, pins and the odd stitch were used to hold things in place in areas that wouldn’t be seen in the shot.

Liberty, one of the two MUAs I’d watched working their magic for “Anya”, a short film by TINT Productions, put me in touch with Fiona Ross as her diary was full. She’s a lovely lady and really put Jooles at ease, giving her some good make-up tips while doing her work.

Fiona’s list of make-up used for the shoot was:
Foundation: Mac Studio Fix NW40
Powder: Rimmel Loose Powder in Transparent
Contouring: Mac Taupe
Eyeshadow: Unknown make; 3 different shades of pink.
Mascara: Bourjois Volume Glamour Ultra Curl
Eyelashes: Eylure false lashes
Lip pencil: MAC Magenta
Lip gloss: Lancome Juicy Tubes

And the process:
Cleanse, tone and moisturise the skin.
Apply foundation to eyelids. Set with loose powder.
Apply eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara. Clean eyeshadow dust from under eyes.
Apply foundation to face. Set with loose powder.
Contour under cheekbones.
Apply false lashes.
Do the eyebrows using white Kryolan Supracolour.

John Farrar uses a lot of material that he finds at hand for his shoots; corrugated cardboard, fruit baskets even bubble wrap. With the brilliant makeup his artists do the results are stunning. Taking a leaf out of his book the costs for this shoot were kept low. I’d tack stitched another top from a charity shop under the one Sally had made to hide the light tan top Julie was wearing as the wide straps would have shown too much. I’d cut a rough V in the front to match the shape of the collar then demonstrated to the ladies how bad my sewing was. The top Sally made is like a bib, fastening at the back with tapes.  The hat too is only partially covered. Both on the grounds that what you can’t see doesn’t have to be there.

A truly fun shoot with some images that I’m very happy with all for far less than you’d expect.

If you fancy doing a shoot too, either on your own or as part of a larger group please get in touch using the contact link at the top right of the page, or by phoning Mark on the number shown under Connect with Mark.