Tag Archives: photography

TIDE – my week on the Isle of Lewis

9 May

Another belated update for ye.  College is busy at the moment; ugh.  It’s really cutting into my free time.  I actually dusted one of my David Bowie books the other day, which tells you a lot about the state I’m in; not only is my obsession with the great man being starved out of me by other demands on my time, but I was CLEANING.  Which means one thing and one thing only, if you are Imogen Maxwell.  PROCRASTINATION.

And I’m nothing if not a productive procrastinator.  As each deadline stalks me mercilessly, swooping out of the shadows when I quite literally least expect it, I pinball about the house, panic-napping, organising, dusting.

You’d think – once the Bowie library is gleaming and catalogued – I’d be flogging prolifically, whacking up product reviews, creating madcap transformations, inscribing the magna carta on my nails in fancy rainbow colours.  Let’s just say my laptop hasn’t been cooperating …

damn you

damn you

… but I’m here now so let me tell you a beautiful story in pictures.

I was up on the Isle of Lewis at the end of April, ostensibly to do the makeup for a short film being made by Edinburgh College of Art student director Gordon Napier.  Makeup was a minor feature of my week, I must admit, but I did my best to get involved with all there was to do.

I stayed with the lovely lovely cast and crew of 18ish, in a blackhouse village near Carloway.  Blackhouses are for people 3’8″ or under.

where I spent all day bent double, wincing as other people brained themselves on 4-foot thick concrete beams

where I spent all day bent double, wincing as other people brained themselves on 4-foot thick concrete beams

They had been converted into hostel-type accommodation; our lil house had 2 x 6-bed dorms and one (or two?) 2-bed room.  There was a big kitchen and room enough for everyone to have meals together sat at a long table.  There was a living room too with a fire place and couches.

Kitchen wizards Elspeth and Pola, without whom we would have turned cannibal

Kitchen wizards Elspeth and Pola, without whom we would have turned cannibal

Being the backpacker queen that I am, I’m a pretty swift and harsh judge of this type of accommodation, and I was well impressed.

our neighbours

our neighbours

Each day of filming was long, but that ain’t no thang when you’re surrounded by good-natured professionals.

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There were indoor scenes…

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… and hero production designers Lottie and Lola had gone all out in decking that place out, let me tell you.

where did they find this wall art?  Shhh.  Just enjoy.

where did they find this wall art? Shhh. Just enjoy.

baked trout dinner, for throwing to the floor in a rage.

baked trout dinner, for throwing to the floor in a rage.

There were outdoor scenes …

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… but there was no internet.

one itty bitty scrap of 3G in one corner of the set

only one itty bitty scrap of 3G in one corner of the set

Apart from movie-making japery, I was kept entertained by practicing some special effects …

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… and whooping it up at the Callanish standing stones.

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We met the locals…

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… we ate the locals….

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… and we waited around a lot, cos that’s what you do.

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With good company…

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… and perfect weather and scenery….

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… it was a pleasure to be involved 🙂

nothing to see here

nothing to see here

I’m very much looking forward to seeing the finished product, and feel free to head on over to T I D E’s Facebook page to keep on top of updates!

Here’s some unrelated Motley Crue to sing you out.  Don’t forget you can stalk me over on Facebook and Instagram, both of which get a hell of a lot more action than this flog.  Gi’us a wee ‘like’, go on.

Happy Friday, flogstars! xX

walking on sunshine

19 Apr

oh hey there flogstars, how’s it going?  It’s been sunny here in Glasgow for a few days in a row now, which had me optimistically removing all but 3 layers of thermals.  I even cheekily wore a t-shirt for approx. 10 minutes too, thinking that the bright clear sky signified warmth, but as the wind started to strip the skin from my bare arms I lost my nerve.

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I’ve had 2 weeks off college and in a moment of uncharacteristically organised and motivated action, found myself doing 5 photoshoots in the first 3 days of the break.  Yeah, if you’re wondering, that’s fuckin’ crazy.

3 of those photoshoots were for my college graded unit.  The brief was for us to produce 3 professional-quality, publication-ready photographs, fully styled in the, err, style of a fashion designer or makeup brand that we chose.  We were to organise it all ourselves, find a photographer/model/location, brief everyone, keep a diary of how it all came together, full costing for each look, moodboards, the whole shebang.

I think the idea is to teach us how much work actually goes into producing the pretty pictures.

So, we were to choose a fashion designer or makeup brand and get busy pulling our ‘looks’ together.  Naturally, I chose David Bowie, but unfortunately as my lecturer firmly pointed out, he is neither a makeup brand or a fashion designer.  Hmm.  Not to be discouraged, I Googled around to find out about the designers of his more iconic costumes.

If, for example, I chose Kansai Yamamoto as my designer, there is no way I would be able to do a photoshoot that WASN'T all about the D.

If, for example, I chose Kansai Yamamoto as my designer, there is no way I would be able to do a photoshoot that WASN’T all about the D.

That’s the path that lead me to Alexander McQueen, although as you’re about to see in the photos below, the end result isn’t Bowie at all.  WTF?  Am I expanding my horizons?

First photoshoot was with Finnish mega-babe model Johannes, who stepped in at the last minute (hero) when my original model had to cancel.  We got down and grungy in the Kelvin Bridge subway station in front of a purple skull graffiti mural.  Here are the (kinda Clockwork Orange-esque) snaps from that shoot:

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That’s a (faux) McQueen scarf tied over his face, which was part of the original styling and not just me being lazy and only wanting to do half a face of makeup.

That afternoon I did my second shoot, which was the ‘moth lady’, inspired by McQueen’s SS 2001 collection (and perhaps his most-bonkers catwalk show of all –  YouTube it).

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… and here’s what I came up with.  The mad hairdo is the handiwork of my college friend Angela Sinclair, who is also caretaker of my mullet these days.  I could never have done this myself so I am forever in her debt!  Mega-babe model is the stunning Ieva, who is represented here in Glasgow by Model Team.

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The next morning was the fastest photoshoot in the world, on board the Tall Ship at the Transport Museum, where we were most not-welcome to take photos so we had to be quick.  Here’s mega-babe model Victoria Wheelan sporting a glamorous pirate eye-patch I created with black eyeliner and black sequins glued on top with lash-glue.

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All these photos are by Bryce Powrie, who I have worked with quite a lot now – good ole Bryce.

So yes, the whole exercise was quite the adventure.  After feeling so organised and ahead of schedule, there were so many last-minute curveballs!  It all turned out alright in the end but there are always things that are (a) out of your hands and (b) you’d do differently with the wisdom of hindsight.

I also think I might have been TOO organised; if I had given myself a little more time to get everything together in the first place, the styling/outfits etc might have been more impressive, for example.  Oh well.  I am happy with the photos but I don’t know which ones to submit; I am also worried that while they are (to me) clearly McQueen-influenced, they are nowhere near as dark as a typical McQueen campaign.  Does that matter?

I am really really grateful to the folk who helped me get this all together – the models, my photographer Bryce, Angie for doing the hairstyling.. they all did it out of their own free time and it is a huge favour that I truly appreciate.

What do y’all think?  Would you pass me?

Here’s Ingrid Michaelson bringing her transformation A-game in the music video for Blood Brothers, while you ponder.

eyeliner is not just for eyes

22 Feb

I know I promised you a juicy flog post all about my long weekend in Denmark, but…  The vodka and energy drink has erased my memory of most of it, and my camera had a nice relaxing holiday in Kastrup airport’s lost property office for the whole 5 days I was away, so there is no pictorial evidence either.

Apart from phone-photos.  And this is the type of photo I take on my phone.

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So today’s flog post is STORY TIME, from the What I’ve Learned archive.

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This, flogstars, is a photo of my free ticket to the Steel Panther concert.

Irene and I didn’t have regular tickets, because we’re fucking hustlers and also really disorganised and forgot to buy them in time.  So, humiliatingly, on the night of the concert we were stationed out the front of the venue, next to a bunch of strippers handing out flyers.  (The strippers were handing out flyers, we weren’t.)

We were begging people on their way in to the venue.  Irene and I were hoping people would have spare tickets to sell.  One person had one.  One.  So we bought it for 250DKK, then swiftly resold it for 300DKK because we are dirty dirty scalpers.

We wisely used that 50DKK profit to buy two mostly-empty beers (pictured) from a couple who had already been inside, and they also kindly threw in a look at their wrist-stamp too.  I scanned the stamp with my photo-laser eyes, took my eyeliner out of my purse and replicated it on our wrists.

Then we marched right on inside with our beers held high to signify that we had already been in, flashing our ‘stamps’, and quickly melted into the crowd.

we knew our place: up the back BEHIND all the paying-people, spending lots of money at the bar to atone

we knew our place: up the back BEHIND all the paying-people, spending lots of money at the bar to atone

Stealing from performing artists isn’t cool, kids, but the fact of the matter is that I am practically a shareholder in the Steel Panther franchise, having paid to see them live thrice and having bought five copies of their first album and 3 of their second album (I’m not even kidding – copies for each vehicle in my fleet plus gifts to friends).

So while I’m not suggesting that you start pirating about all over the place, that’s how to sneak in if you ever have the need.

Next in the What I’ve Learned series: How To Get Backstage.  Here’s a sneak preview.  Step one – have blonde hair and big boobs.  Step two – just go back there, seriously, there’s usually nothing or no one to stop you, and if you’re not screeching/being a dick/stealing their beer, they’ll usually let you stay.

You’re welcome.

I hate to be a pain in the portfolio…

19 Feb

… but if, like me, you’re doing a shitload of TFP (time in exchange for pictures) shoots, you’ll be working with professional photographers, models and possibly stylists or other creatives, and at the end of the (long, hard day in the freezing rain) you all want the same thing – shit-hot photos for your portfolio.

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models: Ieva at Model Team and Lauren at Superior Model Management
makeup by me, photography by Bryce Powrie, threads by One For The Wall

All of us – the photographers, models and makeup artists – all need up-to-date pretty pictures to show off our mad skillz.  Which is why lots of us spend half our lives running around like blue-arsed flies on these TF photoshoots.

They’re great fun, and there’s something nice about a wee gang of you working together with the same vision, not for money but for the love.  Not to say we’re not all getting something out of it, but anyone doing anything for free is displaying some level of dedication, and that’s nice to be around.

All the pretty pictures for me are ending up in my portfolio, which is actually an official thing getting assessed at college next week.  With an interview and all.  We need a minimum of 8 photos from a minimum of 4 photoshoots.  I’ve done 6 photoshoots and pics from 5 of those are going in my portfolio.

I think if I didn’t have a clear idea of what I needed, and if I hadn’t been lucky in landing shoots with reasonably experienced and professional people, that number might not be so high.  As it is my final task for portfolio production is showing some uncharacteristic restraint and editing down my selection to best highlight my makeup work.

None of this putting photos in just because they’re cool and I like them.  Is it a photo that showcases my makeup work, or do I like the photo because the model’s hair looks swishy or because there’s a cute puppy or because the clothes they’re modelling look really good?  All wonderful things, and important components of a good photo… but FOCUS, IMOGEN!

example of a photo that doesn't reeeeeally do my makeup work much justice.  BUT PUPPY!   photo by Bryce Powrie, model Nicolas Garcia-Minaur, puppy not mine sadly

doing the no-makeup-look on a guy is harder than you think, but you’re not even looking at him are you.  This is an example of a photo that doesn’t reeeeeally do my makeup work much justice.
photo by Bryce Powrie, model Nicolas Garcia-Minaur, puppy not mine sadly

Which led to me Googling “how to have a not-shit portfolio” which took me all sorts of interesting places on the internet.  Here is one of the more useful things I read, copied and pasted because you’re more likely to read it if I do it like this, aren’t you.

Get Usable Image Files From A Test With These 6 Questions

A test shoot is a collaboration in which all parties involved should benefit from the pictures received. I don’t go in for contracts or think you should come across like a demanding diva when approached about a test shoot but you do need to discuss a few things with the photographer before the shoot so you can be sure what you receive later will be useful to you.

Here are some questions you should have answers to before any pictures are taken to insure that the image files you receive after the shoot are suitable for printing.

1. Can you get some close up shots of the makeup?
Always ask the photographer to get some close up shots of the makeup as part of the deal and remind them on the day that you need some head shots. A great beauty shot next to a full length image can look fantastic in your book and will show your skills as a makeup artist more clearly.

2. Can you start the day off with a really clean beauty look?
You should be focusing on clean beauty when you start building a portfolio so if you get roped into a test that doesn’t involve clean beauty see if you can do a quick beauty look at the start of the day which you can build on after to achieve something more adventurous. This way everyone should get something usable for their books right from the start and you get more looks out of a days shooting.

3. Will you get Hi-Res files?
Make sure the photographer is going to provide hi-res files so you can print nice sharp images for your book. Low-res files are only suitable for posting online so they don’t take too long to load.

4. Does the photographer have watermarks on all his/her images?
If the photographer you are working with uses watermarks on his/her images check that getting files without the watermarks won’t be a problem so you can print the images for your book.

5. How many images should you expect to receive?
Discuss how many images you should realistically expect to receive and whether these files will have been retouched. Unless you are shooting a big editorial story it is unlikely that you would really need more that 5 images from a shoot.

6. Will you have any input into the final picture selection? 
Often all parties involved are looking for something different for their books so it’s great if you all have some input into the final image selection. If you are given a choice of images think about the composition in your book so the images you pick go together on a double page.

If you are unsure about any of the following points discuss them with the photographer in an email. Emails are great as it gives everyone a record of whats been agreed on to refer back to.

I stole that from http://whattheprosdo.blogspot.co.uk/ – which sadly hasn’t been updated in nearly 5 years, but still has loads of really handy tips for the nascent makeup artiste.
It’s a UK based site however a lot of the stuff on there would be useful for anyone starting out – things like what to think about when putting together your website and business cards, what to carry with you (bottle of water and a banana because no one feeds you on photoshoots – so true, and the reason my makeup kit is a suitcase is really so it can fit all the muesli bars in it that I require for a half-day on the go).
So there you have it flogstars, a bit of practical know-how for ye.
Here’s Steel Panther with The Burden of Being Wonderful.  Watch it and next post I’ll tell you all about the weekend I’ve just had in Denmark partying at them.  Not with them.  At them.

river deep, mountain high

8 Feb

Me last night: “Well… I’d better hit the hay.  I have to climb a mountain tomorrow.  And apply makeup when I get to the top.”

Chloe: “Uh.  Is that a euphemism for something?”

No, flogstars, it isn’t.  Just another mad-cap day in the life of us here at Imogen Maxwell Dot Com.

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I went cantering up The Cobbler in Arrochar today with photographers Bryce Powrie and Cameron Henderson, for Feral Threads.

I'm so outdoorsy.  I could probably survive for about six hours out here.  Oh yeah.  Come at me Bear Grylls

I’m so outdoorsy. I could probably survive for about six hours out here. Oh yeah. Come at me Bear Grylls

"You're a dick."

“You’re a dick.  I know for a fact you have makeup and only makeup in that backpack.”

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mega-babe model Filippa Bahrke gets papped by Bart in Feral Threads

 

taking shelter under a giant rock

taking shelter under a giant rock during one of several snow storms we endured

view from under the rock.  Foolhardy codger hikes past sun shrouded in yet more snow.

view from under the rock. Foolhardy codger hikes past sun shrouded in yet more snow.

mega-babe model Patricia Taylor modelling Feral Threads.  Photo credit - Cameron Henderson www.cameronhenderson.co.uk

mega-babe model Patricia Taylor modelling Feral Threads. Photo credit – Cameron Henderson http://www.cameronhenderson.co.uk

So there you have it, boys and girls.  Tomorrow, another photoshoot with Bryce.  Snap!

Here’s Airbourne.  Thank you and good night.

Bowie-gasm

28 Jan

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I have been sitting here for a few hours now, trying to think of how to start this flog post, and more importantly how to end it.  As dedicated flogstars will know, I could talk about Bowie until the cows come home, but I am without cows so it’d be a bloody long wait.  I still don’t think I’d run out of things to say about David, his greatness and how much I luuuurve him.

So, this post is all pictures, not because I have nothing to say, but because I feel slightly overwhelmed by how much ground I could cover.  We’d be here all night.  And day.  And then all night again.

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I took these today on my camera but the real photos will be even better – these are just a cheeky little sneak peek, just close-ups of makeup but you just wait til you see the fully styled and finished shots.

Today’s team was:
Mega-babe models: Rebecca Goldie and Aaron Bird
Photographer extraordinaire: Paul Wylie
Hair magician: Gillian Cleminson
Wardrobe/styling genius: Kim Wallace
Bowie makeup specialist: Imogen Maxwell (that’s me, kids)
Location: The Buff Low Cafe, Glasgow (who very kindly allowed us to shoot on their premises when our first location fell through at the very last second!)

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she was winking, you just can’t see it

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my dedication to Bowie rivalled only by Aaron’s – shaved eyebrows. My hero.

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Goldie by name, goldie by jacket/lip colour/forehead circle.

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I’m messy and I take up ALL the space and I’m NOT sorry

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I had the best day doing this; normally there are some butterflies that come with rocking up to a shoot not knowing anyone, not knowing how it will turn out, who will show up, what the atmosphere will be, whether my work will be good enough etc etc etc.  But this was my total happy-place in every detail: doing my very favourite makeup amongst calm, focussed, organised, dedicated, professional creatives at work.  Now, to find a way to get paid for this shit! 😉

Thanks to all those who were involved in making this shoot happen; I can’t wait to see the finished shots!  Now just watch this just quickly.

the early bird catches the worm (gross)

23 Jan

It’s true that the early risers, by default, have ended up setting the schedule for the rest of us dreamers.  We were too busy snoozing to stop them.  Which is kind of annoying if you think about it.  I think there should be a revolution to overthrow this cruel regime in which people are expected to BE PRODUCTIVE in the morning.  Mornings are for eating croissants and taking your sweet time waking up, don’t you think?

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or pancakes

The problem with the ‘morning people’ is that they say things like “I just can’t stay in bed past 8am, even on the weekends!  It feels like I’m wasting the day.”  When people say something like that, what I hear is “I am terrified of being alone with my subconscious, and I am also oblivious to the fun that can be had in a bed at any time of the day”.

twister bedsheets

And ‘wasting the day’ – what pish!  What about wasting the deep, dark, glorious night?  You’d have to be a bit evil to go to bed at 7:45pm so you can bounce out of bed at 5:30am the next day for no reason other than to lord it over everyone else.

Or maybe the morning people aren’t sinister at all, maybe they’re just scared of the dark, maybe they just like first go with the newspaper before it gets big splodges of jam on it.  Who’s to know?  So long as they can mask their amusement/disgust at my genuine emotional agony, as I stumble around the kitchen, blind, bloodshot and whimpering, seeking the coffee by smell and touch alone.

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Anyway.  The reason I’m telling you all this is because I have to BE somewhere at 8am on Friday for a (work experience) makeup job.  I say ‘somewhere’ because I don’t know where it is, all I know is it involves a train-ride (sounds miles away doesn’t it) which will mean leaving home at … what, like 6:30am potentially?  That’s the middle of the fucking night!  But it’ll be good.  This comes at a time when lots of fun and interesting makeup work experience opportunities have just sprung up.

On Monday just gone I helped out at a photoshoot that a handful of photography students from my college were doing…

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me doing mega-babe Victoria’s makeup

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DSLR magician Sharon shooting up a storm

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being really helpful holding the light reflector thingy

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In fact there are quite a few fun and exciting shoots coming up, so brace yourselves for some … significantly more professional-looking photos of the makeup I do.  It’s funny, just recently I was really freaking out about where to find the models and photographers I knew I’d need to whip up a decent portfolio.  Now it seems, uh, doable.  It’s because I’m so well-connected.

Don’t worry flogstars, the photos might get more professional, but we’ll still be playing it pretty fast and loose here at Imogen Maxwell Dot Com.  No matter how fancy and professional the photos become, they’ll still be accompanied by my sparkling banter and a bit o’ not-related classic rock or hair metal.  Which brings us to tonight’s tune… oh what shall I pick?

A bit o’ not-related not-classic-rock-or-hair-metal!  I heard this lil number whilst meandering around WordPress, and it’s been stuck in my heid for a few days, which as you’ve probably noticed is the most important factor in deciding what goes up on the ole flog here.  ENJOY.

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