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Pam Broom, 2011
19 January 2011

This was my first 'Shooting ShutterBetty' shoot of 2011, and I didn't even know it.

Pam and I were at a meeting together and I was particularly grumpy. She took out her iPhone and captured my depressed mood (something that didn't concern me, as Pam is a regular and very excellent iPhoneographer).  What did surprise me was when minutes later I received the photograph in a text.  Pam lent toward me and said quietly 'That's my Shooting ShutterBetty'.

And that was that.
Caroline Blake, 2010
21st November 2010

I was so thrilled when Caroline Blake agreed to take part in the 'Shooting ShutterBetty' project as I've been an admirer of her work for some time.  Our paths crossed on social networking site Twitter and somewhere along the way we became friends.
Caroline had a few ideas about how she wanted me in her image for the project, and when she suggested a nude it felt very right to agree.

We decided on a derelict church as the location, quite remote but still accessible.  I have to admit that I was terrified of being naked - not because of Caroline but because I had never been nude in a public space before.  I kept imagining being arrested for indecency or even worse, shocking a passing old lady.  I have to admit that it was also to do with control.  I am used to being naked in front of a camera.  I do it on an almost daily basis when creating my self-portraits.  But there I am in control of everything and I decide which photographs to put into the public domain.  I'm not even sure it's vanity - just the knowledge that I am responsible for how I am represented in the big wide world. 

This time I was letting someone else have complete control of my naked body.

I had nothing to worry about.  No unexpected ramblers joined us at the location and Caroline was absolutely wonderful, letting me cover up in between shots (it was very, very cold).
I was very impressed with Caroline's variety of ideas.  Determine to try out as many as possible before we lost the light (and then she took some long exposures when we did), she directed me from place to place, being very clear in her instructions and very considerate of my lack of dress.

I love the final image she's chosen.  Technically, it's very beautiful with it's gorgeous tones and framing.  But more than that it tells a story.  Here is a vulnerable seed, but inside it is a lot of power, waiting to explode.  I can feel the energy just looking at this image and I'm waiting for her, for me, to jump up at any moment and show the world how strong I am.  I'm reminded a little of the character Leeloo from the film 'The Fifth Element'.  And that certainly isn't a bad thing. Badaboom.
It's Just a Matter of Time
Gordon Tant, 2010

18th August 2010

Gordon and I met in a graveyard for the shoot.  I was already there with our photographic art group Catch Light Collective doing a self-portrait about death (as you do).  Gordon works at his day job very hard and was running late, giving us limited time for the shoot.  He was very efficient.  Lights in place, model (me) positioned, framed up, lights tested, lights adjusted, shoot.  It was over and we were off down the pub before you could say 'mine's a pint and the lady will have a lemonade'.  The speed of the shoot makes the title of the image all the more intriguing, as time did matter on this occasion.  But I'm sure that is not what Gordon is referring to when he titled it.

Gordon had an idea for my portrait before the day.  He asked me to bring a long coat and a sly smile.  He brought a hat and a pair of goggles.  He positioned me very specifically.  In a way, this shoot and the final image are both very 'me' - theatrical and dark.  The title, the dark clothing and the protective goggles all point to one thing in my mind, that I'm going to do something very, very bad.  And messy.  Gordon has started to expose the dark part of my mind.  I wonder if anyone else will explore it further?
Wendy Grant, 2010

15th July 2010

"A maternity and newborn photographer by trade, Wendy wanted to show me in her portrait as a mother.  Undoubtably the largest part of who I am, it made a lot of sense for a photographer to explore this side of me.  

My son, ShutterBaby, decided that Wendy's arrival would be a good time for a nap, so it was opportunity for us to have a cuppa and a chat, which really set a laid-back mood for the shoot.
Once ShutterBaby awoke we got straight to it and although Wendy's presence was obvious, it never felt intrusive and the whole shoot felt very natural, which is quite a new thing for me as I'm used to performance and drama!  I simply played with my son.  I tried not to think about what might look good but did catch myself posing!  The funny thing is, the images that worked best are the ones Wendy capture when I wasn't trying to look beautiful or motherly or arty.

The photograph Wendy has chosen is my favourite from the session too.  The image feels alive - I'm engaging with my son and he's engaging with me, there's a connection.  The photograph challenges the notion that a family portrait should be full of 'look how happy we are' smiles.  Smiles are nice, but this captures something deeper."

"Usually my main focus is on the children but yesterday's shoot for Shutterbetty was different in that I was tasked with the challenge of creating my artistic interpretation of S instead. I never arrive at shoots with preconceived ideas as I like to work WITH my clients capturing them as they are naturally. Being in 'total control' of this one I decided that it was still the soft, nuturing side of S that I wanted to capture, so approached the session in much the same way with just a little more emphasis on S."
White Flower
Venus de'Medici

18th March 2010

I've known Andra for about a year and have always admired her intelligence and commitment to photographic art, all tied up in a laid-back bow.

She approached me with an idea, originally meant for a magazine submission, but that after the shoot became her 'Shooting ShutterBetty' contribution.

The buzz words for the shoot were 'white' and 'Rubens'.  I'd like to say I immediately knew who Rubens was, but I didn't.  A google search later and I found hi to be a 16th-17th Century Dutch painter, and a google image search later I found a lot of naked ladies.  Now, I'm not shy in front of the camera and as I've known Andra a while I felt it quite reasonable to let her know that if she wanted a little flesh in the photographs, I'd be happy to oblige.  On reflection, I was perhaps a little too enthusiastic to take my clothes off!

I felt very privileged at Andra's shoot.  She'd hired a studio and that morning I had gone into town to get a make-over at a cosmetics counter.  Once in my costume (my wedding dress and a fetching blonde wig) we commenced with the session.  I tried really hard not to stick my photographic nose in where it was not wanted, but felt comfortable enough to get involved in the posing decisions.

The two or so hours I laid on that chaise lounge went by like lightening.  Andra tried a couple of different lighting set-ups, prop changes and shooting angles.  I get the sense that she could've carried on for another couple of hours.  I could've too, if a large chinese take-out had been ordered in!

I enjoyed the shoot very much as it allowed me to perform - something I love to do.  I also felt very beautiful and confident (in spite despising my post-pregnancy body).  I do't know if it was the dress, the make-up, the lights or Andra herself, but I liked it!

Andra decided to submit not one photograph to the project, but eight.  Perhaps she saw different aspects of me in each image.  Or perhaps she saw narrative displayed in the specific order chosen.  Is it me in the images or a character created by subject and artist?  And does that matter?  Don't we all play for the camera anyway?

Born to Inspire 
Dave Pearson, 2010

15 March 2010

I wasn't expecting my first Shooting ShutterBetty portrait.

I had invited my good friend and fellow photographer Dave Pearson to the opening of my latest solo show in Milton Keynes.  We were having a fabulous conversation about photography when he asked to photograph by feet.  Just like that, out of the blue.

There was no underlying sauciness to his request.  Dave had seen my attempt at geek-chic and was inspired by the Converse All-Star and maxi-dress combo.  But more relevant was his reflection on a series I did in 2007 called 'Born to Recover'.  This was a collection of images of the feet of women who, like myself have stopped drinking and now lead a sober life.

So he has turned my own work on myself.  This portrait I feel is of me in 2007 when I made the original work, of me over the past seven years as a sober woman and of me now as an artist, trying to find my way to success.