The Unthanks - Diversions Volume 4.

Back in December last year, I travelled up to the beautiful village in Northumberland where The Unthanks have their recording studio. They'd asked me to take some publicity shots to announce their new Diversions Album to be released early 2017. The album was going to be a reworking of some of Molly Drake's beautiful songs and poems. Being a fan of her son Nick Drake's work, I had heard some work by Molly, and it seemed to be the perfect fit for The Unthanks to weave their unique sound amongst those tunes and words.

The concept behind the shots was that Rachel and Becky were to join an existing photograph of Molly in a composite, and to make the sisters look ghostly. So I took a series of shots of both Rachel and Becky individually against a plain background. I freelensed a few to give the images that dreamy, ethereal feel.

The Unthanks
The Unthanks

It was a beautiful winter's day outside, so we went down the lane and took a couple more, making good use of that low light!

The Unthanks

I worked on a few edits back in the office and brought Becky & Rachel together just to see what the final choices would look like.

The Unthanks

The final composite was put together by Steven Wainwright. It was great to see it for the first time!

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It's a stunning album. I tried to explain Molly's music in words and then I found this description from Adrian (the pianist, musical director, and producer) and it's just perfect -  'Stylistically, the first thing you hear is the mannerisms of the time. The Noel Coward, Ivor Novello-esque hallmarks of the era are there in her piano playing, and a stiff, properness in the voice. But then, in stunning contrast and contradiction, her softness, her emotional intelligence, her sensual and radiant artistry, start to reach out to you. Hearing a woman, a mother, from that time, expressing her personal, melancholic, philosophical thoughts, so beautifully, with such guile and confidence, and yet kind of from behind closed doors, is as compelling a listen as I’ve ever experienced'. 

The publicity shot I worked on is on the inside sleeve of the album, and the cover of the Extras.

The Unthanks
The Unthanks
The Unthanks

 

If you'd like to here one of the songs, take a listen to this beautiful track. It pulls me in each time I listen to it. The spoken words are by Molly's daughter Nick's sister, Gabrielle.

Charlotte's Garden - by Hannah Nunn

Our dear friend Hannah Nunn has created a beautiful new design for the Brontë Society called Charlotte's Garden which is inspired by the plants in the Parsonage garden around the time of Charlotte Brontë's birthday. The Parsonage have made Hannah's beautiful design into aprons, tea towels, tote bags and other wonderful products to sell in the shop. When we were asked by them to take some lifestyle photographs of the Charlotte's Garden range, we jumped at the chance. We knew the kitchen and garden of our friend Sarah of Simply by Arrangement would be just the perfect place for the shoot, so we arranged a date and headed there one morning hoping for nice light.  

We weren't disappointed - the light that day was just perfect and Sarah was getting excited with all the possibilities. I was also quite giddy as Sarah needed a model and the Charlotte's Garden apron fitted perfectly with my lovely Seasalt dress.  We'd already been out for some groceries to use as props in the tote bag, and fortunately there were plenty of beautiful flowers around that we were also able to incorporate. Molly the dog also helped out with some of the modelling - she's much better at sitting still and doing as she's told than me! Although her powers of restraint were tested when she spotted the French stick sitting in the tote bag! 

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Toby Cotterill Jewellery

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of spending a morning with super talented and all round lovely chap Toby Cotterill. He makes exquisite silver jewellery inspired by the natural world. As Toby says, his pieces are wearable sculpture. With the commercial photography I take, I love to work with artists and makers, documenting their processes, their work-spaces, and seeing where their inspirations lie. Toby's studio is a perfect corner to create. It's light and airy, surrounded by delicate treasures found on beaches, tools in old coffee mugs, and quotes and designs pinned to the walls.

It was fascinating to watch him at work, it was almost meditative. Here's a photo story of our morning together. I left feeling incredibly inspired. 

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And here's a short film showing Toby in his studio talking about his childhood, his inspirations and his processes.

If you'd like to see more of Toby's beautiful work - his website is here.

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