At the start of of 2015, I finally got into a good place with who I was – thankfully that feeling has continued. To celebrate these new liberating feelings, I started doing things outside of my comfort zone: I took part in photo shoots, went to exercise classes and wore clothes I’d hidden at home. Scariest of all was signing up to take part in a 1-1 photo shoot with model and photographer, Velvet D’Amour.
I found out about Velvet D’Amour from blogger, Georgina Horne (Fuller Figure Fuller Bust). I loved that she photographed such a diverse group of people and that she brought out beauty in every single image.
Velvet – in her own words:
I share a passion for both modelling and photography. I have had the great fortune to model for John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier, Nick Knight, Ellen Von Unwerth, appeared in French Vogue and more. My great success as a model has served me behind the camera as well.
I am much stronger in each of the two fields by working both in front and behind the lens. Being behind the camera gives me control, versus offering myself up to whomever I model for. It allows me to speak and to share beauty which has a tendency to be overlooked. It gives me the power of making dreams reality. It affords me the potential of making someone see how very beautiful they are. I suppose some of my strength lies in taking what may be seen as average, if not ‘unattractive’, and bringing out the beauty that is there. Whether society sees that or not is up for debate, but my experience is that the people who model for me inevitably see it, and the extent to which this seemingly subtle dance of photographer and model impacts their personal vision of themselves is exceedingly moving to me. It is a way of making a positive impact on the individual, as well as combating how limited the current beauty dictate happens to be. I also shoot more mainstream models and I have a great love of fashion photography so it is liberating to partake in this world, which has tended to be more dominated by males.
In June 2015, I nervously headed to London with a crammed suitcase. Even though I’d read every single email and looked at so many testimonials, I still felt anxious about the shoot. I hadn’t really done any before and I definitely hadn’t done any on my own.
On arrival at the location, I felt much calmer. I was greeted with a smile by the lovely Rachel who regularly does the hair and make-up for Velvet’s shoots. She sat me down and quickly worked her magic. Whenever I have the opportunity to be styled by someone else, I love to get them to create something I could never dream of trying. Rachel quickly whipped up this sixties dream! I can also tell you that this full face lasted all day.
For the shoot, you get one hour and as many outfits as you can get on during the time. Velvet shoots quickly but she always makes sure she has a good variety of shots. She showed me the back of her camera to calm my nerves and check the results. As Velvet has a great deal of experience as a model and photographer, she was able to to guide me on posing and relaxing my awkward body. After an hour with her, my confidence was at an all time high.
As the person who was after me failed to turn up, Velvet gave me the opportunity to use her hour and I jumped at the chance – Rachel even changed up my hair and make-up again (I’m keeping those photos for me though!). It was wonderful to spend my time with two seriously up-lifting women, if you ever get the chance to shoot with Velvet – GO FOR IT!
If you want to have a look at some of the projects that Velvet is working on – take a look at the Volup2 website.
When have you stepped out of your comfort zone? What new things would you like to try out?