Flights of Fashion {A Collaborative Adventure}

This is another collaboration involving the talented Qudsia Yemisi Ahmed from Dragonflies and Starry Skies who creates beautiful body art. We also had a gorgeous model, Mel Lane, who was enthusiastic about being painted and not daunted by the prospect of experiencing varying degrees of muscle soreness from holding different positions! Qudsia’s sister Naila Jane Ahmed, lent her awesome hair and makeup artistry skills to become part of the aesthetic adventure. Suffice to say creativity and talent runs in that family! Naila also works as my lighting assistant when I am on wedding photography assignment, with an eye for detail and very strong arms she can carry tonnes of gear, whilst holding up reflectors or remote flashes and still spot a brides hair out of place with ease.

It was an honour to act as art director for this collaboration and I started the process by exploring body painting styles that would blend with the location I had in mind. I was keen to do another shoot in Kuipto Forest which had a dark look and feel. A shoot on location so far away would mean Qudsia painting on site, otherwise the design would likely get damaged during travel. With these parameters I started to look into simpler body painting ideas, particularly something reflective of the environment that could be blended with a dramatic fashion photography style.

So with our thermoses of tea and packs of cookies, along with 47,362,339 other things (including arm warmers for Mel!) we all arrived at Kuipto to get creative. I have included the prep shots of our adventure along with the final photo art from the day. It was an amazing experience and I can’t wait for us all to get together for another one!


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