Starrlight in the making

With this photoshoot my main aim was to tell the story of my dear friend and most importantly to celebrate her.

My general process with portrait shoots like these are not the same to most client work, the trickiest part always is coming to a final decision on what direction i am going. I would tend to obsess on my ideas before coming down to something final. With knowing she’s a popular Burlesque dancer who’s about to go for a hip operation. This is quite traumatic for any dancer out there. I first had to find something inspiring to me. My go to for starting my idea process always begins with Pinterest and behance getting lost in research.

” When I say I want to photograph someone, what it really means is that I’d like to know them.
Anyone I know I photograph. ” – Annie Leibovitz

I particularly found one image that i loved with a girl being photographed with just fairy lighting and used that as a base ground, and i brought in other elements such as the glitter and organza to compliment and give me play around grounds to go with.

I don’t feel like the message should be so transparent in my photo’s as viewers will always have their own way of interpreting. Instead, its about captivating something very special, the essence. While like most photographers that’s where our creativity comes in hand to eternalise a moment the best way possible.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At this point of the shoot i had Starr sitting very much to mirror my original reference source i found online. The result wasn’t giving me quite what i had imagined. After grabbing a few shots and once i got my lighting at an ideal setting, i decided i needed to put her in a easier position that gives more play. Laying her down on the ground was definitely a better option because i could sculpt the organza much better for a controlled backdrop.

One of the important things to remember is while shooting we need to trust that we have prepared all we can before hand. Because in order to truly connect with your subject and make them at ease, you cant fiddle or tinker too much. This kind of approach i like to take in my  photography proves why i have found with time, that getting stuck with the technical aspects is not ideal and does not allow me to truly embrace the creative side of things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credits to great team involved:

Subject: Diva Disastar – “s.a.’s dame of burlesque”

MUA : Sam Ellenberger Makeup Artistry

Assistant, Video footage & Hair : Fox bruins-lich

BTS Video preview of photo shoot Below:

 

 

Japan – i could never be prepared for you.

As a South African, I always thought it was very important that I do my research before I travel to one of the countries of my dreams, Japan. There were many useful articles that I came across, such as ‘First trip to Japan?’ https://www.alajode.com/first-trip-to-japan/ and ’10 things every traveler should know before going to Japan’ https://theculturetrip.com/asia/japan/articles/10-things-every-traveler-should-know-before-going-to-japan/? .
But no matter how much i read, i had no idea what kind of feelings this incredible country would leave me with.

We picked up our pocket WiFi at the airport to share between myself and my husband, and went off to catch the train from Narita Airport into Tokyo. It is night time so I can’t see too much, but understanding me being a huge Futurist & Blade Runner type fan. Japan at night is the stuff of my dreams, and I had uncontrollable tears coming down my face as I realised I somehow managed to get to the country, and capital, of my dreams. We started with Tokyo.

Japan Tokyo

 

Here are some of the things that stick with me that no one could possibly prepare me for while traveling across Japan:

 

Just how quiet Japanese people are

Catching a train, or rushing in the subway, there would be hundreds of people. In fact, there often is empty streets, and whenever something hip is happening, you know by the amount of people gathering in one space. All the people together are not talking unless they have to, or talking on a phone, as it can be rude in most places, especially on the train. In South Africa, we are very chatty, never mind the obvious language barrier In Japan.

Fruit and veg

I think it is time to accept those are a thing of the past when in Japan. Ok, they are there in Japan, but most of the fruit and veg are imported – so, for example, a basic apple would cost practically R20 for one apple. So food lifestyle is nothing like i know at home, but a definite culinary experience. Probably the best beef I have had in my life was in Japan, and I don’t even consider myself a carnivore.

No Sugar

In at least 90% of the meals you eat, when you eat like a traveller, you will not have excessive sugar in it, provided you are not eating a crêpe or an ice-cream dessert; although we did have doughnuts in Tokyo for breakfast on our last days, and even those only had most of the sugar in the icing. Talk about healthy. Not only did I realise how much sugar is in foods at home, but I started craving coffee in the morning — and I do not normally drink coffee with my ADD tendencies — because my body was like “where am i supposed to get all this energy for the day” ?

Doughnuts and Coffee
Great spot for breakfast when you crave the sense of home – DUMBO Rappongi Tokyo (https://bestlivingjapan.com/dumbo-doughnuts-coffee-azabu-juban-minato-ku-tokyo/ )

The large buildings

Ok, now understand, in Cape Town, our city is pretty tiny and I wont lie about that. I LOVE tall buildings and skyscrapers, so this was quite something else. Japanese modern buildings are surprisingly grey and dull. so the best way to see them for me was at night. I mean, you can walk safely in the street with your fancy SLR around your neck in quite streets and you are safe. ‘Only in Japan’. From electric strobe bright light neon dreams of buildings in my face… I get the tingling feeling just thinking about it, to digital billboards the likes of Dotonbori, Osaka. Plus, land space in Japan is minimal, so tall buildings are legitimately everywhere. Even the small town of Kochi on our journey had bigger buildings, they felt like the equivalent of Cape Town CBD with building volume. This did cause some difficulties with google maps as the building density did interfere with our GPS accuracy.

Osaka Dotonbori

Tokyo ApartmentsJapanese Buildings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Japanese trains

Can we just understand that not only does South Africa have the worst problems with trains due to many unsettling reasons, but Japan has what has been considered the best train transport systems in the world. This means another dream achieved of walking where we want, averaging about 18000 Steps a day between myself and my husband, because thats exactly how you experience a country. In fact, my poor man had to massage my feet at the end of the day by the time we reached Kyoto. My feet were legitimately aching in agony from daily intense walks. I am no where near a fit person, so my body is like yo lady! The Hiroshima station was vibrating under my feet, and it sounded like a rocket was flying above us. At this rate i had witnessed so many crazy things I think I had become numb to the crazy of Japan. So i was giggling as to what the hell was that?
Chris tells me “Oh, it’s probably their Shinkansen skipping a stop”. Train station is a little on the old side, so the speed of the train creates a little tremble. I mean, if I did not get enough Sci-Fi inspiration from Japan I don’t know, but I know their trains I will probably talk about for the rest of my life. It is so incredible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking Japanese

Ok, so i tried a cool app called Duolingo to learn some Japanese a month before the trip. Obviously, I failed the reading part because that was quite next level, so I ended up writing down popular good-to-know phrases for my travel. Such as excuse me and thank you, almost more important then hello in Japan because the locals carry a lot of pride with being so traditional in unique ways. So, going to a local place in Hiroshima, popular for it’s Soba Noodles, it was the regular ‘Konichiwa'(Hello) happy face! Then waitron enthusiastically went on in Japanese and this tidal wave of words you don’t understand hits you in the face. Needless to say, we all giggled and continued with various sign language of pointing and nodding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are practically no chairs

So what I’m saying is you walk, and you hit like 10,000 steps and you can’t sit. Most likely no one in Japan takes a break but I’m like holy-cow. Only obvious places with seats are train stations or parks, but this is all part of being a tourist type of thing. So, after touring Nagoya Castle, my feet were reaching tipping point, so when i realised it’s a 30 min walk home, I pretty much napped on the bench in the park with my poor husband sitting there tolerating my madness.

Shopping agenda

The current exchange rate is 1 Rand to 8.8 Yen, and most parts of Japan are not as expensive as I imagined. In fact, a lot of prices were very much close to home. I guess that’s what years of inflation has done to us. Dinner and lunch varied to similar pricing as to what i would have paid if I ate out at home. Clothes on the other hand, I for some reason thought would be unaffordable. Then again, I am not a person who buys clothes at recognised brands. I love finding unique things, after all, being in Japan I definitely wanted all the kimonos. I know when I go back to Japan, I am going straight to Harajuku for all the wild hip clothes to stock up on. Clothing is top quality at normal rates, R150 to R200 a t-shirt average, unlike what we are used to at home. Again, not a label brand, which is why I reckon it was affordable. Such heaven.

My friend recommended I maybe write multiple blogposts about Japan so I don’t let the memories slip. Never mind helping my word vomit on this experience. I think I’ll leave this one here to kick things off, and see what happens.

Something I agree with from one of the articles I read, Japan can really open your mind to a whole new world. I love Asia just that much more as it hits me in the heart every time. Its unpredictable life lessons and richness in culture. I feel humble every time, and truly hope we get to go back again soon, even if it means painful hours of flights. Because stepping off the airplane to embrace the unknown gives you that feeling of. ‘This is what life is all about’ OR our favourite saying became ‘It’s all a part of the experience’.

Me in Kyoto by Gion

Why should you Boudoir?

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So here it is, why should someone do a boudoir photo-shoot.

For every person doing a Boudoir photo shoot it is a personal reason. From my side personally i believe it is an uplifting personal experience. People today are surrounded by media as commonly understood, with the likes of Facebook its always hard to keep up with the Jones’s. So if you feel like life just wants to kick you down this is a experience of transformation and self beauty awareness.You get the chance to discover just how beautiful you are presented to yourself. With the simple unique tool, your body – our beautiful bodies are the most under valued tool of life which then effects us psychologically.

So therapeutic is a big factor. Something else and probably my favorite is the transforming side. This has always been a big thing for me. The few times in a woman’s life this happens is her matric dance and wedding day. On the day of your boudoir you get to have a bit of celebrity day transformation all for yourself. Make up , wardrobe, pamper, pamper … So there’s allot to be exited about.

Now when it comes to getting your special someone a gift your running a blank with ideas. We have all done the lingerie or bake up a storm idea. Even going out to a lovely restaurant – it is very hard to be spontaneous when you’ve been in a long relationship. This is why i would highly recommend a Boudoir session. The great thing on doing a boudoir session with Miss Hepburn Photography (me 🙂 ) is you can get your pictures bounded into a book. So the gift will be given in a form of a book and fears of leaking photo’s onto the web are all gone!

Another great tip for the single and loving it ladies is getting a session done with a girl friend or two. Now each lady can take a turn in front of the camera while sipping on some bubbly and giggling away. Remember if you want to wear a blanket or over-sized shirt that’s fine its not all about how much skin you can show, as the beautiful you can be shown without you having to bare it all.

I hope this motivates you to bucket list a boudoir shoot one day in the future if not now 😉

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