Whatever will she think of next?
What do you get if you take five things your northern mum's said out of context and design and base a fashion shoot around each of them? A worrying thought, but the 'Whatever will she think of next?' series does just that. After struggling for inspiration, mum is usually the first port of call. Not for ideas per-say, mainly to just say "you're doing amazing chuck, pop home this weekend I'll make pie and mash for tea", that sort of thing. On this particular occasion, I was struggling with a shoot concept and rang home for some moral support. Mum jumped at the chance to flex her creative mind. Ideas were flung around, but "burnt down pub" and "big giant big white poodle" are probably my favourite suggestions, amongst others.
In-between the critical feedback ("no mum what the hell are you talking about?!") I started to wonder- what if I actually did them? What would actually happen if I built a shoot concept around each of the strange things my mother has said to me over time? I gathered inspiration, mainly from old text messages and scribbled down voicemails, and 'Whatever she think of next?' was born. I wanted each shoot to really empower eccentric women of the world, who are so often undermined in the fashion industry, particularly in editorial shoots. Touching on elements of feminism besides this, I honed in on my set design, art direction, styling, film-making and photography skills to pull it all together...
“Everything green and then Gizmo” plays with the notion that if you’re single and female you’re destined to be a cat lady, alone and probably drinking a lot of wine. The title was from the original phonecall I had with my mum for creative inspo. I think this turned out pretty close to her vision actually... Including the family cat. All set design and creation, creative direction, styling, film, digital and analogue photography was completed by myself. The models include Hannah Goddard and Gizmo the cat.
“Big giant big white poodle” pokes fun at the use of poodles throughout fashion shoots. Something that's been used for centuries to show the height of parisian sophistication... Or the typical accessory of an eccentric woman who enjoys hoovering her lawn in this case. The title was an original idea of my mother's from the initial phonecall we had when I needed some creative help. I'm still unsure why she stressed twice the poodle must be big. All set design and creation, creative direction, styling, film and analogue photography were completed by myself. For this particular shoot I decided to collaborate with digital photographer Harrison France. The model is Harriet Lythell and featuring alongside her is the star of the show, or atleast the title, Oscar the poodle.
“We’re damn silver foxes” explores how middle aged women have been subject to stereotypes whilst growing up, surrounded by kettles, pots, pans, knives and forks it touches on the concept that ‘women belong in the kitchen’. Amongst this, props include things that they have chosen to define themselves with, such as musical instruments and records. The title was from a conversation my mum was having with my dad about their age, so I felt it only right to have the main subject as the star of the show. All set design and creation, creative direction, styling, film, digital and analogue photography was completed by myself. The models feature three silver foxes themselves; Gail Claydon, Kathryn Claydon-Smith and Gill Roberts.... Some heavy pursuasion on my part to get them to do this.
“Don’t forget the biscuits... What biscuits?” looks at the idea of a woman’s (and a cow's) sweet tooth... ‘A lifetime on the hips, a moment on the lips’ doesn’t really apply too much to our male counterparts, does it? The title is taken from a Whatsapp message my mum sent me telling me to 'not forget the biscuits', then replied to herself 2 days later- what biscuits? We'll never know. All set design and creation, creative direction, styling, film and analogue photography were completed by myself. For this particular shoot I decided to collaborate with digital photographer Harrison France. The Ginger Nut is played by Josie Partridge, the Bourbon by Zeinab Batchelor, and the Party Ring and Malted Milk by Hannah Goddard.
“All we need is an owl and a boat, we have the cat” looks at the idea that women get too attached and sentimental, illustrated in the shoot by a woman hoarding owls, boats and cats from her attachment to the childhood fable ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’. The title for this shoot came from an old Whatsapp message from my mother that I found in the family group chat. It was a reference to the fable, and again- the family cat. And set design and creation, creative direction, styling, film and analogue photography were completed by myself. For this particular shoot I decided to collaborate with digital photographer Harrison France. The model is Ellie Whitehead.