Caption: Tiree shooting the girls in the indoor marquee at Belmount Hall.
Caption: Champagne in the sunshine.
Caption: Tiree shooting the lovely Issey at Belmount Hall.
Caption: Hilary taking some down time between shots.
Caption: The day's running order.
This spring I was fortunate enough to engage the wondrous talents of the photographer Tiree Dawson to capture the latest collection of Horsley styles on celluloid (well perhaps not celluloid, but there was a certain vintage feel to the day!). With very unsettled weather in the surrounding weeks, we were unbelievably lucky to have organised our shoot for an absolutely stunning day. The sun was shining, the sky was blue.......and apparently that is not what photographers like! According to Tiree, photographers prefer a little bit of cloud so that the shadows falling across faces aren’t quite so pronounced. It was alright though, this is a Lake District....we can do clouds!
So, our little band of models, stylist and photographer convened at Belmount Hall, near Hawkshead for our day’s shooting. Belmount Hall is a rather beautiful Georgian country house, once owned by Beatrix Potter, but currently in the careful hands of Chris Addison and his wife Gillie, who offer the venue for weddings and country house parties. They have worked hard over the past few years to renovate the house and grounds, and bring them back to their former glory. There is a wealth of fabulous little corners and graceful sweeping lawns and driveways to choose from when it comes to taking photographs. We were spoilt for spots both outside, and in the indoor marquee (you don’t come across many of those do you!) to position our beautiful models for their moment in the limelight.
Ah, the models.....the beautiful and wonderful models! Allow me to introduce them to you. The first to arrive was Kirsty. The lady of the incredible chestnut locks, and somewhat surprisingly, the mother of an 18 year old! She was the first into the very comfortable dressing room for hair and make-up. Next up was the ever glamorous Hilary, the ‘face of Lakeland Skirts’ and owner of a stunning 5 star B & B in Kendal. And last, but certainly not least, was the gorgeous Issey. A fresh faced young lady with bright blue eyes, and a light-up-the-room kind of a smile. What a dream team!
Not long into the morning, we were joined by Megan and Darren from Typical Type, who disappeared quickly into the indoor marquee to set up their fabulous new tungsten lights. Meanwhile the rest of us were busy posing, titivating and snapping outside in the sunshine. After each girl had been photographed in their first ‘look’, they were each kitted out in complementary outfits so that we could take a few group shots (to convey the harmonious and friendly nature of Horsley and Lakeland Skirts!). We peeked inside to see if the lights were ready, and upon finding that they were, popped the cork of the champagne! Purely for photographic prop purposes of course! The lovely low-wattage lights added a hint of a glow to our models faces as they spun and danced for their photographer.
A picnic of smoked salmon sandwiches and mini quiches ensued, and then we were back out in the grounds of Belmount to seek out our next location. Would it be the secret garden gate, the grand columned front door, the sweeping gravel driveway, or the picturesque barn? Well, we chose them all! And of course we also chose the fabulous, hazy Lakeland view and the stable yard, and the entrance gates too! And not only were we spoilt by our location, but we also had a plethora of wonderful vintage props to help us through the day. Our favourite was undoubtedly the cute blue bicycle that was kindly leant to us by Emma at Narrative Hire, who boasts the world’s most brilliant collection of beautiful vintage props (and a heart of gold to go with them!). Kirsty braved the bike with 4” heels on, and I can’t deny feeling a little bit nervous on her behalf! Still, she carried it off with great aplomb and the lovely shiny bike matched perfectly with the skirt that she was sporting.
Bit by bit the models drifted off, and the beautiful black Belmount cats helped me gather together my garments, and hats, and shoes, and jewellery, and make-up, and everything else. And, after a little rest in the glorious sunshine, I popped them in my little car, waved a cheery goodbye to our oh-so-welcoming hosts, and pootled off down the lake side towards home.
Thanks a million go to the incredibly professional and wonderfully accomplished photographer, Tiree Dawson, and to our hugely kind and hospitable hosts at Belmount Hall. I must also thank the gorgeous models, who, it must be admitted, were terribly patient and always poised and perfect. For the use of the fabulous little bicycle, and its delivery to Belmount, I must give thanks to Emma at Narrative Hire. And of course, I must thank Typical Type for the use of their great lighting which added another dimension to proceedings. It was an absolute pleasure to work with you all!