Thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees...
4th July 2014
‘Thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot, of beechen green,
And shadows numberless
Singiest of summer in full-throated ease.’
I have always been drawn to woodlands and forests. There is something very special and unique about them. Every day, the colour and atmosphere can change and different seasons and weather can create many different images evoking many different emotions.
Photographers are always attracted to woodlands because of these qualities and it is because of these very qualities that I planned a woodland shoot of my own. But I wanted to create something different and unique, embracing my style of photography.
I had an idea of creating an image of a beautiful woman morphing out of the woodland. She had to look like she belonged there and was rooted to the woodland. Researching this type of image led me to mythology and I found that there were goddesses called “Dryads”, wood nymphs or female tree spirits: shy, elusive creatures, always female and always beautiful. They have been part of literature for many years featuring in many works from ‘Paradise Lost’ to ‘Chronicles of Narnia’. So taking my inspiration from this, I started to make the costume and the headdress.
I had in mind that the model would be nude and a red head. Being a red head was important as it is the complimentary colour to green on the colour wheel. The model I used was called Holly, professional name ‘Ivory Flame’ and she had all the qualities I was looking for, including the essential red hair. Make up was done by Charlie from Cr3ative Concepts and together combining our ideas we came up with the look I was after. No mascara or lipstick was used, as wood nymphs would not have had these to hand! The rest of my ‘team’ comprised of my long-suffering husband and a friend, Sandy who was on hand to take background shots of how it all came together.
But more important than these was the woodland itself. Several were checked but for various reasons were excluded. The one I settled on had the right amount of ground cover and canopy and was private enough for a nude shoot. Timing was important as well. The woodland needed to be in full leaf and green and I chose late afternoon to shoot as this meant the light was in the right place.
On the day the shoot came together nicely and the team worked well. Post processing has been kept to a minimum with a bit of dodging and burning and vignetting to add drama. All the colours remain highly saturated to exaggerate the greenness of the woodland. And for the final set of images, all were given titles from works of literature and poetry.
I hope you enjoy the images as much as I enjoyed taking them. I am now looking forward and planning my next one, which will be in the autumn.
Love Laura x
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