I’d like to think it doesn’t look like it, but this shoot came together in less than a week. We had minimal time for planning and no budget at all. Louise O’Mahony, of Oh My Honey, lives in a farmhouse with a revolving cast of 16-17 housemates; two of her housemates came home one day with thousands of flowers left over from a project and Louise got in touch about doing a shoot that utilised them while still fresh. We sorted the rest of the crew, and I pitched the idea to Absolute magazine, who loved it and came on board.
The set-pieces in the images are found objects – the car was abandoned in the neighbouring field to Louise’s house; I didn’t even know about the giant flowerpot until shoot day. Louise’s housemates had found it on the side of the road for a tenner one day and it had sat forgotten in a corner of the garden collecting rainwater, mud and leaves ever since. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was perfect so we cleaned it up and turned it into one of sets. The candelabras and flower vases were also last-minute additions – leftovers from a trade show that Amy O’Boyle from Wookie Flowers, our floral designer, happened to have in her car.
The weather posed all sorts of challenges. We shot this outdoors on a freezing day in February, and the models were 100% professionals, looking calm and demure while shivering in light spring dresses. We also had the issue of dead trees everywhere, which obviously didn’t look like spring, so Amy had to hand-tie flowers into the bare tree branches. Finally it was so damp and windy we had trouble firing up the smoke bombs and I ended up with sore fingers from singeing myself until Amy came up with the idea of holding the smoke bombs in pruning shears while we lit them. The wind also meant someone had to hold on to the lighting rig at all times to ensure it didn’t blow over.
All in all, it was so worth it. I’m quite proud of what our team accomplished that day, and think the resulting images are some of the best work I’ve done.
Publication: Absolute Brighton magazine, April 2013
Photography: erika szostak
Production: Erika Szostak & Louise O’Mahony (Oh My Honey)
Styling: Louise O’Mahony & Kate Morton
Makeup: Cornelia Page
Hair: Susan Bond
Floral Styling: Wookie Floral Design Ltd.
Dresses: Oh My Honey
Shoes: Irregular Choice
Jewellery: Baroque & Jeremy Hoye
Photography Assistant: Mark Liddell
Models: Catie Greener & Dolly Diamond