Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Just be nice!

What has happened to us? When did we all become so aggressive and nasty to each other?
Since the rise of social media platforms the tendency to turn mean and loud really quickly seems to take a strong foothold on anything posted. I have seen this happen on personal profile updates of all sorts, political discussions and certainly very often on images posted on models’ and photographers’ pages.
Have we forgotten how to be nice? Do we not know how to debate anymore? Can we not state our opinions without trash talking for no real purpose? Are we all so insecure that we have to turn aggressive as soon as somebody questions our opinions?

Obviously in the current political climate there are a lot of heated debates going on, but why do they so often turn very insulting really quickly? Where is all this hate coming from? Was it always there and has just been kept under lock and key by a society that was becoming less tolerant of this sort of behaviour? Has it now been unleashed as the ‘shouters’ feel they have been validated by the likes of Farage and Trump?

But it’s not just obvious hot topics like politics that have turned very sour. I have also noticed that people get attacked for things that were actually meant to be positive messages, like posting an image of their new born, boasting a bit about weight loss or any other great event that might have just happened and were deemed important enough to share with the world. Suddenly comments pop up saying ‘I can’t have children, so posting your new born images is really insensitive.’, or ‘great you can lose weight but there are lots of us that can’t, so stop bragging!’…. I have actually read both of those comments and still find them unnecessary.

Have we become so self-absorbed that we think everything we read is immediately aimed at us and our current life situation? 

I know there are real insensitive posts out there and I wouldn’t tolerate misogynist, homophobic, xenophobic etc. statements either, but not everything out there is either aimed at upsetting somebody else and not everything needs to be criticised!

Obviously I mostly encounter weird comments on images I post, which I just tend to delete and not bother answering. But I do wonder why people find it so important to leave these comments in the first place. If I see an image I don’t like for whatever reason, I just move on…..I don’t say anything at all. I don’t see why I should feel the need to write something like ‘That’s ugly!’ or ‘Eeewww….disgusting’ (just two of the less nasty comments I have deleted)
Maybe more and more people just lead terribly boring lives and they feel threatened by people that seem to have a bit more fun or confidence then they have.

I guess in the end it says way more about the person writing a nasty comment than it says about anything or anyone they are trying to criticise, but it still seems so unnecessary and pointless.

So with online bullying becoming a real problem and online harassment on the rise, how about we all try to write something really nice under somebodies posts once a day or whenever we engage on social media and try to let the unimportant things that annoy us go without reacting to them at all. Just try it…maybe?

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Calendar time!

At this time of the year I start planning my next calendar and just yesterday I revealed the theme I have in mind over on Facebook for the 2018 Hourglass calendar. It’s ‘Creatures of the Night’ and I am already super excited to see what all 12 ladies and me can create together!

The back cover of my 'Implied Nude' calendar 2010
The calendar has become a wonderful tradition and one I hope to keep up for as long as the Hourglass will exist.
The first few calendars I ever did, didn’t have a specific theme, they were just called ‘Ordinary Glamour Girls’, then in 2010 I decided to sum all images up under one subject for the first time, it was ‘Implied nude’ and saw a few ladies step out of their comfort zone to participate, but we did come up with some beautiful images. This encouraged me to theme future calendars too as it seemed to make it easier for everybody to come up with ideas for their specific shoot.
The 2012 'Fairytale' calendar with hand drawn backgrounds

So I went on to do  ‘A tribute to  Gil Elvgren’, ‘Fairy tales’ (which featured hand drawn backgrounds by my man John and is still one of my favourites!), ‘Comic book and b-movies’, ‘Showgirls’, ‘Goddesses’ and last years ‘A Burlesque Circus'.

I have to admit that it’s not always easy to come up with something new every year, but usually if I sit down and think about what would be a cool thing to do something pops into my head, which this time turned out to be ‘Creatures of the Night’. Think Vampires, witches, fairies, zombies....but all wrapped up under the label pin-up. I really can’t wait to get started!!

Cover of the 2016 calendar 'Goddesses'

Every year I find creating the calendar truly exciting. First planning the shoots, then choosing the images, editing these, creating lay-outs, deciding on a cover and then finally submitting them to the printers, up to the point of holding the finished product in my hands.

I know I could never do it without the awesome women that book in for this. By booking and paying for their shoots they make sure a calendar even happens and with their awesome creativity and ideas for outfits, props and poses every year it keeps getting better and better.
Image from the 2017 calendar 'A Burlesque Circus'

So here is to all the wonderful Calendar Girls I have had the honour of working with, my calendars have always first and foremost been for you! 

If you are interested in being part of the next Hourglass calendar, please get in touch (click here) and if you still would like last year's…there are just a few still left to buy via my website here:

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Cosplay rocks!

As it says in my ‘about me’ bit, I am a nerd.
In other words, I love sci-fi, comic books, horror films…the lot.
I grew up on a mixed diet of Star Trek (yes, I like Star Wars too), Hammer Horror, Japanese cartoons like ‘Captain Future’ and ‘Harlock’ and action adventures like ‘Indiana Jones’, the list is long!

I started wearing outfits that emulated my favourite characters in films or TV shows before the word ‘cosplay’ was invented and trust me I got a lot of rubbish comments for it from the on looking ‘normal’ people. I was the proud owner of at least two different ‘Star Trek’ uniforms and one ‘Delenn’ outfit from ‘Babylon 5’, which were all lovingly made by my mother, as cosplay shops didn’t exist. And then there was ‘Rocky Horror’…..

Behind the scenes of a photo session in 1990 and yes, that's all my real hair!
When I was about 17 I met a group of people, who were into dressing up as the characters of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’….well I saw them at a ‘Rocky Horror’ stage show and I was dressed as Magenta, so naturally we started talking. Sure enough we became friends and started a group called ‘The Weirdos’, re-enacting the whole film. We became pretty well known and made regular appearances on TV programs and even got paid for performing and doing what we loved. It wasn’t exactly a full time job, but it certainly was fun and it was a very defining part of my life.
Ami Lou as 'Supergirl'

All I am trying to say is, I think I earned my nerd license!

Since living in the UK with a man who worked on ‘Star Wars’, I have been to lots of Sci-Fi shows and conventions and I have seen some mind-blowingly good cosplay and I have thought so many times how amazing a photo-session with any of those fabulous people would be.

So all things considered it isn’t particularly surprising that I have been working on some cool cosplay shoots for the last six months or so.

Lillian Love as 'Catwoman'

Through the lovely Lillian Love (who is a pretty cool cosplayer herself) I met two fab people. Jimmy and Victoria from Tardis Time Team Assemble and have been lucky enough to work with them on two occasions so far, producing images that I am very proud of.

Tardis Time Team Assemble

I haven’t edited anything form our last shoot yet, which was only last Saturday, but I know there will be some proper gems there. We had Superman in two different variations, Severus Snape, Princess Astra (classic Doctor Who) and Ghoulia Yelps from Monster High….a nerd’s dream!

Just as a side remark:
Jimmy is also incredibly good at doing Snape’s voice and I could listen all day long!

So if you are a cosplayer and would love to have a good picture of your outfit, I do hope you will get in touch. Prices are on my website here:
Jimmy in his incredible 'Beast' outfit form our previous shoot

Add on:
Just after I had finished this post, I was made aware that Jimmy's video of him as Snape, which Victoria recorded in my studio last Saturday between shots, has gone viral...I can see why!
Click here for the video

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Looking back

I know that I am a bit late with my look back on the last year, but until right now I wasn’t even sure I actually wanted to write about the depressive thing that was 2016.
One thing upfront, this is my personal perception of the last year, how I experienced it and how I feel about it.

Maybe today is the right day to look back as it marks the first anniversary of David Bowie’s death, which for me was the day it all officially started going wonky. Maybe there is something to the theory that Bowie’s death opened the door to a parallel Universe and we are all trapped in the wrong one now. If this is so, can somebody please find the way back as fast as possible…it’s not funny anymore!

As I still haven’t got over the fact that David Bowie is gone (I secretly hoped to photograph him one day and it wasn’t as unlikely as that sounds), how can I possibly deal with all the other rubbish the year came up with afterwards.
Only three days later the amazing Alan Rickman left us and from there it just went on and on and ended with Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds also passing within a day of each other. You have probably seen the lists by now so I am not telling you anything new.

So why should it all have such an effect on me? I hardly met any of those famous people on the long list of departed, a few of them briefly, but I certainly didn’t actually know them.

I suppose they were always there when life got a bit shit. Their music, their movies, their image was always around to distract and entertain me.
You could say they were the lemonade when life gave you lemons.

And flippin' hell has the past year given out some lemons!

Brexit (urrgh…..I can’t stand the word!) and Trump being the most present for me at the moment.
I am not a political commentator and I won’t try and be one now, but the referendum and the American election had an impact on my life that I didn’t see coming.
The day after Trump got elected I felt so devastated, so sad for the generation that’s still to come. I felt that every negative attitude and political agenda I thought we nearly left behind was coming back with a vengeance.
How can anybody today vote for a bigoted, misogynistic, sexist, homophobic, racist, bloated, orange balloon head to hold the most powerful office on this planet? I still don’t’ get it!
Again I’m not writing a political statement, just trying to get off my chest how I felt and still feel.

The bigger impact on my life is of course, the Referendum and the vote for Britain to leave the EU.
I don’t even know where to begin on this one! Let em give you a list of emotions I had about this situation since the result was announced: Disbelieve, anger, sadness, more anger, fear, confusion, depression, uncertainty…and a bit more anger, I guess.
As a German European living in the UK for nearly 13 years I thought I could rightly call this country my home. I am working, pay my taxes, social insurance and have built up a life here that I have no interest in giving up. I have in the past toyed with the idea of becoming a British Citizen, but fell short of having £1300 spare for the fees involved.
As a foreigner I had no vote in referendum, but it will likely have a direct effect on my life in ways that nobody can predict yet. Politicians are currently suggesting using Europeans living in this country as ‘negotiating capital’ to secure the status of Brits living in continental Europe (read the Guardian article here).

People I have spoken to about this are always quite keen to say ‘Don’t worry, they won’t chuck you out!’
Well….that’s good to know!
But nobody knows even that for sure yet. I suppose it’s not very likely, but so far every time somebody in the past 12 months has said to me ‘Don’t worry…that’s not going to happen!’, it actually did happen, so my confidence that it will all work out fine isn’t particularly high, but I do hope.
For now I carry on as before, what else can I do? As for the idiots that suggest to people like me ‘Why don’t you go home?’ Listen up…. I am home!
Don't know who made this but wanted to finish on a funnier note...