It’s always so exciting to see the vision that only previously existed in your mind become a reality, and we set up the Cotswold Collective so that we could do just that, whilst helping some truly talented aspiring designers and models along the way.
A few weeks ago with the hard work and support of everyone involved, we made that happen for the first of our 4 finalist Models & Designers on our first seasonal shoot: WINTER.
We’d previously scoped out a location with a pond to create an “Icy Lady of the Lake” vibe for this winter shoot, but due to some unforeseen circumstances involving protected ducks & the fake snow we intended to use on set, we had to make some pretty big last minute changes (best laid plans etc). We were thrilled when we found the perfect replacement, in the form of a secluded & snowdrop-covered area of woodland in the grounds of luxury country Manor Wyck Hill House Hotel, near Stow on the Wold. No pond, but we like a challenge!
Wyck Hill were fantastic hosts for our collaborative project, providing a beautiful suite for our hair & make-up specialist Jodi Croft to get to work on creating something really special….
In the meantime, as the English winter had failed to provide us with any real snow, we set to work on turning our location from sun-dappled woodland into snow-covered hideaway, complete with artificial frozen lake. Over 2 hours of covering the ground and surrounding plant life with fake snow ensued, much to the bemusement of any hotel guests who happened to stroll by. The result speaks for itself; a big shout to MTFX who provided the snow and some good advice on how to lay it!
Mr Terrific finished his snowy masterpiece just in time for us to be joined on set by our first finalist model Xenia, whom Jodi had transformed into a dazzling, bewitching Snow Queen-esque character, veiled in sparkling frost and dressed in student designer Jodie’s stunning winter outfit. I’m sure that REIN will be impressed with the results and Gloucestershire University will be proud to see one of their students work come to life like this and it was so exciting to see all the elements combined!!
After some final outfit adjustments & makeup tweaks we got down to the serious business of shooting. Location photoshoots like this can throw-up all sorts of unexpected problems and this was no exception, with our lighting equipment refusing to play ball. As a photographer, you learn to think on your feet pretty quickly at times like this! We got around it as we always do (I shan’t bore you with the technicalities) and thankfully it was plain sailing from then on!
Whilst I shot the stills, CC’s Justin Golby & his lovely wife Alison were filming everything that happened, so watch this space for some Behind the Scenes & Showreel movie action!
We used smoke bombs to create a misty, freezing fog effect (which kept the men entertained – boys and their toys). The smoke really helps to give the finished shots a sense of depth and atmosphere.
Xenia modelled-up a storm – I’ve worked with some very experienced models who’ve been much harder work to shoot than she was. We can honestly say that she’s a natural! Whatever the result of our model competition with BMA Models, I’m sure we’ll be working with her again! Despite it being a rather frigid February day, she never once complained and was happy to sit for hours with nothing but a hot water bottle to keep her warm between shots; a consummate professional, and on top of that, a genuinely lovely girl.
The final shots and showreel will be revealed over the coming months but for now, we’ll leave you with a few more sneaky peeks behind the scenes….
Striking a pose – it definitely wasn’t as warm as it looks here!
Swooping in just before we start shooting, Jodi perfects the look by adding some of our snow effect to Xenia’s shoulders spraying it with hairspray to hold it all in place.
Watch this space for the final results and check out www.cotswoldcollective.co.uk for updates!
Photography: Stefanie Calleja-Gera
Film: Justin Golby
Hair & Make-up: Jodi Croft
Model: Xenia Von Brockdorff
Clothing: Jodie Spears
Location: Wyck Hill House Hotel & Spa