Photography: Baby Meadows (Annoucement)

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Back in January, I had the absolute honour of taking the announcement photos for my friends’ pregnancy. I am so glad they chose to involve me and the photos still make me grin like a loon every time I look at them. The shoot itself wasn’t hugely planned, we agreed on where we would shoot, and I prepared a chalkboard. The chalkboard turned out to not be a chalkboard at all and instead was a block of wood painted black that once drawn on would never be the same again. I only had two so it was very nerve-wracking trying to get it right on the first try. I managed it, with my limited hand-lettering skills and I am so glad they liked it. I did my prep the night before and was practically fizzing with excitement.

The morning of the shoot came. It was cold, drizzly and, best of all, misty. I’ve long been shouting about my love of mist so I was incredibly excited to do my first photo shoot of the year in my favourite conditions.

To put the amount of mist into perspective, there is rich countryside behind that windmill, you can see for miles (it is on the top of a hill overlooking fields and wonder). We couldn’t see a thing. Driving up the winding roads was like being in a completely different, and completely deserted world. I loved it.

Brill Hill was where their proposal happened, and where they took their announcement photo for that – I thought it would be perfect to stage another incredibly important announcement there. There’s definitely something beautiful about tracking the seasons in sentimental locations.

We didn’t count on it being misty but I am so happy it was. It allowed the focus to be on them and not the location, with the location becoming more like a stage. I hope I can coerce them into going back there and let me shove my camera in their faces when it’s not misty, probably when the baby is born so that we can get some richly colourful family shots and really show off the beauty of the location.

It was a quick, damp shoot but I am so happy with the results. They’re simple and beautiful and I am totally and completely in love with them.

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Definition #05: odditorium

odditorium

It is said that those who live in glass cases are more attuned to the turning of the world, so fine are their walls that almost everything that can crawls in. When the Alpha stirs the glass stirs with her. The panes shudder and fissures spiderweb their surface, the assorted paraphernalia jumps in response. A scattering of tarot shifts underfoot as she—a small thing, a trinket of a being, a denizen of small antiquities—moves to sit, to wait away the small shiverings and stammerings of the odditorium. The Moon slips forward, trembling in its way, and the others follow suit. Death. The Star. The Wheel of Fortune. Justice. She will try to puzzle it out—the meaning and the movements of the cards, there not by chance but by sheer force of will—but for now she watches the clefts travel through the glass unhindered as water on sand.


 

This is a little contraction. A new photo, created using one old photo and several new photos containing lots of old things, most older than me. The little Ava has been waiting since 2012 to find a home in a photograph, moving from folder to folder, idea to idea. She has finally settled into Definition and has found a home among the oddments and the old things.

It was a challenge but a pleasant one. Some of the items tucked away on this shelf are favourites of mine. Some are things which barely ever come out. This image was part play, part story, part remembrance.

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Definition #04: thalassophilous

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She feels it too. The spark. It courses through the waves and tickles the sand beneath her toes. The Orarian is often found gazing across the sea, watching it tap Morse code on the shore, responding only with the pads of her feet and the touch of her fingertips. The water fragments her image, rippling her out and in and out and in. The beach is deserted save for the gulls. She has not seen another human for weeks, keeping counsel with the birds and the fish and the crabs which scuttle between rock and sea. But then there is the spark and she feels a small tug of civilisation, faint but insistent. Like a fishing line. Like a hook.


It was cold, overcast, perfectly British. The clouds were in full force. You will have seen a similar image before, a small tease to this one. The image came first. Sort of. I’d seen the word in passing, not thinking to note it down but it attached itself to the back of my mind anyway. This shoot was a favour. Sort of. The partner in crime wanted to be in this dress, on this beach. I wanted something striking, something unlike most of my body of work so far. We both obliged each other. I knew the sea wanted to be in Definition, I just had to work out how.

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Definition #01: Alpha

Alpha by Elou Carroll

It begins with sleep, hazy not-quite sleep, a lilting only-just sleep wherein such worlds and images and peoples are born that could not exist on waking. The Alpha rolls her head across the White and the brightest stars in her constellations wink in response, her fingers twitch and clasp at her chin, and tease at the violet strands they find there. She is a balancing act. A rocking point between sleeping and waking and, as she moves, the stars tremble, waiting as the world beneath grumbles and groans and pushes ever forward. She breathes deep and her stars sigh. The night continues.


First. It begins with me, with my mind and my notebook and my love of words and images so the first image begins with me too. A self-portrait. A challenge. At the time of writing, and when the first shots trickled through my lens—refracting, recording and reflecting my own face—the idea of a self-portrait is, was and continues to be a trial. A gut-wrenching, stomach-twisting, my-fingers-are-shaking-justpressthebutton kind of a trial. A challenge to myself to step in front of my own camera, with the image completely under my control and with artistic intent, for the first time since 2012. In the meantime, I have posed for Dress.Simple in tiny trickles of tiny unplanned shoots, the ones I liked being the ones in which I did not look like myself.

So this image? This image is a dare. I dare you to like yourself.

Second. I adore the stars. Looking up at the stars, when there is little light from towns and cities, is like stepping into a large expanse of freedom but at the same time the endlessness is oppressive, I am crushed by it. I love the stars, and I fear them.

All stories must have a beginning, and so begins the narrative. With stars, and night, and a celestial figure inspired by: Nyx, the Greek goddess of the night, who was present near the beginning of creation, the first of all things, seen only in glimpses and in the shadows of things; and Nut, Egyptian goddess of the sky, who is portrayed as a bluish woman, covered in stars, arching over the world. With her it begins, and perhaps, with some glimpse of her it shall end.

And from these two remarkable creatures is born Alpha; the first night. The beginning.

 Other definitions

noun

  1. the first letter of the Greek alphabet
  2. the vowel sound represented by this letter
  3. a code word representing the letter a in radio communication
  4. Chemistry. one of two or more isometric compounds
  5. the first in a series of related items: frequently used in chemistry and physics

adjective

  1. (of an animal) having the highest rank in a dominance hierarchy; being the most dominant, powerful, or assertive person in a particular group
  2. alphabetical
  3. Chemistry. pertaining or linked to the carbon atom closest to a particular group in an organic molecule

symbol

  1. a plane angle

Origin: Latin, Greek.

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