This was a crazy trip in which the weather did all but defeat us. But we still had fun.
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La Fete de la Revolution, also called Bastille Day, was a major celebration in Molinot, the village where I live in France. Every fourteenth of July, the village attracted visitors form all over the surrounding areas, because of the lavish entertainment. Today, it is but a ghost of its past self, but in the early years of the century it was a huge affair, and the children from the village school all took part and put on a mime show. As always, willing adults were drafted in to help.
In 2002 the theme was The Wild West — with a very French flavour.
In 2002, only twenty years ago now, La Fete de la Revolution was still a huge event in Molinot. Sadly this is no longer the case as the life of the village has collapsed as the French country side empties. We were lucky to see it when we did, and to experience the rural life of the Arriere Cote. It is gone and will never come back.
Our memories, however, are happy and something at least of Molinot and our dream life in France is preserved in these images and my writing. I doubt if I’ll ever see another La Fete de la Revolution there, but the ones I remember were amazing. We saw something really special and if the locals did not quite understand us, they made up for it in kindness and the warmth of their welcome.
You can read about all of this in my hilarious French Onion Soup! series of books. The second, Croutons and Cheese! was launched in September 2017.
I photographed Kirsten as a part of the Gaia series, taken in 2009
The location was The PlashMill, in Friockheim, Scotland, where I then lived. It was August, and quite warm. I ended up standing in the lade — the stream you can see — in order to get better pictures. This seemed to amuse everyone greatly. Kirsten brought a chaperone — something I encourage strongly — who photographed me at work.
If you’re photographing the nude, there are two things you should do. The first is to obtain a signed Model Release form. This is not a legal requirement in the UK but it is in the the US and you will have no end of problems trying to sell work to that territory without one.
The second is the chaperone. You will be working with a young woman who will be in a vulnerable position since, after all, nude photography usually takes place in private. The presence of the chaperone will set the model at ease, especially if she is not a professional model (Kirsten was a student.)
The chaperone performs another, crucial role, however. She protects the photographer against accusation of improper behaviour — accusations which in the current climate could have very serious consequences. Also useful for making cups of tea and photographing the photographer!
These images were made using an MPP MK IV 5×4 technical camera with 150mm Schneider and a Bronica ETRS. Film stock was Ilford and Kodak.
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Makati and Greenhills, Manila 2015. Makati is definitely one of the nicer areas of Manila, and it also happened to be where I had to go to do visa renewals back then. Both Makati and Greenhills are well known for ladyboys after dark, but during the day, not so much. Still a fair smattering of eye candy. Greenhills is basically a posh mall with a plaza and landscaped gardens and is very pleasant.
On the 25th of February 2017, my then girlfriend Sammi and I went to Malolos, the capital of Bulacan, to see a ladyboy parade; but it never appeared. Ladyboy levels of disorganisation are, of course, legendary, in addition to which, they were probably working on Filipino time, which makes ‘manana’ sound urgent. Still, a couple of nice cold Red Horses and some good pictures.