I came back home for winter holidays and my lovely cousins came to visit. A couple of days after christmas it began to snow so of course we had to use this opportunity and take a few winter portraits messing around in the snow. We didn’t plan anything in advance & didn’t have much time, so while I see room for improvement I’m quite happy with the way these pictures turned out despite (or because?) the spontaneity. What do you think? Do you have a favourite?
Winter arrived to Murat before the end of November and snow covered everything. Thankfully, most days it was still sunny which made for some great landscape photos. Here are some pictures taken in and around Murat, Saint Flour and Dienne in the Auvergne region in France. Enjoy.
I haven’t posted in a while, but I had a good reason to be busy- I moved to France. I now live in the central region of France, Auvergne in a tiny city called Murat. I’ll be staying here for about 3 months, though my first month has gone by already.
Some of my observations so far:
The French love their cheese, okay, this is one is not too groundbreaking as I knew that before but completely underestimated their cheesy obsessions. Here we get cheese with every meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Though strange I quickly got used to it, and now I’ve even got my favourite regional cheese – the Cantal.
2. Speaking of food, the French spend a lot of time at the table. Most meals contain 3 courses, the desert being usually – yes you guessed it – fromage.
3. Wine is cheap, lovely and plentiful. Bordeaux is the most popular in my region.
4. Yes, you can buy escargots in the supermarket
Sundays are hell. Yes, there have been many a song written on the subject of boring sundays but I don’t think you’ve experienced a proper boring sunday unless you stayed in a small french town in the mountains. The french do love their sacred sunday family time and usually have a big sunday meal etc, which all sounds just lovely until you realise that you’re not french and you barely knowanyone in your town. There is nothing to do because everything is closed and as a rule it’s usually too rainy or cold to have a walk in the mountains, and you don’t have a car or a bike so it’s not like you can go anywhere exciting. Thank god for that single bar that’s opened even on sundays. Don’t think I’d survive without it otherwise (love you Guillaume!). Though I am going to cry my eyes out now the bar is being closed for the winter…
In a small town like Murat, you quickly find a favourite bar and few weeks in you already know most of the staff and are on the first name basis with the owner (see above). I also have my favourite cafe and a bakery. The downside is that even if you nip down to the supermarket on a bad hair day the likelihood of meeting half the people you know is very high.
French greetings (bisous) was invented just to torment me. Yes you all know the peck on two cheeks the French people are so fond of, we sometimes do it in Slovakia too but in my mind is always linked to greeting elderly relatives who keep asking me when I’m getting married (hint. Never). Not like that’s bad enough, in Auvergne they traditionally do the bisous three, THREE times! Probably just to prolong my embarrassment.
8. The countryside is god damn beautiful. Sometimes it feels like I never left Scotland, because of the gorgeous mountains, lovely views and ridiculously unpredictable weather.
9. The people here are amazing. Seriously. I know most people think that French people are rude or aloof. I never noticed that, (until my September stay in Paris that is, which involved me having a bit of a breakdown due to general incompetence of the hotel staff) but I never thought I’d meet so many lovely and generous people here. Some let me stay in their homes, made me meals and made sure I’ve got everything I need and am enjoying my stay and were genuinely interested with interacting (or helping) a foreigner even though my french is not the best.
I know the summer is slowly beginning but I would like to introduce you to the Iceman. Kim decided to do some bodypainting and since I’ve not shot that before I was extremely excited. I didn’t really know what to expect when I showed up at the studio but was pleasantly surprised when I saw the painted Vincent (I was also kind of terrified because he looked completely different with the paint on). When Kimberly was doing her magic I set up the lighting. I loved playing with the black background and dramatic shadows which I think suited the subject matter. I used 2-3 strobes for this look. I was quite happy with the results but editing was a PAIN. The body paint didn’t work like skin it was all weird and glittery so it took me a while to get the hang of it. But ultimately I didn’t have to do much since Kim did such a great work. It was a definitely an interesting experience and would love to do something like this again.
Winter was always my favourite season. At first mainly because both my birthday and Christmas are in winter, so I had a lot to look forwards to. Now, while I still look forwards to these things my winters feel more melancholy, which is fine by me as in winter you can always blame your un-cheerful dispositon on the weather. Winter feels with you, doesn’t force you to go out and meet people because it’s freezing cold and snow on the ground so you can just stay home, covered underneath a blanket and read books or catch up on the TV shows everyone talks about. That’s why I don’t like autumn and spring, winter doesn’t pretend that things are better than they are. Oddly enough I like summer, because summer means freedom, at least for now.
These photos were taken on the Christmas morning, I woke up and the garden was filled with snow. After breakfast I ventured outside to take pictures of the stunning icicles and managed to take some self portraits. I stupidly forgot the most important part of my tripod in Glasgow which made it completely useless, so I had to improvise. I propped up my camera on the stairs to my house and after some manoeuvring got a good angle. I would have preferred to get more snow on the pictures but due to these limitations I couldn’t. But I still got acceptable results, which only shows that you don’t need to have all fancy gear to take a good picture it’s just a bit more challenging.
Dreams. They take you into strange places, sometimes you wake up grateful it was all a dream, sometimes you wake up disappointed and confused. Dreaming of the past or the future (sometimes I can’t tell which one is which) is always curious. Could this really happen? But then your rational self has woken up and says – it will not. Sometimes it’s a good thing.
We know dreams really don’t have specific meanings or answers, but sometimes we just can’t help but analyse them. I’ve been reading a lot of Freud lately. It’s fucking with my mind. Just like those dreams I have.
These were taken during the “summer” in Glasgow at one of my favourite places. I really want to shoot there again but I’m kind of bored with myself as a model and don’t feel creative enough anyway. I feel like I’m standing on crossroads trying decide which way to go… The time is ticking and there’s no looking back once I step forward. So I stand still. Completely and utterly lost.