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© 2018 by Andrew James Hargraves.

 

In the mythology a siren is depicted as being a women who calls out to the ocean in order to pull the things she wants towards her. In the legends this had disastrous consequences for the sailors that were lured to the coast by her enchanting songs and voices. These days it is often the oceans call that draws people to the coast and its the sea itself that is the inspiration for hobbies, fashion and art. 

Salt Water sirens would be a contemporary twist on the mythology celebrating three women with strong connections to the ocean in a trilogy of different shoots. These three shoots are below, Eclipse, Shorelines and Atlantis. 

ECLIPSE

 

Featuring Anni Koln

This is Anni K. A true salt water siren, Anni moved to Cornwall from Germany a year ago to live by the sea in order to surf and kiteboard as much as much as possible. An active sportwoman, Anni carries several major sponsors with her kiteboarding competitions but is spending the time in the sea at the moment perfecting her surfing to add to her arsenal of board skills.

 

I probably couldn't have found a better person for this shoot as Anni very much inhibits the coastal lifestyle, whenever she's not in the ocean she's hiking along a coastal path or drawing somewhere in the dunes. To symbolise the modern and carefree Siren we often had Anni looking out to sea, dancing in the waves or sat on the rocks wrapped in the golden sunlight. This was very much the bohemian siren who loved everything about the ocean.

She is the true definition of an actual Salt Water Siren who's affinity with the sea is matched with a creative heart and a love dramatic landscapes and colours.

 

ATLANTIS

Featuring Hannah Williams

It's November and on a grey and drizzly morning we are on a wind swept beach trying our best to get some good photos

battling against the elements. The sand saturated with the recent high tide was solid beneath our feet and the grey clouds rolled in across the horizon. 

Hannah has a strong spiritual connection to the oceans. Living in North Wales for most of her life surrounded by the sea and sand she has an almost hippy like style of natural affinity with the environment around her. She'd always felt she was part mermaid, swimming in the sea most weekends and she had collected an impressive amount of large decorative shells over the years. These of course she brought with her to use as props for the photoshoot. Where we could, we turned Hannah in to a modern Mermaid.

 

SHORELINES

Featuring Maddie Wileman

This is Maddie and this shoot would embrace the surf lifestyle that is at the heart of Cornish living. In the mythology a siren is depicted as being a women who calls out to the ocean to pull the things she wants towards her. However it is often the oceans call that draws people to the coast and its the sea itself that is the inspiration for hobbies, fashion and art. This could not be truer of Maddie. She is a student at Falmouth University studying textiles and art but she was born and bred in St Ive's and is so strongly pulled back to it that she told me she misses it every day when she is studying.

This shoot would be the most relaxed of the trilogy of shoots, reflecting Maddie's personality. She makes and designs all of her clothes as part of her degree and they are largely inspired by the seaside around her which we of course had to incorporate in to the shoot. Maddie has also began surfing as a way to connect to the ocean and have fun during the summer months so her surf board is also featured within the shoot. 

 

This collection of creative photoshoots has been great fun to put together. First and foremost it was a modern take on the Siren mythology celebrating three individual women who had some sort of connection or affinity to the ocean. I would then frame these shoots with several photographic challenges or experiments to push my own experience even further.

A huge thank you goes to all three women, Anni, Hannah and Maddie who without them this collection would not be as special. Their input, ideas, personal stories and personalities are deeply tied to these series of photographs and are uniquely shaped around them. 

 

Below are some short stories and behind the scenes details of how these shoots came together. 

Eclipse: Featuring Anni Koln

PHOTOGRAPHERS CHALLENGE: - Can you shoot in the available light before a solar eclipse?

The height of a solar eclipse, where the moons darkness and the suns daylight collide for a brief few moments couldn't be a more fitting shoot day for this shoot. You find me on the flowing golden sands of Perranporth beach in Cornwall we are doing a fashion photoshoot in the setting sun. Oddly in all the years I've been a photographer I've never done a golden hour beach sunset shoot so this was the right time to branch out and give it a go. For this shoot I was teaming up with local surfer Anni Koln who lives a stones throw from the beach in a lovely Cornish cottage.

The idea of this shoot was to embrace the golden hour well and truly, using the setting sun and the sea as our beautiful backdrop. I'd use the sun to create some dramatic lens flairs and by backlighting Anni most of the time. A skill that is harder than it seems, you need enough light to create the effect but not too much that silhouettes are formed. It's also hard not to overexpose the image as you are looking straight at the sun and as it sets towards the horizon gets lower and lower in the view finder.

To symbolise the modern and carefree Siren we often had Anni looking out to sea, dancing in the waves or sat on the rocks wrapped in the golden sunlight. This was very much the bohemian siren who loved everything about the ocean.

Atlantis: Featuring Hannah Williams

 

PHOTOGRAPHERS CHALLENGE: - Can you do a beach & swimwear shoot in November in the UK?

You'd imagine that a beach based fashion shoot would be one of sun drenched vistas, soft sand beneath your toes and the faint smell of suntan lotion. But not this one.

 

It's November and on a grey and drizzly morning we are on a wind swept beach trying our best to get some good photos

battling against the elements. The sand saturated with the recent high tide was solid beneath our feet and the grey clouds rolled in across the horizon. It could not have been any more bleak if we had tried. With me on this brave adventure was model Hannah Michelle Williams and make up artist Nikki Sharp.

The clothing style for this shoot was perhaps more closely associated with Siren's mythology than the other shoots and loosely based on a modern interpretation of a mermaid. Rather than fish tails and scales, we'd use contemporary lines, bohemian accessories and a green swimsuit to craft the look of our 21st century take on the folk lore.

In one of the photos I had a nice opportunity to try out some concept and otherworldly photoshop techniques to attempt to show the split personalities on this particular siren. As a mermaid/siren is often depicted as part woman, part fish we'd have a go at trying to show this off somehow. With Hannah stood with her ankles in the water on the shorelines I could get some nice angles to use as background plates for my composite photograph. With some mystical island shapes and watery elements added to it, our version of Atlantis takes shape.

The answer to the photographers challenge question is yes, you can do a beach swimwear shoot in November in the UK. However it will not turn out to be the sun, sea and sand shoot of catalogues. There is a reason that these are shot in the tropics. If you are going to do this sort of shoot, you really need to embrace the moody skys and grey nature of it to add as much drama as you can.  

 

Shorelines: Featuring Maddie Weilman. 

PHOTOGRAPHERS CHALLENGE: - Can you shoot at Midday?

 

They say that as a photographer you should never shoot at midday. The sun is at it's harshest, brightest and directly over head creating strong shadows and often unfavourable or unflattering light. As a rule, it's one that many photographers stand by and chose to avoid this time of day at all costs. But can you actually shoot at midday? Can it be mastered?

This was a very simple shoot but I loved everything about it. The natural styling, surfer vibe was spot on. Maddie's relaxed personality made her a dream to work with and she embodies everything that this shoot was all about. A sirens call works both ways, to lead and be led by the oceans around us.

 

With that in mind I wanted to represent Maddie's hobby of surfing so her boyfriend helped her bring her new surf board down to the beach so we could use it as a prop. Then he found himself a rock to lean on and fell promptly asleep as we took pictures on the shoreline.

As it turns out, yes you can shoot at midday. You just need to be prepared for the harsher shadows if you are shooting in direct sunlight, but the high contrast and vivid colours provided by the sun can give interesting results. You also need to be prepared to edit out the tourists who are swimming in the sea who just wont get out of frame.