I love wedding photographer Joanna Brown. LOVE. I’m always blown away by the weddings she submits to me, and I’m thrilled to feature her work on these pages whenever I can. So imagine my unadulterated joy when she asked me if I’d be willing to model for a personal project she was working on.
“You may just know me as a wedding photographer,” Joanna Brown writes, “and while this is true, this is just one element of my photography work. I have been taking photographs for 18 years, since my A-Levels. I have 1000s of photographs in my archive featuring numerous projects. When I am not shooting weddings I love to shooting personal work. I do not rest; the desire to create imagery is too strong. I shut my eyes and see photographs. I have a sketch pad on me at all times including by my bed for the moments of clarity I have as I nod off to sleep. Photography is my passion and everything about it motivates my work and my fascination with storytelling and the everyday.”
“I love visiting my boyfriend’s Mother’s house,” she continues, “and not for the reason you would think (even though her cooking is ace!) I love it because it is such a nostalgic place. It reminds me of an age gone by. As a child visiting relatives houses like hers, I became fascinated with the objects in them – acres of net curtains, mantelpieces, pot plants, carpets that would make me dizzy, picket fences and shrubs.”
“I guess this is what has driven this project -the combination of a house, my memories and a fascination with the idea of a housewife and the desire to discover the truth and scratch beneath the surface of the everyday life. I have always felt a tension between the banal of the everyday, the comfort of the home yet also the claustrophobia that this also brings with it. It all kind of came together in my mind and I knew that I wanted to do a shoot in this house. I just needed to find the right model.”
“It was only a matter of time until all the pieces slotted into place. The ‘housewife’ had to be authentic and the lightbulb moment came when Kat tweeted something about trying to cook Gareth dinner and then just dialing for a takeaway because it went wrong.” (Kat: sounds like me alright!)
So early one March morning, Elbie & I headed out to her Mother-in-law’s house which would become my character’s for the day. With me I brought a number of vintage dresses as well a huge bag of swag from the amazing Vivien of Holloway. Their 1950s inspired clothes were the perfect accompaniment to the theme of the shoot. I also brought with me the pink wig that I’d picked up in Vegas… just in case. I’m so glad I did though because I think it ended up becoming the star of the show. It certainly helped me get into character!
When these landed in my inbox on Friday afternoon I actually felt a bit emotional! I literally can’t believe that’s me right there. “Holy effing sh***ing crap you are amazing Jo” was my actual reply. No joke. If this makes me sound big headed then whatever…sorry and all that…but I look HOT. I’m not an especially pretty girl, but Jo managed to bring it out of me. In spades.
Jo told me that she really wanted to show a different side to me with her images. Apparently I can do ‘fierce’ and ‘strong’ very well (!) but she said she’d never seen me looking demure and soft. I think she achieved that don’t you?