The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Photographing a Legend

Pat and I have been blogging buddies for over 6 years, so when the opportunity arose to meet up with her in person 3 years ago, I leapt at the chance (see Meeting a Legend). She turned out to be every bit as interesting, elegant and warm as you would expect from reading her blog, and what was supposed to be just a mid-morning cup of tea and a scone stretched into lunch. It seemed over all too soon as we had to head off. Quick photos were taken in the car park and promises made to meet up again if we were ever back in the area (not that frequent as we live about 400 miles apart).

In the intervening years since that encounter, barely a week has gone by when I haven’t kicked myself for utterly failing to capitalise on the fact that Pat was a model back in the 1950s. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve stared at my camera and pondered that missed opportunity.

So when Rogan and I started planning our road trip this summer, there was only one thing at the forefront of my mind – I had to get a photo shoot with Pat. Of course there were other things like meeting family, climbing tors and visiting Stonehenge, but this was one highlight I didn’t want to miss.

I emailed Pat to see if she’d be about during our trip down South and whether she’d be interested in a photo shoot. To my delight it was a yes on both accounts. But rather than just go for standard poses, we thought we’d have a bit of fun and recreate our own versions of some classic images, with Pat sending me links to photos she particularly liked. I did my best to try and work out how they were lit, and when we set off I made sure I took a portable lighting kit and backdrop with us.

It might have only been the 2nd time we’d ever met up, but being back in the company of Pat was as comfortable as if we’d been friends for 20 years. This time we also got to meet her husband as well as “French Son,” both of whom were very welcoming and friendly. Between long chats, plentiful food, cups of tea and an afternoon siesta we even managed to get some photography done.

Although we were never going to have time to do all the shots we’d like to have, we did manage to construct the couple I was most keen to do.

The first was a classic Hollywood type of photo in the style of Marlene Dietrich, complete with a fake cigarette.

While for the other, Pat wanted to see if we could approach something of the feel of Annigoni’s portrait of Her Maj, the Queen.

The vast majority of people I photograph begin by feeling very uncomfortable in front of the camera, and a fair proportion of any photo shoot is spent building their trust and helping them to relax with me before we start producing images that don’t have an expression like a cross between a grimace and a startled rabbit.

With Pat, however, from the word go she was right there with me – patient while I adjusted lighting, committed to each shot and working collaboratively to produce the best image. If we lived in the same town there’s no doubt I would be making excuses to photograph her on a weekly basis.

You can find Pat's blog about our day here, with a couple of set-up shots and one of me & Pat together, here.


Carole said...

I bet you both had a blast. Love these shots.

mapstew said...

Great shots of a very beautiful Lady! :¬)

hope said...

You two are quite the pair! And I mean that in the best way possible.

Wonderful shots of a lovely lady. Makes me wish I lived in your neighborhood. :)

angryparsnip said...

I read about your meeting on Pat's blog with the behind the scenes photos. I have been waiting to see what you both came up with and these photos are wonderful.
Sounds like a lovely and interesting day.

cheers, parsnip

Kim Ayres said...

Carole - aye, it was fun :)

Mapstew - I feel very privilaged to have had the opportunity to photograph her :)

Hope - as I may have mentioned before, if you can find a few neighbours and friends to club together to fly me out, then we can have some fun photoshoots :)

Parsnip - it was a great day :)

OldLady Of The Hills said...

GREAT Pictures of the Womderful Dear Pat! You are a true "Artist", Kim...!

Scarlet Blue said...

I think the pics are wonderful, I also loved what you did with Eryl and Daphne. It also sounded like a very fun day!

Guyana-Gyal said...

The camera was made for Pat.

But apart from being beautiful, she has other qualities that shine through - dignity, style, grace.

You've captured them all, Kim. Well done.

Eryl said...

These are wonderful. And I'm foaming with envy that you've now met Pat twice.

Kim Ayres said...

OLOTH - thank you, although as I heard one photographer say once, you can have the most expensive camera in a top quality studio with the best lighting set up, and a professional hairstylist and make-up artist, but if the model can't work with you and the camera, you'll never get a good photo. A great portrait is always a collaboration :)

Scarlet - if you ever find yourself up in Scotland, let me know and we can try a Marilyn photo if you want :)

GG - Pat was certainly made for the camera. I wish she lived a bit closer so we could do this kind of thing more often :)

Eryl - you, however, do live a lot closer, and you are one of my favourite people to photograph. Have a think if you fancy trying anything out and give me a call or send an email :)

Guyana-Gyal said...

Being a grammar tutor and all, I just have to add to this...I meant it the way I said it, Kim, the camera was invented for a gal like Pat :-)

T'was invented for photographers like you too.

Scarlet Blue said...

I look more like Lulu!! Which isn't so bad, I suppose.

Attila the Mom said...

Oh gosh, those are just fantastic!!

Jayne Martin said...

She's lovely and so are the photos. I would think it would be an honor to be photographed by you, my friend.

Jayne Martin said...

Just hopped over to Pat's to see the rest of the photos. You look fabulous, healthy and handsome! And Rogan is a chip off the ol' block! said...

Faaaaabulous shots.

Pat is gorgeous!

Kim Ayres said...

GG - :)

Scarlet Blue - we could certainly go for the Lulu look :)

Attila - thank you :)

Jayne - so now we just have to figure out how to get me over to the US :)

Inner chick - isn't she just? :)

Anonymous said...

She's regal.

Kim Ayres said...

Blogging royalty :)

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