Hello all!!!… I have had an amazing last couple of weeks with not one but TWO working trips abroad – first to Italy and then last weekend I returned from France. Creating so much great work with talented photographers, seeing the sights, photographing beautiful things along my journeys, and earning my living in the process, what more could I ask for? Some people reading may think I’m just a jammy bragging model living the high life… but I have and still do work very hard with my modelling, as anyone working freelance especially knows, it demands long hours, takes up a lot of personal time, has highs & lows and at times can really frazzle your brain. But with perks like paid trips abroad, I can’t complain one bit; I am spoilt indeed, to have such blessed opportunities, and I’m so grateful for my photographers for asking me to join them in these places.
So for this blog I will share some my snapshots of Italy. This trip I was booked for 3 and a half days to work with 4 photographers at a villa and surrounding locations in the Tuscan countryside, but also left time for a free afternoon in Pisa when I first arrived, and booked an extra night myself to stay in Florence city centre before flying home. I took loads of photos as there was just so much to behold, my eyes were in overload! This trip really was stunning, I think it’ll be imprinted on my mind for a very long time, it was just so full of beauty, my heart was in a messily blissful state of overwhelmed, overflowing wonder by the time I had to leave.
How could I fly into Pisa airport and not go to see the Leaning Tower? Even though I had no idea where I was going, but I found the right bus to take me into the centre and stop me by the Cathedral Square, and sure enough, there was the tower, at quite a magnificant angle!
I mean you hear that it leans, but when you see it – ‘oh wow it really does lean!!’ – it’s quite an exciting moment 🙂
I’d expected it may all look a bit tacky but actually it’s a really beautiful building up close, and the whole atmosphere around it is so joyful… everyone taking silly photos holding it up or pushing it down; this skew-whiff bodge of a building, that’s been re-moulded/bent/pulled/shoved in every which way over the centuries to try to correct it’s beyond-help flaws, but people love it!! It’s so happy 😀
I also really enjoyed walking around the inside of the Catherdral that stands by the tower, a wonderful extra experience with some beautiful features inside; a quiet sacred retreat from the bustling crowds and hot sun outside.
At my working destination we stayed in a little family run villa nestled in the hills of Tuscany, with gorgeous borderless pool, and pretty furniture & ornaments scattered all around the house and rooms. We shot early morning but then returned to indulge in the lovely breakfast at 9am of croissants, yoghurt, juice and lovely green tea. Then more shooting throughout the day, with leisurely breaks to go for lunch and dinner in the evening, which were a blissful experience in themselves – such amazing food!!!
An escape to the pool was exceptionally appreciated in the 35 degree heat! I got to go in for lots of underwater shots with Ian’s camera, and also for a late-night pool shoot, at 11.30pm… the water dark and smooth, the navy sky dotted with stars above, AND, in the trees – FIREFLIES!! Oh my god. I’ve not seen fireflies properly before – there were loads of them and everywhere! Flashing on and off as bright as a little LED, hovering gracefully like glowing fairies… how magical!!! I was beside myself. So cute, so beautiful… I almost caught one in my hands but then got scared, I was worried the glowworm’s body might look too weird up close like a wriggling black beetle or fly, scuttling in my hand like any yucky creepy-crawly, instead of a perfect bug smiling kindly at me with it’s little round angel face 😛 Haha (Yes I would prefer to live in fantasyland any day!!) … anyway, it was pretty darn awesome.
Also got to shoot in the vineywards and olive groves…
Sparkly chandeliers inside one of the cafes!
After shooting early again in the morning, at lunch I left the guys at the villa to enjoy the rest of their time on their trip, and headed on the train back into central Florence! My hostel was super – friendly helpful staff, huge rooms, huge bathroom, clean, cool – perfect! And with a pastry shop just around the corner for breakfast 😉
I whizzed around the city as much as I could in the 24 hours I was there… first finding my bearings, admiring the beautiful structures and colours of the main square, whilting in the heat a little. I went to the Accademia museum to see the original statue of Michaelangelo’s David, and gosh he really is quite bloody magnificant. There’s something just so wonderful about setting eyes on a piece of art you’ve seen in pictures (or in my case, a small replica statue my mum & dad had on their windowsill), and it’s so extra wonderful when it does not dissappoint, in fact exceeds your expectations. It’s just WOW. But I also adored the paintings and other sculptures in the museum, shimmering golden embellishment, delicious colours, scenes of tragedy and heartache, love and exaltation, so many beautiful faces, so much emotion – like being in the presence of angels. It gave me lumps in my thoat looking at them; so heavenly.
I walked around all evening to the other famous structures and bridge of shops with windows dripping in gold, had pasta at one of the open air squares with musicians playing, walked through the dusky streets taking photos as the light faded, the cheers of football fans echoing around as Italy were winning the semi-final.
By the way I didn’t tell you yet I had the most TERRIFIC mosquito bite reactions on my legs. It wasn’t all glamorous, I looked like I had some kind of exotic disease 🙂
Anyhow, it was after sitting down on the steps with many other tourists enjoying the cooler late evening air, nursing my red lumpy pins with ointment, I then got up and passed almost by accident by my HIGHLIGHT of my trip – the Baptistry in the Piazza del Duomo – the entrance open still at 10 at night – ‘might as well go have a look – probably be quite pretty’ I thought. But I was not expecting it… inside I walk and look up to the most heart poundingly, eye dilatingly, golden domed mosaic ceiling. I don’t know if it was the whole day’s events and sights, my tired feet, pincing from walking for hours on end, the romance of the music in the square, or the exciting celebratory atmosphere outside contrasted with this sudden astounding quiet splendour, that all heightened the experience… but I could not help tears rush to my eyes… it was just, so beautiful. The kind of beauty that makes your heart ache and hurt with the bursting overflow.
The mosaics of the dome were parted into sections, picturing choirs of angels, individual bible stories, the giant figure of Jesus, with the living summoned and the dead rising from their graves under his feet for The Last Judgement… the amazing detail and sumtuous glow of it were a feast for my eyes. I floated to bed a seriously happy and contented soul that night.
Next morning I got up early to head to the Cathedral Dome as it opened at 8.30, to walk up the twisting and disorientating 434 stairs to the top overlooking all of Florence – a really awesome view, but also halfway up you are able to see the giant painted fresco of the inside of the dome up close, again picturing the resurrection, an angel filled heaven and frightening, tortuous hell.The colours are just incredible, and again – so much to look at, so many stories and scenes and detail.
Then I headed to the Uffizi gallery for a few hours before having to leave to get my coach to the airport. There was so much there I hardly did it justice, only having chance to briefly overlook their gigantic collection, but I got to see rich and luscious paintings of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, and Botticelli – including his fabulous ‘Birth of Venus’, which has been the inspiration used in quite a few of my photoshoots, so it was lovely to see 🙂
It was a total gem of a trip, I adored every second! And I can’t wait to go back to Italy in a few months, as I have been planning on having a city break holiday seeing Rome & Venice this year. I’m even more excited about it now – more beautiful art, more breathtaking architecture, more gelato to indulge in!
I’ve had a busy week since getting back, a classic grecian style shoot around the picturesque Stowe Gardens, 2 days in Peterborough working at Studio One, including posing with a lovely white rabbit called Roger, and also at Nepenthe Studios thowing copious amounts of talcum powder around in the name of art, and 2 days working at one of Adrian Pini‘s meet-up events with a ‘Fairytale Fantasy’ theme, full of floaty sheer fabrics, flower garlands and iresdecent wings in lovely woodland and ruined locations.
I’m off to Ireland in a week and have a lot to schedule and organise at the moment, trying to keep on top of my messages but I’ll be posting some more blogs and updates over this coming week. I’m also filling up my diary for August and September so please send me an email to email@example.com if you’d be interested to book a shoot and I can forward you my availability, and keep your eye on my Travel & Events list at the top of this blog! 🙂