Wednesday, 5 January 2011
I would love to say that I've already read the novel, but unfortunately I haven't as yet. However, I was captivated by a staged version I saw when I was little, and a DVD of the 1945 film is lying on my bedside table, ready to be watched. I think the most inspiring character style-wise has to be Miss Havisham, sitting in her ancient wedding dress. And although this dress isn't moth eaten and decrepit, the minute I saw it I was immediately reminded of Dickens' striking character!
I had been waiting for a perfectly misty day before planning to head up into the hills with the dress in a backpack, and luckily an opportunity arose last weekend. We spent the new year at the Welsh coast, and I already knew of some abandoned stone cottages nearby - perfect for eerie, atmospheric images. Once my mum and I had finally found the tumbledown cottages and I had struggled into the dress and heels, I did feel a little like a spectre floating around the hilltop! Just after finishing the photos (back into the jeans and wellies - fetching) a lost walker wandered past. Mum and I were joking about how shocked this rambler might have been if I had still been in my apparition outfit - I could have created a whole myth about a haunted settlement!
The light and settings while we were up there were extraordinary. As we hiked up the steep hill, we could barely see 10 metres ahead - it's a strange experience being able to hear sounds of waves crashing on a beach below but with the sea view being replaced by white candyfloss. However, as the shoot progressed there were sudden bursts of golden light, and little openings in the mist. By the time mum and I finished, the hilltop was perfectly clear. Though as we made our way back down, the mist descended, seemingly with us, once more - I love the ever changing British countryside and weather.
My mum bought this amazing fifties lace dress from our favourite local market stall - I'm not sure if it was originally a wedding dress. Nothing like layers and layers of starched underskirts and lace to make a girl happy! It's not the most practical of pieces and once it had been given a good soaking in the bath, it took forever to dry, but it's fantastic for playing at dressing up. It's very dramatic on its own, so all I added was some grey tights and Mary Janes, along with a vintage bag from a charity shop. I'm wearing my new favourite navy blue nail varnish too.
One of the constant features of my blog is often the choice of background/location - now I am very lucky that because I live rurally, I pretty much have free run of the hills and fields around me (either we know the farmers or it's on a public footpath.) These images were taken on National Trust land, another place that is free for all to visit. However, if the UK Government's current plans go ahead for selling off nationally owned forests, then those who live near Forestry Commission woodland might soon find that they will no longer be able to visit and enjoy the beauty of these places (and I mean the proper, ancient forests - not the 'crop' ones made up of identical pines). I understand that cuts need to be made in Britain (although if companies such as Vodafone paid the proper level of tax then we might not need them), but to sell off huge parts of the countryside privately not only seems utterly shocking to me - but also immoral. Huh, what might be sold off next - the air we breathe?