You book a short holiday in Wales, on the Pembrokeshire coast – and within seconds of imagining the wild beaches and rocky formations you have an idea – the place is a perfect scenery for a mermaid themed shoot! And once the idea was hatched, there was no looking back. It might still be cold in mid April, but we have shot in colder conditions – and so the two months before saw me accumulating ideas and bits of fabric and props that could be useful.
Out of that, three different looks emerged, only 2 of which actually required my dressmaking skills. We came up with a regal mermaid, a warrior one, and a funky natural one….
The location was sourced and agreed on – Freshwater West beach was perfect – big, lots of places suitable for shooting and facing west – so sunset light a bonus.
In the end I only had a day to actually work on the mermaids proper, as was busy working on commissions, but the day was enough, and since i took my sewing machine with me ( did I mention at some point that it was a holiday?), I could finish things in Wales.
And the results – below….
1. Regal mermaid….
This one took the most work as i was making a corset from the scratch.
The corset was made out of biscuit coutil with a gold net overlay and gold leather elements. The layers on the panels were roll pinned first and then the leather was secured with a tape
then the panels were stitched together.
The corset was boned with spring and flat steels, flossed with a turquoise linen thread and then the fun began – i had to sew on the pre-prepaed shells and fins. the shells were drilled first and painted with glitter glue; the fins were made from 2 layers of corsetry mesh, boned with artificial whalebone and painted as well.
The shells were also made into necklace and bracelet – credit to my hubby who made them!
The skirt was made out of a length of gold fabric – and we were all set for the first shoot. Since we visitied Pembroke castle on our way to the beach, to chat with a friend, it meant I had to apply the make up and do the hair on the location, which meant – in the car. not the best experience ever, I must say….
But in the end, I managed to get changed, and off we went shooting….
2. The Natural Mermaid.
This one was the simplest one – and a bit of an add -on. while researching I came across places selling proper mermaid tails, with monofin etc – so usable. and I just couldn’t resist them….. I suspect the tail and fin will be used at some point in an underwater shoot….. 🙂
So here the bottom half was sorted, and for the upper one, I have recently purchased a swimsuit in matching colours ( Panache), to provide some decency in the majority of the shoot ( we did find a nice enclosed area for some more indecent ones, far from prying eyes…. 🙂 . the wig and the make up and we were ready to go.
Or rather – to wriggle. it turns out that this one was the most challenging of the whole mermaids – mostly due to the constraints of the attire ( hopping across the beach with the tail cost me some bruises…) and difficulty of finding a pose that would look natural, graceful, and most importantly, not show too much of my own blubber. I am not your typical size 8 model shape, and although size 12 is not bad, it soon turned out that it was tricky to find flattering poses. As a result, the majority of the photos were marked as ‘walrus’ and discarded ( I don’t really hold with the photoshoping tricks changing the shape of a body… wysiwyg philosophy here), still, a few survived the purge…..
We were lucky in picking up the warmest day too – so I wasn’t cold, and even water was not too bad!
3. The warrior mermaid.
This one was the most fun, and the most in keeping with my own personality, as I do martial arts ( and have been doing one form or other of them since I was 17, including fencing, weapon sparring, kung fu, MMA etc). The styling was fun too – not a lot of work involved with a great effect – my favourite!
Here the most important pieces was the scale maile bits I had on loan from a friend – there were 2 bits that could form a skirt, and a few other ones, including a nice headgear/necklace. I simply mounted the skirt bits and the shoulder bit onto leather strips – and that was it:-)
Corset – since I ran out of time, I used one of the corsets i already made and used in the Steampunk Amazones shoot. And, once I put it on, it turned out, oh joy! that I have dropped at least a size since I last wore it – in the autumn I had over 2 inches gap at the back ( the corset was originally made to a different model measurements) – but now I could lace it up close without any special effort ! :-). Kinky metallic leggings and a swathe of sequiny fabric made up the rest – and as an afterthought we used the fabric from the Regal mermaid as a mantle. The weapons – we had a knife but mostly used an Indian guard spear shaft with a harpoon kind of blade ( probably Indonesian?) mounted on it.
The results below…
and a few close up on the make up and talons…
Well, there you have it – 3 different mermaid themed looks. Pleased with the photos, but it was hard work shooting every evening- I think I need another holiday now…
Corsetry, skirts etc – obviously, Prior Attire;
Scale maille – Denise Piggin and Ruth Watkin
lovely dreads – Magic Tribal Hair
photography – Pitcheresque Imagery
the inspiration board on Pinterest
And there is even a video on making the shoots on my youtube chanel – here – the resluts as wel as details on making the costumes, make up etc.
and just to end this rather picture heavy post – a few outtakes….