Around this time back in 2010 I was sitting in a Balinese style shack on the side of a hill overlooking the bay at Mission Beach. I was there to take part in a gathering of art nude models and photographers that I was lucky enough to be able to attend. It was also my first real attempt at underwater photography.
The models and photographers were from all over the world, coming together as part of Zoe Fest, which is organised by Zoe Wiseman. I had my doubts at first that I should be there, if I was good enough to attend. Particularly as it's a gathering that you need to know someone who has been to one before in order to be invited. I was still new to the field and unsure of myself, in a place where I didn't really know what to expect or how I was going to make the location work for me.
Because it was my first time attending Zoe Fest, and I figured I might not get a chance to work with them again, I photographed nearly all of the models there.
Although the weather at that time of year in Mission Beach is meant to be nice, dry and sunny, I wanted to make sure I was staying somewhere I could use for photos in case the weather didn't behave, which turned out to be a good thing, since it rained most of the time.
Interestingly the first model I photographed there was Rei a Canberra model who I hadn't had the chance to work with before.
Jillian Ann is a multi talented artist in a number of fields, for a bit of a twist on the underwater nudes she also brought along some latex swim wear to use for some of the shots, which worked out well.
I had thought about underwater photography for quite some time, but given the lack of pools available to me in Canberra and the expense of the equipment I had put it aside. Once I was heading to Mission beach though I entertained thoughts of snorkeling on the reef for one day of the trip and taking photos of the coral, so worked out a way to do it.
In case the weather prevented going to the reef (which it did) I made sure I picked a place to stay with a pool so I could also photograph some of the models underwater.
Apart from a test shoot in Canberra, Mission Beach was my first time doing proper underwater photo shoots. Some worked out better than others, it was a great learning experience.
It was also the first underwater modeling experience for most of the models.
With Evie, as well as underwater, I used part of the patio area as a studio to do some texture photos using flour and an offset white balance to create the blue look.
I had planned on doing some photos at night with the stars, but since it was overcast, I tried my hand at light painting with Tara Liggett. Again with an off kilter white balance for some of them.
We also had Anne Duffy join in for a few of the underwater photos
Anne is another Canberra based model, who was also the first model I photographed nude.
I really had hoped to use the local area to photograph in, but as the weather was still being a pain in the butt and not wanting to waste time driving around only to get rained out, I put a white sheet behind a table on the patio to create a studio for Carlotta Champagne.
The underwater photo shoot with Anoush Anou worked out really well. We were also hoping to have some stars to photograph with, but alas ended up with clouds, which was okay, but I really wanted stars on that trip - which was doomed to disappointment in that respect.
I hope to attend another one of these one day, but for various reasons haven't been able to make them since, hopefully next year :)
One thing I will do differently, is to not try and photograph everyone. It becomes very tiring and you lose a bit of creativity.
It was a great experience and you get to meet a lot of great people, if you ever get the chance to you should definitely go.
If you would like to see the work of the other photographers and models from the gathering you can visit the blog at figuremodels.org/australia2010/.