10 Years Photographing Models on St Helena
BUILDING UP CONFIDENCE | Darrin Henry
It’s quite mind boggling how every second of the day, photographers around the world are pushing themselves to capture perfect pictures of beautiful women. It’s a trend that’s never gone out of style. An ‘obsession’ perhaps, rather than trend, and driven as much by the models as it is by those wielding the cameras.
I Blame The Duke
Like peaches and cream or thunder and lightning; that’s how well photography and beautiful women have gone together, since… well, since the camera was invented I suspect. Before that photographic ability to capture faultless imagery, sculptors and artists laboured for days; weeks, maybe even years, to shape and preserve both the male and female form as an artistic work.
At age 14 I did my very first model shoot! I chose photography as the ‘skill’ discipline of my Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award and my instructor was an enthusiastic glamour photographer.
No, I didn’t shoot glamour at 14! It was classic portraiture and fashion. But two girls, class mates of mine at the time, agreed to model for me as I was introduced to studio lighting and the challenges of working on location – and thus began my own obsession!
Anyway, fast forward a few years. Ok, fast forward quite a few years and here I am, loving photography even more than ever, yet somehow, the modelling photo shoot still generates a buzz of excitement like nothing else.
Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to shoot about 150 models from more countries than I could ever have imagined: Japanese, Chinese, Rwandan, Vietnamese, Estonian and Brazilian – to pick just some of the more unlikely. Mostly female, but a few male as well.
Unsurprisingly though, it’s the St Helena flag that appears most in my portfolio.
Sometimes from the outside there’s a misguided perception of photo shoots, a belief that a finished product so glamorous must involve exploitation or coercion. In reality, behind the scenes, shoots are rarely glamorous and you don’t produce great images without high levels of respect and trust. Not forgetting planning, hard work and genuine collaboration between all concerned.
Being involved in a photo shoot is an invigorating, creative experience . I’ve lost count of the times young ladies have told me their all-round confidence in everyday life has been boosted because of modelling.
I really do believe young Saint ladies could model, in the ‘big world,’ as we say on St Helena. Apart from stunning island looks, St Helenians have a warm skin tone that lights wonderfully both under studio lights and naturally. Who will be the trail-blazer?
For me the last 10 years in particular has been a productive period for shooting Saint models.
Here’s a sample in this post – just 10 island models over the last 10 years who I’ve been privileged to photograph. A variety of looks and styles from the studio and out on location.