Monday, 19 September 2016

Kim Ayres - Colourful Kimonos

When I started my photography career, I concentrated on moody black and white portraits. I've always loved the landscape of the face but, if truth be told, black and white was a practical choice as much as an aesthetic one. The reality is, colour scared me. There were just too many variations and combinations that might not work, and I didn't feel comfortable enough in my own skill to navigate the multicoloured ocean of possibilities.

Eventually I began dipping my toe in, and it wasn't long before I started to delight in the expanded colour palette. And these days its not unknown for me to use coloured gels with my lighting to get particular splashes of colour when needed.

Possibly one of my most colourful photo shoots came out of a collaboration with Morag Macpherson - a textile pattern designer based in Kirkcudbright.

Among her many creations are some amazing kimonos. The shape and cut are based on the Japanese robes, but the patterns and designs are completely Morag's.

We'd been talking for some time about doing a photo shoot, but finding the combination of the right time, the right models and the right idea proved elusive. It wasn't that we were short of ideas - if anything the problem was too many and trying to narrow it down.

The Yellow Door is a gallery in Dumfries, occupied and run by a collection of artists, with ever changing exhibitions and displays. And last autumn, the room at the back had been done out like a boudoir, which tied in to one of the ideas we'd been discussing.

Morag's friend, Jessica, was coming down from Glasgow for a weekend and would be available for a shoot. But Morag had also been talking about this captivating lass she'd often seen on the bus from Kirkcudbright. As she described her, I suddenly realised she meant Alamnesh, the daughter of a friend of mine. A few more calls and texts and we had both models lined up.

As photo shoots go, this had a lot going for it. Not only did I have wonderful models in amazing kimonos in a great location, but the owner, Luke, had been running a breakfast event before we arrived and there was plenty of food left over which we tucked into when we had a break.

Additionally, he gave us the run of the building, which included a run down, decaying attic space that has yet to be done up. This meant we could do a second, very different style of shoot. From sumptuous boudoir to urban decay - showing how the kimonos could be used in a variety of settings.

I should also mention, the cushions in the boudoir shots are also Morag's creations.

Below are a few of the photos from the shoot, but click through to my Facebook album (you don't need to be a member to access it) to see the full set.

Kim Ayres

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