In order to have a moderate chance of achieving some cracking photos from a studio shoot you need to:
a) plan in advance and workout what and how you are going to get the shots you want;
b) find an enthusiastic and energetic model; and
c) in the this case of this shoot, find a studio where you can make a huge mess and the owner doesn’t mind!


I went to Arles last May to the Festival Européen de la Photo de Nu. The main poster promoting the Festival was of a nude model spinning, in what the photographer, (Olivier Valsecchi), called “Dust”. He had a set of 10 large square-framed prints in the exhibition and, to put it mildly, I was inspired...however I wanted to do things slightly differently.

So to business:

The Plan
All but one of the images below are shot in a 3:2 ratio thus allowing more left and right movement for the model and rather than having an out-of-shot assistant throw “dust” at her. In my case I wanted the model herself grabbed great handfuls of flour and threw it as hard as she could. I also lit her with two lights: on her right side was big beauty dish 4 foot above her, pointing 45 degrees downwards and the other on her left was a 6 foot tall softbox with a very fast flash light in it.

The Model
The model was Raphaella McNamara, a 5’ 6”” bundle of fearless undying energy. She worked and worked…. and then some…. Being a ballet dancer she moves with all the skill and grace that a dancer has. Thank you, Raphaella, so much for your spirit.

The Studio
I used the Works Studio at Croxton, (on the A428 just west of Cambridge) and the owner, Martyn Rayner, was really kind to let us make such a mess. There was only two bags of flour involved and I managed to sweep up 95% of it quite quickly….but, the other 5% was everywhere and took an hour to hoover up. It gets everywhere: hair, clothes, camera bag, shoes, walls, ceilings etc.

Was it worth it? Absolutely.
Flour Girl - 1Flour Girl - 2Flour Girl - 3Flour Girl - 4Flour Girl - 5Flour Girl - 6Flour Girl - 7Flour Girl - 8