The Travelling Dress Collective
What would happen if a group of photographers had the opportunity to shoot with the exact same dress, how different would the results be?
Back in January, I set about gathering a small group of photographers to find out exactly that.
With a mix of studio and location photographers; posed, lifestyle and documentary photographers, the dress set upon its travels across the UK.
Each photographer had five days with the dress to bring their own vision to life before posting it onto the next participant.
There were no rules, other than not to get it wet due to its delicate nature!
It’s been amazing seeing all the images finally come together, each completely unique in their vision and style . . .
I instantly fell in love with this dress the moment I first saw it! It is the dress of absolute dreams!
I thought I had my time with the dress planned, but as is sometimes the case, things do not go to plan . . . sometimes they get better!
We got together a few days later than planned and although it was only mid February, we were lucky enough to have a relatively warm day with pretty perfect lighting conditions. I’d initially planned to hold the session indoors with a completely different feel so I didn’t really have any preconceived ideas for this particular day. We had lots of fun exploring the location and making the most of the stunning surroundings, which all worked beautifully with the dress.
You can see the full collection from the session here.
When Danielle came up with the idea for the Travelling Dress I just had to get involved. I knew the majority of the photographers were available light and location photographers so I knew I had to studio shoot it.
When the dates came around it was perfect, I had a collaboration shoot booked with Simone Stocks model and a designer so it was ideal to shoot the travelling dress at the same time. Due to work commitments I never actually had time to unpack the dress until I got to the studio on the morning of the shoot!
When I did so I just knew it would fit on my styled portrait set up, so after a discussion on hair and make up, 15 minutes later we were done. Simple effective set ups and Simone nailed it! Very happy with what we produced and really excited to be able to share them now. What a wonderful idea!
Sadly my model cancelled at the last minute but I was fortune enough to have a lovely client who agreed to model the dress for me!
I wanted to create a bit of a 70's grungy vibe with the image. The dress is so versatile for both style and shape that it was easy to create the right atmosphere with a bit of help from lighting and prism to shoot through. I used a continuous LED to light the model and also set up some fairy lights behind to give some depth to the image.
Andrea Bradley | Andrea B Photography | Llanelli
Initially, when taking on the Travelling Dress Project, I was going to get a model in to do the shoot but was intrigued as to whether I was brave enough to model myself. Anyone who knows me will know I'm the quiet type, the one who likes to just merge into a background and be hidden from the world. I am a photographer and a newborn one at that. I am so much more comfortable behind the camera with a squishy baby or child than in front of it. I still wanted to shoot it myself with my camera, so decided to use a remote control to capture the shots. I decided to go ahead with the photo shoot and be the model, and as the date of delivery of the dress got closer I started planning and was rather looking forward to it. I wanted lights, colours and smoke to add some drama. It would be done in the studio with gels and a smoke machine.
I was completely embarrassed and self conscious to begin with but tried my best to relax, and actually it was fine. My stage fright subdued and I did the shoot and survived. I thoroughly recommend everyone to do this at least once. Book a portrait shoot. Be in front of the camera, do a photoshoot for yourself. It's enlightening and actually fun!!!
I learned a lot from this experience. Most importantly it boosted my confidence. I did something that I never thought I'd do and the results weren't too scary. It also taught me how it feels to be behind the camera as a client who books me and trusts me to make them look their best . I can now relate somewhat to how they are feeling.
I was lucky enough to receive this beautiful dress in time for a weekend away with my oldest school friends. We were travelling to Camber beach for a weekend away. We always spend time on this beautiful beach and I've wanted to do a proper photo shoot there for ages. My gorgeous friend Paula agreed to model and our other friend was my able and very helpful assistant and stylist! The light here at the beach is so pretty and the skyline and beach is so vast that I knew it would make a stunning backdrop for the photos.
We had such a fun time on the beach and playing around in the sand dunes and I love the tones in the photographs. Paula was a brilliant model, up for trying everything and I think really enjoyed it. I love how these final photos show off her joy and love for life!
When I saw the dress in the group, I was amazed by its sparkle, its stylishness and the plunging neckline, because I knew that I could use it in the way I had imagined.
When I planned this session, I wanted a mum who was still breastfeeding her baby. I wasn’t interested in the child's age, because that doesn’t matter. I wanted to show how beautiful, comforting, and natural breastfeeding is, no matter where you are, or what you are wearing! Thankfully my models were in agreement with my vision and off we went. It was so cold we had to wrap little one in a blanket, and she was brave, but upset at times, and her natural reaction was to snuggle in to the comfort of mummy’s arms and to feed. Which was great for me! She was latched on for nearly the whole time, even when we moved from one location to the next. But it was those moments, when she was upset, and when it was all about making her feel better, that I was waiting for and those are the moments I tried to capture.
My favourite image is, by far, the one where you can see her little tear stained face, but also the relief of feeling loved and secure.
We also had some fun of course, and there was some dancing and spinning around, and I took advantage of the sun to take out my prism and really make everything sparkle!
It was a fantastic experience, and I was so pleased to be able to make it my own.
I thought about this dress for quite a long time before it arrived on my doorstep. Being someone who is quite taken with people's relationships and how they connect with others, or the spaces around them. I already knew that the dress was going to come on a journey with me, to physically join me everywhere I went for the time we'd be spending together.
It was important to record a ceremonial moment of the dress arriving, welcoming it into our home. I looked at it for a while just hanging there before tentatively tried it on. Then quickly took it off again. I took it with me on a photoshoot at a female artists' retreat, Michelle was drawn to it so she tried it on. At the end of its time with us, my 12-year-old daughter told me she loved the sparkles, so she played in it for a while.
It came on a journey with me, I wonder what it did next?
I have heard a lot about a Travelling Dress Collective a few times and seen many posts on Instagram, with lots of beautiful images of a dress being shared by a group of like-minded creatives. Therefore in January 2019 I decided it was about time I pushed my creativity a little bit more than I normally would.
My model was sixteen year old Tara Yasmin Holland, she has an extensive dancing background currently with Timestep Dance School, Portsmouth, and I used to dance with her mother back when I was younger.
Tara has recently been fortunate enough to receive a place at The Laine Theatre Dance School in London and she was only too happy to assist me on my own personal project.
We discussed ideas, locations, hair and make up and then set about our day,
Tara seemed like she had all the right attributes to help pose and be photographed in the ‘travelling dress’ whilst dancing and performing too. Thankfully the weather was Summer-like and the sun shone amazingly as did Tara.
With pointe shoes and dancing tights she put on the dress and came alive as if ‘dancing’ to a score whilst on stage. The passers by were in awe, many asking questions and telling us their own dancing connections.
It was so great to see the public’s response, Tara was making many dance like movements, poses and I captured her in the essence of the atmosphere.
Our setting used was The Square Tower in Southsea, Portsmouth. The beautiful sand coloured wall backdrops really echoed the colour of the travelling dress and also Tara’s hair colouring too.
I thoroughly enjoyed the travelling dress collective experience and it really has made me more confident in an area I am really passionate about. I really hope to collaborate with other dancers in the near future.
“I dance quite simply because its my passion.” - Tara Yasmin Holland
When an opportunity arose to be able to participate a travelling dress project with 10 other very talented photographers, I jumped at the chance! I love that as photographers and artists, we all have completely different visions and inspiration when it comes to our personal style. I was intrigued to see what each photographer did with the dress and couldn't wait to be part of it and share my own vision.
The style of the dress reminded me of a cross between 1920’s Gatsby style and bohemian chic. I do love the Gatsby style, but I already had a vision in my mind of how I wanted to portray the dress which was more in line with the boho chic look so that is what I decided to use as inspiration for my photography shoot.
When I think of the anything bohemian, I think of open fields, light, freedom and love. For this exact reason I decided to venture outdoors with the dress to a local woodland. There are acres of land that stretch as far as the eye can see. From wide open fields to areas surrounded by age old trees and shrubbery. The setting was perfect. I also wanted to incorporate flower accessories in to my photo shoot for whimsical touch. I phoned a local florist, Blossom Hill Flowers in Danbury and the lovely owner Anne loved the idea of a boho style photo shoot and generously donated a beautiful cabbage rose and eucalyptus flower bouquet for me to use for the shoot. It was gorgeous and perfect for the style of the shoot.
As soon as I saw the dress I could already picture the perfect person to wear it; I have known Rachael for several years now and she is such a lovely, sweet young woman. She has the most gorgeous free flowing long silver blonde hair. Exactly the type of hairstyle that comes to mind when you think of boho chic. And luckily she was willing to help me with my project! But Rachael wasn't the only model I wanted to feature in my photos shoot. I love supporting local dog rescues (I have 3 rescue dogs myself!), so I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to help promote rescue dogs. The very first dog I rescued with my husband was a big beautiful brindle greyhound called Billy and not long after him we rescued our second grey, a ginger cheeky chappy called Tyler. Sadly, as much as I know they would have loved to star in my photo shoot, both Billy and Tyler are running free over the rainbow bridge. But I know how many Greyhounds are still looking for their forever homes. So I enquired locally and was lucky enough to find Merlin, he is a stunning 7 year old blue greyhound who is nothing but a gentle giant and he has been rescued by Forever hounds Trust. His owner was thrilled at the idea of Merlin staring in my photo shoot so he came along to the woods to meet Rachael and begin our boho chic photo shoot journey.
On the day of the shoot, I picked Merlin up in the early afternoon and met Rachael at the local woodland. We walked and talked in the sunshine while photographing as we went through the woodland. The scenery and atmosphere was so relaxed and peaceful; it was wonderful and fitted the boho style perfectly. The photo shoot time zoomed by and the photographs we captured are exactly what I had envisaged. I loved every minute of it! A special thank you to Rachael and Merlin; they were both were amazing and I can't thank them enough for helping bring my boho chic vision to life. There are so many photographs to choose from but these are a selection of my favourites. I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoyed photographing them!
As soon as I saw the gorgeous dress we were using I knew I wanted my shoot for the project to be at the beach. So the dress travelled to Balmedie beach, near Aberdeen, along with my friend's beautiful teenage daughter Isla as my model. We arrived at our destination just before sunset on what turned out to be a pretty cold and overcast May evening. Luckily the rain stayed away and Isla was still happy to do the shoot despite the cold!
I love how the impending storm clouds add a dramatic effect to the images. I also loved using my Lensbaby for part of this shoot as I don’t usually use it. It was fun having the creative freedom to use it for this project!
I chose to take part in The Travelling Dress Collective this year as a way to be creative and see how others photographed the same outfit.
I knew from the start that most were going to be using an adult model for the project but I decided from the moment I joined that I was going to use my 13 year old daughter. Unfortunately I got the date for my turn wrong and all my planning in my head went to pot as I had the dress the weekend before I thought!
So after a busy day shooting we quickly dashed up to the woods on a chilly Sunday to have a bit of fun and see what we could get. I'm actually pleased it turned out this way as my original plan was to have her hair done and a little light makeup and use it as her last shoot before she was 14. The way it ended up was much more natural and much more Leah!
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post! If you would like to see more from the other members of the collective and the visions they created in full, please feel free to visit any of their websites below:
Andrea B Photography, Art of The Portrait, Ashleigh Shea Photography, Beside The Seaside Photography, Chantal Storrs-Barbor Portrait, Flowtography, Jo Haycock Photography, Life Lived Photography, Lauren Shepherd Photography, Rebecca Challis Photography
Dress from Jen’s Pirate Booty