Star Bazaar : Dandelions and Bubblegum

I had arranged two shoots over a period of time with two of my favourite subjects. Starla Bright and Atheria Hart are two fantastic Burlesque artists whom go under the name of The Star Bazaar. Over the past few years I have had the opportunity to shoot and illustrate both the girls and shoots always turn into hilarious adventures. They are great fun and very easy to work with.

One thing that I love about Starla and Atheria is their attention to detail with their costumes. It was a conversation about some of their outfits that lead us to organise a series of shoots. The first would be a studio shoot to document the girls latex creations they wore to the “Torture Garden” – especially as the first time Atheria wore hers she also had a pot on her broken ankle!

The second shoot was to be a location shoot in the depths of Derbyshire with Starla dressed as a peacock and Atheria as a dandelion clock! The idea was for Atheria to be emerging from a magic box – so we had to work out how to get us all, box, lighting and changing tent into a silver birch wood at the bottom of a quarry. – Sounds like the usual sort of BoneShaker shoot.

Shoot 1. : Bubble Gum and Lightning Queen.

Starla Bright--3

Atheria Hart - Joe Armitage-20

We started early for the shoot…with breakfast. The girls came over and we tucked into a lovely “veggie, vegany” breakfast thing!! there were mushrooms I was marinading for an hour involved!. (I have to admit that not ALL my models get this privilege)

I wasn’t quite prepared for the ingeniousness, hilariousness and total awesomeness of Starla’s Bubble gum machine outfit. I didn’t know where to look or whether to stare or burst out laughing. It’s brilliant and tells you everything you need to know about Starla! We decided to use a white backdrop for the session and create a hi key lighting look to make the colours of the latex saturate and try and get lots of shine on the latex.

I shot with 3 lights. My Alien Bee lamp with a beauty dish up high and in front and a canon speedlight at either side to give an edge to each side of the outfits.

Starla Bright - Joe Armitage-1Atheria-6Atheria’s outfit was equally as awesome. A vision in gorgeous purple “The Lightning Queen” featured a fantastic lightening head piece, figure hugging bodice and finished off with a pair of spiked heels that hurt to pick them up… believe me I still have the scars 🙁

The girls are SO fun and amazing at being able to pull poses from cool to sultry to sexy to hot to hilarious to phwoahh one after another. There is  a great sense of energy in their performances that they bring easily to modelling. It is just one of the reasons working with them is so great.

We just shot lots of poses and then brought in a white chair so we could do some seated and “flying” poses too.


Shoot 2. : Dandelion and Peacock


Dandilion and peacock-1-2

The second of our shoots was a little more elaborate and needed a little more planning as such. The premise was to shoot Atheria in her “Dandelion Clock” costume emerging from a “Magical Box” whilst a beautiful Peacock (peahen really… erm..) – Namely Starla looked on. The location was chosen through looking at my previous landscape shots. The place was Bolehill Quarry near Hathersage and, although it is a tough decent is a truly magical place. I was keen to point out to the girls that it was quite rocky and treacherous but they still seemed quite keen – So armed with the box, two models, two willing men and myself, a box, lighting equipment, changing tent and midge spray we headed down and set up.

Dandilion and peacock-1 Dandilion and peacock-2The light was quite bright and I was worried about trying to overpower the sun to achieve a little interest in the lighting. We set the box on a rock down in a dip quite far away from the path and the girl changed as the guys and I positioned everything. There was not much room to move or stable places to put lighting stands. The midges were biting like mad but we persevered. We managed to get some great shots before Starla nearly fell down a huge hole and we all got bitten to death. The next day Starla counted 300+ midge bites the size of 50p pieces.. I felt terrible.

The shoot was, again another adventure in my photography life and I can’t wait to work with the girls again soon.

Thanks to Flix and Mark for being amazing carriers!

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