Hooray! I can finally share these images with you and the story behind them!… and what’s that, we got on the cover of Dreamingless?! Eeek!
Well it’s been several months that I’ve been holding onto these sweet babes in my hot little hands – the Cotton Candy shoot that I created in April. Let me tell you how these magical images came about…
In March, my friend Sarah and I decided to head out west for a little photo road trip to see the cotton fields of Queensland. We had researched the area well, found the best spots and then booked accommodation for the weekend. We left Brisbane city Friday afternoon and arrived at night to our little cabin in a sleepy country town. The next morning we woke before the sun, hoping to catch first light over the fields of white, fluffy cotton that we had seen photos of. We drove for a long time and were yet to see anything. We checked our maps and our research notes again but all we found were fields of dirt. We turned down many long winding roads thinking we could see them in the distance, but it turned out to be a mirage because at this point the sun was pretty high in sky. At some stage, we pulled over and a local farmer tried to give us directions to his mate ‘Bobby Downy’s Place’ – which after another hour of no through roads and even driving through someone’s paddock we came to a dead end. No cotton.
Eventually we returned to our cabin to rest and revise our plan of attack. After some lunch and a nap, we made some calls to locals in the know, and were given very specific directions to a field that was getting ready for harvest – this was our only chance to find the cotton and we were so determined. We raced back down the highway, turned down narrow, dirt roads, and then realised a massive storm was on it’s way. The rain came down so hard that the roads were flooding, we couldn’t see out the windscreen and the lighting was terrifying. We were forced to pull over to wait the storm out at least twice, and at this point I did fear for our lives… and yet our determination (and probably stubbornness) kept us from giving up.
Once the rain cleared, we continued further down the now muddy roads – and then we saw small rows of soggy, but white cotton… it wasn’t quite what we imagined, it was a small field and lots of mud, but it was there. Despite our disappointment, we still took a few snaps, and then began to laugh at our day, all the driving, the near death experiences, Bobby Downy…
And then the most magical thing happened. The sun shone through the rain clouds and created a huge rainbow. We couldn’t quite see where it ended so we jumped out of the car and trudged our way through an extremely muddy track to find where the rainbow ended – and what we found was better than a pot of gold! Rows upon rows upon rows of thick, white, fluffy cotton! We were laughing, and a little bit crying – we couldn’t believe our luck. Everything we had been through that day and we eventually found it.
Photos were snapped away until sunset, before we took our mud-caked feet back to the car for the long trip back to the cabin. The following day we returned to the same spot for more photos, and this time the sun was beaming down on us, white fluffy clouds mimicked the cotton fields, and we were happy.
A week later and I was still dreaming about cotton. I couldn’t get it off my mind. I felt so inspired by our findings that I had to return to create something magical before all the fields were harvested for the season. I began to research ideas on how to convey a sense of playfulness and magic that I felt when frolicking about the cotton fields. The idea of ‘Cotton Candy’ wouldn’t leave my mind, so I decided to run with it. The notion that candy could be created directly from cotton – or maybe cotton was used to create clouds in the sky? Or what if spools and sewing needles were giant? I collected ideas from all my favourite photographers, and set to creating the props with the help of my amazing partner Brad. Once the props were ready, I gathered my collection of pastel vintage, retro and second hand garments and put together a team of talented ladies that were able to help bring my idea to life.
Lucy Thomas created wonderful, soft make up looks for the models Kat and Samantha, which enhanced the ‘candy’ part of the theme. While Emily Delaurence worked her magic on creative and fun hair styles to match. Bradley assisted in driving all the props and equipment out to the location (which takes about 2 hours, mind you!) and we were set to shoot up a storm until the sun went down. The day went so smoothly and the girls were so fun to photograph. We frolicked and played while the weather alternated between hot & sunny, and cool & overcast, which ended up enhancing each scene beautifully. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect day – my heart was full with love and appreciation for everyone who assisted, and for all the elements coming together.
Once edited, I had planned on submitting the images to Dreamingless Magazine, when they actually contacted me first asking to feature my work! So of course I gave them the images exclusively for their Summer issue and waited patiently to share them… It wasn’t until the issue was released that we realised Cotton Candy was on the cover! It was awesome way to be rewarded for all the work that went into this shoot – for all parties involved.
Here are the images that were featured in the magazine:
And here are some outtakes from the shoot:
For those interested, you can purchase a printed copy of the magazine here!
Thanks for reading