Wednesday, 30 October 2013

So... I collect Bugs...

Over the summer I have been doing the very unusual thing of collecting dead bugs. Hold on now before you up and leave because you think I am a complete freak, I didn't go searching for the deceased - they found me (if thats any better)! They almost fell into my hands in a short space of time, it was as if I was meant to find them.

It started off when walking into the garden during the summer I saw a dragon fly, I walked up to it to take a closer look to discover he had sadly passed, so I (of course!) kept him in an old chinese takeaway pot. My brother then passed on the female stag beetle he found a few days earlier. 

What I believe to be Elephant Hawk Moth (the pink and green one) has a funny little story attached. It was flying around our kitchen and I was snapping away while my dad carefully held him with a wooden spatular!!! I was fascinated with it - It was so vibrant! The colour was incredible. Then after a few photos were taken it flew away and I couldn't find it until... 
...The next morning my mum enters the room holding 'her' mug, half asleep after her night shift and looks at me,
''Guess what I just found in my tea''
Turns out the little creature made his way to a 'safe' spot inside my mothers extra large mug which is kept on the kitchen side as to big to keep in the cupboard. She had poured in the boiling water, and as she went to remove the teabag thought she had accidentally put in two, until she took it out to discover what it was.
She was mortified! I was thrilled, not at its terrible hot bath experience (I hope he died before!), but that I could look at it in closer detail. I added him to my take away tub and the collecting continued. 

Mr (or Mrs) white moth was found randomly in my bedroom one morning. I was taking photographs of the silky blue moth one evening when I put it on a glass. This was during the summer so I left the window open, and the glass containing the moth next to it so it could fly out when it wanted to leave. In the morning he was gone like expected. Then some months later when travelling back to uni, I decided to take my bug collection with me, when lifting a box to put my stuff in, there it was (yes I do believe it is the same moth!) he wanted to be part of the gang! And the random lil fly, I found whilst unpacking my little pot of bodies. 

I haven't photographed them yet, but I scanned them at a high resolution to look at them in detail - I don't have a microscope so I am making use of what I do have! *WARNING* If you don't like bugs I suggest you avert your - but they really are interesting!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Test Shoots

If you have ever seen my instagram you would have more than likely noticed all the previews of studio work I have been posting lately. I am (and openly admit) a major instagram flooder #instaflooder! I just love instagram. Anyway... babble over, here are some more model test shots following on from a previous post:

I had set out to do these model portfolio shots in black and white... but while retouching them, which was ever so slight as the models were flawless, (darn to naturally beautiful!); I found myself keeping a few in colour.

Thursday, 24 October 2013


As you may or may not know, I am in my third year at university. We all know what third year means.... the dreaded dissertation!!! Right now I can't even pick up a book! I literally sit for hours doing other (more fun) work with them sat beside me and they don't get a look in. At least I am procrastinating with other work - I guess!

I should have read three books by tomorrow, and haven't started - God help me! Instead I've been retouching some shots from yesterday. I have even gone to the effort of locking my external hard drive (with the images on), my graphics tablet and mood boards in my office so I don't get distracted whilst 'reading'. 

But... as soon as I turn my laptop on, I find photoshop left open with a shot from yesterdays shoot! And I fell into a retouching coma. After I came out of this coma I realised the day was slowly but surely passing me by. 

Just thought I would share this shot (apparently I am liking the hand on the opposite arm pose) and after lunch (food - another delicious distraction!) I will read these blasted books!!!!

MUA: Hannah Spencer
Model: Joanna
Photography/Styling: Jessica Gates 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Today was spent... the studio test shooting Joanna and Derrick from Body London. For this the agency wanted really clean images to show of the models and I wanted something raw and natural - being on the same wave length was a great start! 

Having done very little shooting for months; I got completely lost in it, my finger got extremely trigger happy and I took hundreds of photographs. This abundance of shots therefore results in a mega amount of retouching (making more work for myself as usual). The lights did their fair share too - we soon realised it was time for a break as a cloud of smoke emerged from the main light. 

I manages to get a few quick edits in whilst finishing up in the studio, stay tuned for more...

Model: Joanna
Photography/Styling: Jessica Gates

Photography: Jessica Gates

Monday, 21 October 2013

Due to a studio workshop getting cancelled at the last moment this morning, myself and Emily (pictured) took advantage of the empty space and ventured to the studio to spend the morning experimenting with lighting - for experimental research and upcoming model test shoots . 

This is a little something that I achieved today. I love clear, raw photography; pores, hairs and texture create the clarity that I admire - and this kind of portraiture is what I set out to achieve.

Photography: Jessica Gates

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Drawing and Doodles

Alongside visiting exhibitions to re-ignite my creativity shown in the previous post I have been attempting to draw again. I haven't sat down and given myself the time to draw what I consider as 'properly' in about 3 years - excluding the odd doodle here and there! So I set myself the task of getting back into it and learning all that I have forgot over the years. I started off with a few pencil sketches from a bumble bee to a mouth, they're not great but it's a starting point and practise makes perfect...

Then after scanning the images onto my computer I played around with adding colour and depth using different methods:

Re-printed on paper then drawn over with fine liner and painted with water.

Re-printed on paper then drawn over with fine liner and painted with watercolour.

Colour added using Photoshop CS6.
Re-printed on paper then drawn over with fine liner and painted with water.

Re-printed on paper then drawn over with fine liner and painted with watercolour.

Features placed together in Photoshop, printed and painted over using watercolour.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Lately I have been...

So it's back to university and on attempting to start my final major project for my third and final year I came up completely blank. I just needed some me time to get creative and interested in what I love again - I was in dire need of inspiration!

To get me kick started I set off into the heart of London to visit a few exhibitions. I would strongly advise all of the below to any person who wants to feel inspired or can appreciate the creative world. 

I was especially thrown back by some of the amazing talent I pondered for almost 3 hours over at the Paper exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery. I honestly thought I would be there under an hour (which totally messed up my schedule for the day) but triple that and thats how long I spent looking in detail at the variety of beautiful and unique pieces. With the great diversity present, I didn't appreciate it all but there was so much there that I couldn't take me eyes off - an exhibition with something for everyone!

When looking at photographs I like and photographers I admire I shamefully find myself mindlessly typing their names into google. Nothing beats seeing the works up-close and printed in such great quality with that silver finish, it enabled me to appreciate every single detail. From now on I am sure to go see works face on instead of over the internet, the quality of print and settings set the works to their full potential. 

I am so glad I took the first few weeks of university to explore and ignite my passion again, it has set me up to face the music...

If anyone has been to a great exhibition or interesting gallery that they think I could enjoy - please feel free to forward a suggestion, it would be much appreciated! 

Jessica x

ICA - Off-Site: A Journey Through London Subculture: 1980s to Now @ The Old Selfridges Hotel

Lucky PDF
Photographed by: Jessica Gates

Dayfdd Jones
Photographed by: Jessica Gates

Avedon @ Gagosian Gallery

Richard Avedon

Robert Mapplethorpe: Fashion Show @ Alison Jaques Gallery

Robert Mapplethorpe

Robert Mapplethorpe
Photographed by: Jessica Gates

Paper @ Saatchi Gallery

Yuken Teruya
Photograph by: Jessica Gates

Marcelo Jácome
Photographed by: Jessica Gates

New Order: British Art Now @ Saatchi Gallery

Nicholas Deshayes
Photographed by: Jessica Gates

Nicolas Deshayes
Photographed by: Jessica Gates

Philip-Lorca diCorcia: East of Eden @ David Zwirner

Philip-Lorca diCorcia