A Dartmoor tribute part one – Wistman’s Wood

Dartmoor is a very special place to me. It’s where I used to go with my dad, who passed away around a year and a half ago. Whenever he visited me at university in Exeter (which was often – impromptu visits and anything-can-happen adventures) we would drive up onto the moors, discover new places, take photographs and just spend time together.

They are some of the happiest memories of my life.

So when it came time to update our brand imagery for Darling Lovely Life, there was no place more obvious to me than Dartmoor – it is where I left a big chunk of my heart.

I wanted to make the credits really prominent,  because this amazing team of people deserves so much acknowledgement and praise – but please read the full post below to find out more about the incredible artists involved with the shoot.

Quick credits

The hair was artfully created by the absolutely incredible Danielle of adorable vintage-inspired Chiswick hair salon, The Parlour London. I’ve worked with The Parlour London on a number of projects and events now, and they always deliver the absolute best.

Makeup was by the epic talent that is YouTube personality, artist Klaire de Lys. We were so very lucky to have her on the shoot, she is one of those unbelievable neverending sources of creativity and she was such a joy to work with.

The accessories (flower crowns and feather epaulettes) were kindly lent to us by Rouge Pony, whose Etsy store had us absolutely swooning – we were prepared to beg! The beautiful gold jewellery was provided by none other than Maddy’s husband Simon’s business, Noble’s Treasures.

And last but by no means least, the photography – Fiona Kelly Photography Fiona did the most phenomenal job. I’ve known Fiona for a long time but I’ve never had the pleasure of working with her before, and what a pleasure it was. Fiona was a pro from start to finish, directing and snapping with ease, good humour and an artistic eye and integrity that really is second to none. The results speak for themselves.

Oh, and of course, Maddy is in grey and I’m in black! Enjoy!

Darling Lovely Life Maddy in Dark Angels photo shoot Wistmans Wood Dartmoor
Darling Lovely Life Sara and Maddy in Dark Angels photo shoot Wistmans Wood Dartmoor
Darling Lovely Life Sara and Maddy in Dark Angels photo shoot Wistmans Wood Dartmoor

You may be wondering where the pretty pastel colours that are hallmarks of this blog have gone – don’t worry, you’ll see them in part two. I wanted to do a photoshoot that meant something – and to create pieces of art and beautiful images that not only honour those amazing memories, but that show the world that you don’t have to be a skinny, six foot glamazon to be fierce, that editorial-style photography and unique style isn’t just the privilege of the few.

So I planned one epic shoot in two parts: dark and light. The darkness, because there’s still a lot of grief there – it didn’t feel right just to head to Dartmoor and swirl around the moors in pretty dresses without addressing the pain of the loss. The first half of the shoot is more sombre, with muted, dark colours, shot in eerie Wistman’s Wood, which I first discovered on a rainy, dreary walk with my dad back in 2009. I’ll never forget how we got soaked through trying to find it, and how we dried our socks on the car heater afterwards, lamenting how mad we both were but that it was worth it.

Darling Lovely Life Sara and Maddy in Dark Angels photo shoot Wistmans Wood Dartmoor
Darling Lovely Life Sara and Maddy in Dark Angels photo shoot Wistmans Wood Dartmoor

I asked Danielle of The Parlour London to create some big, avant garde hair – I believe the brief was dragged through a hedge backwards – but FASHION! Despite my ramblings, Danielle took the brief and absolutely nailed it – a true perfectionist and a delight to work with. We were also so lucky to have the lovely Jackie, owner of The Parlour London, and her husband Will on site to help with the direction of the shoot and styling.

Darling Lovely Life Sara and Maddy in Dark Angels photo shoot Wistmans Wood Dartmoor Darling Lovely Life Sara and Maddy in Dark Angels photo shoot Wistmans Wood Dartmoor

Then there was the make up. While there was a loose brief, I asked Klaire to really go to town and give us looks that would bring out our best features and match the editorial theme of the shoot. Klaire was just amazing, creating gorgeous looks that we were all thrilled with, and being on hand the whole day to blot, reapply and generally be a wonderful person to have around. Not only that, but she was filming away the whole weekend, capturing the behind-the-scenes shoot magic! I can’t wait to see her video!

Darling Lovely Life Sara and Maddy in Dark Angels photo shoot Wistmans Wood Dartmoor
Darling Lovely Life Sara and Maddy in Dark Angels photo shoot Wistmans Wood Dartmoor Darling Lovely Life Sara and Maddy in Dark Angels photo shoot Wistmans Wood Dartmoor
dartmoor_styled shoot-005Darling Lovely Life Sara and Maddy in Dark Angels photo shoot Wistmans Wood Dartmoor shot 5

Working with Fiona was nothing short of delightful. What a photographer! As well as working in difficult, dappled light, being constantly mindful of the difficult terrain and working with two gals who aren’t pro models, Fiona had to contend with my allergies, which left my eyes streaming and swollen for much of the day. Fiona directed the shoot with such skill, an incredibly reassuring demeanour and a stealth that can only be described as “ninja”. I never felt self-conscious or uncomfortable and I was so thrilled with the results she produced!

Darling Lovely Life Sara and Maddy in Dark Angels photo shoot Wistmans Wood Dartmoor

And finally, here’s a little outtake sneak peek from part 2, which will be blogged tomorrow!

Darling Lovely Life Sara and Maddy in pastel pretty photo shoot Dartmoor shot 70

12 Comments on A Dartmoor tribute part one – Wistman’s Wood

  1. Nikki @KnotsAndKisses
    September 23, 2014 at 8:23 am (2 years ago)

    Amazing photos! Really lovely tribute to your Dad. I live on the edge of Dartmoor and it really is one of the best landscapes in the country :)

    Reply
  2. Sarah
    September 23, 2014 at 8:31 am (2 years ago)

    What a beautiful set of images

    Reply
  3. Nova- Nu Bride
    September 23, 2014 at 9:08 am (2 years ago)

    Yes! What a team! Can’t wait to see part 2. I love that you carry your Dad with you. Beautiful inspiration for a shoot and bitter sweet. Keep treasuring those memories. Much love nova xxx

    Reply
  4. Maddy
    September 23, 2014 at 10:00 am (2 years ago)

    A seriously awesome day – loved every second of working on this. Thanks everyone for your lovely comments! xxx

    Reply
  5. The Parlour
    September 23, 2014 at 10:36 am (2 years ago)

    Ahh looking good ladies! Such beautiful photos xx

    Reply
  6. fiona kelly
    September 23, 2014 at 11:01 am (2 years ago)

    Im so thrilled to see the photos finally on your blog. Im so proud of what we created that day. It was wonderful to work with you, maddy and the team. Thanks for the opportunity to spend a wonderful day in Dartmoor for this shoot and scamper around the rocks like a mountain goat (kind of!) for a while!

    Reply
  7. fiona kelly
    September 23, 2014 at 11:01 am (2 years ago)

    by the way…you guys look totally fierce!!

    Reply
  8. Karen - SmashingTheGlass.com
    September 23, 2014 at 11:11 am (2 years ago)

    Wonderful imagery Sara – and the story behind the pictures is so very touching. I love everything about the shoot but I’m particularly obsessed with your outfit. Incred!

    Lots of love, Karen x

    Reply
  9. Nicola Russill-Roy
    September 23, 2014 at 4:51 pm (2 years ago)

    I love this on so many levels – well done!

    Reply
  10. Naomi
    September 24, 2014 at 9:11 am (2 years ago)

    i love The Colours, they make a Great Atmosphere!

    Reply

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