Steven Carey – The Pale Medusa Sessions (2010)

I met Steven Carey when he was a a junior and Leonard’s hair salon. He assisted on a few shoots I did for Leonard with Vogue but I didn’t get to see his creative personality then because Leonard held such sway over things at that time. Inevitably Steven developed and wanted his own salon. He had many celebrity clients and a beautiful salon in Mayfair opposite the very exclusive Connaught Hotel, from which he gleaned many prestigious clients that remained extremely loyal to him.

My agent always went to have his hair cut at the salon and got talking to Steven who said he would like to do a really visually adventurous shoot with me. I felt this was a break out session from his daily routine of celebrity clients and that he was keen to make a statement. This was a great opportunity to be creative.

I was excited by the potential to experiment in this situation so I went along to see Steven. I said how great it would be to work with him again and that we needed to get the best people. I suggested we work with Karl Plewka the stylist and make up artist Gary Cockerill and that all the models be dressed in black, so that the hair really stood out. These pictures were shot in 2010 over a few sessions and we took a really experimental approach with the hair and make up. The approach was a cross between, theatre and sci-fi and the mechanics of adding hair pieces to real hair.

Steven, Gary and Karl worked away and Steven would say to me, “What do you think?” and I would say “Yes, but even more, go even further” and he would then come out with even more extreme things. I said to Gary go further with the make-up and he did and I instructed the models to keep there expressions serene and simple as I didn’t want them to make it look bizarre as the styling, hair and make up was enough. At one point Karl put a dress on one of the models backwards and it looked even better. The shoots were hands on and spontaneous and we just did everything we wanted to.

We went for different moods like Chinese Empress, Madam de Pompadour, Pale Medusa, Sci-fi, Cabaret, we really explored our ideas to the fullest extents and the models were amazing. We had so much fun. These were some of the most extraordinary models to work with, Steven and I spent a lot of time before the shoot. They were living expressions of female power, like Goddesses, conveying a feeling of mysterious beauty.

As you can see from the image above Steven made his salon into something of a gallery after the shoot and the images looked great printed large. It was really exciting to do this work with such a wonderful team a real journey into the future past, our triumph. Thanks Steven!

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