Tales of 2015

'Tales' is a personal project that came about during Luminate 2015. Luminate is a brilliant festival held every second year at Caanan Downs on Takaka Hill on the top of the South Island of New Zealand. Luminate lasts about 8 days and is a fantastic opportunity to photograph interesting, creative people. But rather than just asking people if I could photograph them, I wanted to engage and share in a creative process with them. 'Tales' was the perfect way to do that. It was a wonderful project that was all about having fun. 

The idea was really simple. I asked random people to use the 'tail' as a prop. It could be whatever they wanted it to be. The 'tail' was made by the lovely and talented Sarah Keogh out of a very long and bushy piece of material she found lying around her workroom. She added a removable velcro belt, which proved to be very handy at times. 

Most portraits were spontaneous, but a few were more considered and planned out  I enjoyed the process as much as anything. It was a wonderful way to approach people that I didn't know, and work on something together. 

I took this photograph during the opening ceremony. The 'tail' appropriately becomes a frame.

The next picture took more planning. We were camping next to these beautiful bell tents setup by a company called Nature's Fancy. I envisioned the shadow of someone / something wearing the tail inside the tent at night posing like a monster in "Where The Wild Things Are". I asked Gina, the owner of the tents if she would be keen to model for me. We had to wait a few nights for the weather to be just right and things to come together. When we took the photograph, Gina's young daughter was fast asleep on the bed during the shoot. Amazingly, the strobes didn't wake her up. I wonder what she would've thought if she had been woken up by a flash that outlined a monster standing over her wearing a mask and a furry tail. 

It took a few tries to get it right, but we finally did...

bell tent

Attaching the tail to her bikini wasn't that easy for her, but the effect was worth it. The belt came in handy...


It was brilliant watching bystanders notice a young girl in a bikini casually walking around with her tail flowing behind her. 

bikini tail

I just loved this guy's look. He wore it well as a collar. It just seemed to blend in...


It caused some fighting though...

tail pulling

But Lucia was able to connect with it and calm it down...


It worked well as hair or a hat...


or just something furry around your head...

It was bought and sold and juggled and played...


And shared...


It even made it up on stage...

on stage

I think The Twisty Twins could keep turning the 'tail' into something creative all day long. Like a furry leg. Why not?...


Or a cradle...


A tongue?...


My family got into it...

pedal power

Even if the 'tail' didn't have a role, it still found its way into the picture somewhere... 


I'm sure there will be more to come, so look for 'Tales II' in 2016.