As a child, I would obsess over the work of the Hollywood masters such as Hurrell, Sinclair Bull, and Ruth Harriet Louise. I’d turn all the lights off and using a desk lamp, practice lighting on myself - watching where the angle of light would cause shadows to fall, sculpting the features of my face. I dreamt of being a silent film or a 1930s movie star. The mystery of those images were entirely seductive; both in terms of adoring the actor or actress, and simply wanting to be them.

I would sit on the floor of my parent's lounge with headphones on as I listened to albums, leafing through the CD inserts. It was only later in life I realised those images that had such an impact on me were predominantly taken by the astounding Herb Ritts; notably the iconic images of Madonna for her Immaculate Collection album and my mother's favourite, Tina Turner's Foreign Affair.

 

I have always adored vintage glamour and the golden age of Hollywood; not just in terms of the stunning portraits that turned men and women into gods and goddesses, but fashion and music. I would teach the other kids a school how to charleston. I had a gramophone in my bedroom. And I watched silent movies whenever I got the chance.

I started off a dancer, then became an actress, which evolved into singing. I have been a jazz singer (in the styles of Ella, Peggy Lee, Doris Day and Julie London) for years and continue to earn a living singing jazz standards and vintage classics in London and Surrey. Old fashioned glamour is an integral part of my existence.

 

It might sound like a charmed life; but achieving my ambitions took a lot of self-belief and determination. In my family, you simply got a 'normal' job when you left school - the arts were acceptable as a hobby, but absolutely not something that could be considered as a serious career choice. That included photography. For most of my life, it remained a dream. 

It was when I was modelling for vintage fashion that I became more and more intrigued about being on the other side of the camera. Many shots sent to me I would find fault in; I hated the majority of them, suffered low-esteem from the unflattering poses (or lack of any posing or direction), incorrect lighting angles and either a total lack of editing or far too much of it. That's when I learnt the importance of direction, lighting and posing. A good photographer has great technical abilities, of course; but an outstanding photographer has to be all of those things; a lighting technician, a director, a storyteller and an artist. And also a champion of empowerment: understanding the impact of a great image not only for our audience, but for ourselves when we are the subject. I never underestimate the power that has;  it boosts our confidence and self-esteem. And in a time where mental health and wellbeing is more important than ever, this helps us psychologically; looking and feeling our best boosts  empowers us. When we look at a great photo of ourselves, we feel great - like we can conquer the world. 

 

It took one shoot where the photographer cancelled last minute due to transport issues that I volunteered to grab my camera, a desk lamp, and do the film noir shoot regardless. The images I took that day got published in a magazine. And the rest, as they say, is history. 

 

Original image (left and as it appeared in Vintage Explorer Magazine (right)

In a world where images are so easily recorded and disposed of on our phones, my passion for traditional photography techniques and vintage glamour has propelled my mission to bring back true to a world filled with selfies and easily disposable digital images on mobile phones.

 

In my opinion, lighting, posing and directing are all vital and essential parts of the photographer’s role as well as taking the photo. This is why I have analysed, studied and and continue to learn and apply these techniques. I burn for it: to create magic, art, manifest dreams, sculpt people into gods and goddesses, to bring to life and to capture beauty so my subjects can be eternal, like the Hollywood legends.

 

Everything I capture is captured in camera like the old school masters and then only slight retouching is employed - again, just as they did.  

So, from those early years of mine adoring the gods and goddesses that peered out at me from old Hollywood magazines, I believe that everyone should have the chance to look and feel a million dollars, whether for business or pleasure.

 

I take pride in creating images; whether it's a classic set of portraits in celebration of you, or to provide you with headshots to use in your career aspirations. I have photographed celebrities, worked with the BBC on stills photography and portraits, taken models/actors/singers and corporate headshots.

 

Not all of my work is suited to the vintage style; but with the skills and techniques I have employed from the masters, I am able to take images that present you at your very best. And the best part about it is that we work as a team; you know your face better than anyone.

 

We will work together to maximise your favourite features via expert posing and lighting techniques that will represent you exactly as you deserve.

Noelle

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