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Ophelia - A conceptual Styled Shoot

A film by Loved Up Films

I have always been intrigued with the character of Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamlet: passionate and strong-willed but also such a free-spirit – a character whose qualities are exciting to use in an inspiration shoot and I used these elements of her personality to create an ethereal and dreamy concept. I wanted to show her as a bride who is deeply in love, thoughtful and at one with nature, but also one who is strong willed and knows her own mind. In Millais’ pre-Raphaelite painting she is depicted as weightless in the water and this inspired me to focus upon evoking mystery and an ethereal quality through using water, reflection and translucency, resulting in a whimsical, yet edgy vibe.It was shot on the banks and in the River Itchen in Hampshire. I chose this location for tworeasons: I grew up here and I knew that the river had so many beautiful locations to create vignettes and secondly, for the stunning willow trees and clear water making it aesthetically similar to the historical images we know of the character.

Photography by Wayne Kahn

The flowers, by Luv Shifting Flowers, are also symbolic – all are mentioned in the play (with relevance to the story and her emotions) and also in Millais’ painting, and so it was important to use these in the shoot for continuity. We loved the way that the bright splashes of red and blue in her bouquet and on the dress embellishment pop against the river and compliment the early-Autumnal colours. Pressed flowers were another important feature and added to the whimsical nature – how lovely to have a bouquet, cake, headpiece and stationery created with foraged, sustainable and dried flowers all of which have a special meaning – a lovely idea for a late summer bride!It was important for us to have different gowns and ‘looks’ for each of the vignettes.

Gown by Bridal Reloved

The four gowns which feature in the shoot were chosen for their whimsical and dreamy qualities: firstly, the stunning gowns from Bridal Reloved created a dreamy and fairy tale aesthetic complimenting the natural scenes around her in the field – one of which featured beautiful dragonflies which complimented the ring by London Victorian Ring Co. We used a vintage dress similar to the dress worn recently by Ellie Goulding and another, a stunning embellished up-cycled gown by Atelier 19 tied together the imagery from the famous Pre- Raphaelite painting which inspired us. Jan, who created the embellishments on the final gown was excited to come on board as the painting is her favourite artistic image.

Model Vanessa Warner

The cake, made by Anna Lewis, tied in beautifully with the concept and different elements of the shoot. Anna expertly created a traditional tiered cake with a very contemporary twist with the deep rich burgundy colour and a pop of extra colour and texture with the dried flower embellishment. She also made gorgeous sugar cookies with the pressed flowers added. Both of these edible treats certainly brought the colour palette and the symbolic nature of the flowers together.

Veil by Sash and Veil and gown by Atelier 19

The brief for hair and make-up was to follow a mainly bohemian look – soft wavy curls which were able to be accessorised with the fabulous hairpieces and a soft, natural face with a strong deep burgundy lip tying in with the autumnal colour palette which made the bohemian look a little more contemporary. We were lucky enough to have worked in collaboration with fabulous milliner, CC Millinery who created a stunning floral headpiece using late summer flowers in complimentary shades – such a romantic look for the modern bride and certainly one which created a statement. The crown supplied by The Lucky 6

Pence and jewellery by Erin Cox later complimented the watery scenes with stunning intricate silver and pearls creating a romantic and fairy tale quality.

Wayne Kahn captured the shoot brilliantly. The concept meant that he was able to use natural light in the fields to create a dreamy and whimsical aesthetic with the afternoon sun falling through the trees and filters to create a more edgy and contemporary look, representing the different emotions of the bride. The water shots were really exciting to capture and required the team joining our model the cold water as we played with the veils and flowers against the current as Vanessa lay serenely! The fantastic film made by Loved Up Films captures all the character facets and was able to add a whole different dimension on the day. The way the film is edited shows the story of Ophelia; her innermost thoughts and subconscious. This, together with the gorgeous scenes and vignettes of the photography really brings to life the drama and quality of the character and brings the story up to date with inspirational touches for the modern bride.Brides who dream of having a romantic and whimsical wedding day can also inject an added non-traditional edge and a range of contemporary details.

Ophelia in the water

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