Nell shoot (2)

I wanted to take a different approach and reshoot Nell’s character in the studio. Although I won’t be using these as final images as I feel I can improve the lighting and composition I believe it is a step in the right direction. I now know what I am after – hopefully I will be able to achieve this next week!

Nell Shoot PT 2

The purpose of this shoot is celebrating Nell escaping an unhealthy marriage.

I want to ensure the shoot includes a lot of liquid movement as she is the lady of the lake.


This image by Bianca Theron caught my eye as it is colourful and very powerful. I will try to experiment shooting underwater as I love the reflection of the lights creating texture and movement within the image.


Fashion is a big element of my work – I have been looking at marble print fashion that has increased in popularity recently. I will be looking at dressing my model in cooler tones, blues, whites and purples as it seems appropriate to nod towards the location this story is about. I want to celebrate Nell’s return to the lake as a free woman now free of pain instead of the sad, lonely approach the stories tend to use.

I am hoping to experiment with many methods of post production such as marbling, photographing again under water and using materials such as sheets of plastic to emphasise the sense of fluidity within the image. I’d like to think of Nell as being fluid and free with her sexuality after leaving her husband.

As I have recently had an afternoon with Chris looking at lighting and how this can change the mood and atmosphere of an image. I want a dramatic and empowering light – I am also hoping to use colour gels for this shoot. Here’s some images I have found online I would like to take inspiration from:

Creating Mood And Atmosphere with Gelled lighting



As Nell is a mythological character I would like to create a magical makeup look full of sparkles as if she’s ready to hit the town to get over her breakup! I found this look on Pinterest and will try my best to do something similar:

This falls into the ‘e-girl’ look which originated from Tiktok and therefore will capture the attention of young people.

Nell – The Lady of the Lake

I have been focusing on the story of Nell from Llyn y Fan Fach. This is a story I remember my mother and grand parents telling me as a child. It is based on the setting of the lake on the Black Mountain in the Brecon Beacons.

My grandparents farmed near this spot which is why the myth is very popular with my family. There are many versions of the story therefore I have tried to read up on the many different versions to compare the similarities and differences of these stories.

What I found amusing is that the lady of the lake is always known as Nell whereas the man who becomes her husband got a different name in every source I read – this shows he importance of Nell’s character and that the story is focused on her and her actions.

The most common version of the story says Nell appears in the lake and the man gives her bread – she is fussy and is unsatisfied until she receives the perfect loaf. When the farmer achieved the perfect loaf she offers to marry him. He must prove his love for Nell by identifying her next to her two triplet sisters. She helps him out by moving her feet. He chooses correctly and is granted permission to marry Nell, however if he strikes her 3 times she and all the farm animals must return to the lake forever.

The man promises to this and they are married. In the end he does hit her 3 times. Once for being late to their childs christening, a second time he hits her for crying at a wedding and lastly she is hit be him for laughing at a funeral. Nell returns to the lake forever. She does appear to visit her sons which she helped become The Physicians of Myddfai.

I am brainstorming how this story can be looked at differently by addressing issues in todays society. The main one for me is the conversation about domestic violence. In my shoot I would like to celebrate how Nell escapes from an abusive relationship and does not tolerate violence at all. In the stories the acts of violence are painted ad accidents and harmful – there are excused made to protect her husbands reputation.

I could also go down the route of global warming and littering by including rubbish in my shoot to highlight this issue. Although when I visited Llyn y Fan Fach it was very well kept and clean, this is an issue that is important to discuss.

Psychedelic Backdrop

After looking at the work by Tayo Adekonle and hearing her speak about the significance of her background.


I thought about how I have looked at images of Welsh water and how I can make my images of Llyn y Fan Fach more interesting and relevant to the context of my project. I have edited my images in a way that alters the colour of the image. By replacing the natural colours with wacky artificial saturated colours, it will bring an element of escapism and magic to my work. Welsh mythology is full of magic and queerness and I want this to be present throughout my work.

Working with collage helps spark ideas and creates an escapist aesthetic which compliments the concept.


Reclaming the colonial gaze

I attended the online reclaiming the colonial gaze talk with Annu Palakunna Matthew, Stacey Tyrell and Tayo Adekunle. It was insightful to see how artists with roots to colonisation use photography as a medium to empower and inform people about the complex history of colonisation. Some things that caught my attention and I would like to research further are:

-The way historical images were staged in order to make the surroundings look ‘more exotic’ in order to excite European audiences.

-Yemoja – self portraits discussing how culture and religion survived through the slave trade

-British ancestors thought they’d be Welcomed to the UK with open arms after the war however this was not true – they were rejected and seen as others

-Colonial war goddesses. Where have they come from  and how were they used in society. Are artworks of these figures still being exhibited – what are the moral complications around this in the context of mythology

-Using art to make unaccessible academic readings available to everyone – I’m making Welsh readings accessible.


Fashion Photography

I will be looking at high end fashion photography to influence my shoots, here are some images from Vogue magazine I will be taking inspiration from for my ‘lady of the lake’ shoot. The reason I am so adamant to use this style of photography is due to the fact young people are interested in fashion and this will help me modernise these characters which means there is more change of young people engaging and relating to my images.


Mabanogi Top Trumps

I bought this pack of top trumps during my visit to St Fagans – the museum of Welsh culture. The cards include illustrations of the Mabinogion characters. The female characters are all conventionally very attractive their descriptions are positive, using words like ‘brave’ and ‘headstrong’ rather than commenting on their appearances. What is interesting the character Gronw Pebr is described as ‘golygus’ which translates to handsome.

These card were created by Welsh cartoonist Huw Aaron. They instantly caught my eye as I created tarot cards last semester. It is inspiring to see an artist create something so interactive for children to learn and enjoy the stories of the Mabinogi that doesn’t force negative attitudes on the female characters.


I’ve decided to kickstart my project by creating some self portraits inspired by Nessa from Gavin and Stacey. My intention is to glamorise the character by bringing her up to date with a new image. The intention is to empower the character which is often mocked.


This year I want to focus on Welsh icons as well as mythological characters – my work is meant to connect with young people which is why pop culture is so important to my work. This means people who are unaware of the mythology can appreciate Welsh culture.

Here are some icons I am considering shooting:

  • Nessa
  • Tom Jones
  • Sali Mali
  • Jac y jwc
  • Aron Ramsey
  • Roald Dahl
  • Charlotte Church
  • Katherine Jenkins
  • The Valleys
  • Josie from fresh meat
  • Huw Fash
  • Owain Glyndwr
  • Llywelyn ein llyw olaf
  • Huw Edwards
  • Gareth Bale
  • Couple off gogglebox