I had the greatest of pleasure today to photograph Erica’s portrait, in my small but well equipped studio on a very hot, sunny day in the Dordogne, S E France. These images are destined for her website which being used to advertise her writings.The latest being, the trilogy off Isabella of Angouleme, The Tangled Queen.
About Erica. (Text Taken From Erica’s New Website www.ericalainewriter.com )
She lived in London in the late 50s as a drama student and then as a young wife and mother until 1977. After her life in Hong Kong she came to south west France in 1997 with her architect husband to the glorious house he had designed, a conversion from a cottage and barn. She lives here with him, a cat and a dog and rooms filled with a lifetime collection of books. She is president of An Aquitaine Historical Society and through that organisation came to know about Isabella of Angoulême, the subject of her trilogy. She continues to be fascinated and intrigued by 13th century France and England and their tangled connections.
Her journal entries will be full of medieval history, threads and references from her books, travels, gardening, cooking, her pets, plays and theatre, the natural world as she observes it, her life in Asia, her life in France past and present. An eclectic mix. Erica thinks her life could be captured with the phrase Once Upon A Time.
Set in the thirteenth century, the kingdoms of England and France are struggling over territory as the powerful Angevins threaten the French king. In regions far from Paris local fiefdoms disregard all authority. The Tangled Queen is the story of the little known and very young Isabella of Angoulême who was abducted by King John in 1200. She became his second wife and queen consort, aged 12. He was the most reviled king in English history and his lust for her led to the loss of Normandy and the destruction of the Plantagenet Empire, which then brought about the Magna Carta. Isabella came of age in England, but was denied her place in court. Her story is full of thwarted ambition, passion, pride and cruelty. She longed for power of her own and returned to France after the death of John to live a life of treachery and intrigue.
The shoot was immensely enjoyable and we both chatted about our lives and even told a few jokes. The shoot brief was to capture normal portraits of Erica as well as adding a dark medieval look as a second set, wearing various rich coloured scarfs to mimic 12th Century head wear as this is the time period of her latest book, The Trilogy off Isabella of Angouleme, The Tangled Queen. Equipment wise, I used a 18in Beauty Dish as the primary light source, just above her head, facing down, accompanied by a white reflector, bouncing the light back up. A typical clam shell configuration (using f8, speed 160, ISO 100, 50mm). Some of the more moody shots, where taken using a soft box to the left as the main light and a silver reflector to the right (as in the main image above, using f7.1, speed 160, ISO 100, 50mm) Camera equipment used – Canon 6D with a Canon 50mm, f1.8 prime lens. Studio lighting used was Pixapro Lumi 400 Strobes.