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Audlem photo shoot to remember

2nd November 2009 @ 7:07am – by Rob McColl
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As a photographer, arranging a photo shoot takes a lot of organising if it is to be successful. In the first instance, finding the location can be difficult. I was pleased when my favourite model, Emmie mentioned that she had heard of a chap with an authentic 50s style house.

She sent me some details of a journey into a world frozen in time, hosted by man who had forgotten the ability to speak without cracking a joke.

A week before the shoot, I travelled to Audlem with my entire backup team – Bev, who arranges everything in my life (I get the easy bit of pressing the trigger on a camera). We tapped the postcode into the satnav and set off.

Final instructionsAs we neared the village, I called Billy on my mobile for final instructions to be greeted by a 'hillbilly' sounding voice. We began to sense strange things afoot.

As we neared the house, we saw a person peering over the wall with dark horn-rim glasses and enormous buck teeth. Slightly surprised, I wound down the window to be given final directions with the same hillbilly sounding voice. We took the instruction and parked on the drive. Thankfully, we were then met by our host, Hotrod Billy, who apologised for his brother. I could see the family resemblance.

On entering the house, we were struck by the authenticity of the contents – my mind started its usual process of trying to work out props, light sources and space. Bev engaged Hotrod Billy in conversation, but it was becoming apparent that there was a valid reason for the donkey in the yard having no hind legs. Billy had simply talked them off.

Space rocketWe began our tour of the site after a nice cup of coffee, Billy identifying a myriad of suitable props, including a space rocket. The tour was also accompanied by a group of chickens who seemed to have the run of the site, they appeared in all sorts of places, including the garage where one had sited itself on some car parts and cables. It must have been a battery hen – shocking!

We left Audlem and made our way home, about fifteen minutes passed before one of us broke the silence. "What do you think?" asked Bev. Another ten minutes passed before I could think of a response: "Interesting". There were hundreds of thoughts swirling around in my mind – and I was driving too.... not bad for a man – two things at once.

Perfect hostMy team arrived the following week, executed the shoot and Billy was the perfect host. I will not bore you with the details of setting up lighting, a set, makeup, food, getting the model to the house. It all went to plan and the photos speak for themselves.

We all enjoyed our trip to your wonderful village and look forward to a return visit some time in the future. I will recount my encounter with Billy over a glass at the dinner table, his brother (hmmmm), the chickens, lest we forget the donkey. Smiles all round.


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