This collection of 72 photographs of Leo and Mischkah was taken during my final workshops in Tuscany, in September 2022.
- Photographer: Damien Lovegrove
- Models: Leo Leblanche & Mischkah Scott
- Styling: Damien, Leo and Mischkah
- Technical support: Håvard Løberg
- Event page: Tuscany 2022
- Camera: Fujifilm GFX50s
- Lenses: GF 23-64mm, GF 80mm, GF 110mm, GF 250mm
- Lighting: Lupo Superpanel, Godox AD200 with Fresnel head
- Filters: Tiffen Black Pro Mist 1/2, Handmade Morrocan silk diffuser
- Smoke Machine: Scotty 11 from The Smoke Factory in Germany
01. I wanted a sense of fairytale, children’s literature, with a narrative of jeopardy and belonging. Leo wears a layered tulle skirt and bralet that I had made for these shoots and she is lit with the Lupo Superpanel set to 3200k. The colour palette of these photographs is inspired by renaissance paintings.
This was my 10th workshop in Italy and the last one that I will run in Tuscany. I now have an opportunity to explore another region of Italy in preparation for an all-new workshop in September 2023. This was also the last of my workshops to feature nudity. It’s time to move on and as you probably know; my picture styles have continually evolved through the years. I’m developing a narrative-led lifestyle portrait genre for 2023 starting with this sell-out tour of the abandoned gold mines of Nevada and California in May.
02. The cellar of this old Tuscan farmhouse is where the animals live in the winter. A new farm has been built by the latest generation of the family just 1 km up the track leaving this building, once home to their parents, abandoned. When I say ‘track’, I mean rough, rugged, rocky trail. Our hire cars just about negotiated the boulders without too many scrapes and dents on the underside.
03. These walls have stories to tell for sure. This is a special place to be. It has the fabulous textures that I crave for my photography. The aroma of farm animals still fills the air and it’s exciting and a privilege just to be in this space. Leo is lit with the battery-powered Lupo Superpanel.
04. Mischkah rests against a centuries-old feeding trough with a piece of cloth that I bought online. It looked just like one I saw on a sculpture in the Vatican museum.
05. I placed the bottles on the mantlepiece in this railway workers’ hut three years ago and I love how they are still there. The only light here is the light of the sky coming through a broken window. I reduced the colour temperature in my camera to create this warm, rich, atmosphere.
06. Glancing light is fabulous to work with. The oils on the skin create a wonderful sheen and in turn specular reflections that push a spike on the histogram over to the right. I’m not one to look at histograms because they get in the way of art. I asked my clients to switch off the blinking exposure aids and histograms and just ‘feel’ the exposures. What could possibly go wrong? A Tiffen Black Pro Mist filter completed the look.
07. Mischkah is lit with daylight entering the room through an open door. This is another abandoned farmhouse and one that I call the bike shack. You can’t see a bike in these shots but there is a bike in the building. I give my locations names because apart from coordinates there is no other way of identifying them. There are no postcodes or addresses. These are places where a 4×4 and a short hike is often needed to get to them.
08. Left: Leo is in the farmhouse that I call the blue room and is lit with the Lupo Superpanel. Right: Mischkah is in glancing sunlight at 3:20 pm at Monte Amiata station.
09. These blocks of wood set into the wall are where horse saddles were hung at the end of the day. The grim remains of the farm cat lingered just behind my tripod.
10. I normally only have one model to shoot at a time so I had to make the most of this opportunity. Having shot over 400 weddings working with couples comes naturally to me. I wanted to portray friends, not lovers, in these shots. A howling gale came through open windows behind us, so it was a bit tough on the girls.
11. Mischkah cut Leo’s hair the day before this shoot and the wind played havoc with the styling but I love the results.
12. I have many beautiful pictures of this scene but I’ll share just two with you here. The other photographs will be in my future books for sure.
13. Tuscany has many thermal spas and the water flow can reach 40°C at times. This pool and cascade isn’t at one of them. My smoke machine operated by Håvard delivered the atmosphere.
14. Reminiscent of so many classical works, this photograph ticks my boxes. The shot perspective and foreground foliage contribute to the feeling of a voyeuristic view. The lingering smoke completes the look.
15. I bought this hat online and it took quite a lot of steaming to recover its shape after the trip from China wrapped inside a ball inside a box. The hat really adds to these pictures and was one of my more successful purchases.
16. Long grasses and an olive grove are some of my favourite shoot locations. You may have noticed by now that I try not include the sky in my pictures so finding an unkempt olive grove with a gentle slope up towards the sun was a task that took quite some time. Most olive groves are mown or ploughed between the trees.
17. This modelling malarkey is tough at times. The look of course is deceptive. There are six photographers in the olive grove, bugs, creepy crawlies and possibly the odd snake but don’t mention that last bit to Mischkah when you next see her.
18. The long and winding road…
19. There was just time for a picnic and a nap in a glade of Black Walnut trees. The ripening fruit of the walnut trees had a distinct lemon boquet.
20. We had regular visits from two black cats at our private estate. This one snuck into the pictures for a fleeting moment before deciding to slope off. This mini session happened at 17:45 h just as the sun was sinking behind the olive trees.
21. I lit Mischkah with a Scattergel fitted to my Godox AD200. The high viewpoint and downbeat pose deliver a narrative of regret.
A moment of reflection
Long ago I wished to leave
‘The house where I was born;’
Long ago I used to grieve,
My home seemed so forlorn.
In other years, its silent rooms
Were filled with haunting fears;
Now, their very memory comes
O’ercharged with tender tears.
22. The crisp lines of Mischkah’s suit and dappled light caused by sunlight streaming through trees deliver a more upbeat note.
23. I found a little bit of flat light for this portrait of Mischkah and I snapped Leo taking a BTS.
24. Leo became quite attached to my hat or should I say the hat was attached to Leo. Either way, the hat was a cute accessory.
25. Left: A gust of wind created a Marilyn moment. The shaft of sunlight striking through the broken roof of this railway station building adds to the drama. Right: Leo in full sun.
26. This location reminded me of the Trumpton Clock. It’s a blast from the past and featured in the title sequence of a children’s tv programme from the 1960s. Yes, I’m that old! The white styling contrasts well here and the sunlight brings the shot alive.
27. We mixed up the styling and shot angles between the workshops. I ran two 4 day workshops back to back with a few days off in Siena in between. We covered the same locations but with minor variations due to weather and circumstances.
28. Leo at the ready to change the points while Mischkah looks on from her goods train.
29. Leo and I found ourselves in the cab of a hot, stuffy train. Leo sat at the controls while I added a splash of flash to give the picture some punch.
30. Mischkah in the sleepy back streets of Seggiano at around 4 pm on a sunny afternoon. The whole town seems to be on a permanent siesta at this time of year. The heat stored in the flagstones and walls radiates for several hours after the sun goes down.
31. Leo in full sun. Right: In a back alley in Seggiano. Left: Against the sky. As you know I try to avoid the sky in my pictures because it is often the brightest part of the scene and leads the viewer’s eye right out of the top of the shot. In this case, though I used it as a backdrop because the relative illumination of the crisp sunlight on Leo was set off nicely against the low contrast sky behind her. Contrast separation is great when it all comes together.
32. Fashion portraits on the streets of Seggiano. Left: Hazy sunlight has a good combination of hardness with soft contrast to reveal Leo’s fabulous bone structure. Right: I often choose to go bold and work with the sun as a key light.
33. Sunlit portraits in Seggiano. By 16:30 h in the afternoon the shallow angle of the sun had become exciting to work with.
34. The side entrance to the renaissance Palazzo Piccolominia in Pienza circa 1456 was the perfect setting for this flash-lit portrait of Leo. The steps are so visitors can hop straight off their horses and into the palace.
35. We passed by this wonderful entrance to Pienza town hall. Steeped in history and a fabulous location for a mini shoot. The gold dress is the subject of a book that I am working on and you might recognise it from previous shoots of mine.
36. Left: Mischkah in the bedroom, lit with the Superpanel. Top Right: Mischkah on location, lit with the Superpanel. Bottom Right: Mischkah on location, lit with the light from a doorway.
37. I closed all the shutters in the bedroom except one. I left it open a crack and that delivered a beautiful pool of light for this shot.
38. I loved the energy in this grab shot of Leo. It’s not quite sharp where it needs to be and the night dress needs an iron but the feeling is there and that’s what matters in this photograph.
39. I lit Leo with the Lupo Superpanel for all of these shots. Right: The light was outside the double doors shining through the glass to simulate sunlight. I often rig my lights outside of a room as that is where the light enters naturally and it keeps the shot free from lighting stands etc.
40. For this mirror shot of Leo I tucked the Superpanel behind the wardrobe that is just out of shot to the left of the frame.
Well done for getting this far. Thank you for indulging me. I am planning two major workshop events each year. This year they were Fuerteventura and Tuscany. Next year they will be the USA and Italy. I’ve yet to finalise my locations in Italy and I’ll be off there again soon to do my recce. If you’d like to join me on a workshop or adventure sign up for my newsletter here. Places go fast and my newsletters provide advanced notice of their release.