Tatler November 2014
Thanks Tatler for this month’s most amazing spread! No less than eight pages!
NEXT BIG THING: GRACE VANE PERCY
Spabreaks.com is the largest spa recommendation service in the UK, with venues across the country and abroad, but month in The Hot Tub they like to interview a person the consider to be a rising star… and this month IT’S ME!! I was of course completely honoured to be asked a few questions by the lovely Bonnie Friend
Check out the interview:
Photographer, Grace Vane Percy, specialises in taking nude photos of women that rival the old masters for their painterly style. She talks to us about inspiration and the launch of her first book VENUS!
What are you up to at the moment?
I am working on a new project which has a slight retro feel, think 70s black and white nudes but with a mysterious quality. It’s a series of nudes with a more erotic element, but still very feminine – showing female sexuality in the kind of way every woman can relate to!
Where does your inspiration come from?
Women. The natural beauty and diversity of real women and the sculptural elements in every body. I enjoy finding the unique beauty in each woman I work with and showing that to them in a photograph.
Who’s your role model?
Lee Miller! Ever stylish, feminine and beautiful, but practical, hard working, talented and an exceptional photographer, she was as inspiring as she was inspired.
Who would play you in a movie?
Audrey Hepburn! Please.
What’s your earliest photography memory?
Photographing my Sylvanian Families with my father’s Polaroid camera! I used to make brochures for imaginary hotels with them and cut outs from the Country Life property section!
What’s the biggest lesson you have learned so far?
If you want something done properly do it yourself, and always keep going. When you make the space in your life for something you want and cut out the things which are just sapping your time and energy (even if they help you pay the bills), the thing you’re working towards will always come flooding in. It has been true for me every time.
When you’re not working on being the next big thing, what do you do to relax?
I love yoga and I also love to cook every day, I’m a vegetarian and love all the variety and delicious options. Recently I’ve been experimenting more with raw food, which has been amazingly yummy and very satisfying, my husband’s also surprised himself by enjoying the fruits of my labour too!
We encourage everyone to do one thing each week to be kind to themselves, what are you going to do this week to #bekindtoyou?
Someone said to me recently, you should always treat yourself as you would treat a child. I’m not quite managing that, but maybe if the weather’s nice I’ll buy myself a big ice cream!
Unconventional Midlife Crisis
Tim Hutchins, amateur IronMan, marathon runner and self confessed gym nut, visited me earlier in the year for a shoot, read what he had to say about his motivation for the shoot and his experience:
This time last year I turned 40, the prospect of which, with its obligatory bouts of self reflection on becoming old, over the hill, past it, blah blah blah, simply terrified me. But I didn’t want to be another midlife crisis of the red sports car, brown hair die and blonde au pair cliché. If I was going to have one, I wanted mine to be less obvious and more challenging.
Grace Vane Percy is one of the country’s foremost photographers of female nude portraiture. She and I had discussed the possibility of a nude photo shoot for some time. Grace’s motivation was to develop her incredible talent for photographing the female nude and all its curves and beauty, on a male subject with all its angles and ugliness. My motivation had midlife crisis written all over it (albeit a sidestep away from the sports car, hair die, au pair cliché). I wanted to capture an image of myself as I looked at 40, complete with 6-pack and pecs, to show that not all 40 year olds have to give up on their bodies and accept midlife decline as inevitable. Something to reflect on now as much as look back upon in future years.
I’m quite young and very fit for my age (an earlier health check showed my metabolic age to be 23, when I was in fact 39). I train fives times a week plus a weekly yoga class, I run or cycle to and from work every day, and throughout the year I compete in endurance events including Ironman triathlons, marathon running and open water swimming. I’ve never smoked and consciously eat well. And although I have grey hair, a fissured brow and a few wrinkles, my healthy and active lifestyle (and I dare say, the absence of children) have endowed me with a shape that is better than most guys my age. So, when the conversation came up about having nude photos taken, I thought “why the hell not?”.
One of Grace’s talents that I hadn’t considered before the shoot, was her ability to treat the situation with such normality that I actually forgot what I was doing. Standing fully naked in front of a woman who I wasn’t about to have sex with, or be examined by, was far from normal. Yet it didn’t feel abnormal. We were both there to do a job, and although she was the only professional in the room, I did my best to match her standards. I knew about Grace’s training as a fine artist in London and Florence, before she moved into photography. I imagine it was her fine art training that inspires her work as a photographer. The way she worked with light and shadows, the positioning of the human body and the framing of each shot, while managing to avoid any unsightly “cock shots”, was truly impressive. Especially when she told me that she was shooting on film and not digital. This meant the need for accuracy in every shot was much greater (there’s no delete button on a conventional SLR camera), and gave a level of artistic authenticity that today’s post-production trickery simply can’t match.
A few days after the shoot (a period that felt like the grown-up version of waiting for holiday photos to return from Boots as a child), Grace and I met to review the contact sheets, and I was genuinely shocked. They were incredible. Even at thumbnail size, the untouched, black and white images were really captivating. I couldn’t believe that these were photos of me, a 40 year old, not a model or sportsman. Grace is a talented photographer and a pleasure to work with. She produced images of me that went above and beyond anything I had imagined when I had the idea to confront my midlife anxiety through nude photographs of myself. Here are some of the shots:
Soft Soft Screams Magazine’s First Featured Erotic Photographer Photographer: Grace Vane Percy Erotic Ballet Collection
Fine Art Erotic Photography Ultra-Creative Photography Exquisite lighting and beautiful composition creates an alluring image. These are just a few of the criteria needed to be selected in Soft Screams Magazine’s special collection of Fine Art Photography.
“Our primary mission is to assist more in the re-structuring of the photography industry as we know it today. More than ever, photographers require marketing and promotions of their talents and visions. Soft Screams Magazine is just one of several to be started Photography Magazines, each specializing in a niche of photography styles.
It is our secondary mission to educate people on the artistic beauty of Erotic Photography, one image at a time and to educate photographers and laypersons on the significant differences between the poor quality and sexually indulgent nature behind pornographic pics, and the artistry behind Erotic Photography.
Soft Screams Magazine is an adult Erotic Photography Magazine, formatted in a blog-a-zine style with comments, tips, and insights provided by Soft Screams Magazine’s Editor-In-Chief Belladonna Del Rio. Soft Screams Magazine features images that our editors, and viewers submit for the entertainment and education of the world. We scour through thousands of photographs a day to bring to you what Soft Scream Magazine considers to be the artistic best of the best of Erotic Photography.” Soft Screams Magazine
Grace Vane Percy is their FIRST Featured Artist! Thank you Belladonna Del Rio.
THE OPÉRA Annual Magazine For Classic & Contemporary Nude Photography Volume II
Nude photography: the most direct portrait of a person is once again the focus of the second edition of “THE OPÉRA magazine” – and presents the body at once as performer and stage. In numerous intimate encounters, international photo artists document and direct the wealth and individual aesthetic of the human body. They retain the histories of the people depicted in the images in an almost physically palpable way. In this second edition, editor Matthias Straub gets a step closer to these people without losing the deferential distance between object and artist.
Artists (among others):
Olivier Ameur, Olaf Breuning, Hannes Caspar, Alexey Dubinsky, Bill Durgin, Trude Fleischmann, Luis Gispert, Torkil Gudnason, Nicolas Guerin, Li Hui, Andrea Hübner, Rachel de Joode, Ilja Keizer, David Leventi, Jim Mangan, Shinichi Maruyama, Stefan Milev, Anouk Nitsche, Yves Noir, Polly Penrose, Grace Vane Percy, Carla van de Puttelaar, Neda Rajabi, Pascal Renoux, Brian Riley, Christy Lee Rogers, Sam Scott Schiavo, Fridolin Schöpper, Michael Taylor, Jessica Tremp, Spencer Tunick, Igor Vasiliadis and many more.
Published in November 2013
Available at Amazon
Yuan Peng und Jakob Wessinger
A Baby on Board Blog Feature Sept 2013
Freelance digital PR consultant, community manager, writer AND young mum Gillian Crawshaw posed this question to her readers:
“Would you pose nude when pregnant?
Did you take lots of bump shots when you were pregnant? I was thrilled when I finally started showing mid-way through the second trimester, took loads of my own photos and even had some taken for Pregnancy & Birth magazine. I’m fully clothed in all of them though, and looking back now I do think I would like to have a record of what my actual bump looked like under all those winter layers.
How about you; did you take any photos with a lot less clothes on when you were expecting – or would you be tempted to next time round?
I’m writing about this – fully clothed and happily not with child at the moment – because it’s the question that sprang to mind when I was contacted by the lovely Grace Vane Percy, a London-based nude female portraiture (how’s that for a job title?). She works within the classical tradition of the nude, aiming to produce portraits that celebrate women’s natural femininity and beauty. She specialises in pregnancy photo shoots; her black and white photos of pregnant women are beautiful, and have even featured in Harpers Bazaar.
Grace’s email got me thinking, and I took to Twitter to ask a group of my favourite mums what they thought about posing nude when pregnant. It’s a question that generated a lot of strong opinions, ranging from the no, never in a million years, to maybe…next time, to no, but I really wish I had.
The more I think about it, the more I’m in the maybe…next time category. I do think I’d like to have a proper record this time, especially not taken by myself after lots of faffing around with my iPhone self timer (although I doubt I’d put the photos on the wall or post any online). And if I love my pregnant body as much the second time round, why not?
So, what do you think…would you?”
Harper’s Bazzar ROYAL BABYWATCH: WEEK 31
Recent new mother Rebecca Newman has been following the course of the Duchess of Cambridge’s pregnancy with week by week advice on what to expect when you’re expecting.
As the Duchess of Cambridge approaches her due date, so Royal Babywatch draws to its close. As Kate prepares for the last push – forgive me – Royal Babywatch concludes with a round up of the last details which will help her ease stylishly and confidently into motherhood. We wish her, and her infant, every happiness.
The lissom Grace Vane Percy works transatlantically, specialising in the female nude; her granular black and white signature style is especially suited to the pregnant form (gracevanepercy.com).
Sunday Times Style Magazine March 2012
How I Make It Work
Grace Vane Percy, 30 is a photographer specialising in nude portraits. She live in her studio in Notting Hill with her husband, a freelance stage designer
HOW DID YOU GET INTO NUDE PORTRAITURE?
I started out doing children’s portraits, then one day I got a call from a woman asking if I would do a naked shot of her pregnant. She’d had a terrible time with her first pregnancy, so this one held special significance. I realised that being photographed in your most vulnerable state can really help a person work through their issues.
WHAT DO YOU GET OUT OF IT?
I’m very interested in people, so I find the way nudity transforms us is fascinating. I’m also trained in classical art and really enjoy the aesthetic nature of what I do, and o love to show my clients something beautiful about themselves.
WHY DO PEOPLE WANT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED NAKED?
When I started out, I worried I’d get lots of husbands wanting to celebrate their trophy wives’ plastic surgery. But usually it’s regular women, commissioning portraits of themselves wanting to celebrate a landmark birthday, for themselves or their partner, losing a lot of weight or something like having a baby. The picture hanging in their home reminds them to feel great about themselves and their body.
HOW DO CLIENTS PREPARE?
They have to exfoliate and moisturise the day before and on the day I ask them to wear loose clothing and no underwear, as it leaves marks on the skin. I also think the less hair and make-up the better. Too much make-up looks really odd when your face no longer has to compete with your clothes. They normally disrobe behind my giant reflector, and there’s always that ‘jump into the pool’ feeling – but once the clothes are off, feelings of awkwardness pass quickly.
WHAT DO YOU TALK TO THEM ABOUT?
I sometimes feel like my work is a mini therapy session. Once somebody is comfortable about being naked they tend to open up, and will chat to me about all kinds of problems and issues in their lives. They often tell me they leave feeling lighter.
WHAT DIRECTION DO YOU GIVE?
A lot! I’m really bossy! But seriously, capturing somebody in 2-D really exaggerates bad posture, so I ask my subjects to work on a ‘ribcage tilt’. Your breastbone moves upwards when you take a deep breath – your tummy tightens and your shoulders drop back, which gives you at least and extra inch of height.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT ABOUT WOMEN’S BODIES FROM YOUR WORK?
I go to yoga twice a week because, through my observation, yoga bodies age the best. It tones in a feminine way, and keeps your skin taut.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO TO STAY HEALTHY?
I’m a vegetarian. I stopped eating meat at boarding school because it always looked so disgusting, deciding I would only eat what I called ‘happy meat’, which would now be called ‘organic’. And then the more you don’t eat it, the more you don’t want it.
WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR ARTISTIC STREAK?
Probably from my Dad (the interior designer Christopher Vane Percy). He’s a very aesthetic person and loves symmetry – Christmas and birthdays were always very beautiful. He also taught me a love of classical art and Greek mythology.
HAVE YOU EVER POSED NUDE YOURSELF?
I photographed myself naked for Tatler a few years ago, and my husband and I were going to do a double portrait after our wedding when we were both in really good shape. But now he’s decided he needs to get to the gym again first!
HAVE YOU HAD MANY MALE CLIENTS?
A few, although I vet them heavily first, because a random guy getting naked in my home is a bit intimidating. Men tend to be a lot more vain self-conscious and self-critical, which surprised me. Also, if a man doesn’t have any muscle tone in his arms and chest, it’s hard to make a decent image, whereas a woman, irrespective of size or shape, always has feminine curves to work with.
YOU USE FILM RATHER THAN DIGITAL PHOTOGAPHY, WHY IS THIS?
Digital colour is almost too naked – there is more of a fleshy quality – whereas film creates more richness of tone. I don’t understand the obsession with HD. It takes the veil away, the romantic edge.
WHAT DO PEOPLE SAY WHEN THEY FIND OUT WHAT YOU DO?
Men always ask if I ever need an assistant, while generally women are thinking, “Oh God, is she imagining me naked?” It’s definitely a dinner party conversation starter.
Grace Vane Percy is exhibiting a selection of her nudes a part of Art Palm Beach 2012 until tomorrow.
Practical Parenting Jan 2012
“It was very liberating,” says Lea 32, proud mum of Louis, “I felt beyond special. When you’re pregnant you have a different sense of your body, you want to celebrate it and every curve. And the biggest is of course your bump!”
Nude Portrait studio sessions, £575 plus prints from Grace Vane Percy nude female portraiture gracevanepercy.com