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!
Thanks to the talented Bonnie Friend & the Spabreaks team
VENUS: Reviewing, Proofing, Getting Ready for Production
Presses will roll on Friday 12th September! @ Deckers Snoeck in Ghent
Film’s Not Dead: A Helping Hand For VENUS
London based photographer Grace Vane Percy has been creating a beautiful body of work over a number of years where she has been exploring the Venus poses & the female body. Her work has been shot on mostly medium format film as well as some 7×5 sheet film. Vane Percy is now looking for funding to help her put this project into a book:
“I have been working on this self-funded project for over four years and it’s finally ready to be published. With your support and generosity, all this planning and work can finally be brought out into the real world. Shot mainly on medium format B&W film in some of the UK’s most celebrated country houses, my series of 54 unique images and 15,000 words of text is completed. Locations include famous and historically significant houses, from Alnwick Castle, where Harry Potter was filmed, to Castle Howard where Brideshead was revisited twice. The photographs combine the female form with architecture in a manner never before seen. The halls, of Houghton and Holkham, the gallery of Newby Hall, as well as follies and fountains provide the perfect setting.
Venus is the mother of all female nudity in art. She is known for her ethereal beauty, which transcends mere desire. With the advent of photography this disassociation from the mortal world became difficult to execute. In this series, the concept of perfect encapsulation of female beauty is reclaimed and represented for the modern world.
The result will be a full-color (for richness & depth of tonal quality), black and white, litho laser press printed book, on finest quality paper saddle bound, hard-back, coffee table book.”
Thank you Film’s not Dead, I’m such a fan! It’s a real honour to be featured.
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
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).
Grace Vane Percy creates artistic and atmospheric, beautiful timeless black and white female nude portraits. Photography meets fine art, these nude images are so beautiful and evocative without being overt. The quality of the archival prints is just beautiful.
Celebrate your natural feminine beauty with fine art nude portrait photography. It’s about creating a really nice portrait of you.
A Naked portrait the Perfect wedding gift, first anniversary gift, birthday or luxury gift for discerning women.
Did you know that your first wedding anniversary is paper? Making one of Grace’s beautiful archival hand prints the perfect gift. Surprise your husband with something he would never have expected an artistic nude portrait.
Having nude portraits taken is something I’ve always wanted to do, I just never knew how to go about it. When I heard about Grace and saw her website, I thought “perfect” now is the time! I felt much more at ease knowing that I was going to see a female photographer. The actual session was much easier and more enjoyable than I had anticipated. My husband was so thrilled with the results, he had seen and exhibition of beautiful black and white female nude and thought that it would never be something that I’d do, especially without telling him!!
Picture This by Charlotte Fielding – Bective Lesley Marsh ‘Lifestylers’ May 2008
Charlotte Fielding spends some time with London portrait photographer Grace Vane Percy.
To see a flash of a woman’s ankle or a section of delicate wrist during the Victorian era was considered very risqué. Over time we have become far more relaxed about the naked human form. Today it is not uncommon to see people clad in clothing that skims midriff, clings to the buttocks, shows off thighs and plunges down the chest. Whilst this mode of dressing has now become fairly common practice, as modest Brits many of us would still shy away from taking off our clothes for a nude portrait. Although behind closed doors many would love to have a beautiful, artistic, flattering image created of themselves, even if only to say, “I used to look like that once, wasn’t I fabulous,” but simply don’t know how to go about it.
Enter Grace Vane Percy. Grace is a London based photographer full of naked ambition. A wise head on young shoulders she has a quiet, gentle air about her which puts her clients immediately at their ease. Grace works with a cross section of women, glamorous New York socialites, women who want a keepsake of their pregnancy, women looking for a wedding present for their husbands to be, or anyone who just would like the experience. Some clients hang their portrait over the fireplace in the drawing room for all to see; others have it to adorn the bedroom wall, whilst some simply want to keep it in a box to glance at once in a while.
Grace has been producing nude portraits for over four years and it is clear from her work that she loves what she does. She mostly works in her studio but if the client prefers she will see them at their homes, although she believes the studio is a more appropriate venue for the shoot. “People appear much more comfortable in a new environment set up for the shoot.” She explains, “They seem to be more confident in a studio environment and if they have any inhibitions they shed them far more easily if they are in familiar surroundings.”
One of my fist questions for Grace after seeing her work was whether the women that she photographed had body hang ups or if there were all confident with the way that they look; after all, the women in her images are absolutely beautiful and the photos stunning. Some are reclining nudes, some are of backs and some of torsos but all are magnificently lit and art in its purest form. “Absolutely not,” she replied, “the majority of people who come to see me have an issue with one part of their body or another and I just work around that, concentrating on their best assets.” As a woman she understands women’s bodies and their potential hang ups and can help people feel more relaxed.
Due to her father being an interior designer, Grace grew up on an architectural diet and her eye was trained from a young age. She studied art at Central St Martins in London which, for Grace, was a big disappointment. She wanted a more traditional grounding in technical skill than they were able to offer. She went on instead to train in Florence which inspired her love for classical, nude imagery through the sculpture and life drawing classes she undertook.
Her inspiration comes from the work of 1930’s Czech and Polish photographers such as Rudolph Kopitz. This was an era when people were becoming more aware of the body, exercise and fitness became a part of peoples daily lives. The images that inspire Grace the most are those which are of more sculptural and athletic forms in angular poses.
During the two hour session Grace really puts people at their ease. Some clients know exactly what they want whilst others have no idea. She shows a selection of the work that she has done to inspire people as to what they might like. All of Graces work is done on medium format film as opposed to on film, so there is no question of looking at the images during the shoot. She also does not encourage any touch ups or digital reworking unless the client insists upon it. Instead she uses light and positioning to create the most flattering images.
For Grace, nude portrait photography “ticked all the boxes”. For her first commission she was approached to do a portrait of a pregnant woman, this was her breakthrough into nude portraiture and she has never looked back.
Grace Vane Percy by Richard Dennen – Tatler April 2008
Grace Vane Percy has no problem getting people to go naked for her. In fact, she’s virtually fighting them off. She’s the ‘Nude Snapper’ to go to if you want to throw caution to the wind – and bare all. “Yes, I photograph ladies in the nude,” laughs Grace, “but it’s always an artistic portrait – it’s certainly not ‘glamour’ modelling – it’s a fine art thing.” And many of those who peel off their clothes do so to have their naked self hanging up on a wall at home. “It’s about female beauty,” she continues, “and I photograph more for women. Most often it’s a gift from a wife to a husband.”
In her trade you expect your subjects to come in all shapes and sizes – and Vane-Percy is unshockable. One client walked into her studio four weeks after serious plastic surgery. “She had an enormous scar – really nasty.” But mostly it’s well-heeled professionals pitching up and stripping off. “Many of these women spend their own money on flashing their flesh. They’ve got the car, the bag, the shoes and now they want to bare-all. I don’t tend to get trophy wives sent in by their husbands.”
Getting ready to head to the Nude Snapper’s studio is all part of the process too. Grace’s subjects have to get down to fully exfoliating and moisturising their entire bodies the night before. Then the next day – when heading off to see her – her clients have to go sans-bra and commando. “So they’re walking along down the Kings Road and thinking to themselves ‘I’m not wearing any underwear. ’ When they turn up they’re already in a different mindset. Already committed to doing it.”
“I have everything set up,” continues Grace, “But I always leave a little something to do so I don’t have to stand there and go, ‘Drop it.’ I just ask them to take up a position on the cloth. It’s better to just get on with it quickly.
After a year at St Martin’s, followed by 2001 spent life-drawing in Florence, it all kicked off the year she got back from Italy. Grace shot a nude picture for a friend from university who was putting on a play. Then was asked by a woman who had seen a baby portrait she’d done to shoot her naked. And it just snow-balled. She’s now helped expose 80 women to expose themselves.
While her parents – interior designer Christopher, and Lady Linda Vane Percy, are cool with her job, it’s definitely not something any of her relations would necessarily have got stuck into. Granny – the Countess of Wilton – was one of the four Yarde-Buller sisters (one married Prince Ali Khan, one Earl Cadogan and the other the Duke of Bedford) although her great-granny was a ‘Gaiety Girl’ who became Duchess of Leinster. It’s all a far cry from what the nuns at the Catholic prep school she went to, followed by Oakham, then Cambridge, would have expected. But perhaps it’s her background – she grew up between Mayfair and the family pad, Island Hall, outside Cambridge – all part of her secret and gentle charm that puts her subjects at ease.
But why do they want to do it? “Often it’s because they have been through some kind of life changing experience. Or they’ve just divorced. Or been on a massive diet. Or simply because they’ve turned a certain age.” Age also seems to be a defining factor; “I think that as women get older they get more confident and carefree. When you are in your 20s – although you had a better figure – you just don’t have the right mind set to do it.” Going through the process with Grace is also a sort of expulsion of all thoughts of body hate; an American-style of learning to love oneself. That once they’ve done the deed – taken their clothes off and spent time talking to Grace about what they don’t like about their bodies – they’ve been through a kind of therapy. “The thing about the body is that its errors actually make it whole; that when you’re naked as an object, as you were designed, everything fits into place.” And Grace, one feels, should know.
Notting Hill’s Naked Photographer – Kensington and Chelsea Times 2008
Established Notting Hill photographer Grace Vane Percy is in demand. Nude female portraiture has become her niche market and her signature atmospheric, flattering lit portraits are fast becoming the ultimate must have for discerning women both in London and New York.
Grace Trained at Central Saint Martin’s, London, before going to study fine art and the techniques of the Old Masters in Florence, she sees her work as directly influenced by classical art as well as the work of mid 19th century English and 1930’s Czech photographers. Her work was internationally recognised, when, in 2004 Grace was invited t join the ‘Women In Photography’ Archive at Yale. Grace’s work celebrates beauty and the female form and is about empowering women to think differently about their bodies.
Grace explains: “As women, we all have so many hang-ups and issues with our bodies (I’m no exception) but I think people really do find the experience quite cathartic. Women learn to look at their bodies in a completely new way and my clients really do walk away from the whole thing far more assured and with a better and more ‘positive mental image’.”
The trend for nude female portraiture is rapidly developing in the UK as women are becoming more confident and proud of their figures. Grace explains the trend: “Often they’re wedding or engagement gifts, birthday, anniversary or Christmas presents. Quite often it’s a big culmination, for example losing weight or celebrating a certain birthday. Pregnancy and post pregnancy are also recurrent themes, and make for beautiful portraits. However, many women have simply seen my work loved the classical look and simply thought ’Why not?’ I believe it’s something that most women have secretly always wanted to do and it’s more a question of finding a photographer who they actually feel comfortable with.”
Grace’s work is now in high demand from an array of professional and elite women, with a desire to be captured in the nude maintaining a tasteful and dignified style. Her studio, based in a converted Victorian Dairy in Notting Hill, is buzzing with successful and confident women who want to capture themselves in a beautiful way. Those who are luck enough to book a session have high praise indeed. It seems the combination of Grace’s calm reassuring personality and the beautiful classical images she produces are a winning one. As one of Grace’s clients Taryn De Clerico puts it: “The hardest part of the entire process was to choose the photographs I wanted to print – they were all so stunning, it was impossible to decide!”