Thursday, 17 May 2018

Guffogg's Guest - Dee Keaveney

Welcome to 'Guffogg's Guest'. The series in which I interview creatives about their journey into the creative world, their works, and what makes them tick. This week I'm interviewing London based dancer and model, Dee Keaveney.

Dee Keaveney
Dee Keaveney shot by Scotty Mack Images


Hi Dee. Thanks for taking some time out to answer some questions for me. How did you come to find yourself in front of a camera?

'I never thought of myself as a model. Growing up I was glued to America's Next Top Model and I saw that I never looked like any of the girls so it never occurred to me that it could be something I could get into. But since I danced from a very young age, there have always been photographers around. I would do photoshoots to promote shows or events I was performing in and that eventually led to someone asking me for a one on one shoot on my local beach. When I turned professional, I then needed my own portfolio of dance images to use in job applications so I gained a little more experience in front of the camera. But I still never took it seriously. I was comfortable with my body being photographed but not my face. I always wanted photographers to keep the distance. It wasn't until I signed up to purple port at the suggestion of a friend, that I started to take it all more seriously. I learned by doing although the dance training is a massive asset as I follow direction really well but also have a creative eye for how things should look. It's now something I really love doing and my confidence has grown immeasurably when it comes to modelling. I never thought it would become another creative outlet for me but I'm very happy that it has.'

Dee Keaveney
Dee Keaveney


In talking about the benefits your dance background gives you with modelling, you've sort of touched on something I was wanting to ask. I'm lead to believe by my wife, who was an avid watcher of tv dancey shows (technical term I'm coining!), dancers have incredible control over their body. Have you found this a beneficial skill within your modelling?

'Absolutely! It's probably my biggest asset in modelling. The strength, flexibility and control that comes with years of dancing are invaluable when it comes to holding uncomfortable and awkward poses. Our physical and spatial awareness is generally good too and dancers tend to be perfectionists and want every line and shape to be just right. That's definitely the case for me anyway!'

Dee Keaveney
Dee Keaveney


As I alluded to, and as you may have guessed (tv dancey shows!), I'm quite uninformed when it comes to dance. For the more cultured amongst us however, what forms of dance are you trained in?

'I started doing ballet at the age of 5, then took jazz classes aged 9 and just never really stopped. When I went into full time training I had classes in ballet, contemporary, theatre and commercial jazz, tap, heels and street styles. Jazz is definitely my strongest style and what I feel and look best doing. But in the last few years I've also discovered pole dance and come to love it. It's one of the hardest things I've ever done but so satisfying to learn and improve. I'm looking forward to developing it as a special skill.'

Dee Keaveney
Dee Keaveney shot by Steve_M


I believe you are currently away in India dancing at the IPL Cricket Tournament. How did that come about?

'Yes I'm based in Delhi right now, dancing for the Delhi Daredevils and travelling India for the matches. It's an absolutely incredible experience and I'm loving it. It came about almost y accident though. I was applying for every dance job I could find online as I just really felt like a break from London. I applied to one particular company for a job in Greece, heard nothing back and forgot about it. Then maybe a month later I get this agent replying to me saying he has a client interested in me for a different job. Which was the IPL as it turned out. As an Irish girl, I had no idea about cricket but I sure know a lot about it now! It was touch and go with the visa process for a while but I'm so happy it all worked out. It's such a fun job.'

Dee Keaveney
Dee Keaveney shot by Steve_M


You know, I asked about how you ended up dancing at the IPL Cricket Tournament without even considering the more obvious question. There's dancers at cricket? I don't remember seeing dancers the few times I was subjected to watching cricket on the telly in the past.

'Well I knew absolutely nothing about cricket before I came here and I never thought they had dancers either. But for this particular tournament, they play 20/20 cricket, where each team plays only 20 overs each so it's much faster and more exciting. It's also highly commercial and sponsored by huge brands so I guess they want to make as big of a spectacle as they can. Hence us cheerleaders! We dance at every 4, 6, wicket, time out and over. No joke in a 4 hour match with the mid day sun beating down on you!'

Dee Keaveney
Dee Keaveney shot by David Innes Photography


I also have to ask, because I'm nosy. What was the problem with the visa process?

'The visa isn't that interesting, I just had to go home to Ireland for it and it took longer then planned, I lost money on flights and time off from work. Nothing too crazy.'

Dee Keaveney
Dee Keaveney shot by David Innes Photography


Other than India, where else has your dancing taken you?

'Well I moved to NYC to train at Broadway Dance Centre when I was 22. That was the best decision I ever made and New York is my favourite city in world. That was 5 years ago and I still miss it everyday. I worked a lot at home in Ireland and in London and also did long contracts in Malta and Cyprus which I loved. India has made Asia the 4th continent I've lived on now.'

Dee Keaveney
Dee Keaveney shot by teebutlerphotography


New York is one of those places I've always thought would be cool to live (I've heard about the 24 hour availability of takeaway pizza...that's a big draw). What's it really like living there, is it like we've been lead to believe by the likes of Friends?

'New York is an incredible place to live but not for everyone. It's chaotic and intrusive and as non stop as you'd expect. But for me, I never felt like I had belonged anywhere more in my life. It brought out the best in me. It has its own unique energy which is so inspiring and motivating. And yes it has 24 hour pizza and almost everything else you could ever want. When i moved to London after leaving NYC, I couldn't believe the tube wasn't 24 hours and that pubs closed at 11! Friends is a massive illusion though, sorry to say it! Mostly because nobody has apartments in Manhattan that big on the salaries they would be earning!'

Dee Keaveney
Dee Keaveney shot by Martin G


When you're performing at an event, such as you are currently, the idea is for the crowd to watch. When you're modelling however, crowds can cause an issue. A photoshoot often turns heads, and will occasionally cause people to pause and watch. I suspect if the model was dancing it could draw a decent size crowd. Have you ever found yourself the attention of a crowd when shooting?

'Yeah I've been in situations like that a few times. To be honest it doesn't really bother me, you do get very used to being watched and if people want to stop and have a look, I'll take it as a compliment. If I'm shooting outside when it's cold, that tends to attract the most attention. People come to ask if I'm cold, dancing around in shorts or whatever. Most of the time I'm as cold as they are but I just try to keep the blood pumping as much as I can.'

Dee Keaveney
Dee Keaveney shot by Steve_M


If people would like to see more of your modelling, your dancing, or book you for a shoot or performance, where can they find you?

'I'm very active on Instagram. I have two accounts, one which is exclusively for photography @deedancer_model and the other is my personal account which has much more dance content @deekeaveney. I'm also on purple port as DeeDancer where my portfolio, references and stats are.'

Dee Keaveney
Dee Keaveney shot by Steve_M


Lastly, what's your favourite joke?

'I usually say that my favourite joke is my love life!'

Dee Keaveney
Dee Keaveney shot by Steve_M


I'd like to thank Dee again for taking the time to answer a few questions for me. Be sure to check out all the links above for more of Dee's work, as well as the links attached to the images for the other creatives involved in creating them.

Ian
https://facebook.com/guffoggthegeek
https://twitter.com/guffoggthegeek



All opinions expressed within this interview are that of the participant and do not reflect those of Ian Guffogg, nor Guffogg The Geek as a whole.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Guffogg's Guest - Ruby Rebel

Welcome to 'Guffogg's Guest'. The series in which I interview creatives about their journey into the creative world, their works, and what makes them tick. This week I'm interviewing Portsmouth based model, Ruby Rebel.

Ruby Rebel
Ruby Rebel shot by Frankinsella


Hi Ruby. Thank you for taking a little time to answer some questions for me. How is it you found yourself in the modelling world?

'One of my very good friends Suzanna helped me to get into modelling. I'd wanted to do it for more than a good few years and Suzanna helped me.'


What was it that attracted you to modelling? Was it a curiosity about the industry? The idea of making art? A way to try help boost self esteem?

'It's the styles and how artistic modelling can really be. I wanted to tell a story with my body.'

Ruby Rebel
Ruby Rebel shot by Frankinsella


When you started modelling did you have an idea where you wanted your modelling to go such as appearing in publications, modelling as a career, what styles you wanted to shoot?

'I started out modelling as a hobby and never thought it would go anywhere, now I'm doing it part time. I'm hoping to keep modelling and to one day get published. When I started modelling I said no nude, and no lingerie. I hated the idea of me doing it, now they're one of my best levels.'

Ruby Rebel
Ruby Rebel shot by Campbell Digital at Fareham Studio


Whilst looking through your PurplePort portfolio I came across your image 'Blank Canvas'. Often times on a model portfolio they will have a selfie with very little to no make-up, as a means for photographers to see, to borrow your image title, their blank canvas. You don't see so often however an image such as yours where a shoot was done in that way (note: having checked, it happens more often than you'd expect. Which in my eyes is great and has produced some awesome images!). Why did you choose to do such a shoot?

'I thought it would be nice to do a shoot all natural, but keep it to the levels that suit me and my image. I think we did it with that image.'

Ruby Rebel
Ruby Rebel shot by Campbell Digital at Fareham Studio assisted by Andy Gaden


When you're not in front of the camera, what can you be found doing?

'Weekdays when I'm not shooting I'm in college. Weekends I work in a Cancer Research UK charity ship, and spend time with my partner. I've found I needed to make time for my modelling and my partner, so modelling is in the week and mine and my partners time is on the weekends it's worked out very well.'

Ruby Rebel
Ruby Rebel shot by Martyn B at Fareham Studio


You've been modelling quite a short time, how have you found it so far? Have you found people helpful? What have you learnt since starting?

'I've been modelling just over a year now and it's been amazing. That said, I've had a rough time with a few people. I'm still going though and I'm not planning to stop any time soon. Some people have helped me out very much, teaching me about modelling and how to improve. Others won't bother or they bully you. I've learnt modelling is no where near as easy as everyone thinks it is, and not everyone will love your work.'


I think a lot of industries have misconceptions about the difficulties involved. What have you found particularly challenging?

'Truth be told modelling is a lot harder than I thought it would be when I first started. I didn't know about posing and expressions but now I put 100% effort into my modelling.'

Ruby Rebel
Ruby Rebel shot by Martyn B at Fareham Studio


Actually, if I may ask you about something else you mentioned. People have been intentionally unhelpful and bullying?

'Yes I have had a lot of unhelpful, and at times bullying people trying to tell me things that I shouldn't do with my body because I don't look good enough. I've also had people leave feedback that's bad, not in a constructive, critical way, but bullying.'


A lot... That's very disheartening of the industry I love. Especially so considering how many people get in to it as a way of helping various issues, including self esteem issues. How has this behaviour from others impacted you?

'I did have a 3 month brake due to other's behaviour, and I did think about quitting altogether at one point.'


If I may, and please don't feel you need to answer this, I understand if you'd rather not... What about it made you take the break, was it just the unprofessional nature of what you had experienced or was it something more, such as harm it caused your self-confidence and your self body image?

'I had very low self-esteem and not a lot of body confidence due to self harming. I didn't want to model nude when I first started and I got bullied because of it...don't get me wrong I love doing nude now and I think I'm very good at it.

I also got bullied because of my scars and mental health. I had some photographers laugh at me on shoots when I tired to explain.

Just because I model it doesn't mean I have the most perfect life. It's a lot more complex than you know and I think it's safe to say it's the same for a lot of models as well.'


I'm so sorry you've had to endure that. Nobody should be belittled because of their struggles. From my interactions with models, a lot of them do have at least a little issue with self confidence, with some having really severe self confidence issues. You might not be able to answer this, because I sure as hell can't, but...why do you think so many people struggle to understand that models can have, and often do have, issues with self confidence, body image, mental health? Is it the glossy image the media often gives of modelling, or the fact that the images look 'happy' and 'put together' so the person in them must be, or do you think it's just simply people being ignorant?

'I think people just don't understand. They think because we model everything must be okay. I've had a very rough up bringing with bullying and self harming.

A lot of us models go through so much but people seem to think everything is okay. We model so we must love everything about ourselves. Truth be told I'm still struggling with body confidence but I do love modelling. I just wish people would understand that just because I'm a model it doesn't mean my mental health, or my life is okay.'

Ruby Rebel
Ruby Rebel shot by Martyn B at Fareham Studio


If people want to see more of your work, or book a shoot with you, where should they go?

'PurplePort. I do have Instagram and Facebook but most of my work is on PurplePort.'

Ruby Rebel
Ruby Rebel shot by GlamourAddict at Fareham Studio


I'd like to thank Ruby again for taking the time to answer a few questions for me. Be sure to check out all the links above for more of Ruby's work, as well as the links attached to the images for the other creatives involved in creating them.

Ian
https://facebook.com/guffoggthegeek
https://twitter.com/guffoggthegeek

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Why Work...When You Can Watch The Girl In The Photographs


Poster for The Girl In The Photographs from Vertical Entertainment


In the same way Richard Hammond should be forcibly removed from the vehicle he is undoubtedly in when he says "just one more run", or "watch this". I should shut off the movie I'm about to watch when I mutter the phrase "sounds like an interesting premise". This is not a new notion, I had this epiphany many years ago. So long ago now I can't remember what actually caused it. The trouble is, I usually fail to listen to this pretty sound advice...and that's why I find myself writing this review...

Browsing the options on Shudder (think Netflix for horror nuts) one evening I stumbled across The Girl In The Photographs. My passion for photography and my passion for horror films fused, and it had an interesting sounding premise...'A bored young woman in a sleepy community called Spearfish starts receiving photographs of brutally murdered young women. Are they real or staged? The culprit is either a serial killer or some creep with a sick sense of humour.'

Another deciding factor in my choosing to watch The Girl In The Photographs was the involvement of Wes Craven as executive producer. It was actually the last project Craven worked on before he sadly passed away and the film is dedicated to him. Whilst I have admired Craven and his work for many years, and I can understand wanting to impress him, one problem I have with the film is it feels less like a film with homages to the great man, and more like a film desperately trying to appear as if he himself made it. To give an example of this, the film opens with a fairly recognisable actress killed off very quickly...a la Scream.

Speaking of Scream. Where Scream and other successful horror films work well is in the characters. Making them relatable, likeable, and/or making them grow as a person. All these things make you invest in the character, it makes you root for them, it gives you that AWWW moment if something happens to them. I can only assume the makers of The Girl In The Photographs don't want you to suffer that emotional turmoil because none of the characters are that likeable. The 'lead' Colleen spends the majority of the film looking miffed. The 'token good guy' is beyond boring. The 'token cops' are useless and uninterested. The 'token jock' and 'token cheerleader' types are bitchy, and as far as I can tell only in the film for the obligatory sex leading to death scene. Worst of all is the 'token prick', in this instance Kal Penn's Peter Hemmings, a photographer and absolute prick of the highest order...this is purely conjecture on my part but I suspect he's based on a photographer who's name rhymes with Rerry Tichardson.

Visually, the film is stunning. Mind you, with someone like Dean Cundey (Halloween, Back To The Future, Jurassic Park) working on it, it's no wonder.

The story and characters decisions, even by horror movie standards, felt illogical to me. To me it felt like they had some ideas set in stone, but the 'inbetweens' were almost an afterthought. As well as the bizarre choices, some stuff seemed unnecessary. At the risk of ridicule from my wife and proof reader, the sex tape scene between the 'token jock' and 'token cheerleader' served, to my mind, no real purpose. I'll go one further to illustrate my point. Towards the end is a scene that is both illogical and unnecessary. When shit has really hit the fan Colleen tries to find a hiding place, in case someone comes in through the door. Colleen's hiding place of choice, under a desk. A classic of the horror movie genre. The problem, the gap she is in faces the door offering her no cover whatsoever. I can only guess, and this is purely a guess, but I think the whole point of this scene was the Michael Bay like close up of her arse in denim short shorts as she crawled.

The ending...the cherry on top...proving to me I really did waste an hour and half of my life. In a lot of horror films, especially slasher films, there's a showdown at the end between the crazy (or crazies) and the final survivor(s). Sure, afterwards you often get a jump scare laying the groundwork for a sequel, but you get a showdown. The end of The Girl In the Photographs however, lets just say it doesn't follow the tried and tested fan favourite formula...whilst bloody, it's anti-fucking-climatic.

Whilst the film is, meh, the kills are bloody, and for the most part grounded in reality, which I applaud them for. Whilst I don't expect that much realism in horror, basic human biology can't be ignored when people are getting stabbed, decapitated, strangled and the like. Well, it can, but the ridulousness can often detract from the horror making it farcical. Also, I personally have always found the 'wacko with weapons' a scarier villain purely because it's an actual possibility.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not highbrow with my movie choices. Nor do I expect that much story, or realism within a horror movie. A little story, motivation, character progression, or a reason to root for the characters would be nice. Sadly, The Girl In The Photographs has none of these, and it's flaws completely overshadow a few decent kills and some impressive visuals.


Ian
https://facebook.com/guffoggthegeek
https://twitter.com/guffoggthegeek