With the final series of Poldark drawing to a close, it felt apt to share this elopement story, drawing on influences from the much loved (or perhaps lusted after) character, Captain Ross Poldark and his wife Demelza. The setting is so mystical, with ancient stones and incredibly dreamy light, the images from Salt & Sea Co. are evocative and moving – exactly how an elopement should feel.
Sarah The Photographer: An Elopement Story of Lowenna & Richard on Bodmin Moor. Hazy moorland, spindly and weather-bent hawthorns and ancient stones standing sentinel. Scattered in curious circles over the aged heath, covered with lichen and moss these stones have seen countless sunrises and sunsets and the people who put them there seem as mysterious as the meanings of these stones themselves. These stones, the old celtic people who once roamed the rugged landscape of Cornwall and their stories were the inspiration behind this collaborative styled elopement shoot at the Hurlers of Bodmin Moor, Cornwall. Pulling together a myriad of Cornwall’s talent, each all draw inspiration in their work from landscape, nature and history. We each had the shared a common goal; to create a romantic tale upon the moors with gentle nods to celtic history and classic literary works.
An Elopement Story
The shoot tells the story of two lovers coming together for an intimate marriage celebration at the heart of the historic bronze age standing stones on Bodmin moor. As both lovers were musicians in real life, we wove their passions into the storyline of the elopement and brought in the folk instruments to illustrate their personalities and narrate the concept of shared passions, music and celebration. In celtic celebrations of the past, communities would have come together to feast and provide entertainment for each other and I loved the romantic notion of the couple sharing a song together post ceremony. Traditionally, if the weather was fair the feast would have taken place beneath the open sky and so illustrator and stylist, Claire Chamberlain styled a table setting inspired by the colour palette of the landscape. The shoot culminates with the sunset where the sun touches the heart of the stones and the evening turns cool and music and merriment continues long after the stars begin to shine.
As the photographer, it was imperative to me to use a real couple for this narrative. I wanted to capture a sense of real tenderness and care, a heartfelt connection between two lovers who embodied that which the narrative was attempting to illustrate: romance. Lowenna, who portrayed the role of the bride grew up just a stone’s throw from the menhirs themselves in the small village of Quethiock. With her auburn hair carefully woven into a beautifully intricate mix of fish-tale and chunky celtic braids by the ever talented cruelty free make-up and hair artist Ione Kutz and a dreamy, ethereal white gown designed and sewn the incredible Ailsa Munro, she looked a timeless apparition; a Cathy or Demelza in her own right that belonged wholeheartedly to the stories of the moors. Hannah Batstone’s beautiful, contemporary gold ring collection and simple but elegant hoops nestled against Lowenna’s red hair were the perfect finishing touches for her bridal look and were most befitting set against the golden light and hazy mustard and earth hues of the moors.
The bouquet and boutonnieres were the vision of Alice of Ruby Alice Design; always feminine, romantic and utterly dreamy, Alice was given the premise of the shoot and instructed to let her imagination run free. The result was a perfect balance of both rich and pale tones, plump blush roses and earthy greens spilling in abundance with protruding ivy and spindly branches adorned with blossom nodding again at the landscape.
For Lowenna’s partner Richard, it was important to me to illustrate his personality through his outfit and as a lover of pattern and vibrance, I sourced an autumnal paisley shirt and maroon woollen waistcoat and jacket combo via ASOS which blended with the colour palette of the moorland and the golden light and Alice’s florals. Claire’s table design for the intimate feast supper was also inspired by the landscape. Incorporating rich mustard velvet table cloths, simple linen runners, earthenware and beeswax candles, there were also nods to the more gothic essence of the moors with the table being adorned with lichen covered twigs, moss, dried flowers and cow parsley plucked from the hedgerow. Claire also illustrated the stationery which was a combination of striking and detailed line drawing and earthy watercolours upon cotton rag paper which lifted their colour palette directly from the Ruby Alice’s floral designs.
Claire’s illustrative and design styles are influenced by her extensive collection of vintage prints, victorian botanical drawings and bold complex lines and quite often in her styling you may find gentle and curious mixtures of subtle southern gothic with contemporary opulence.
The true piece of the shoot which pulled all of the different collaborations together seamlessly was Ailsa Munro’s billowing white gown around which the shoot was inspired. With its dreamy skirt that caught the wind in just the right way, the two-piece gown was a timeless work most befitting a celtic and natural setting and like many of her pieces, looks like the sort of beautiful, fine-art craftsmanship that can be found in perhaps a period drama, classic literary work or a pre raphaelite painting.
The result of this collaboration of historic culture loving creatives is an inspired shoot that finds its belongings in the sublime, the ethereal and leafy pages of classic works. A curious but elegant marriage of simple nature and sumptuous motifs, it befits those seeking inspiration for a quietly unique ceremony with roots that date back centuries adorned with a discerning and refined yet simple and distinctive bridal look.