Social Media Icons

Wednesday 13 September 2017

Wheelchair Fashion: Autumn Smoke

I'm pretty sure I have peaked. Literally these are the best photos I will ever have, I should just retire now :) I've been wanting to take these photos for a while but I've been waiting for it to get to the right stage of late summer, early autumn so the location would be perfect. And it was literally perfect.

I knew I wanted these photos at Brimham Rocks, regardless of the fact that the area I knew these photos needed is 100% inaccessible. Ehhh, inaccessible is just a hard to spell word, nothing was going to stop me from getting these photos exactly the way I had imagined them.
I used to go to Brimham Rocks all the time when I was a kid. I probably know it better than I know Leeds City Centre, or at least I did for a long time.
I could talk for a long, long time about Brimham Rocks & honestly you'd probably get pretty bored. Let's just say that it's the perfect mix of Yorkshire moorland, woodland & easily climbable weird rock formations that makes as much fun at 5 as it does when you're older. I'm not so excited by the rocks these days (although there are a few I remember very fondly) but I do wish I could walk some of the moorland & woodland bits I remember loving pre-M.E. Some of those hold a very fond place in my heart & it was really hard being there & not getting to go on a proper walk.

This part of Brimham Rocks is right next to the car park, up an inaccessible rise through a small (& totally inaccessible) patch of trees. I think it might have been technically semi accessible if I had been in a more powerful wheelchair & the ground hadn't been slick with dew. Also if I hadn't been quite so scared of crashing. There's a pretty well walked track & it's not got too many mole holes & rocks. The problem is that it's narrow so you can't avoid the obstacles that are what would you do when you got there? You can't turn, there are tall grasses & heather on all sides. You'd have to reverse out & believe me that would have been a thing of nightmare. This just isn't something you'd do for fun.
I ended up walking the distance (maybe 10 metres...) in short bursts sitting on my wheelchair in between & having my brother carry the chair the distance (again in short bursts, the chair is pretty heavy after all). So total realism obviously.
Whatever, this is almost exactly where I had hoped to take pictures (the area I had imagined is a bit further round, so totally beyond the reach of me or my wheelchair) The area I had in mind is a little more open & I remember walking through it when I was a kid when it was all dry & golden. Every other step we'd disturb some grouse who'd make a lot of noise, fly up & then land exactly where it had been... I miss stuff like that.
This was pretty much perfect though, the rowan trees & the edges of the grass turning a little yellow with a touch of autumn & the heather being out & stuff... It would have been an awesome background even without the smoke. I have a feeling I'll be going back to try to find a slightly more accessible part to take photos in.

I'm finally going to talk about the smoke bombs. All of that talking about the location & this is going to be pretty simple. I used smoke bombs I bought on the internet.
Lol, no there's more to it than that. So whilst I was on my time out from blogging I decided I wanted to use the time to think about how to improve my blogging. I felt like I was stagnating & everything was overwhelming. I wanted to think of ways to blog without getting overwhelmed & also get more satisfaction from what I was doing. So I started planning photoshoots & outfits upto 3 months ahead (I have ideas for posts I don't even have clothes for yet) & I also wanted to improve my photography. So I bought a few photography books & I started watching photography videos on Youtube. My favourite videos are by Tony & Chelsea Northrup but they don't do a lot of fashion photography stuff so I kept searching & found Jessica Kobeissi. She obviously doesn't do the same style of photos as me but I learnt a lot by watching her videos & got a lot of ideas. The video that made the biggest impression was the one where she used Smoke Bombs (actually there are two, this is the other one, but the first one is the one that inspired me the most).
I did a WHOLE load of research, I pinned every picture I could find with smoke bombs. I watched a whole load of videos (I found this one especially helpful) & I read a whole load of posts (it was exhausting) & ended up deciding this was something I really wanted to do.

I used the Enola Gaye smoke bombs for a few reasons. Firstly they have a massive colour range (every colour of the rainbow plus black & white). Secondly they create a lot of good quality smoke.
Thirdly the dye is water based & doesn't damage the environment. Fourthly (& most importantly for me) they are apparently the safest because they are 'cool burning' & have a ring pull & don't set your surroundings on fire. They are still a form of pyrotechnic though so you have to be careful. I made my brother (who was wafting them around for me) wear heavy duty gardening gloves when he was holding them & we took a bucket of sand (actually cat litter because that's what my mum could find in ASDA) to put them in when we were finished.
I also picked a day with very little wind (less than 5 miles an hour seemed to be the best I could do) which gave the smoke the most 'hang time' which was handy because I'm no where near as good a model as the one Jessica worked with. I spent most of my time looking at the smoke & being awed by how pretty it was. And also doing weird things with my arms. I did a lot of weird things with my arms. And that doesn't include all the times I was swatting away midges. There were a lot of midges out, my mum's forehead ended up covered in bites. She kind of looked like she had measles...

I think the absolute best thing about all of this though is the dress. I saved it for this post because I think it almost looks like it's made out of smoke you know? It's such a soft fabric & the print is also so soft & in such soft colours that it just lends it's self to this kind of shoot. I know it's a summer dress but it felt kind of like it belonged in the misty world of early autumn anyway. Like this was it's destiny all along...because dresses have destinies apparently. I need to spend more time in the real world.
Anyway, rational things I love about the dress. I love the 1940's vibes & the buttons down the front (although I don't love that they ALWAYS do that weird squiggle across my boobs...I have no idea what that's about). I love the petal detail of the sleeves, the collar & the soft float-y fabric of the dress. I LOVE the chinoiserie kind of print on the fabric & the colour. Seriously the colour is everything.
The dress is available sizes XS to 4XL on Modcloth & Unique Vintage. It is microscopically more expensive on Modcloth but they are currently doing free international shipping. Swings & roundabouts.
The skirt is a lot narrower than my usual circle skirts so I wasn't certain my regular petticoats would look right under it (they didn't) so I ended up getting myself a Zoey petticoat by Malco Modes. It's a much narrower petticoat, great for wheelchair users who are worried about the bulk of a fluffier petticoat. If anyone knows where I can get a Zoey petticoat in the UK (or at least Europe) I would really appreciate it because the shipping on the Malco Modes site's a lot.
The shoes are my B.A.I.T. footwear grey Rosalinda shoes (you can kind of see them in a few photos, sorry there aren't any better pictures). Not very practical to walk through nature in but very comfortable in day to day life.

Oh & finally the necklace is this one from Buttonsy Jewellary on Etsy. I used to have all my necklaces out on a tree thing from a few Christmases ago but before I got Renata (my cat) I put them all away in a box so that I didn't come in my room one day to find her tangled up in them (I wouldn't put it past her even now they're away if I'm honest, she's sneaky). The problem with putting them away is that I kind of forget about them. I'm going to have to put a post it on my makeup mirror or something to remind me...

I'm so excited for Autumn!
There are very few things I don't like about Autumn (& all of them have to do with Bonfire Night lol) but I have to say what I'm looking forward to most is my house just being QUIET sometimes (my brothers are both still around it just feels like I have no room to breathe sometimes). I'm also looking forward to autumn leaves & foggy mornings & listening to the rain & mornings where the sunlight doesn't burn my eyes out. Oh & stews & hot chocolates & baked goods with pumpkin & apple & warm spices. And wearing a whole load of burgundy. I love wearing burgundy. And plaid. And cardigans. And boots...I wish I could still fit into boots....
Oh Autumn is so my favourite season.
What are you looking forward to about autumn?


  1. Oh wow! You've put so much effort into this photoshoot. I love it!

  2. Oh wow! You've put so much effort into this photoshoot. I love it!

  3. Wow, this is amazing! I haven't commented on your blog before because I'm a hermit on the internet as well as off, but I've been following for ages and... wow! I really have no words to describe how great these photos are. And thank you so much for the links! I am also a fashion blogger (and also chronically ill) and I'm always trying to improve my only-really-okay photography.

    1. I'm the same re comments, I really have to work at commenting, even on social media etc. Photos are only...maybe a third of fashion blogging, the clothes are the more important part & as long as those are cute that is all you really need :) x

  4. These are beautiful photos, the use of the smoke bombs is inspired!

  5. Beautiful. I really enjoyed your vision for this shoot. Wonderful to see mom and brother chip in to make it happen.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.