The following entry talks (extensively) about a very special prop warehouse. I refer to it as The Prop House, but before you divert over to google, that’s not its real name. I wanted to refer to it only as that to give you a full idea of the gravity, and mystery that it has had for me all throughout my life.
I can’t remember the first time that I went to The Prop House. I only have vague memories of going there as I grew up, wandering down The Street gazing up at the masses of baskets and taxidermy animals hanging from the ceiling, exploring The Tavern and trying to find the lone plastic frog hidden in one of the hundreds of mugs, turning a corner and feeling so lost as to never be found. The Prop house is completely and utterly fascinating and, unfortunately for me, impossible to describe fully. Home to millions of props (I swear that I’m not exaggerating), it has been jam packed with the most incredible things that have been long abandoned by our demanding modern times. An actual list of the items would, undoubtedly, stem to thousands of pages long as they include quite literally everything that littered the streets, shops and homes up to, and over, a hundred years ago. Right now I keep trying to sum up for you everything that they have, to list what you might expect to find there, but I really don’t know where to begin. It is the most incredible Aladdin’s Cave that you could ever delight your eyes with, and apparently I was breast fed in The Library! My mother has worked there for over 30 years, allowing my lucky self a rare visit whenever I could persuade her that I wouldn’t cause any trouble. This place felt so much like another world that, growing up, I somehow found myself occasionally forgetting about its existence, although I’m confident of its huge influence over my obsession with exploration, old, dusty things and film sets. A few years ago I was so lucky as to become part of the spectacular team at The Prop House. It was then that I began to properly explore the warehouse further than the one strip of corridor that I was too afraid to move away from when I was little, and to really appreciate the props for what they were. Being a model, and having already become enchanted with the possibilities of putting my own photoshoots together, I managed to borrow a few props to work with myself.
Oh, did I mention that it had a costume hire shop? Hundreds of Tudor, Elizabethan and fantasy gowns just begging to be worn and swirled around in. During my visits when I was younger, once I tired of the spooky walk of The Street, I was quite happy to get lost within the skirts of the tightly packed costume room. Trying on everything that I could get my hands on (and could reach on the high up rails), I dreamed of the day when I would actually fit into these stunning adult sized dresses. I never imagined that when that day came, I’d be able to use them for such beautiful images that I could share with the world. I honestly can’t express how much it excited me to create an image using the very things that I’ve spent my life being obsessed with.
Below are some images from a photoshoot that is very special to me, using props and a gown which I was lucky enough to borrow from The Prop House. Apart from the beautiful chair which belonged to the photographer, along with the backdrop and the adorable dog (who I’m pleased to say isn’t stuffed and was an absolute thrill to work with!) everything that you see is borrowed. It doesn’t even come close to the range of props that you can find in the warehouse, but it’s a small amount and I’m so very happy to share them with you.
This shoot was Marie Antoinette themed. Well, how could I not after finding this incredible dress? It was an idea that I had discussed with photographer Martin aka. Znapps for a while and, after grabbing my incredibly talented hair stylist and makeup artist pal Chantelle Quince (who you’ve met before!) we went to work on creating an absolutely stunning image. You can see a few variations of the basic look, as I alternated between playing with a cup of tea, fake grapes and beautifully old book. I even pulled Martin’s adorable dog onto my lap to pose with as he was absolutely perfect for the time scale and couldn’t seem to leave us alone! This shoot was an absolute dream. Between the fun of showing the amazing props to Chantelle and Martin, making the set and dressing up in this beautiful gown as Chantelle did me up in the style of the French 18th Century Queen, it was the perfect way to spend a day. Trying to sneak off with the gorgeous puppy underneath my skirts was just the cherry on the top.