Interview with Poison Ivee – Underwater and Photo Model

Featured Image: Copyright – Photographer – Marco / Model – Poison Ivee

How did you start modelling?

I struggled with a lack of creative outlet, having been a photographer but unable to get back into the analogue genre very easily. I decided I’d try and see if being in front of the camera gave me the desire for creativity I was desperate to find again; the rest is history!

You have covered a wide range of genres, including rope, underwater, outdoor, wax, self-portrait, and wet collodion; what has been the most enjoyable for you and why?

Gosh, when you list it out, I’ve done quite a few genres and methods!

As a die hard film photographer, I have to say the days I’ve been lucky enough to spend with Dave (Shrimpton) and Mark (Marco Bellimbusto). Going to Dave’s studio to work with large format film and wet plate collodion for me is like being a kid in a sweet shop. The pure magic of watching your image develop in front of your eyes on a 10×8 ambrotype is unrivalled for me. I feel very lucky to have been invited by Mark that first time, and continue to love it every time since.

Copyright – Photographer – Marco / Model – Poison Ivee

Which Genre was the hardest one to master and why?

Sometimes I have ideas and can’t explain them to a photographer, so I try and capture them myself. The ideas usually come from an emotion I’m feeling in that moment that perhaps also can’t wait to be arranged into a photoshoot and I just have an urge to express. I’d like to do more self-portraits, really, but time is always an issue!

I see you have worked with a range of other models; who have been your favourite models to work with and why? 

I’ve had the pleasure of working with lovely models and never had a bad experience with another model. Standouts for me, though, are Helen Saunders for her posing ability, joyful nature, and hard-working ethic, and also Natasha Lloyd, who, although I haven’t worked directly with, I met and watched her work recently at an underwater shoot we were both at, and she is beautiful inside and out and gives 100%. 

Copyright – Photographer – JKSPHOTO / Model – Poison Ivee

If you could plan your ideal shoot, who would be the photographer and what would be the theme of the shoot?

I can’t answer this, as my brain has too many thoughts, and it depends on how I’m feeling each day and moment! I will say that I only shoot a very limited amount, and so I tend to work with photographers I know already. I have an analogue day with Dave and Mark coming up again, which I’m really looking forward to, and we are channelling Julia Margaret Cameron. Hopefully, some beautiful art will come out of our studio time! I’d love to shoot with Dani Riot again and do some darker stuff, or I recently discovered Rosalinde Sarah Holt, and I’d love to collaborate with her as I adore her style. 

Apart from your self-portraits, have you ever thought about moving others to the other side of the camera and being the photographer? 

That’s where I started! My passion for photography came from school, where I was lucky enough to have the incredible Ashley la Grange as my teacher and access to the best photographic library I think known to man! I fell in love with the darkroom, which has never left me. My last 4 years of school were mainly spent in the darkroom, and I still miss it. I’m a large format photographer and was so lucky to have Ashley to guide me and give me the opportunity to experience large format. I can’t describe how much work goes into creating a 20×24 inch image from a 10×8 inch negative…but it’s so worth it. I hope one day to have a darkroom of my own. 

Copyright – Photographer –Dave Shrimpton / Model – Poison Ivee

As a model, you have been captured by some impressive photographers; what was the idea behind starting self-portrait work? 

Sometimes I have ideas and can’t explain them to a photographer, so I try and capture them myself. I’d like to do more self-portraits, really, but time is always an issue! 

What advice would you give to one of your friends who came to you for modelling advice?

Well, it would depend on what they were asking, but in general, I’d say be prepared to work hard as it isn’t an easy job, be reliable as nothing will get you a bad name faster than if you are unreliable, and don’t be afraid to give your input at a shoot. 

Copyright – Photographer – Marco / Model – Poison Ivee

Do you have any goals you want to achieve in the next 3 years? 

I don’t have anything specific, as I don’t tend to plan life too far ahead. I’m more of a live in the moment type of person and seize opportunities as they arise organically. What will be will be.

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