Annie Roberts visits portrait photographer Tamara Peel at her rural Worcestershire hideaway.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – especially when the beholder is photographer Tamara Peel.
Head down the drive to her hidden away studio nestling in the Worcestershire countryside and step into a new world – Tamara’s world.
One of the farm’s rundown stone barns has been converted into a stylish haven – an ideal place for award-winning Tamara to create images that give people a fresh perspective on their looks and unique style.
It is, confesses Tamara, a privilege.
She sees the farm’s location at Harvington, near Kidderminster, as an opportunity to use backdrops that transform the simplest image of a child playing into something special.
“We really are in the middle of nowhere – it is magical,” says Tamara, who grew up in Stourbridge.
The ever changing crops in the field or the seasonal arrival of the sheep each offer an opportunity to Tamara’s creative eye.
She explains: “There are a lot of rundown buildings I love to use around the site. To some people the crumbling blue paint or the rust on the door hinge or a grainy old door might not be something special but I like to take photos using places that are far from expected.”
The results are special portraitures that not only capture the subject but the mood of a place that Tamara has made her own.
“I am really enchanted by the place – it is magical. People come here and can step out of their normal lives – I don’t just use the rolling scenery but look at the farm sheds. The textures and peeling rust adds to the place.”
Life was not always so enchanted for Tamara who has just turned 40. She ‘fell’ in to photography after pursuing her avid interest in fine art. Her work made the right impression but she took an instant attraction to photography.
“It was more immediate. I love using the was light and took to photography like a duck to water,” says Tamara.
She adds: “I love watching people – watching the shy ones develop. I like spending time with people and I am more interested in what is behind their first impressions. I lot of people can find it scary but I think everyone has something special. I like to be honest and tell people how good they look – the British don’t do that very often.
“It is important to tell people that they have beautiful eyes or a lovely smile – it gives people confidence and makes them feel better about themselves.”
Photography gave her the opportunity to use her talents and families are regular visitors to the studio looking for a different style of portraiture. Few will realise that the studio also boasts another special place – a boudoir where women are given an opportunity to show other sides of their personalities.
The room boasts feather heats, luxuriant curtains and a wealth of cushions where the client can relax and work with Tamara and her all-female team, who have developed the Noir Pink theme to meet growing demand from women.
Tamara first got the idea when her and another single friend were spending Christmas together. Tamara, who has since started dating, explains: “We are both photographers and like many women started discussing about why we were single. We decided to take photographs of each other showing why we were sexy and fabulous and to remind ourselves that we were special.”
The Noir Pink idea developed from this informal photo shoot. Now women of all shapes, sizes and ages in different stages of their life from newly divorced to newly weds are booking sessions at the studio to reveal another side of their personalities.
Tamara says: “It is really exciting. It is a gorgeous room where a woman can be herself. There is no pressure but we encourage each woman to show another side of herself – artistic and sexy.”
For some this is simply wearing subtle suspenders or a basque while others may want a different pose.
Tamara says: “It really is what each woman feels comfortable with – I want them to feel that it is ok to be sexy, female and glamorous. I think it is time women reminded themselves that they are special.”
One of the keenest group of bookers are brides to be wanting something memorable to give to the groom and, says Tamara: “The photos are special and personal and something to remind the man who he is marrying. I think it is fabulous.”
Tamara’s enthusiasm falls in to the same fabulous category.
From photos of businessmen in the boardroom and iconic architecture like Selfridges to toddlers playing in the rain or women daring to bare nearly all for the very first time – Tamara is in her favourite place.
Simply at home behind the camera lens – Tamara would not want to be anywhere else.
* For information about Tamara’s work see www.tamarapeel.co.uk or for boudoir sessions see the website, www.noirpink.co.uk or call 01562 700079.