How delightful to see that Milk Management has released a series of new test photographs from lovely plus-size model Sophie Sheppard (recently interviewed here
). The pictures show the Australian expat in a series of gorgeous outdoor settings that complement her own natural beauty. Better still, the outfits are colourful and pretty, giving the pictures a springtime warmth.
From the point of view of size celebration, the finest of the new set is the following picture, showing Miss Sheppard in a breezy white dress which accentuates her buxom curves and indicates the overall fullness of her size-16/18 figure. Although this particular angle does not exhibit Sophie's luscious arms, it is a pleasure to see that the model was styled in a sleeveless item. The warm London breeze gently wafts the model's golden tresses, even as she looks off into the distance with an expression of romantic intensity.
By far the most beautiful hairstyle in any of the new images appears in the next picture, a more youth-oriented image. It features Sophie in a denim top and in a camisole with a sensual scoop neckline which exhibits the model's voluptuous décolletage. Excitingly, the outfit is once again sleeveless--but what a pity that the composition does not feature the model's gorgeous arms. Nevertheless, Sophie's expression is supremely alluring, the vain, spoiled look of an entitlement princess used to getting her way in all things. One often sees beautiful young women exuding such seductive degrees of attitude, but the innately gentle qualities of Sophie's fair features soften the effect, rendering the image completely captivating. The setting also introduces a romantic element, with the sunlight illuminating the trees in a rich emerald hue and gilding the model's hair.
Observe how, in modelling a more feminine, lacy item, Sophie deftly alters her expression and takes on a gentler, dreamier look, still redolent with personality, but much softer. The model's coy gesture of playing with a stray tress makes her irresistible. The white, lacy top, with its tantalizing yet modest hint of Sophie's buxom curves, is perfectly suited as an adornment for her enchanting, timeless beauty, as is the woodland backdrop, which complements the model's natural grace. The image epitomizes the finest qualities of Victorian beauty, and could easily have been photographed in the 19th century, a time when feminine apparel, soft curves, romantic settings, and fair features would have been universally acknowledged as expressions of ideal loveliness.
Colour. How wonderful it is to see Sophie in colour, especially in this organic citrus yellow, which harmonizes with the woodland setting, establishing Miss Sheppard as the delectable fruit amid the lush verdure. The lighting in this picture, as in each photograph in the series, is atmospherically muted, as if one were seeing the images through a shimmering mist. Sophie's expression is tranquil, almost trance-like, and the way in which she drapes the tunic over her shoulders makes one recall images of the Virgin Mary, in which she similarly clothes herself in loose white raiment, even as celestial glory shines all around her.
The following photograph also presents Sophie in a delectable fruit-like colour, this one a strawberry hue, but observe how different an effect the model generates, simply by altering her expression. In this photograph she seems more like a young nymphet, vulnerable but preciously aware, with a touch of tamped-down kittenish wildness, like a young Bridget Bardot, or Emmanuelle Béart in Manon des Sources. It is a haunting, enigmatic look filled with emotion. Observe in particular how the eyes mystify the senses, at once seeming to gaze at the viewer, but then also to be looking just past him at a more distant source. The touches of greenery, including the woods in the distance and the lichen on the venerable stone wall, play off the strawberry colour and the model's youthfulness very effectively.
Pink is ever the softest, gentlest, prettiest, most youthful colour for a fair-featured model to don, so how intriguing it is to see that for the two pictures showing Miss Sheppard in this hue, the photographer altered the setting from the woodland park to a more urban locale. While one always prefers forest backdrops, variety is also good, and London is richly blessed with venerable brickwork infrastructure going back centuries, which is often much more picturesque than the concrete constructions of the New World. The pink top is a lovely complement to the model's fair skin tone and golden hair.
Perhaps because Miss Sheppard is invariably asked to smile in her commercial work, she often adopts more serious expressions for her tests. Truth be told, Sophie has one of the loveliest smiles of any model in the industry, but her more earnest looks are captivating as well. This gaze exhibits remarkable intensity, with the model scrutinizing an unknown, distant target with the greatest purposefulness. The masses of golden hair framing her face, and especially the one stray tress falling over her cheek, help to soften the look, as does her pink-hued top.
What a pleasure it is to return to the park setting for the final images from the test, this one in landscape format, showing the model in a navy top that closely wraps her curvaceous figure. Photographers often shoot models in a late-afternoon glow, but morning sunlight creates a captivating white radiance, as seen in these photos. The emptiness of the park, as if Sophie had the whole world to herself, helps to give the image a dreamlike mood. The lush, emerald greenery frames her features in the most eye-catching manner. Her gaze is distant and searching, deeply romantic.
A final image from this test returns the model to the location seen in the first photograph, with Sophie outfitted in her flattering white dress. This close-up more particularly reveals the model's seductive voluptuousness, with the top button of the dress tantalizingly unfastened. The turquoise necklace plays off of Sophie's pink lip colour and golden hair, creating a fascinating balance of hues. The sunlight variously penetrates the tree branches, providing a captivatingly dappled illumination of the model's features.
Congratulations to Miss Sheppard on her gorgeous new test, styled in such a lovely manner and photographed in an attractive, natural setting. The finest images from this shoot have a dreamlike quality, picturing a world entirely removed from our modern urban dystopia, as if the 20th century's disastrous World Wars had never happened, and the aristocratic establishment of the Old World had continued till the present day, preserving a world in which curvaceous femininity and natural wonder remained universally acknowledged as expressions of true beauty.
(Several images in this post can be clicked and viewed at a larger size.)
- Sophie Sheppard interview, part one