While starting to look ahead to 2019 I also took a wee look back at 2018 which despite happenings in the wider world, was a pretty exciting one for me. I kicked off the year with the second of my Night Circus portraits. Where Poppet looks to the future, Widget works with memory, reading the past.
In February James and I headed off to visit the Isle of Arran and experienced true island living when the beast from the east shut down the ferries and we [tragically] had to spend another day on the lovely island.
Throughout the year I continued my visits to the Granton Castle Walled Garden a truly special place growing plants and community in North Edinburgh. I feel privileged to be helping tell the story of this next chapter in its life and was thrilled to have some of my images included in the Edinburgh Shoreline Exhibition at the Royal Botanic Garden over the summer.
To celebrate my 35th birthday my friend Aurelia and I hopped on bikes and toured around the Kintyre Peninsula and inner Hebrides. The highlight for me was visiting Finlaggen, historic seat of the Lord of the Isles.
August brought adventure of a very different kind as I headed off to Malmo, Sweden to present at the International Degrowth Conference hosted in Malmo’s famous Folkets parks. My presentation was a success but I left with even more questions than I started off with!
With that challenge accomplished it was time for some holiday, destination: North. I’ve wanted to visit Orkney and Shetland for over a decade and while we wouldn’t be going all the way to Shetland on this trip there was a wee cottage in Stromness with our name on it. After just over a week of battling the fierce winds on our bikes, touring the hear of neolithic Scotland and curling up watching £1 DVDs from the charity shop down the lane it was off home again.
And straight into photographing for the Beltane Fire Society’s autumn festival of Samhuinn.
Beltane and Samhuinn, the two major festivals put on by the society are both strong draws for me. While the society has to manage the balance between professional production and community ritual and celebration I feel the latter still wins out. To me they are a reminder and celebration of the cycles of nature, something we need more than ever as humankind struggles to rebalance itself within our habitat’s natural boundaries. Photographing for the festival was a challenge and it was not without huge amounts of stress and frustration but I have come out the other side a more skilled photographer for it.
Come November it was counting the days until Christmas and trip to see the family in the Sussex countryside with time for reflection and planning ahead.
The Night Circus project is currently looking for a costume designer/stylist!
The amazing designer who designed and created Poppet and Widget’s costumes has decided to head back to Australia which means I am looking a new creative collaborator to join the project.
This is a fantastic opportunity for someone looking to build their experience in costume design/styling and gain experience on photo shoots.
- The project runs on a shoe string budget so I’m especially interested in hearing from resourceful individuals able to combine making from scratch with charity shop/flea market finds.
- All work is done on a time for photos basis and costs for approved materials and other purchases are reimbursed or covered up front.
You do not need to have read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern before getting in touch but reading the book if selected is a requirement. If you are a fan of novels with the circus, magical elements and/or late 19th, early 20th century fashion I promise it won’t be a hardship. Photo shoots happen in Edinburgh but the costume designer does not have to be based here but you would need to travel into Edinburgh for photo shoots.
As this is a personal project scheduling is very flexible and can be worked around other commitments.
If you are interested please send me a message including:
- Why you are interested
- Relevant experience including links to any portfolios or images of your work if you have them
- if you have already read the book
- any additional information you think might be helpful
Send messages to: email@example.com
If I think you might be a good fit I’ll be in touch to arrange an informal chat. As I am looking for someone interested in working on the project over the longer term, i.e. not just one portrait this is as much how well we work together and connect as it is about creative vision and experience. This will also be an opportunity to talk more about how the creation process works on the project and for you to ask questions.
There is no fixed deadline, I’ll be reviewing messages and setting up chats as they come in so if you are interested please don’t hold off!
The Night Circus Portrait Series is officially off and running! In November I was lucky enough to work with a fantastic team who all helped bring Poppet to life.
As the Murray twins are never separated for long casting is now open for an actor or model interested in portraying Poppet’s twin brother Widget.
Winston Aidan Murray, known to all as Widget, was born on the grand opening of the Night Circus exactly six minutes before midnight; the passing of an old day. While his twin can see the future Widget can read people’s pasts.
He wears a black suit made from all manner of fabrics complete with a black hat and gloves. When not performing Widget tells stories and indulges his fondness for circus treats like cocoa, sugar mice and delicious cinnamon things.
- playing age of 15-19
- natural ginger hair
- ideally blue eyes but not a deal breaker
- Actor or model will receive digital photographs for time
- Selected actor or model will need to sign a model release form prior to the shoot
- Shoots are based in Edinburgh but can compensate for travel costs depending on location
- It is not necessary to have read the book but is definitely a bonus!
- Shoot dates will be largely dependent on individual schedules and in some cases seasonality
Ready to Runaway and Join the Circus?
- Send a photograph or link to your spotlight pg etc along with why you are interested in participating and the best way to get in touch to firstname.lastname@example.org or drop me a line on the contact page.
- If I think you might be a good fit I’ll be in touch for an informal chat
“The towering tents are striped in white and black, no golds or crimsons to be seen…All over the tents, small lights begin to flicker, as though the entirety of the circus is covered in particularly bright fireflies…When the tents are all aglow, sparkling against the night sky, the sign appears.
Le Cirque des Rêves- The Circus of Dreams”
– Excerpts from The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
For anyone who had dreams of running away to join the circus, loves fairy tales and exploring the wonder of worlds with magic, reading The Night Circus will enchant you.
The book has inspired me to my next project, a portrait series of the Night Circus characters. Below you can find more information about getting involved and specific casting calls.
Casting is now open for the first of the character portraits in my The Night Circus series. Like Bailey I am now looking for Poppet. Poppet Murray is in her mid teens with bright red hair and can see the future. She has a fraternal twin brother Widget who can read people’s pasts. She wears a white dress made of a patchwork of different fabrics, military jacketI would love to hear from anyone who feels they can fit the bill and are interested in joining the project. More character information will be provided upon request.
- There will be flexibility with age for Poppet if needed
- All actors will receive photos for time
- Selected actors will need to sign a model release form
- Please send a photo of yourself and why you are interested in participating
- It is not required to have read the book but a definite bonus if you have!
Contact me at: Ashleyerdman@gmail.com
Other Ways to be Involved
In addition to actors for the characters I am looking for make-up artists and stylists interested in the project. If you are interested and like the sound of it or would like more information feel free to drop me an email and we can chat. All work will be done on time for photos.