Red Dress - Caroline Savary.

Leighton Buzzard photographer goes to extremes for inspired dress images - by taking photoshoot underwater!

'No doubt, this is only the beginning...'

By News Reporter
Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 9:48 am

The French Riviera has long been a magnet for talented and passionate creatives taking advantage of the seductive Azuréen light to feed their inspiration.

This was how two artists from Bedfordshire found their way to the South of France and decided to collaborate to create some magic.

Carl Thomson, a native of Leighton Buzzard, put a call out on a Facebook group used to connect expats in the region.

As a photographer for more than 10 years he was looking for an inspirational dress to photograph. His call was answered by Kim Stokes, a bridalwear designer and seamstress. When he arrived at Kim’s design studio she asked him whereabouts in England he was from. He thought there was no way she had ever heard of Leighton Buzzard. How wrong he was! She had grown up just a stone’s throw away in Luton. A collaboration between these two Bedfordshire natives was definitely called for.

Carl had a clear vision of the dramatic look he wanted for his shoot. Together they assembled their dream team of models, make-up artist and hair stylist and set to work to make the vision a reality.

Taking advantage of the unusually quiet period due to Coronavirus restrictions in France, Kim, created the stunning red dress. With a plunging neckline, open back and 3 metre train, this eye-catching dress literally stopped traffic along the coast in Cannes during the photoshoot.

Not content to stop there the duo decided they wanted to photograph the dress alongside a new art installation by local sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor. The six monumental mask sculptures are based on portraits of people from the local community. The only challenge: the sculptures were situated four metres underwater off the coast of Cannes.

Undeterred, the pair enlisted the help of a professional free diver to be their model. Carl now had to go full ‘James Bond -style’ using professional underwater photography equipment to capture his perfect shot.

Both Carl and Kim would agree that it was an enormous feat to bring this project from idea to realisation, but the result was well worth it. Surrounded by so much inspiration and walking in the footsteps of the thousands of artists who have been inspired by the Côte d’Azur before them, no doubt this is only the beginning.

> Carl wishes to thank makeup artist Candice Usher.

Page 1 of 2