‘Free The Birds, by photographer Leonie Freeman and stylist Amelia Staples tells the story of two teenage nature loving eco warriors wanting to ‘Free The Birds’ and save the world.
Inspired by Mike Leigh’s screenplay, Nuts In May and with a Wes Anderson feel to the editorial we find out a little more about Free The Birds in a Q & A with Leonie Freeman. Scroll down to read the Q & A and view some behind the scenes images.
Styling: Amelia Staples
Hair & Make-Up: Alex Crown
Models: Seth at Grace & Galor, Esme at Bonnie & Betty.
With special thanks to Tom Chilvers for the loan of the birds.
Q & A with Leonie Freeman.
JS: What was the inspiration for Free The Birds?
LF: This story was inspired by Mike Leigh’s screenplay, Nuts In May – the disastrous story of an eccentric couple who go on a camping holiday in Britain in the 70s. I love storytelling in my shoots. My original thoughts were about creating a story about a geeky teenage couple who are bird watchers. It was going to be called ‘The Twitchers’, but stories develop and this one took on a life of its own and became a story about two kooky eco-warrior teenagers who are out to save the world. The eco-warrior teenagers are trying to set the antique taxidermy birds (who have been dead as dodos for a long time!) free, back to nature. They are camping and exploring in the woods with their collection of feathered friends.
JS: How did you select a team to work with and bring your idea to life?
LF: Amelia Staples and I have been dying to work together for a long time. It took a while to get it together to do a shoot as we were both pregnant and had babies. At the time of shooting the editorial, Amelia was actually heavily pregnant! Amelia was amazing to work with and we really enjoyed developing this story.
>Amelia had a friend with a collection of antique taxidermy animals and he was kind enough to lend us these amazing birds. We both had a lot of fun setting the scene for this story. I found the amazing yellow 70’s tent on Ebay – which was such a great find! The shoot is really bright with lovely autumnal colours, reminiscent of Wes Anderson’s Moonlight Kingdom movie (I love Wes’ use of colour!). We had an amazing team, Alex Crown did a fantastic job with the hair and makeup.
JS: Where did you shoot the story?
LF: The shoot took place in the hills behind Brighton on a sunny September day. We carted all the birds and kids and props around with us. Esme and Seth’s parents were put to use in setting up the tent! Seth’s dad (who looked like a member of The Kings Of Leon)as below in image 4, had told us about his time in the army, so he had some good skills we could utilise, so we decided to put him to work – pitching the 70s tent!
The kids were amazing in the shoot, it was so much fun to create this story. They really got into character!
JS: How did the children feel about working with the birds?
LF: The kids loved the birds! Seth couldn’t stop stroking and messing around with them. We were all a bit scared of the magpie and crow though.
JS: Is there a particular moment that sticks in your mind during the shoot?
LF: Many! The wood and hills behind Brighton are popular areas for dog walkers. The birds had a lot of interest from passing dogs who didn’t understand why the birds weren’t flying away! You can view this in the Behind The Scenes images above!
Slide 1 – Esme: Gardner & The Gang Top @ Alex&Alexa, Bobo Choses Skirt, Socks & Neck Frill, Lotta from Stockholm Clogs. Seth: Bobo Choses Jumper, Jeans, Scarf & Socks, Converse Boots.
Slide 2 Image 1 – Esme: Bobo Choses Top & Tights, The Animal Observatory @ Alex & Alexa Skirt, Vintage Bag, Lotta From Stockholm Shoes. Seth: Caramel @ Children’s Salon Jumper, Bobo Choses Trousers & Socks, Monster Vintage Kids Jacket & Cap, Dr Martens Brogue Shoes. Slide 2 Image 2 – Esme: Tiny Cottons @ Alex & Alexa Spotty Top, The Animals Observatory @ Alex & Alexa Gilet, Lotta From Stockholm Shoes.
Slide 3 Image 1 – Seth: Wrangler Jacket from Monster Vintage Kids, Vintage Shirt, Bobo Choses Jeans & Socks. Slide 3 Image 2 -Esme: Monster Vintage Kids Sailor Shirt, Bobo Choses Dungarees, Vintage Glasses.
Slide 4 Image 1 & 2 – Esme: Molo Hat & Jumper, Stella McCartney @ Children’s Salon Dungarees, Nike Vintage Trainers. Seth: Stella McCartney @ Children’s Salon Jumper, Bobo Choses Hat & Trousers, Vintage Glasses, Converse Trainers.
Slide 5 Image 1 – Seth: Stella McCartney @ Children’s Salon Jumper, Caramel @ Children’s Salon Trousers. Slide 5 Image 2 -Esme: Tiny Cottons @ Alex & Alexa Spotty Top, The Animals Observatory @ Alex & Alexa Gilet.
Slide 6 Image 1 – Esme: Sonya Rykiel @ Alex & Alexa Jumper, Bobo Choses Neck Frill, The Animal Observatory at Alex & Alexa Checked Trousers. Seth: Romano @ Alex & Alexa Checked Suit, Bobo Choses Striped Shirt, Vintage Glasses. Slide 6 Image 2 – Esme: The Animal Observatory @ Alex & Alexa Cardigan, Bobo Choses Hat.
Slide 7 Image 1 & 2 – Esme: Bobo Choses Jacket, Top & Skirt, Vintage Glasses, Lotta From Stockholm Shoes. Seth: Caramel @ Children’s Salon Striped Shirt, The Animal Observatory @ Alex & Alexa Cardigan, Bobo Choses Trousers & Socks, Vintage Glasses, Dr Martens Shoes.
Slide 8 – Esme: Bobo Choses Jacket, Top, Dungarees & Socks, Lotta from Stockholm Shoes. Seth: Caramel @ Children’s Salon Top, Bobo Choses Tank Top, Trousers & Socks, Dr Martens Shoes.
To purchase, a copy of Hooligans Magazine Issue 15, click here.
View Sapology by Isabel Pinto another editorial from Hooligans Magazine Issue 15 (Dec 2017).
Photography Leonie Freeman – All rights reserved.
Please do not reproduce without permission.