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Caithness News Bulletins March 2006

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More Madeira and Natalie From John Baikie  
Local girl Natalie Oag was enjoying dinner on the first night of a week long break in Madeira when her holiday plans were turned on their head. She was spotted by highly rated fashion photographer Hossain Mahdavi, part of the Photo Training Overseas group. Hoss was needing a model for his classes, and although he had someone lined up, he decided Natalie was exactly what he was looking for. After a few short discussions, Natalie had been signed up to do 4 sessions with Hoss, doing fashion shots indoors and on location. After a tiring few days and several requests from delegates to do paid assignments with them, Natalie was then approached by Irishman Jim Moreland, who wanted to change his entire lesson plan to accommodate a lighting demo around her. Another two sessions followed, before Bjorn Tomassen asked her to do a private shoot for him. He intends to use some of Natalie’s images on his website, as well as using a couple of images in a forthcoming book.

She then modelled for local photographer John Baikie in some eye catching locations around Funchal before returning home exhausted but over the moon with the whole experience. “It was a great experience, which I thoroughly enjoyed” explains Natalie “I will remember it for the rest of my life.” “Each of the photographers seemed to capture different qualities in me. Jim went for an innocent look, Hoss captured some of my attitude, and Bjorn went for a sexier, more feminine look.”

Natalie who lives in Lyth, is a clerical assistant with BT in Thurso. The only previous experience of modelling has been a few portfolio shoots locally, something which surprised photographers on the course, who assumed she did it professionally.

Bjorn, who is regularly commissioned by well known magazines to shoot fashion and portraiture, has invited Natalie to travel to his Cornwall base to do more work, with a view to getting her published in some of these magazines. “She is an amazing model” said Bjorn “she just has something very special, and is a natural in front of the camera”. “She even contributes her own ideas to the shoot, which is great”.. All of the photographers she worked with have in fact expressed an interest in working with Natalie again, providing she is prepared to travel.

Natalie took away some great impressions of the photographers involved and was very grateful for the opportunity they gave her. “I really enjoyed working with them all” she said “Jim, for his Irish charm and relaxing manner, Hoss, who was an upbeat character with a great positive attitude, and Bjorn who made me believe in myself”

Natalie intends to take up some of the offers of work in the springtime, beginning with a trip to Bjorn Tomassen’s studio in Cornwall. “It was the best week ever” she said “and I can’t wait to have another go.”