Girl with hawk photograph by mark eilbeck

Model: Erika at Profile Models (London)

‘I am half sick of shadows,’ said The Lady of Shalott.

Erika wakes in her tower lookout, peeks into the valley below, and send her trusty familiar into the sky to fetch the newspaper.

The set was constructed with thin boards with grey paint and then some irregular patches of black spray paint. Extra texturing was by Photoshop, which also helped us by adding the Alpine mountain-scape.

Additional computer work composited the hawk. Rather than forcing the model to act natural with a flapping predator on her hand, we found it easier to shoot the bird on the hand of it’s owner, my friend Ian, in the similar position as the girl. He did however, refuse to wear her camisole.

Compositing is common practice working with animals and models. It can take time to get the right action from a beast, never mind the model. Shoot them separately in the limited time you have them in the studio, and take more time later in post-processing.

There’s a recurring pattern here between the brown lace on her top and the shape of the hawk’s wings. I’d like to say this was planned, but it was only on looking through the lens this was discovered. Sometimes luck just happens.

Our feathered model, Harry, was awarded with a few bits of meat and drove back to Suffolk, famous for a day.