Model – Jody Sturman
Make-up Artist – Charlie Long
Stylist – Charlie Long
Photographers – Kevin Dack & Vincent Chapman
Location – Earsham Hall Pine

Words by Charlie Long

My mother and father’s passion for classic cars has had an influence on me from a very young age. When I was 18 I bought my very first classic car, a 1966 right hand drive Fiat 500F which I regrettably sold a few years later to the legendary Chris Rea. Since then my affection for dainty classic cars has remained with me, so much so that when my dad recently purchased an extremely rare car, an Italian 1959 Autobianchi Bianchina Transformabile I couldn’t contain my excitement. This charming, shiny, red and white automobile was calling to be revealed to the world and this is what inspired me to organise a 1950s Italian photo shoot.

I have been a make-up artist since 2006, I studied Theatrical and Media Make-up at Norwich City College. It was there that I trained by professional make-up artist Louise Young. I primarily specialise in Bridal and Occasion make-up but more recently my make-up skills have taken a different direction. I decided to start organising creative photo shoots so that amateur photographers could add something a little different to their portfolio. The majority of my shoots have primarily been studio based because it’s extremely challenging trying to coordinate shoots around poor weather. Then so now that summer is finally here it is an ideal opportunity to organise a shoot in an outdoor location.


Over the last few months I have built up a photographer database where I can invite photographers to future shoots that I am planning. I posted a casting call for the 1950s Italian photo shoot on my social media database and within minutes two photographers, Vincent Chapman from Downham Market and Kevin Dack from Taverham, Norwich contacted me. I quickly set about finding a suitable model for the shoot and made contact with a published model from Lowestoft, Jody Sturman. Jody had vast experience modelling for vintage photo shoots and had the perfect look for my shoot.

The next thing I needed to do was capture some inspiration from for suitable attire. I decided to go for a 1950s vintage style, swing, green dress with large white polka dots which I purchased from EBay; this would be accompanied by models own pillar box red court shoes and a matching head scarf, oh and not forgetting a white petticoat to add lots of bounce to the dress. Both of these items were purchased from EBay.

The make-up for the shoot was essentially minimal; I applied MAC Cosmetics Studio Fix NW15 foundation fairly generously to create a mask like complexion in keeping with the 1950s trend. Moving forward on to the eyes, I applied a very small amount of Maowi Eyeshadow from the Louise Young Essential Eye Palette to define the crease. I accompanied this with the iconic 1950s black winged eyeliner; I used MAC Cosmetics Gel liner ‘Blacktrack’. To complete the eyes I applied lashings of L’Oreal Voluminous mascara as this was a ladies favourite make-up accessory in the 1950s. I finished off the look with a dusting of MAC Cosmetics Powder Blush ‘I’m the One’ on the apple of the cheek to give the cheeks a pinky, subtle glow and an orange-red, rich, bold lip by Urban Decay ‘F-Bomb’.


Hairstyling was provided by Helen Sturman from Lowestoft, I found imagery of Italian Actress Sophia Loren on wearing a high bun, so Helen replicated this look and adapted it slightly by creating a messy bun which would work nicely with the retro 50s head scarf.

The final thing which needed attending to was a suitable venue. I wanted somewhere grand and exquisite. I knew just the place and it was right on my doorstep, Earsham Hall, Perfect! Earsham Hall is one of the finest country mansion houses in Norfolk; Earsham Hall is owned and run by Rupert Derham and Annabel Stretton-Derham. As well as the Hall being home to four generations of the Derham family, they often hold events there too so I set about seeking permission from event’s organiser Annabel Stretton- Derham, to hold the fashion shoot there. Annabel welcomed the idea which was great news, so all I had to do was put a date in place.

The shoot was arranged for 25th June 2016 from 12-2pm. I had great concerns about the weather forecast but fortunately the British weather was kind to us and the shoot went according to plan.

I thoroughly enjoyed recreating a 1950s style inspired shoot with the help of model, Jody Sturman and photographers Vincent Chapman and Kevin Dack, so much so that I wanted to share some of the amazing images from the shoot with you all! Enjoy!

You can find more of my work on Facebook – makeup by charlie long

Lisa Harrison
Written by Lisa Harrison
Lisa is the Deputy Editor of Vintage Life Magazine and Publisher at Dragoon Publishing. She is avid bookworm, collector of vintage homeware, loves travel, lazy weekends away and eats way too much cake!