I'd been wanting to shoot with Maxine since meeting her at a fashion event a year ago and now, in the beautiful forest of Macclesfield I was getting the chance to.
We'd already met up for a brew and talked through what we wanted to achieve, giving us a clear vision for the day; these would be authentic, natural shots set in a forest environment that resonated with how she spent her spare time; exploring nature with her partner and their dog. I was to join them on what is a normal expedition for them and do my best to capture that.
I arrived at Macclesfield Forest on a Saturday morning, parking the car and taking a lungful of the pine air. It's days like this I remember why Manchester is such a great place to live; within 30 minutes I'm out of suburbia and in a beautiful forest overlooking a reservoir. It's quiet and the weather is dreary (I don't know why I give it mention anymore).
Maxine arrives with her family unit; Phil - her partner - and George, their beautiful German Shepherd. We spend a little time with introductions - shaking hands (Phil), scratching behind ears (George) - before wandering up to the ruin I know is nearby.
It's clear I'm with a family here and one which welcomes people, it feels natural hanging out and I love being around a dog again, having left my two with an ex partner a decade and a lifetime ago. Phil is warm and friendly, exactly what I'd expect from a partner of Max's, and George is a protective adventurer who loves mud. Hours later I realise how much of it has made its way onto my lens (but I only blame myself for getting up close-ups of to a caked dog).
We discover the ruin, snapping away both along the way and once we're there before heading back to the car and moving on to another part of the forest which I know has more of a pine feel. It's there we really concentrate on shots of togetherness, capturing them as a family and as a couple. They're total naturals and you can see what's between them in every shot, a tacit bond.
We finish with a few portraits of them individually and these transpire to be my favourite pieces from the set, headshots of each of the family. I love these nature loaded shots, leveraging the environment and bringing in earthy tones.
My wander with the guys was exactly why I wanted to work with Maxine in the first place, she has an honest, up-front nature that you see from the off. She's as authentic as they come and you can see this through her writing and her social feeds. Sure, we all have our guards in one way or another, but joining Max, Phil and George on our little trek felt like I was part of them, such is their welcoming nature.