Photographer and LUX Contributing Editor Maryam Eisler’s latest series reimagines a romantic version of the ‘Sublime Feminine’ set amidst the idyllic Oxfordshire countryside, in collaboration with Meihui Liu, founder of up-cycled, ethical and sustainable design label Victim Fashion Street
Photography and words by Maryam Eisler
‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’ – Sonnet 18, William Shakespeare
Tell me of one who has visited the countryside on an English summer’s day, and not felt the magic of almost-temporal emotions evoked by the sheer beauty of its nature, reflected by sounds carried upon the wind.
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The sound of cricket bats hitting balls in the distance. Of horses’ hoofs trotting along bridle paths covered by foliage, casting a hundred shadows, dancing to a thousand songs sung by maidens returning from the fields, their good day’s work done. The land tended to, a bottle of warm cider washing down homemade bread and cheese, a pickle to perk-up the repast.
Afternoon tea, anyone?
Fast forward to the present, planting beauteous maidens anew in those same fields of our imaginations. Seeing young Englishwomen dressed up in their lace and floral finery, languid and remote to match the balmy weather.
Soon the harvest season cometh, beware the beguiling sunsets, and the warmth breeding a tempestuous sky. Past romance, nostalgia’s return. Stop the clock, time is precious …we never know the value of the moment until it’s reflected in memory. Locked and stored, ready for the flashing stroke of another summer.
Strawberries and cream, anyone?
The shy Jay’s shrill cry when taking flight hidden in the thick foliage of an old English oak. The calming, soothing call of the wood pigeon, its eyes fixed upon intruders into its little paradise. The blackbird that dares not squawk, for ill-temper becomes it well, but not in the face of such maidens’ beauty.
All is quiet, all is calm; ‘tis an English summer’s idyll. Only the click of the camera records the moment, the photographer’s ephemeral moment made for the regard of all. The handmaidens’ tales made as presents to those not favoured by the sight of English summer’s bright. Their summer fare, passed along as wear across subterranean ethernets for all to see, smell and hear. Their pictures are portraits for all times. Serving beauty, serving style, serving innocence, patchwork vintage n’all.
‘But Thy Eternal summer Shall Not Fade’ – Sonnet 18, William Shakespeare
‘Hand-made in England’ was photographed by Maryam Eisler at Story Deli in Oxfordshire, featuring models Alice Pins, Agathe Angel Chapman de Lussy and Blaise and sustainable, ethical up-cycled fashion and design by Victim Fashion Street and Meihui Liu. Hats by Noel Stewart and Piers Atkinson. Shoes by Natacha Marro. Styling by Ann Shore. Makeup by Melissa Victoria Lee and Keely Mangham
To view Maryam Eisler’s full portfolio visit: maryameisler.com