There’s Bella and Gigi, Kendall and Kylie, and Kyra and Evie – the redheaded sisters from South Wales with gold star quality.
Sisters are fascinating to look at; noticing who picked up what and how, and understanding just how different they are in character from their facial expressions. Because usually one is sensible and the other wild; one loud and the other quiet; one into their appearance and the other nonplussed.
A few months ago, we featured photographer Tom Johnson and stylist Charlotte James’ photo-series
showing high-end fashion styled on a beautiful cast of people living in an ex-mining community in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales. Here we zoom in on the series, viewing the extended shoot (printed in Pylot Magazine
) of the two sisters originally featured: 8-year-old Kyra and 6-year-old Evie – arguably the stars of the whole show.
I don’t know what it is about their faces, but they are so wonderfully photogenic, bringing intensity, freedom and an energy that photographers, stylists and casting directors usually spend years trying to capture, and often end up having to manufacture. Here it is, then, in Merthyr Tydfil, on two little sisters.
The best of the photographs show Evie with her arms outstretched and her eyes closed; you can almost feel the breeze blowing across her face and the sun in her eyes as she spreads her fingers out to shield it. And show the girls embracing, lightly, at the top of the field in perfect composition.
Affected by the pictures, we asked the stylist, Charlotte James, why she cast Kyra and Evie and what they're like in person.
So what are Evie and Kyra like?
They are lovely kids and a pleasure to hang out with. Kyra is really chatty and a bit of a diva. Evie is more of a tomboy, calmer and football mad. They have a really close bond with each other; Evie is the typical little sister winding Kyra up when their mother isn't looking.
How do you know them? And why did you think they would be good to shoot?
I went to school with their mother, Kirsty. I saw pictures of them on Facebook and they really stood out to me; they radiate energy and cheekiness and their hair is the best!
What did they think of the clothes?
They liked them. I always asked them when they were ready if they felt comfortable, and if they didn’t, then they’d get changed.
How did they react when they saw the images?
I'm meeting up with them this weekend, hopefully, so I can give them some photographs.
What feelings do you think the images evoke?
I think people enjoy seeing the bond between two sisters captured on film. I hope the images bring back memories of youth, friendship and growing up.
How do you think the landscape affects the series?
It's real. It's the girls’ natural environment and they are happy within it. I think that shows in the images.
What did the designers you borrowed the clothes from think of the shoot?
I had a few emails thanking me saying it was their favourite shoot from 2015, which was really nice to hear.
Are you and Tom working on any new series ideas together?
Yes, we have some ideas floating around and hopefully will get started on something soon. There is a special lady from our Merthyr Rising project who I really want to document.tom-johnson.co.ukcargocollective.com/charlottejames