Last week I got invited to try out a new bar that has opened in Ballarat: The Long Room. This venue is a bit special, because it’s the upstairs bar of Her Majesty’s Theatre, which is one of the oldest operating theatres in Australia. They are now going to begin opening on Friday evenings for drinks.
The bar itself is a really nice spot. The view from the windows behind the chesterfield leather couches is of the historic Lydiard St South streetscape including Craig’s Royal Hotel and the balcony Dame Nelly Melba sang from when she stayed in Ballarat.
The connection to Dame Nelly Melba continues in the room, with a stunning historic grand piano, which carries her signature. The piano is tucked in the corner beside the bar. With so much history and glamour associated with the venue, I decided to partner up with my friend Nigel to give today’s shoot a different vibe. That vibe is distinctly James Bond.
Now, I’ve had James Bond on my mind a lot lately. My best friend Tessa is a massive 007 fan, and I have begun writing her a fan fiction, which is novel length, and I’ll be giving it to her for Christmas. The story follows James as he finds out that 009 is not the middle-aged, cringe-worthy man it was hinted at in the last film. 009 turns out to be a thirty-something woman, bristling with sarcasm, facetiousness and a bad hangover, called York Regan. Bond plays poker; Regan plays chess. Bond drinks martinis; Regan drinks gin and tonics. Bond drives Aston Martins; Regan drives Jaguars. Spoiler: they don’t hook up. The story begins with Bond mansplaining to a hot intern in the shooting range, later discovering this hot young woman is not just capable, she’s an equal double-o agent. There are casinos, guns, a hidden uranium mine, submarines and a mission that forces the two opposites to look past their disdain for one another and work together, because Bond isn’t the only double-o agent that’s made enemies. So think of this shoot not as me being a Bond girl, but of my nod to 009: York Regan. And a nod to Tessa.
Local Ballafornian’s can check out York Regan’s new drinks venue at The Long Room from this Friday night or stay in the loop with them on Facebook over here. It’s a great spot for a pre-show, finger-defrosting beverage as the cold Ballarat weather begins to settle in.
A big thanks to Janelle (pictured here with me) for connecting me with the team at Her Majesty’s and to that team for their impeccable hospitality. Also thanks to Nigel who not only came and did this shoot with me, but handed the photos over to me to do as I please with in post-production. The finished product is exactly as I imagined, but hopefully this bold, very processed style doesn’t shock you too much, Nigel! I know it’s produced very different to how I normally would style and compared to the work we did at Clunes Booktown! I hope you like them.
Location: The Long Room
Photographer: Nigel Stevens Photography
I hope you love this different style! If you're in Ballarat, check out The Long Room.