11.04.12

Yesterday we went on a little adventure. There is an abandoned farm nearby, just crying out to be explored and photographed. We had a huge amount of fun, poking around, taking photographs. There is no trespass law in the UK, but still, I felt very jumpy and furtive. Not helped at all by a huge snowy owl that flew right at me when I went into one barn. According to Tony, I let out such a blood curdling scream, that it still echoes in his ears. The shoot was not without mishaps – I caught my foot in a long bramble, wrenched my knee, dropped to the ground in agony, straight into a patch of nettles and brambles, and Tony dropped one of the cameras in his rush to get to me. Owwwwwwwwwww.

I can’t remember when I had so much fun, actually. The fantastic thing about photography is that it engages every bit of your attention. To someone whose mind is always on about forty-six things at once, this is magical. I felt refreshed and chilled out afterwards, despite the nettle rash and painful knee. You are completely in the moment when that camera is up to your eye. And you see things through the camera lens that you might not have noticed with your eyes.

Note to self: do more of this. It’s worth every scratch and bruise and dent.

(You can see the full sized images on my Flickr page.)

07.04.12

Shooting preview photos today. Here’s a glimpse behind the scenes…..

It’s not a terribly glamorous way to shoot, but it works. Two big studio lights, a white photo cube that diffuses the light and creates a seamless backdrop, and the camera tethered to the laptop so that I can see each photo on a large screen.

And here’s the finished shot (and this week’s cover pic!):

The full shop preview is now up, and the sale goes live at 7pm on Sunday. Hope you can join us.

11.03.12

Twenty two. That’s how many homes I’ve had. Ten in my first eighteen years, twelve since then, since getting married.

(Yes, I was married at eighteen. That’s a whole other story. Another time, okay?)


This house that we live in now is our longest run in one house – five years. I can’t imagine ever moving house again. I’ve got too many books, for one thing. For another, I relish the feeling of roots it’s given me. It’s not good to grow up moving house every couple of years. Not that I minded it at the time, and I’m not exactly complaining now, just noticing that it’s not the most stable kind of childhood.

The house of my childhood that we lived in for longest (four years) was also my favourite. It was in the very depths of the country, completely isolated, far from town life. I felt safe and free there, like I never did in town. I wanted to show you pictures of it, but it’s boarded up, gates padlocked, village deserted. A huge oil refinery looms over it, and long after we’d left, they bought up the entire village and re-homed everyone at a safe distance. For a long time you couldn’t even really visit the area – security guards patrolled and cameras swivelled to watch you drive down the road. But when we went back there last week, not only had the security gone, but the refinery have paid for some prettying up of the area.

But the house is still locked up and likely to remain so. I peered through the gates, but everything was so overgrown and run-down that there really wasn’t much to see.

Oh well. I have my own little house in the country now. If I stay here long enough, maybe I can pretend that this has always been my home. It already feels that way. I like that feeling very much.

06.03.12

What do you like to take photographs of? For me, it’s architecture and people. Now, this is ironic, because I never go anywhere with interesting architecture, and I hardly see people, living my quiet life out in the back of beyond. Hence digging back into my archives for photographs of my last French holiday, three years ago…..

Other people like to take photographs of scenery, rolling fields under scudding cloud shadows, the beach, mossy woodlands, the Great Outdoors. Now, again, this is ironic. Because I have that kind of photo op in spades around me. I live a ten minute walk from an incredible beach in one direction. If I walk 15 minutes in another direction, I get to a stony path that winds along cliff tops, with dramatic views in all directions, waves crashing against rocks far below, boats in the distance, very photogenic, you would say.

But they don’t do it for me.

Perhaps, I’m looking at it all wrong, and if I want to improve my skills as a photographer, I should just be snapping away at anything and everything, as a learning experience. You would think I was shooting with an old film camera, the stingy way I ration my photographs. But  that’s the thing about photography: you capture the images that speak to you. The moments that you want to remember. (Perhaps that’s partly why I’m not especially interested in the scenes that surround my home – I can see them any time I want. I don’t need memory, I have reality.)

So, I just have to figure out a way to make more opportunities to capture the places and people that inspire me. And, because that’s quite tricky for me to do logistically, on a day to day level try to find the little details that inspire me, because I do love those too. Can you learn to have a photographers eye? That’s what I’m aiming for. The beauty of that is, you start to see more, you notice what’s going on around you, instead of drifting through your day in a semi-sleepwalk. And that can only be a good thing.

What inspires you to pick up your camera?