My work is an ever evolving entity. Every day can offer new opportunities to explore new locations, sketch ideas, and build new bodies of work. Here in my blog you will find all my most recent work, and an insight into the way I work and what inspires me.
If you love what you read, please do leave me a comment.
There's something a little bit special about the early autumn colour breaking through the vibrant greens of the summer. As i'm always looking for contrasts; the yellow is so obvious to see, and I can't help but make some sketches with my phone this morning.
ICM images made on my I Phone with Slow Shutter Cam app and processed in camera for double exposure effect using Photosplit app.
Last Friday I decided to expose my self to the contemporary photographic world, and I visited the Unseen Amsterdam exhibition in the city. Just going to the city alone was an adventure for me, but my whole afternoon was one of eye opening, light bulbs and a greater understanding of what I am becoming involved in as I push myself towards photography as an art form, rather than just a output of the camera.
There was plenty of work I really did not get, and that did not remotely inspire me; but that's ok; if everyone liked the same things the world would be a very boring place!
I only had my phone with me so please excuse the quality of the documentary photos, but hopefully it will give you just a little insight into my day.
Walking around I was drawn to those artists portraying textures and nature. These artists all display a feeling of colour and texture in their images.
As I walked around the exhibition I was inspired a couple of times to create my own artwork from the inspiration for the work of others.
Diana Scherer created photographs entitled 'Root bound' - she photographed the resulting rood growth in a natural mat. The mat was on display along with her photos and I loved the textures and colours and combined 2 of my ICM images together to create 'unseen earth mat'.
Martina Della Valle created some very botanical images in the style of Japanese Ikebana. She had an Ikebana flower display with the images, and photographing all the textures and colours of it was fascinating, resulting in the 'red and feathered grass' image I produced from ICM and double exposure techniques.
Many of the exhibiting artist's work I probably failed to understand without an explanation. However I was lucky enough to sit in on the artists talks sessions and I was completely inspired by the work of Simon Norfolk and Eva O'Leary. They were both so passionate about their projects and explained perfectly how they researched and finally executed their bodies of work. An absolutely fascinating insight into the process of creating a body of work.
Initially I wondered if my time at the exhibition might be a bit wasted as the genre of photography was not quite my style! But I can safely say, that having chosen to embrace the styles and open my eyes, I have a much greater understanding of what lays behind work that reaches galleries around the world. Which I shall make full use of going forward.
Just as in the guilds of years gone by, to become a Master Craftsman with the Guild of Photographers you need to create a masterpiece worthy of the title! This is our highest distinction and recognizes you as being able to create work of the highest possible standard both technically and artistically, so your application must reflect the highest level of content and presentation and show the most meticulous attention to detail and creativity along with complete understanding of the art and craft of photography. It is the most demanding and yet exciting of our titles to apply for, because you have full artistic licence to create your own work of art".............not too much pressure then!
The 5th September 2018 was a huge date in my life - it rates as one of the biggest actually! I became a Master Craftsman with the Guild of Photographers! After achieving qualification around six years ago, and my Craftsman four years ago, this qualification award was a long time in the making....but 100% worth waiting for!
I gained a huge amount from completing my Craftsman. For me, it was as much about the journey with my mentor as it was achieving the end qualification. Initially I assumed that Master Craftsman would be the next logical next step in a short space of time. But it was not until October 2017 that I decided I was ready to offer a selection of images to a new mentor to see if I was ready to submit. After our first mentoring session, we both recognised that just submitting a back catalogue of work with updates and additions would gain me no satisfaction. It very quickly became apparent that another journey was in order!
The journey has been an amazing one, I am extremely proud of this panel and what I have achieved and amazed at my own creativity and conviction that I love these images.
During the last year I have been encouraged to develop photography that displays my passion and creativity. Also to research and identify what makes a cohesive and compelling body of work, that is essential for the Craftsman and Master qualifications.
Many of these images have been made just a short walk from my house, and prove that you need not travel to beautiful and exotic locations to create unique images. I find myself more often using my phone on dog walks, collecting images that provide ideas and inspiration, almost like sketches in preparation for a final painting.
My aspiration for these images is that they be recognised as ‘art’ and not just photographs. I hope that my passion for the landscape around me is evident, and that these images make you take a minute to linger and wonder about your own location in which you live. What I’m aiming to do is to leave the viewer wondering if they are missing an appreciation of their immediate surroundings, because they are ‘just there’ ? Or maybe because they just don’t allow themselves the time to look at the obvious?
I could talk on much longer about finding my inner artist this year, wondering how on earth I was ever going to get a panel together and the amazing light bulb moments I experienced in completing my MC. But I will leave you with my panel images, and I hope you enjoy them.
Walking through the wood I love to explore the paths less trodden, but sometimes there are exceptions. In the woods right on the eastern edge of the Hogue Veluwe National park in the Netherlands a beautiful bike path has been created, that reflects perfectly the nature around it. Forget the straight lines that exist everywhere in the Netherlands; this path has been built to replicate a meandering stream and I just absolutely love it.
Photographically it offers a unique opportunity to balance man made and nature in one photo, and add to that a little autumn colour and voila - an image that portrays this beautiful location with movement, colour, light and a feeling of being right there on that path.
Using the intentional camera movement (ICM) technique carefully I moved the camera upwards during the time that the shutter was open, but with just enough pause at the start to render the path clearly. I love to capture more than just straight lines in my ICM work, hence i play with the direction of movement of the camera quite a lot.
I am absolutely delighted that this image has won me just my second ever GOLD award with The Guild of Photographers monthly competitions. I am hugely proud of this one!
Those of you who are regular followers of my blog will be familiar with my postings regarding my monthly award-winning images from The Guild of Photographers in the UK.
Every month I enter a selection of my images for judging by a panel of industry specialists. The images are judged on technical merit, story telling, composition, framing, imagination and creativity and the use of focal points. In 2012 I made the decision to enter all categories; People, Weddings and Open.
Early on in the year I submitted images to receive feedback on my photographic progress and to gain recognition for images that were of a high standard. Nearly all the images that I enter into the people and wedding categories are from client shoots and real life weddings, and I found that on hearing that their images were ‘award winners’ my clients were really pleased. However, as the year progressed and I started to notch up more and more awards I then became aware of the annual photographer of the year titles.
I just counted up my awards for 2012 and I received no less than 69 bronze awards, 7 silver and 1 elusive gold award.
So, when early in the new year I received an email from The Guild of Photographers to congratulate me on a top 10 placing in at least one of the categories that I had entered throughout the year, and inviting me to the awards dinner to be held in February in the UK I was delighted.
With a bit of reorganising of my travel arrangements for my ski trip (due to start the day after the awards evening) it was from The Netherlands, via Lyon in France to Heathrow and then Manchester I traveled on the 8th February. I was looking forward to an enjoyable evening and a secret hope that I had been placed in the top ten of all three categories.
So, it was at 7.30pm that I descended the huge staircase (in a dress and heels…….fairly unheard of!) to the champagne reception with a whole lot of butterflies! The atmosphere was friendly and I recognised a few friends, then I started putting a whole lot of faces to names that I recognised from the Guild discussion boards and Face Book pages. Although I sat down on my table for the evening with 5 other individuals I had never met before, by the end of the evening, I felt i had always known them!
Steve and Lesley Thirsk, the directors of The Guild of Photographers hosted the evening, with awards presented by Guild panel members and sponsors of the competition. Just to add to the suspense, top 10 winners in each category were read out in no particular order before the winner of each was announced. I honestly can’t remember which category was announced first, all I know and remember with ever-growing excitement was the announcement of my name in each category as I had hoped!
With much support and cheering from my table I found myself collecting a 4th place in the wedding category, 4th in the Open category and 6th in the people category, so not just top 10 but high top ten in every category! I was beginning to wonder how I was going to transport all my framed certificates home in my hand luggage!
And now onto the “all round photographer of the year” announced Steve. I had the tiniest hope that I might be placed runner-up in this category given my awards so far that evening, but i tried to knock that hope away should I not be successful and end up disappointed.
Now, I’m well-known for my inability to control my emotions (especially happy ones) so when my name was read out as ‘All Round Photographer of the year – winner’ I was so shocked I burst into tears! Going up to collect my award was a bit like being in a dream!
The rest of the evening passed in a bit of a blur, but not before I realised what an accomplishment I had achieved and decided to celebrate a little bit!
I am so very proud of my achievement, not least because 2012 involved a move from the UK to The Netherlands, during which time I really struggled to find my feet with my photography. 2012 saw me develop my skills into landscape as well as people photography, and the move gave me a chance to renew and explore my creativity as an individual before restarting my business again in a new country.
Being a member of The Guild of photographers has been invaluable to me in my photographic journey. The support from its members when I was struggling with my move was amazing, and the mentoring opportunity that I have embraced with Lesley Chalmers has changed my photographic style and allowed me to really explore my development as a photographer. The monthly awards have provided valuable constructive feedback to me, and I can’t rate Lesley and Steve Thirsk highly enough as directors of such a wonderful organisation.
I look forward to defending my title this year. With January and February already complete and 9 bronze and 2 silver awards already achieved, I look forward to the challenge of creating more award-winning images.
I’ll leave you with a few of my favorites from 2012.
Those of you who have followed my blog over the last year will know that each month I enter a selection of images into The Guild Of Photographers monthly awards competition. Each month throughout the year, the scores from bars awarded are added together to find the photographer of the year in each category. December was the last month for 2012 scores so I was completely delighted (and rather emotional) when I received news that I had been awarded my first gold bar!
To be awarded a gold bar is something very special, some months a couple are awarded, other months none; this month I had the only one, and my image was also awarded overall image of the month as well!
So; here is my gold bar image. Taken a couple of weeks ago on a very cold, misty and snowy morning just a few hundred meters from my house on the cycle path. It amazes me how, in The Netherlands the bike paths get cleared of snow before the roads.
Other images that were awarded bars include this photo of the cows in the mist taken at sunset. This image was awarded a silver bar. I spotted the mist rising and the sunset and jumped on my bike to look for cows down my road and came across this bunch of very inquisitive heifers. Luckily I had my camera all ready when I arrived at the field, as minutes later they all galloped towards me and the images I took at that point were not quite to serene!
This bronze bar image of Mickey and Lucky Luke in the autumn I love. I’d ridden through this wood with its carpet of beach leaves several times, and when I asked Mickey if I could take her photo with Luke she was more than happy to help me recreate my vision.
The following three images, I took on a return trip back to the UK. I keep in touch with many of my clients and these two families booked me immediately they heard I was returning to the UK for a few days. I have photographed both families several times, and it is a privilege for these images to have been awarded bronze bars.