Winter Solstice at Stonehenge - 2017
I've fallen in love with film again.
Whilst on holiday in Wales I borrowed a Mamiya 7 and took a couple of rolls of film. I really enjoyed the discipline of having to really think about every shot and not just snap away, as is my want with digital.
Here are a few to pics from the holiday and back home too.
Now I just have to save up for my own camera.
For the last few months I have been working on a new project, '.... and then came 'icandance'.
I have teamed up with writer Tamara Pollock to produce a series of portraits with quotes/anecdotes taken directly from interviews with dancers and their families. We are working in collaboration with the charity, icandance.
“icandance believes that everyone, regardless of disability, can access their own creativity through dance. We believe that dance enhances confidence and emotional wellbeing” Juliet Diener, Founder & Principal
Both Tamara and I will be featuring our own stories of life with children with special needs and what impact icandance has had on ours and our childrens wellbeing.
We are over half way through the project and have been so overwhelmed by the welcome we have received from all the families involved. We have been able to share our experiences in such an honest and intimate way. It has been a privilege to photograph such inspirational people and I hope my photographs do them justice.
We will be having a small exhibition at the icandance annual show at the Arts Depot in North Finchley on the 2nd July, followed by a larger fundraising exhibition in September/October at which we will show the complete project.
This annual performance is one that we look forward to every year, it's one that leaves you feeling totally loved up and underlines your faith in the goodness of people.
Through the project we hope to raise the profile of icandance and to change perceptions of what it is to be a dancer. We won't be able to do this on our own and will need the support of people spreading the word..... sharing and caring.
Last weekend I joined 40 other creative women for two days of creative chat, fun and laughter at Sisterhood Camp at Fforest in West Wales. Thank you to Sian for providing the venue, Lou Archell for bringing us all together and to Hannah Bullivant and Erin Trezise-Wallace for making it look so beautiful and welcoming. You make an awesome team!
Also a big thank you for all those running workshop .... you were all amazing.
Just one more thank you to all the lovely ladies at Sisterhood... I thoroughly enjoyed your company! Hope we meet again. xxx
It is thanks to a kind builder that I was able to get into Olive's flat, say a final farewell and take some photographs.
Her flat in now stripped back to bare walls, central heating is being installed, a bathroom is being created and a lifetime of memories has been erased. I was surprised at how little there was left of her, all her belongings gone, no more pictures on the wall, frayed rugs in the hall or piles of paperwork threatening to take over each room.
Her old home may be empty now but what Olive has left behind is far more precious than all those belongings... she has left a lasting impression on all those who met her... especially me.
We are launching I Don't care today a week ahead of Down Syndrome awareness day on the 21 March 2016. I Don't Care is a short film written and directed by a close friend of mine, Carolina Giammetta, produced by Spool Films and commissioned by Film London. Starring Billie-Jo Bailey, Andrea Lowe, Jo Hartley and Cavan Clerkin.
The film takes it's name and inspiration from a project I did on Billie-Jo in 2011, which you can see here. Being involved was an amazing experience and who knew Billie could act!!
I'll let Carolina's words tell you more....
Ollie, a young ‘mum to be’ faces her worst nightmare, the possibility of having a child with Down’s Syndrome. She takes on a gardening job and develops a friendship with a family, which includes 12 year old Jacques. An incident where Ollie is left alone with Jacques, challenges her ability to deal with difference.
I was inspired by an amazing photographic exhibition, Shifting Perspectives (http://shiftingperspectives.org ) I went to see it when my friend had a baby with Down Syndrome as I wanted to understand it more. As a mother who had feared having a child with Down Syndrome, it totally transformed the way I felt and I wanted to make a film that may help change new parents perspective of it. I worked with the curators of the exhibition and cast their daughter Billie-Jo Bailey, who had never acted before, to play the lead. The film also stars Andrea Lowe ( DCI Banks) Jo Hartley ( This is England, The Mimic) Cavan Clerkin (Eastenders, Pulling, Babylon)
It's been selected for many renowned International Film Festivals, won awards, toured America and Europe and has changed peoples perspectives and lives around the world. It will soon be used for various training programmes to educate new mothers to be.
GOING ONLINE FROM TODAY! A week ahead of World Down Syndrome Day 21ST MARCH 2016
I DON'T CARE ( Commissioned by Film London)
If you're interested in the behind the scenes chat here's a link:
I DON’T CARE Behind the Scenes
We really want this film to travel far and wide and spread the message, that even though having a child with a disability is a path most new parents will not have expected, it is still an amazing and rewarding experience.
Please share this with as many people as you can. Thanks xxx
It was Olive's funeral last week and she'd have been very happy with the the service and the turnout. Friends and neighbours got together to celebrate her long life. We sang her favourite hymns and I read one of her poems.
Journey Unknown by Olive Brown
Life's an adventure of the unknown
Not fully completed, 'til we are full-grown
The road that is travelled, maybe thorny or smooth
As we learn from experience of many a truth.
Sadness and gladness are mixtures entwined
As on Life's journey we continually find
The stairway to lift us, as we forward go
To success or failure - we none of us know?
As on this journey, we meet other folk
Heavy or light, their bearing of yoke
Sharing their laughter, and often their tears
Helping them overcome imaginary fears.
Childhood, Youth, Prime, and mature Age
All have their problems at whatever stag
But blessings abound in surprise places
As the journey takes us, with short of long paces.
The journey near done, we look back with quiet thoughts
And those memories of varying sorts
Trusting we've been a blessing to all
With a free conscience, when we hear 'The Call.'
Olive, it was and will always be a privilege to have known you. Thank you xxx
"You have no control over how your story begins or ends. But by now, you should know that all things have an ending. Every spark returns to darkness. Every sound returns to silence. Every flower returns to sleep with the earth. The journey of the sun and moon is predictable. But yours, is your ultimate art" Suzy Kassem
A lot of what we get out of life is directly linked to how much we put in....so as it is my 50th year, I am going to get busy(er) ....... both personally and professionally.
As a family we will be going on more adventures. We plan to complete a coast to coast walk along Hadrian's Wall, go to the Wilderness Festival (again) and complete the Three Peaks. Can't wait.
Of course, I'll be taking lots of photographs along the way; but will also be working on some other projects aside from the family travels.
There is more work to be done on 'Visiting Olive'. Even though she has now passed away, I have started visiting her favourite places and will complete the list she made, incorporating the images into the current project.
I am also about to start working on a new project with the charity, 'icandance'. Icandance works with children and young people who have varying disabilities, giving them the opportunity to express themselves through movement and dance, to make friends and also allowing them to 'be themselves' amongst their peers.
I am a Trustee of this amazing charity and my daughter, Billie-Jo, attends classes every Saturday. I know first hand how much they do, not only for the dancers; but their families too. I look forward to your feedback as I post some of the work along the way.
There are many more ideas floating around in my head for 2016 and I aim to make a start on some of them too. I plan to be more disciplined this year and start posting on my blog every month so that I can create a visual diary of the year's achievements.
Please join me in what should be a fun 2016!
There aren't many things as photogenic as a deserted fairground on a misty morning. I spent a self indulgent morning taking pictures a few weeks ago and thought I'd share some of my wares.
I would love to have more time to just wonder around like this... getting lost in the creative process is such an uplifting feeling. That's something I should definitely try and make time for in the new year... another new years resolution!!
Over the last few years I have been working on a project, Visiting Olive, taking photographs of friend and neighbour, Olive Brown. You can read about and see my project here.
I've been friends with Olive for the last 4 years. We have spent many hours together talking about her life and her collections, her involvement with the community and her friends. During this time she was very keen for me to photograph as many of her treasured processions as possible so that she would have a visual record of them. Her plan was to send these along with her poems and life story to a local archive.
For the last 6 months Olive has been in a care home and unfortunately since then I have been unable to get access to her flat to photograph any more of her things. Despite Olive's approval to do so, the council, who are now dealing with her affairs have not allowed me to go in.
So I'm sad to say that it looks like my project has come to an end.
However, I still visit Olive in the care home on a regular basis and recount for her what's going on locally and on our street. This time is not only precious to her; but to me too.
I can't quite believe how quickly the summer holidays have gone. It's been a fun filled month with lots of opportunity to take pictures of the kids and create some wonderful childhood memories.
Thank you to everyone who shared their wonderful pics of family, friends and childhood memories with Silkie and I in our August hashtag project #thesestoriestold - Childhood. We loved looking at them and have chosen 4 of our favourites.
Congratulations and thank you to @geoffreyandgrace (top left), @helloitsgemma (top right), @saravestberg (bottom left) and @aquietstyle (bottom right)
It's now time to start anew for September, our word is WINDOW. We'd love you all to join in. Share your pictures with us on Instagram #thesestoriestold. Looking forward to seeing them all.
We rented a wonderful villa in Tuscany for a week, 12 Baileys and Bains's, a relatively small family gathering for us. It was perfect (apart from all the mosquitos). The average temperature was 28 degrees with plenty of shade and cool water when it got too hot and some wonderful Tuscan food and wine.... Heaven.
Although my intention was to relax and recharge my batteries after what has been a pretty busy work period, I also really wanted to make use of the location, the beautiful light and my Nikon D750 to take some photographs. Italy was also an opportunity to shoot lots of the kids for Silkie and my hashtag project, #thesestoriestold. They were all perfect models.
Firstly there was the pool........
Secondly there was the beautiful house, which I haven't shot per se; but I have made use of the stunning light streaming into the dark cool rooms.
And thirdly we did get out and about a bit. We visited Pisa, the beautiful hill top town of San Gimignano, the superb Usiglian Del Vescovo vineyard (with the obligatory wine tasting) and finally and more locally, the hill top town of San Miniato.
There was so much more we wanted to do so next time we'll have to book for longer than a week.
Believe it or not Wilderness was my first festival ..... it won't be my last.
We had a wonderful weekend with friends and family, and that mixed with the fantastic weather made it pretty unbeatable. The highlight for me was being able to swim in the beautiful lake, which although a tad cold was so refreshing in the heat of the day. I'm not sure us adults took part in as much as we should, we seemed to just enjoy chilling outside The Folk Barn and watching the world go by, with a swim or two or three in there.... obvs!!
The kids had more freedom than they've ever had before and wondered off in their little gang taking in the sites and sounds but mostly buying pizza. Billie-Jo also wandered off on her own a few times to indulge in a bit of retail therapy.
I've posted most pictures of our weekend on Instagram; but here they are again plus a few more.
JUST START...... that's what I promised I'd do after Blogtacular. So here goes!!
Since meeting at Blogtaular in June, Silkie Lloyd (@rosehippaper on Instagram) and I have been hatching a plan to get us both taking more photographs. We have come up with a project which will have us taking photographs on a chosen theme which will change monthly.
#thesestoriestold is our new baby and we'll be populating our instagram feeds as well as regular blog posts with our best images.
Starting in August our theme will be CHILDHOOD. The summer holidays are now well under way and we will all be spending more time with our kids. So no hanging about any more, NOW is the best time to shoot some great images and create some wonderful memories.
We'd love it if lots of you joined us. To take part hashtag your images on Instagram #thesestoriestold.
We'll post our new theme at the beginning of September. Have a lovely summer and get shooting!
My busy weekend is now over and I’ve had time to reflect on my day at Blogtacular.
It’s fair to say that I ummed and aahed about attending as I’m not a designer maker and don’t even have a blog. I’m a photographer with a conscience who wants to make a difference in my community and beyond.
However, I decided last minute that I would go and managed to pick up one of the last tickets and I’m glad I did.
I knew it would be overwhelming and as I walked in it seemed that there were rooms full of women attending a long awaited reunion (I know that was not the case for everyone). Despite that I jumped in and introduced myself to a few friendly faces …. conversation was easy.
The day continued in much the same vein, with me nervously butting into people’s conversations with and a bit of lurking inbetween.
However, my reason for attending was not only to meet and be inspired by as many creative people as possible; but to attend as many of the talks as I could, I knew I had a lot to learn. I wasn’t disappointed. I learned so much in such a short space of time and now have to put all of that into action (which has been my problem all along). Particular thanks to Grace Bonney from Design Sponge for her great opening keynote talk, Marte Marie Forsberg for her talk on creativity and inspiration (which made me think I can do this too), all the panel members on the ‘Grow your Audience’ and ‘Instagram’ discussions and finally Lara and Jessica from Mollie Makes. If I could have split myself in two or even three I’d have attended all the talks. I’m looking forward to watching them online.
As the day came to a close with three new friends I walked over to West Elm; with a refuelling stop at Wahaca on Charlotte Street. Here is where I have to say my biggest thanks to Camila Prada, Tip Atkins Moore and Rhiannon Connelly for listening to all my ideas and plans for my current and future projects. One of my biggest concerns had been that nobody would be interested in my work or what I had to say; but their reactions and encouragement were all I needed to motivate me to continue.
I’m not a working photographer at the moment, I’m a print producer and picture researcher, but by getting my work out there I’m hoping that one day I’ll be able to work with charities and businesses to make a small difference.
Over the next few weeks or maybe months I’ll be introducing my projects old and new through Instagram (some work is already there) and on my website.. would love to hear what you all think.