First Sneak Peek from My Latest Studio Shoot

So, here is a sneak preview of one of my new studio based images from last weeks shoot -It is just a small part of a larger portrait.

The other portraits are very much “themed” based and owe much of their impact to the various costumes worn by the model – I will upload some more in the coming days/weeks.

These pictures celebrate my return to ‘proper” photography and sees me right back were I started, in a studio photographing amazing people.

Notes From A Country Lane

When I drove my Mobile Medical Vehicle (big white van !) I knew all of the lorry drivers signals….. I was treated like a fellow trucker.
A certain “flash” to tell the overtaking lorry driver they were clear, the special side to side wink of the lights to say thank you for letting me “in”, the one handed thank you signal as I let them pass etc etc.
Now that I don’t drive that vehicle anymore and have taken to two wheels I realise that “us cyclists” have a special way of greeting each other too. A half nod, a smile and a one handed “wave” of acknowledgement.
If only I was brave enough to take one of my hands of the handlebars I would reciprocate….. unfortunately I’m too wobbly at the moment.
So, if you pass me on the country lanes please don’t be offended if I don’t wave 🙂

Cheesecake Bias

 

I enjoy watching the Great British Bake Off and it got me thinking (yes I know….. a dangerous thing).

What if the people who were judging the various tasty morsels had a distinct dislike for one type of cake….. let’s say… Cheesecake and would openly say “yuk” when they nibbled it and gave it a low score because it WAS a Cheesecake. Now it could be an absolutely perfect example of a Cheesecake but still received a low score from that biased judge because of it’s Cheesecakey nature.

Perhaps these judges were purist bakers and felt that a Cheesecake was not a real “cake” and therefore should be excluded from the competition. Perhaps for them it HAD to be a Victoria Sponge or Fruit Cake that represented the baking world and anything else that deviated from that cakey genre had no right to be in the baking contest. A Cheesecake was deemed the work of the devil and the baker should therefore be punished by giving them a poor score.

What if the cake based contest judge hadn’t entered any of their cakes in a competition for many years (living on past glories) and still felt that cakes should be baked using an old cast iron fireplace oven because that’s the way THEY baked them and therefore (in their opinion) the most authentic way of producing cakes. Okay, they might acknowledge that gas and electric ovens speed things up  (but they never bothered learning how to use them) –  but the most purest way of baking a cake was using a Victorian range oven and preferably in the dark.

What if these baking judges were influential and were really vocal about their dislike of Cheesecakes and how, in their opinion, they had no place in cooking competitions or if they were to be allowed, there should be a whole section dedicated to Cheesecakes. I’m sure it would have been pointed out to these judges that Cheesecakes start off in the same way as other cakes… being mixed in a bowl with many of the same ingredients as the other more “conventional” cakes and therefore by definition they were still a cake. But these words would fall on deaf ears – for them a Cheesecake wasn’t a “proper” cake and therefore should not score highly.

Judges accuse Cheesecake makers of only making that particular kind of cake because they don’t have the skills to bake a “proper cake” – but in actual fact those people who make Cheesecakes have to have good all round skills to put their much loved cake together. They enjoy making Cheesecakes because it makes them happy and its a way of expressing that joy.

I feel that judges of cake competitions should not be blinkered and have an open mind when it comes to judging the various tasty morsels that are laid out in front of them – and if a judge has a strong aversion to a particular type of cake then they should not be asked to participate in a cake baking competition again.

Now I’m off to make a Cheesecake

 

 

Why Do They Do It – Is It Just Me?

Another in the “why do they do it – is it just me ??” series of rants.

I totally understand why hotels need to have their buffet breakfast food offerings on a table. It’s so that the guests can peruse the various tasty morsels – obviously. BUT why oh why do they have to have them displayed at child nose/mouth height? Do they measure the standard height of a 7 year old and then build a buffet table to the equivalent height or do they just guess how tall to build it… just to hack off the adult guests?

Is it too much to ask to have the food covered up or set well back – far enough back to stop the odd little tongue from licking an over hanging crumpet?

My friend Lynne and I booked into a hotel very close to Peppa Pig World and over the last 4 days I have watched, with horror, as child after child picked up the food, had a quick look at it and then put it back on the plate. One little chap, after excavating the far reaches of his nose pointed to and then touched one or two buns which HE wanted but his mum didn’t want him to have. So after a minor strop and a threat of being taken home, the well handled buns were put back on the plate for another guest to nibble. Thanks for covering them in snot little fella !

These Peppa Pig devotees seems to have a variety of coughs, colds and snuffles which they very generously breathed over the breakfast feast. A good few enjoyed the odd sneeze and found that it was more satisfying to perform said sneeze just 2” away from a chocolate muffin – mmmmmmm, Yum yum. They fished in the fruit bowl for their favourite piece of pineapple – and sometimes they even used a spoon. Some picked up an unfamiliar crumpet to look at the holes and one or two put their hands into the rotating toaster to retrieve their toast!

I was amazed how much food these kids could hoover up – they just kept coming for more. Were they hungry or was it just the novelty of messing with the food and the other guests heads?

Where were the parents I hear you ask….. well, in most cases they were standing next to them. Very few ensured that their children’s grubby germ laden fingers didn’t touch the food -they seemed more involved in just getting through another mind numbing day with the pig family (and I’m not talking of Peppa Pig this time) !

You may be asking what I had for my breakfast – well as you can see….. everything was well wrapped up !!

Bon Appetit !!

In The Words Of Kate Bush WOW WOW WOW !!!

Well, I am still recovering after, what has turned out to be, a very surreal, yet amazing few days.

I was asked to do a presentation at the Guild Of Photographers Awards weekend, little did I know that the weekend would leave me emotionally drained… but in good way !!

I have to say that I was really worried about giving my talk – not worried about standing up and delivering it, I’ve done that lots of times – but worried that I would bore the pants of those people who attended.

On Friday I sat through 3 fantastic talks that proceeded mine and each time I questioned myself as to why I had agreed to participate. What could I tell them that they didn’t already know?. My images – according to lots of people I have had the “pleasure” of meeting over the years – wasn’t proper photography, instead it was a case of  “good computer skills”. Many of the people at the conference were professional/semi professional photographers of some repute, very skilled and very well known in their particular field. Me? I was/am just an enthusiastic amateur. Oh dear…. my heart began to sink, could I run away and hide?

My turn to talk… I took a deep breath and off I went and I have to say, by the reaction of the people that attended it went very well. So from feeling like a fish out of water I now had people asking if I would mentor them, would I do a one to one session with them, could they book on my next workshop and I lost count of the number of business cards I had thrust in my hand. This was beginning to feel really unreal !

That night I couldn’t get to sleep because my brain wouldn’t stop thinking about what people had said and how enthusiastic they had been about my presentation…..and then I woke up at ridiculous o’clock (4:30am) and couldn’t get back to sleep ! Saturday was full of great presentations and then the Awards Ceremony – which was a black tie affair ! GULP !

I have to admit when I attended the dinner I really did feel like I was in the wrong place ! I never ever attend such events, so felt totally awkward, even though people were very kind to me and included me in their conversations. Even though I can stand up in front of 200 people and give a talk I am quite shy (yes I know …. unbelievable) and find it difficult trying to join or break into other peoples conversations or groups, I would rather sit on my own and “be quiet”.

So now the meal was finished and the award ceremony proper began. We were all given a beautiful book containing all of the short listed images – and without exception they were exceptional ! Having carefully studied each glorious page I was totally convinced I didn’t have a chance of an award, even though I had 3 pictures (in two categories) shortlisted.

The runner up and then winner of each category was announced and the recipient went up to collect their awards… now it came to my category. Creative and Digital Art and then to my utter UTTER amazement my name was called out as the winner. I was gobsmacked and had to go up to collect the award (a certificate, a glass trophy and a framed print of my winning image). I had to negotiate a tripod with a camera on it that was recording the event – and for those who know how clumsy I am you will know how much that bothered me ! Nonetheless, I negotiated the obstacle and collected the trophy – which was glass – without dropping it ! Hurrah. Lots of smiling faces …….but not as smily as mine.

I rushed out of the room to ring John (my husband) to tell him that I had won the category and of course he was delighted for me. I finally got back to my seat (I had been stopped by a few people en route who were congratulating me on my success) so when I eventually sat down they were announcing the Image Of The Year (Judges Award) for 2017 and I nearly fell off my chair when my name was announced as the winner – I was in total shock and sat with my head in my hands for a little while –  I think a gentle nudge encouraged me to get to my feet .

When I  crossed the floor to be presented with the award I became aware that there were lots of people on their feet cheering, whooping and clapping … a standing ovation. I was beside myself in shock and joy. WOW ! I was asked to say something and managed to say a few words.

At this stunning event there was so much to take in – the hall was full of younger people than I usually see around my  photographic world (PAGB/BPE Comps , Photographic Clubs). I am more use to being in a room full of gentlemen of a certain age but here there were so many young woman (who were also being awarded various top honours), everyone was friendly and I wasn’t told once that “what you do isn’t real photography”. I had people wanting to shake my hand, ask me questions, asking if they could “please have their photo taken with me?” …. all very surreal as I said before. I had so many lovely comments and congratulations that when I went back to my room I was still awake at 3am trying to process it all and here I am at 5:30pm still trying to precess it !

This was one of the best few days in my photographic life and to those of you who I met and made it so special for me you have my heartfelt thanks.

You made an old lady very happy !!

I’m Just An Enthusiastic Amature Photographer

 

I’ve just put the finishing touches (again) to the presentation I am going to give on Friday at the Guild Of Photographers Event at Crewe Hall .

I feel so honoured to have been asked to be one of the presenters especially when I see who else is speaking eeeeekkkk. This will be followed by an awards ceremony (Saturday) where I have 3 pictures (2 categories) short listed for Image Of The Year – I am totally overwhelmed by this and it’s going to be really exciting seeing who has made the cut too. I am sure that the standard is going to be exceptionally high.

To be honest I feel a little bit  like a fish out of water because I think a good number of the attendees are professional or semi professional photographers and I am just an enthusiastic amateur. I won’t know anyone at the ‘do” although I have been informed that the awards evening will be “very enjoyable and that I will be amongst friends….” It’s a black tie affair so I will have to dust off my posh frock and find some heels I can totter about in. I hope that there won’t be too many politically charged acceptance speeches and there won’t be a puppy handed out to those who don’t win a prize (my cat wouldn’t be too pleased me coming home with an extra furry mouth to feed !!)

So, although I am looking forward to meeting new people and chatting to them about our mutual love of photography I can’t help being a little nervous about doing my presentation because (as we all know) what I produce isn’t to everyones taste, but of course I will do my best to make it interesting.

This is a new chapter in my photographic life – I have enjoyed the highs and lows of BPE/FIAP comps but feel that now its time to get off that particular roller coaster ride…. for a while anyway. In future, it is my aim and ambition to help people achieve their own personal goals and will do as much as I can to support and mentor them. This will be something I do privately as I am not part of any official mentoring team – but that said, I will be able to share my knowledge of entering comps and being somewhat successful over the last 9 years.

Now, let me have another run through of my presentation………..

Looking To The Past

 

Now that I have gained The Fellowship of the BPE  (I believe I am only the 29th person to have achieved that honour of which only a handful are Women) I am set for pastures new, although I am having withdrawal symptoms when I receive information about the upcoming comps.

So instead of producing pictures that are solely for competitions I have been producing a set of images that are intended as a series of prints.

These pictures are made up of antique photographs that I own and elements from photographs I have taken myself and carefully blended together to make something a little surreal… or even  Real Surreal Images 🙂

Eventually, I am going to offer tutorials on how to put this sort of picture together and I would like to think that they will be as popular as my Tantalising Texture Workshops.

And while we are on that subject, I am going to announce the next Tantalising Textures Workshop very soon….. so if you want to know more about that and the Real Surreal Images Workshops please fill in the contact form below and tell me which one you are most interested in.