Face-Packs, a photographic portrait project

Bringing Ideas to Life - Photo Project

Gathering the Props

Gathering the Props

I don't remember now when this idea first entered my mind, but I do know that I bought three face packs whilst in Japan in March 2016!

It's noted on the first page of my diary this year, and multiple reminders throughout to get this project started. I finally set the wheels in motion on 20th September and sent a mail-out, asking for participants. In my mind I wanted twelve people to make a worthy collection. To my good fortune, I got a pretty solid response from nine people with a possibility of another four. Obviously, one needs to massage these opportunities, but it was a good start. I always intended to photograph myself, so I had a spare in the bag!

So, where do ideas come from?

I asked myself that question as I was writing this post, and headed over to Ted Talks where I found this little gem from Steven Johnson, popular science author and media theorist.

He talks about how a lot of inventors and entrepreneurs emphasise having a Eureka! moment, when in reality this 'final act of realisation' (my words) is in fact the final piece of a meandering puzzle. "An idea is a new network of neurons firing in sync with each other inside your brain. It's a new configuration that has never formed before".

He discusses how Darwin relays the story of how he came up with the concept of natural selection in his autobiography, as if it came to him in an instant. Subsequently, Howard Gruber went through Darwin's copious notebooks with a fine tooth-comb, and presented the case that, if Darwin had pieced together all of those notes, he already had the full theory of natural selection wrapped up within them, months and months before that pivotal moment.

I am not comparing myself to Darwin, but the point is, it can take a long-time to formulate an idea, and with my work being a creative, rather than scientific pursuit there is plenty of room for adaptation and fluidity evolving from the first intention.

Mixing the palette "Chance favours the connected mind" Steven Johnson

Mixing the palette

"Chance favours the connected mind" Steven Johnson

For my own project I now had less than three weeks to piece things together! I would be visualising the people and thinking a little about what I know about them as individuals. I had decided to make a link between the Face Packs and the backgrounds. 

In the initial email I had asked people if they regularly used face-packs or if they had a favourite type. Some of them did, so I tried to incorporate this into my planning too.

The only male participant told me how, as children, him and his siblings used to take the natural clay from their local beach in Portugal and spread it on like war-paint to play warriors. 

The only male participant told me how, as children, him and his siblings used to take the natural clay from their local beach in Portugal and spread it on like war-paint to play warriors. 

Even if the photographs have no deep meaning, as an artist you want to create work that is visually pleasing. A lot of what I had running through my mind will not be obvious to the viewer, but I think if all the elements come together as a satisfying whole in the mind of the observer, then a picture is a success.

My first purchases were some of the face-packs. I had imagined walking into a drugstore and being able to choose from an ample display of single-use Face Packs, but those days seem to have gone! I was probably over-complicating things to keep this element of realism that I mentioned, but if there was a link between background, face-pack, and sometimes the people themselves I had to source what I felt were the correct face-packs for the job! 

In hindsight, maybe I could have ordered stuff online, but my brain works in the old-fashioned way. If you want something, go and get it, physically. I enjoy walking, I do not enjoy shopping on the internet, so legwork became the route to my acquisitions. Nothing new there!

For the face packs I visited lots of stores including John Lewis, Boots, Superdrug (who offered the most choice), even Topshop, not to forget Japan!

For the face packs I visited lots of stores including John Lewis, Boots, Superdrug (who offered the most choice), even Topshop, not to forget Japan!

I had envisaged all of the backgrounds being made of cloth of one sort or the other, but when I started looking into fabrics I could see it was going to be difficult to source the patterns I imagined.  I searched online and visited Berwick Street in Soho which is historically famous for it's fabric stores. One shop owner told me that you can get pretty much anything printed onto fabric digitally nowadays, so there wasn't much in store in terms of what I wanted.  I decided to concentrate mainly on sourcing wrapping paper for the backgrounds instead.

I somehow wanted to maintain an element of realism in the shots, and so I headed to the West End in search of backgrounds and props. Getting my head around what was essentially a dozen separate ideas was a little mind-boggling at times, so I ended up with some surplus items including a lilac poncho, some awful pineapple-paper, and I almost bought some wrap' sporting Pandas in party hats!

Piecing it together - my little notebook, linking ideas with shopping lists. Invaluable!

Piecing it together - my little notebook, linking ideas with shopping lists.

Invaluable!

I stumbled upon an amazing shop called So High, also on Berwick Street. In there I spotted some plastic fruit which inspired me. These fruits caused a delay on shoot-day as it proved hard to find a way of suspending them in a good position. Luckily, one of the sitters brought a friend, so I enlisted her help in holding the fruit strategically in place. This is where a little luck comes in, to help with proceedings!  Other items I found in So High were a middle-eastern style turban, a bindhi, lace fingerless gloves, and a choker. Quite an Aladdin's cave.

It is fair to say, that once you put an idea out there and start to talk to others about it, things will come your way. Following the mail-out, a friend responded to say, that despite not wanting to participate she had a few props that maybe useful, so I paid her a visit and borrowed, amongst other things, the towelling turban which is an ingenious item that was sent as a gift from her cousin in Australia!

On my first shopping trip I secured at most, five backgrounds, so I was feeling a little anxious. I had found a beautiful hand-made paper that conjured up images of rock formations in my head, and spotted a wonderful paper of delicate ferns in Liberty. I kept that one in mind as they charge silly-money for wrapping paper, but alas I headed back the following week to buy some. Rooting around at home I found a pair of vintage-floral bunny ears left over from a shoot I did some years back - amazing what you accumulate! This led to an idea, and what I considered a stroke of genius! My first thought was to source a material/paper with carrots on, but just a couple of days before the shoot I thought of fake grass, and remembered that a friend of mine had bought some before from a local floor company, so I nipped out of home and secured myself an off-cut of artificial turf! When people wonder what I do all day!!

I had some relative success by 4th October (nine days prior to the shoot) with regard to sourcing backgrounds, but now I think about it, it's a good job I booked a few days holiday the week of the shoot.

During that week I took an afternoon out to Leigh-on-sea. The project was never far from my mind, and so it was in Ye Olde Sweet Shoppe that can be found in many a costal town, I found exactly the kind of lolly I wanted for one of the shots!

My final port of call was Lush on Oxford street. They deal in fresh, handmade cosmetics, so I headed down there a couple of days before shooting commenced. As I walked into the Lush experience, overwhelmed by a swirling sea of scents, I made my way to the fresh face-pack zone: a smorgasbord of textured creams, piled into enamel bowls and laid on a bed of ice like a fish-mongers display. I asked a young assistant for some help, and he soon enlisted the help of a colleague. They were both very excited as I explained the project and I consulted my notebook, trying to piece together the people, the backgrounds and the facepacks. 

Their range of Face Packs was exceptional, and I found four face-packs that would work based on colours and ingredients. Unfortunately, I was having trouble justifying the price-tag (£7.50 a pot) as my bill-spend was escalating fast! The girl suggested, 'so you'd like x,y and z, and in this case w too!' She said "I'm going to give you this one, come with me to the till". I could hardly believe my luck - being given a freebie in a huge store on Oxford Street. Thank-you Lush lady!

Fresh Face Packs in the fridge!

Fresh Face Packs in the fridge!

I had allocated two full days to photograph this portrait project, and formulated a timetable into which I needed to fit the cast. I also had a little spillage time on the Friday afternoon, which I used to set-up the shoot and photograph myself as a test!

One person had dropped out in the run-up to the shoot, and I wanted to push every possibility, so I chased up a very busy friend of mine and got a confirmation for her availability that Friday. Our correspondence went a bit like this: 

ME: "Sorry to hassle you, but how do you feel about being a vintage bunny? (surely not the first time you've been asked? I have some floral bunny ears that could be fun!"

HER: "I know you haven't seen me in a very long time, but I think you know me well enough to know that this would basically be my ideal persona: a vintage bunny. Bunny me up please."

And there you have it, the right people, with the right attitude. Makes life easier, and a lot more pleasurable!

This particular image has not been selected for the final set, but I love it! I got very excited whilst prop-hunting, when I found these fluffy hair-ties which immediately made me think of Rabbit's tails! I bought them, thinking we would find a way to make them work. Take it as you will!

This particular image has not been selected for the final set, but I love it!

I got very excited whilst prop-hunting, when I found these fluffy hair-ties which immediately made me think of Rabbit's tails! I bought them, thinking we would find a way to make them work. Take it as you will!

Another outtake, and image I like a lot! In the context of the set, my straw poll declared this too sinister. I think it can stand alone!

Another outtake, and image I like a lot!

In the context of the set, my straw poll declared this too sinister. I think it can stand alone!

I enlisted the help of my Son to help set up the shoot and be responsible for focussing and shutter-pressing on the picture of me. The hour I'd asked of him turned into two or three, so I inflated his pocket-money and everyone was happy!

Setting Up

Setting Up

With two shots under my belt on Friday, I awoke Saturday morning and prepared for the day ahead. I sprayed the first background onto hardboard and saw I had a message on my phone "Aaah slept in! Can you call me..." This was not the start I'd hoped for! 

When it comes to the shoot itself there is always room for adjustments and unexpected occurrences, but it has to work out one way or another! Even photographers who plan their shots like a military operation have to allow for some shift in proceedings.

I love the way a shoot unfolds, even if at the time it feels quite pressurised. I have to say that this sequence of shots did prove quite a feat in terms of timing and logistics. In hindsight I would have given myself two-hour time slots per person, instead of an hour fifteen, as each time, I had to communicate the idea, apply masks, change backgrounds, and sometimes adjust the lighting as I soon discovered that different backgrounds absorbed different amounts of light, so the artificial lawn started off as a black-hole!

With more time (and or an assistant) I may have spotted my biggest failing in this series - my beautiful honey-bees that I was so pleased to have discovered as a wax-cloth in John Lewis were barely discernible as Bees. I am still feeling the sting!

It was only after the big weekend that I took a breath out and realised I had pulled it off - photographing thirteen people and creating a new body of work. 

This is what I do - take an idea, spin it around, make some plans, execute the idea and reach a conclusion. You never know quite how it will go, but the ride can be exhilarating.

If you've read this post, I would love to see your comments below, thanks!

You can see the complete set of final images over here

Huge thanks goes to all the participants, who unanimously stated they enjoyed the experience!

Huge thanks goes to all the participants, who unanimously stated they enjoyed the experience!

WANTED: Creative Headspace for Photographer

This blogpost was going to be called 'Keeping Inspired as a Photographer', then I realised, I have no problem keeping inspired, but I have a huge problem finding time to execute my ideas, and even worse, to really get 'involved' with them; to take them to the next level.

Life is a busy place; if you live in a city, even more so. Being a London Photographer means I am constantly given inspiration via all of my senses, whether that's from walking the streets, talking to the myriad people one meets or by participating in any number of cultural delights, be it eating great food, watching a live band or visiting an art gallery. 

Discovered Fenton House and Garden, a little gem hidden on the backstreets of Hampstead recently.

Discovered Fenton House and Garden, a little gem hidden on the backstreets of Hampstead recently.

Some years ago I had a conversation with a Psychotherapist I met at a business-networking event and she helped me write out a weekly timetable that factored in time to do 'fun' things like visiting galleries or taking some exercise. As far as I'm concerned, this stuff is essential to keeping an open-mind and triggering creative ideas. It may seem luxurious to visit a gallery on a Tuesday afternoon, but really it's a research and reconnaissance mission!

I still have access to that weekly timetable, which I print off when I want to focus on a few key targets in a given week. Beneath the tabled agenda are these words from Nicole, the Psychotherapist:

"Keep this flexible! Always keep in mind long-term goals, but work clearly and patiently.

Let the pressures and the 'shoulds' go. Do one thing at a time. Go slow - stops crashes!"

Since I've been attempting to live in a less-agitated state (must do, got to do, rush, rush, rush) I have found way more equilibrium and allowance for myself not to achieve everything I intended to do in a day. There really is a limit, in time, energy and efficiency when it comes to living an agreeable life in the twenty-first century.

I had a particularly wild summer this year in terms of external events and inward emotions. It was great, but I recognised the wisdom needed to kick in, and that something had to give. I don't want that something to be my sanity, so I eased my foot off the pedal and have been attempting to filter in more downtime. Of course there's still been lots of fun, and plenty of late nights, but that's been my bag for years, so I'm cool with that!

My favourite inspirational quote right now is Do Less Better. I remind myself of this quote regularly, as for me, it sings. I cannot accept every invitation, I cannot do all the things I would like if there were two of me, so I have to choose wisely what I agree to doing both inside and outside of my work. 

As we are in an age of the pursuit of self-discovery, another practice I have been honing is to hang around with people that inspire me. So instead of getting annoyed that your parents don't 'get' what you do (guilty) spend as much time with the people who do. I'd be nowhere without my peers and friends that allow me to do what I do without judging me...

People that understand why you're staying up until 2am because you have something you just need to complete, like this blog for example! Traversing London from one side to the other because you have to secure an item to execute an idea that's in your head. A little masochism goes a long way in the life of an artist, entrepreneur or madman!

As I only managed two days official holiday this year thanks to bad planning, I scheduled five 'me days' into my diary last week. That somehow turned into two very long days of catching up with admin and prop-shopping for a new personal project (talking of inspiration!) before spending two and a half days shooting said project!

What I had planned though was a day-trip to what has become a preferred bolthole of mine: Leigh-on-sea in Essex. It had got to around 11am and I needed to be back in London by 5pm to get home and ready for a Private View at the Printspace. I almost talked myself out of making the trip, but I am so glad I stuck to the plan!

Arriving at Chalkwell

Arriving at Chalkwell

I now had about three hours to explore, which involved some picture- taking along the beach, stopping for a salmon bagel, buying some sweets for use in my upcoming project - kinda knew that every seaside town has a Sweet Shop, and my piece de resistance - visiting the little gem of the Francesca Maffeo Gallery

On show was Alexander Missen's Q & A, a fascinating collection of images following Missen's journey across America, 'providing an examination of cultural symbolism and how the motifs we associate with America have affected the reality of place and people.'

Runs until 28th October.

Alexander Missen's Q & A at Francesca Maffeo Gallery, Chalkwell, ends 28th October.

Alexander Missen's Q & A at Francesca Maffeo Gallery, Chalkwell, ends 28th October.

There was an added bonus for me at the gallery, as in conversation, Francesca told me that the good folk of London Independent Photography had paid a visit, and there on the counter was one of my pictures representing the group on a recent promotional flyer!

Ed, representing!

Ed, representing!

In Twenty-Eighteen I intend to get stuck into my next long-term project. That's a year behind schedule, but you can only do what you can do! I will spend some time over Christmas researching further and hope that I can be fully involved with no cutting corners, and pushing myself to new limits!

I am hardly the person to demonstrate high levels of efficiency with my powers of distraction , but I am aware of the things I can do to stay on track and keep reminding myself of where I am heading (there is no final destination by the way!)

Happy Headspace!

Amanda

 

Reflections on being a Portrait Photographer

My Name is Amanda Eatwell and I am a Portrait Photographer!

Photographing people has been a part of my practice for a long time. In my film-shooting days, I photographed many weddings and children's portraits, but it wasn't until the impact of the recession and general changes in the industry that led me to commit to specialising in Portrait Photography, both via commission and more conceptually within my own practice.

In 1998 whilst working as a freelance assistant there happened to be a large-scale makeover studio in the West End called Covershots International. I heard through the grapevine about other assistants who had taken jobs there, so signed up alongside my peers.

The company was a stone's throw from Oxford Circus and spanned at least four floors of a mansion-styled building. At its height we must have had up to ten photographers shooting images at any given time. There was a make-up artist for every photographer, and almost the same number of stylists on hand. It wasn't unusual to work ten to twelve hours to accommodate all the people wanting to be transformed into a model-version of themselves.

I cannot tell you how much I disliked this job at the time. Despite having some great clients it felt like a production line for shallow dreams; each shoot was followed up by a sales team, ready to offer you a finance solution to purchase your prints. The more cynical/realist side of my character made it hard to consistently exude enthusiasm, so I was in awe of those colleagues who treated each shoot like they were working for Vogue!

As with any situation there were perks: I got to meet one of my favourite people, shoot on a Mamiya RB67 and gain invaluable experience of photographing and posing people. I still hear myself using a few of the terms I picked up then, such as bring your chin down slightly and drop your shoulder!

Off - centre portrait of teenage girl with Lillies

Nowadays I take people's pictures for many reasons. It could be a commission for corporate portraits, or purely conceptual, where I utilise people to represent an idea of my own.

I regularly photograph business owners who need images for websites and social media. With this kind of client I would find out about their enterprise and discuss how they'd like to be perceived by their clients. This could translate photographically into a type of lighting, an appropriate clothing-style or a choice of location, such as setting them against a London Landmark to convey a geographic location.

My clients were setting up a new business, and holding meetings at The Shard. Such a prestigious location sets the tone to attract a certain type of customer.

My clients were setting up a new business, and holding meetings at The Shard. Such a prestigious location sets the tone to attract a certain type of customer.

I also have some clients with a large workforce, so can end up shooting forty plus people in a day. This becomes as much a logistical consideration as a photo-shoot, with employees continuing with their working-day: people are in meetings, on lunch, having a cigarette or working to their own deadlines. In this environment it is essential to be assertive and efficient. 

Quite understandably many of the people that are requested by their boss to have their portrait taken for the company website are not really that engaged with the process- I'd be a rich woman if I had a pound for every person who has told me 'I hate having my picture taken'. 

Black and White studio portrait of a business woman

When working on my own projects I consider my practice as a complete journey. It is as much to do with the process as the final image. I will start with an initial idea, often sketching out an outline of the final shot. Each project is different, so the amount of time I get with a subject varies from project to project. One of the most fun and challenging ventures was the Hanami Series shot in Japan. 

Working in a loud and chaotic environment surrounded by people who speak a different language to one's own was a good test of spirit!

Working in a loud and chaotic environment surrounded by people who speak a different language to one's own was a good test of spirit!

Regardless of the type of shoot (personal or commission), no amount of planning can prepare you fully for what will happen in the moment. People are people at the end of the day, bringing their own character, style, and level of confidence in front of the camera.

Portrait photography, possibly more than any other creative medium incorporates several contrasting elements. You need to think quickly to create a powerful composition, check the technical data (am I using the right settings to evoke a certain mood? Is the light complimentary or enough/too much?), and maintain a conversation that keeps the subject engaged and preferably relaxed. You also need to work fast to build rapport with the sitter. All of this whilst keeping an air of calm!

I photographed Jabo Ibehre at his home, whilst taking time out from his intense professional football practice. Despite the final image looking relaxed, there was a lot of patience required to get his precious feline to behave accordingly! Thankfully Jabo embraced the whole experience and kept me busy answering questions throughout!

I photographed Jabo Ibehre at his home, whilst taking time out from his intense professional football practice. Despite the final image looking relaxed, there was a lot of patience required to get his precious feline to behave accordingly! Thankfully Jabo embraced the whole experience and kept me busy answering questions throughout!

I find humans infinitely interesting, on an individual level and in the wider sense. Photography is a great medium for forming a conversation and learning more about a person than you may do otherwise.

Successful portrait photography is a two-way street. Portraiture for me is about the experience and opportunity to interact with people, learn something about them, and make them feel good, not necessarily about themselves, but by having an interesting, and maybe, even enjoyable time!

 

BOXING YOGA: A story less known

For the past four years I have spent a good deal of time in a Boxing club. Not something I had ever imagined, but now I can't imagine my life without it!

Anyway, just recently the UK's only disability-sports magazine, OnTrack were looking for stories, and they found one with me. Below is a preview. Click here to read the article online, starting page 25.

As Michael Caine once said (kinda) 'Not a lot of people knew that'...

OnTrack Article.jpeg

 

 

Summer Sale!

Following the success of my pre-Christmas sale, and the fact that I keep taking pictures, it's time for another!

Some of the pictures you've seen before, others are new. Prices are discounted upto fifty percent.

There are also some print-only offers, but you'll have to come visit to see most of those! Local sales only. Feel free to ask questions and arrange a viewing!

My chosen charity this time is Women's Aid, who will receive ten percent of all sales. Women's Aid provide lifesaving services to women and children across the country.

Feel free to tell your mates!

Thanks

Amanda xx

Plastic People Shot on a quick scoot around Istanbul on my last day in this great city. One of my favourites! Cross-processed image on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper. Frame Size approx 20 x 15"  COST £40.00

Plastic People

Shot on a quick scoot around Istanbul on my last day in this great city. One of my favourites!

Cross-processed image on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper.

Frame Size approx 20 x 15" 

COST £40.00

Crossed Lines Sumptuous hues make this Somerset scene look like America. Cross-processed image on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper. Frame Size approx. 22 x 17"  COST £50.00

Crossed Lines

Sumptuous hues make this Somerset scene look like America.

Cross-processed image on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper.

Frame Size approx. 22 x 17" 

COST £50.00

Wheels of Steel *SOLD* Framed in a brushed aluminium. Amazing richness to this shot! Cross-processed image on Lustre photographic paper. Frame Size approx. 20 x 16" COST £44.00 *SOLD*

Wheels of Steel *SOLD*

Framed in a brushed aluminium. Amazing richness to this shot!

Cross-processed image on Lustre photographic paper.

Frame Size approx. 20 x 16"

COST £44.00 *SOLD*

Rusty Remnants **SOLD** A firm favourite. This is number 4/25. Shot in the golden light of Dungeness. Frame Size approx. 19 x 13" COST £40 **SOLD**

Rusty Remnants **SOLD**

A firm favourite. This is number 4/25. Shot in the golden light of Dungeness.

Frame Size approx. 19 x 13"

COST £40 **SOLD**

Tokyo Microcosm A picture that makes you go wow! The sprawling metropolis of Tokyo, presented in a stylish dark grey frame. Could keep you entertained for hours! Frame Size approx 23 x 17". COST £75.00

Tokyo Microcosm

A picture that makes you go wow!

The sprawling metropolis of Tokyo, presented in a stylish dark grey frame. Could keep you entertained for hours!

Frame Size approx 23 x 17".

COST £75.00

Which Way Now Taken from 300 metres high in Tokyo's Sky Tower, allowing unique views over the city. This is part of a series of six images which was recently exhibited with London Independent Photography.  Frame Size approx. 23 x 17", painted in a dark, oily blue. COST £75.00

Which Way Now

Taken from 300 metres high in Tokyo's Sky Tower, allowing unique views over the city. This is part of a series of six images which was recently exhibited with London Independent Photography. 

Frame Size approx. 23 x 17", painted in a dark, oily blue.

COST £75.00

Up on the Roof Taken from 300 metres high in Tokyo's Sky Tower, allowing unique views over the city. This is part of a series of six images which was recently exhibited with London Independent Photography.  Frame Size approx. 23 x 17", painted in a dark, oily blue. COST £75.00

Up on the Roof

Taken from 300 metres high in Tokyo's Sky Tower, allowing unique views over the city. This is part of a series of six images which was recently exhibited with London Independent Photography. 

Frame Size approx. 23 x 17", painted in a dark, oily blue.

COST £75.00

Seeing Green Taken from 300 metres high in Tokyo's Sky Tower, allowing unique views over the city. This is part of a series of six images which was recently exhibited with London Independent Photography.  Frame Size approx. 23 x 17", painted in a dark, oily blue. COST £75.00

Seeing Green

Taken from 300 metres high in Tokyo's Sky Tower, allowing unique views over the city. This is part of a series of six images which was recently exhibited with London Independent Photography. 

Frame Size approx. 23 x 17", painted in a dark, oily blue.

COST £75.00

The Real East End Often mistaken for a screenprint, this image was taken a stone's throw from the Olympic Park in a more traditional east-end back street. Cross-processed image on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper. Frame Size approx 19 x 15.5"  COST £40.00

The Real East End

Often mistaken for a screenprint, this image was taken a stone's throw from the Olympic Park in a more traditional east-end back street.

Cross-processed image on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper.

Frame Size approx 19 x 15.5" 

COST £40.00

Ebb & Flow An atmospheric image shot on black & white film. I have a copy of this in front of my bed, and it's a very relaxing image for the bedroom ;) UNFRAMED £30.00

Ebb & Flow

An atmospheric image shot on black & white film. I have a copy of this in front of my bed, and it's a very relaxing image for the bedroom ;)

UNFRAMED £30.00

Sea Of Letters **SOLD** An evocative shot from Whitstable, and a great image for those who love a bit of Vintage! Cross-processed image on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper. Frame Size approx 19 x 15"  COST £40.00 **SOLD**

Sea Of Letters **SOLD**

An evocative shot from Whitstable, and a great image for those who love a bit of Vintage!

Cross-processed image on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper.

Frame Size approx 19 x 15" 

COST £40.00 **SOLD**

High Frequency *SOLD* An unusual view of Alexandra Palace, shot on black & white infrared film. This gives a softer feel to the image and creates more drama in the sky. I did sell a copy in the last sale, but subsequently needed to print another copy for an exhibition, so here it is again! Printed on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper. Frame Size approx 25 x 18.5"  COST £75.00 *SOLD*

High Frequency *SOLD*

An unusual view of Alexandra Palace, shot on black & white infrared film. This gives a softer feel to the image and creates more drama in the sky. I did sell a copy in the last sale, but subsequently needed to print another copy for an exhibition, so here it is again!

Printed on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper.

Frame Size approx 25 x 18.5" 

COST £75.00 *SOLD*

Arthur Smith Need an image for your comedy Hall of Fame?! Frame Size approx. 25 x 18.5"  COST £50

Arthur Smith

Need an image for your comedy Hall of Fame?!

Frame Size approx. 25 x 18.5" 

COST £50

Howard Marks, legend to many. It turned out we shared the same birthday, and he loves a curry. That may be where the similarities end! Black & White photographic print. Frame Size approx. 21.5 x 17"  COST £50.00

Howard Marks, legend to many.

It turned out we shared the same birthday, and he loves a curry. That may be where the similarities end!

Black & White photographic print.

Frame Size approx. 21.5 x 17" 

COST £50.00

Silver Birch This image was shot on black & white infrared film. Would suit a modern home. Printed on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper. Frame Size approx. 20 x 15"  COST £55.00

Silver Birch

This image was shot on black & white infrared film. Would suit a modern home.

Printed on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper.

Frame Size approx. 20 x 15" 

COST £55.00

Dry Cleaners This was shot in the New Zealand town of Napier. Following earthquake devastation in 1931, the town was rebuilt in the mode of the day, Art Deco.  Shot on black & white film, and framed in a black frame with grey border. Frame Size approx. 24 x 19"  COST £40.00

Dry Cleaners

This was shot in the New Zealand town of Napier. Following earthquake devastation in 1931, the town was rebuilt in the mode of the day, Art Deco. 

Shot on black & white film, and framed in a black frame with grey border.

Frame Size approx. 24 x 19" 

COST £40.00

Flight of Fancy Another image from Napier.  Shot on black & white film, and framed in a black frame with grey border.  Frame Size approx. 25 x 18.5"  COST £40.00

Flight of Fancy

Another image from Napier. 

Shot on black & white film, and framed in a black frame with grey border. 

Frame Size approx. 25 x 18.5" 

COST £40.00

Tate Addition The simplicity of  the white frame sets off the unique hues of this cross-processed print. Shot whilst the new wing of the Tate Modern was being erected, it is unlikely to ever be reenacted! Cross-processed image on Textured paper. Frame Size approx. 22x 16.5"  COST £60.00

Tate Addition

The simplicity of  the white frame sets off the unique hues of this cross-processed print. Shot whilst the new wing of the Tate Modern was being erected, it is unlikely to ever be reenacted!

Cross-processed image on Textured paper.

Frame Size approx. 22x 16.5" 

COST £60.00

The Age of Enlightenment This image was taken as part of a project looking at how both people and places age, forming stories through their facade. Digital Image printed on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper. Frame Size approx. 20 x 15"  COST £45.00

The Age of Enlightenment

This image was taken as part of a project looking at how both people and places age, forming stories through their facade.

Digital Image printed on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper.

Frame Size approx. 20 x 15" 

COST £45.00

Must Call William A vibrant image, shot outside the William Morris Gallery, London and printed onto aluminium.  Finished Size approx. 21 x 14"  COST £45.00

Must Call William

A vibrant image, shot outside the William Morris Gallery, London and printed onto aluminium. 

Finished Size approx. 21 x 14" 

COST £45.00

China Red Light It is China, but only just! Took a day-trip from Hong Kong. Must do better. I think this was shot on film! Printed onto canvas.  Finished Size approx. 24.5 x 15.5"  COST £40.00

China Red Light

It is China, but only just! Took a day-trip from Hong Kong. Must do better.

I think this was shot on film! Printed onto canvas. 

Finished Size approx. 24.5 x 15.5" 

COST £40.00

 

 

Get Focused for February

So, it's 8th March. February always leaves me feeling short -changed!

After living a relatively solitary life for the past couple of years, I managed to catch up with a few friends this February and chased my tail around town for various events (not so unusual).

Who’s been enjoying all the great movies this February? I have missed out on plenty, but managed to watch Split, starring James McAvoy last weekend. Slipping into myriad characters as a sufferer of Dissociative Identity Disorder, McAvoy did a great job. Suspense, darkness, terror…

A friend of mine has started a film-club which sounds awesome – they recently watched an amazing sounding Chinese Film ‘In the Mood for Love’ whilst sipping on Shanghai Cocktails! As much as I would like to go, I am being fiercely determined to stick to my master – plan (mildly ethereal) so have to turn down some great offers.

Don’t give up what you want most for what you want now. (Probably Neal. A Maxwell)

I took a trip with my colleagues from Vintiners Framers down to Maddox Arts in Mayfair. ‘Cabbages and Kings’ is curated by one of our great customers, Cuillin Bantock. There are works from ten contemporary painters, but with no prompting, we all chose Mr. Bantock’s Matisse-inspired Gouaches as our favourites.

Photo Credit: Laura Coates

Photo Credit: Laura Coates

Running until the end of March. It’s worth a visit if you’re in the West End.

http://www.maddoxarts.com/exhibitions/

I attended the talk and Book Launch for Mimi Mollica’s Terra Nostra, exploring the effects of the Mafia in Sicily.

As the large ‘Belgravian Door’ of the Italian Cultural Institute opened I clocked a friend of mine from the Boxing Club. That was unexpected! She attends weekly Italian lessons there, so had come as part of her cultural journey.

I somehow managed to get a seat in the packed room, avoiding watching the talk on a screen in the overflow room/library. I had clocked a variety of seats with VIP reservations, so hovered by the doorway. Time was ticking and some of these people weren’t there. Right enough, the seats became available to anyone in close-range, so I had a great position to watch the panel discussion between Mimi, Sean O’Hagan, Dewi Lewis and Marco Delagu, the Director of the Institute.

Following the talk I was first in line to get my book signed before Jo led us through the ‘servants quarters’, upstairs where a generous drinks reception, replete with recently delivered boxes of Pizza and a taste of Melanzane Parmigiana were ready for consumption. Time well spent.

This month I stood down from the committee of Islington Art Society. I have been a member for several years, and it’s been a great experience. I feel I am still mid-career, and wanting to push my work in a certain direction, so time to let this one go. If you’re an artist with time on your hands, I would seriously consider getting involved with a group like this. Based on a mutual love of the arts and a sense of community, these institutions are a glimmer of light in a dark world!

Kicking off next week is the group annual show of the Crouch End collective of London Independent Photography. The private view is on Wednesday 15th March, 7 – 9pm if you want to come.

I shall also be in attendance on Sunday 19th March from 1 – 4pm and on Thursday 23rd March from 4 – 7pm. Hope to see you there!

The group chose one of my images for the poster: Tokyo from above!

The group chose one of my images for the poster: Tokyo from above!

My work has been varied this month, from helping students at St. Martin’s photograph sets for their interior-styling course, and helping an artist-friend build a website. I have been busy photographing for a couple of projects, but not ready to reveal, so in the meantime, here are a couple of shots of some special people in my life!

We need to talk!

We need to talk!

Spot the Ball!

Spot the Ball!

For the past few years, I have been working at streamlining my life, with February as no exception. You only get one shot at this, so make some sacrifices and stick to your quest. I am not saying make rigid plans, as adapting to challenges and reassessing your journey is paramount to continued growth, but if you want something, do something. Get started, and enjoy the ride!

So ends the lesson for today!

See you soon

Amanda xx

 

January Jump-start...eventually!

New year, new start...nah! Scrap that. I prefer to try and make improvements all year round - why restrict yourself to the new year, and who invented the calendar anyway?!

I haven't made any resolutions, but there are a few things I would like to achieve this year. If I do, you will surely read about them here!

I have found more time for reading over the past year or so, and quite recently read Gandhi's Autobiography - the main objective was to learn more about this eminent figure. As it was written by himself, in a rather flat manner, I cannot say I was awestruck, but I did find some of his behaviour fascinating and the core of his intentions admirable. His lessons in self-restraint were phenomenal, bordering on self-abuse. This must have struck a chord somewhere, as I have taken to abstaining from eating 'land-animals' and bread for the whole of January, purely as an exercise in self-discipline. I can't say either has been particularly difficult to go without, but I have learned that bread is so convenient. Notice how I didn't choose alcohol - one step at a time folks! (*In the spirit of honesty I have to admit to accidentally eating bread once. Yes, accidentally! I had a very weird couple of days where within 24 hours my Uncle died, my Mum was admitted to hospital with high blood-pressure and unexplained chest pain, and my aunt was having investigative tests for her own unexplained pains at the same time. This resulted in a flying visit home and a day in the hospital. We ended up in the cafeteria and I was so busy trying to avoid meat that I figured I would just have a sandwich...as I peeled back the wrapper I exclaimed "No way, I can't believe I bought a sandwich"! Too late. I was a little disappointed, but it didn't seem appropriate to waste the food. 

A Time to Reflect 

A Time to Reflect 

Following the Downtime exhibition, I certainly had some 'down' time of my own, to the point I was wondering what the hell I should or could do next. Luckily, I recognise that any creative mind needs time to reflect and recharge. The way I work on personal projects and 'life-plans' means I circulate a lot of ideas and bits of ideas over a period of time(from weeks to years), and then one day it will all form into one glorious (and often difficult to achieve) idea! I am now armed with three clear projects, ranging from mini to maxi, and I am really looking forward to getting my teeth stuck into them. 

Apart from filing my tax return, and the odd job, January has been full of teaching for a variety of reasons - I had a lady who wanted to improve her photography skills for a new online business, and another lady who had set a resolution to come out of auto-mode. I also put together a two-week teenage photography course after a number of enquiries. The poor souls had to brave zero degrees so we could put our theory to practice. I think the next one will be in the spring!

Um. What does this button do?!

Um. What does this button do?!

Demonstrting shutter-speed whilst warming up!

Demonstrting shutter-speed whilst warming up!

The Palm House was closed, ruining my cunning plan to warm up. Do not be fooled by the pretty picture. It was freezing!

The Palm House was closed, ruining my cunning plan to warm up. Do not be fooled by the pretty picture. It was freezing!

I offer photography tuition locally, on a one-to-one basis, starting from £59.00 for a two-hour session. I can also facilitate photography workshops for community groups. 

Talking of teaching, if you follow me on social media then you should know that I qualified as a BoxingYoga™ Coach last June, and now take regular classes in Crouch End as follows:

Sundays at 11am, the Picture House Cinema, 165 Tottenham LaneCrouch End
N8 9BY https://www.picturehouses.com/cinema/Crouch_End_Picturehouse

Monday and Thursday evenings at 7.30pm, Total Boxer, 21 Cranford Way, Hornsey, N8 9DG

Breaking some moves!

Breaking some moves!

A few years ago I would never have believed that I'd eagerly await a double-session of Boxing at the club on Friday nights, so if you fancy a challenge, there are worse things you could do. Check out Total Boxer and their amazing new premises here http://totalboxer.com

Until next time,

Amanda x

It's an Art Sale!

After bringing home around 25 framed images from the Downtime exhibition I realised that unless I want to build my home out of frames it’s time for a sale, and what better time than Christmas!

You can bag yourself a bargain or buy a unique gift for a loved-one…

Prices stated are the sale prices. They are listed with a reduction of upto fifty percent. I will donate 10% of any sales to the Crisis homeless charity. 

I am happy for people to come and view the pictures at my flat in Crouch End, if necessary. Equally happy to deliver to Swindon over Christmas should any of my homies want to make a purchase!

Happy Shopping, and please share in your own circles.

Thanks!

Amanda xx

About the images (if you want more!)

As well as trying to earn a crust in various commercial sectors of photography, I have always loved capturing something unique from everyday observations. With my location photographs it is often a spontaneous reaction to what I see that inspires me to take a picture. Instinctively I tend to produce work of a more graphic nature; quickly adjusting my vision to create images with strong compositions.

High Five! From the series Hanami - shot on location in Tokyo earlier this year as people celebrated the arrival of the Cherry Blossom. A very popular image, and one that is sure to bring a smile to your face every day!  Frame Size approx. 21 x 17"  COST £55.00  

High Five!

From the series Hanami - shot on location in Tokyo earlier this year as people celebrated the arrival of the Cherry Blossom.

A very popular image, and one that is sure to bring a smile to your face every day! 

Frame Size approx. 21 x 17" 

COST £55.00

 

Panama Man **SOLD** You won't believe how busy it was when I took this shot. I had composed the image, and was waiting for the 'right' kind of person to enter the scene. The sea of people parted and along came Panama Man. It was almost biblical! Cross-processed image on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper. Frame Size approx 22 x 17"  COST £38.50 **SOLD**

Panama Man **SOLD**

You won't believe how busy it was when I took this shot. I had composed the image, and was waiting for the 'right' kind of person to enter the scene. The sea of people parted and along came Panama Man. It was almost biblical!

Cross-processed image on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper.

Frame Size approx 22 x 17" 

COST £38.50 **SOLD**

Plastic People Shot on a quick scoot around Istanbul on my last day in this great city. Little did I know my flight would be cancelled and I'd end up bored-stupid in an airport hotel room. One of my favourites! Cross-processed image on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper. Frame Size approx 20 x 15"  COST £40.00

Plastic People

Shot on a quick scoot around Istanbul on my last day in this great city. Little did I know my flight would be cancelled and I'd end up bored-stupid in an airport hotel room. One of my favourites!

Cross-processed image on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper.

Frame Size approx 20 x 15" 

COST £40.00

Crossed Lines Sumptuous hues make this Somerset scene look like America. Cross-processed image on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper. Frame Size approx. 22 x 17"  COST £55.00

Crossed Lines

Sumptuous hues make this Somerset scene look like America.

Cross-processed image on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper.

Frame Size approx. 22 x 17" 

COST £55.00

Sea Of Letters An evocative shot from Whitstable, and a great image for those who love a bit of Vintage! Cross-processed image on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper. Frame Size approx 19 x 15"  COST £40.00

Sea Of Letters

An evocative shot from Whitstable, and a great image for those who love a bit of Vintage!

Cross-processed image on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper.

Frame Size approx 19 x 15" 

COST £40.00

The Real East End Often mistaken for a screenprint, this image was taken a stone's throw from the Olympic Park in a more traditional east-end back street. Cross-processed image on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper. Frame Size approx 19 x 15.5"  COST £40.00

The Real East End

Often mistaken for a screenprint, this image was taken a stone's throw from the Olympic Park in a more traditional east-end back street.

Cross-processed image on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper.

Frame Size approx 19 x 15.5" 

COST £40.00

Wheels of Steel Framed in a black deep-edged frame. Amazing richness to this shot! Cross-processed image on Lustre photographic paper. Frame Size approx. 24 x 19"  COST £55.00

Wheels of Steel

Framed in a black deep-edged frame. Amazing richness to this shot!

Cross-processed image on Lustre photographic paper.

Frame Size approx. 24 x 19" 

COST £55.00

This shot is just to show a group of images hanging together for inspiration! In case you're wondering what Cross-Processing is all about, it is a traditional photographic process which can be tested either way, but I shoot my images on negative film. I then process the images through the wrong chemicals (one's for slide/E6 film). In the past I would have then printed from the negatives, but now I scan them onto disc and work from those files. I find the colours pretty much immovable, so I get what I'm given! This process results in quirky colours and high-contrast images. I like the unpredictability of it.

This shot is just to show a group of images hanging together for inspiration!

In case you're wondering what Cross-Processing is all about, it is a traditional photographic process which can be tested either way, but I shoot my images on negative film. I then process the images through the wrong chemicals (one's for slide/E6 film). In the past I would have then printed from the negatives, but now I scan them onto disc and work from those files. I find the colours pretty much immovable, so I get what I'm given! This process results in quirky colours and high-contrast images. I like the unpredictability of it.

High Frequency **SOLD** An unusual view of Alexandra Palace, shot on black & white infrared film. This gives a softer feel to the image and creates more drama in the sky. Printed on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper. Frame Size approx 25 x 18.5"  COST £75.00 **SOLD**

High Frequency **SOLD**

An unusual view of Alexandra Palace, shot on black & white infrared film. This gives a softer feel to the image and creates more drama in the sky.

Printed on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper.

Frame Size approx 25 x 18.5" 

COST £75.00 **SOLD**

Hornsey Highlight **SOLD** An imposing view of Hornsey Town Hall, shot on black & white infrared film.  Printed on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper. Frame Size approx. 21.5 x 17"  COST £65.00 **SOLD**

Hornsey Highlight **SOLD**

An imposing view of Hornsey Town Hall, shot on black & white infrared film. 

Printed on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper.

Frame Size approx. 21.5 x 17" 

COST £65.00 **SOLD**

Silver Birch This image was shot on black & white infrared film. Would suit a modern home. Printed on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper. Frame Size approx. 20 x 15"  COST £70.00

Silver Birch

This image was shot on black & white infrared film. Would suit a modern home.

Printed on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper.

Frame Size approx. 20 x 15" 

COST £70.00

Dry Cleaners This was shot in the New Zealand town of Napier. Following earthquake devastation in 1931, the town was rebuilt in the mode of the day, Art Deco. A fascinating place. Shot on black & white film, and framed in a black frame with grey border. Frame Size approx. 24 x 19"  COST £40.00

Dry Cleaners

This was shot in the New Zealand town of Napier. Following earthquake devastation in 1931, the town was rebuilt in the mode of the day, Art Deco. A fascinating place.

Shot on black & white film, and framed in a black frame with grey border.

Frame Size approx. 24 x 19" 

COST £40.00

Flight of Fancy Another image from Napier.  Shot on black & white film, and framed in a black frame with grey border.  Frame Size approx. 25 x 18.5"  COST £40.00

Flight of Fancy

Another image from Napier. 

Shot on black & white film, and framed in a black frame with grey border. 

Frame Size approx. 25 x 18.5" 

COST £40.00

Tate Addition The simplicity of  the white frame sets off the unique hues of this cross-processed print. Shot whilst the new wing of the Tate Modern was being erected, it is unlikely to ever be reenacted! Cross-processed image on Textured paper. Frame Size approx. 22x 16.5"  COST £69.00

Tate Addition

The simplicity of  the white frame sets off the unique hues of this cross-processed print. Shot whilst the new wing of the Tate Modern was being erected, it is unlikely to ever be reenacted!

Cross-processed image on Textured paper.

Frame Size approx. 22x 16.5" 

COST £69.00

No Public Access *SOLD* A nice square print from a Hasselblad I laid my hands on! Somewhere in a French Village. Traditional Colour Print. Frame Size approx. 17 x 17"  COST £49.00 *SOLD*

No Public Access *SOLD*

A nice square print from a Hasselblad I laid my hands on! Somewhere in a French Village.

Traditional Colour Print.

Frame Size approx. 17 x 17" 

COST £49.00 *SOLD*

The Age of Enlightenment This image was originally displayed alongside a portrait of an old man (see below): something about the connection between old people and old places.  Digital Image printed on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper. Frame Size approx. 20 x 15"  COST £45.00

The Age of Enlightenment

This image was originally displayed alongside a portrait of an old man (see below): something about the connection between old people and old places. 

Digital Image printed on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper.

Frame Size approx. 20 x 15" 

COST £45.00

Bob does Tweed. Not for sale.

Bob does Tweed.

Not for sale.

Flatbread **SOLD** This is a popular image. I love it!  Framed in a Farrow & Ball 'Offblack' painted frame. Slick. Digital Image printed on lustre photographic Paper. Frame Size approx. 21 x 17"  COST £45.00 **SOLD**

Flatbread **SOLD**

This is a popular image. I love it!

 Framed in a Farrow & Ball 'Offblack' painted frame. Slick.

Digital Image printed on lustre photographic Paper.

Frame Size approx. 21 x 17" 

COST £45.00 **SOLD**

Must Call William A vibrant image, shot outside the William Morris Gallery, London and printed onto aluminium.  Finished Size approx. 21 x 14"  COST £45.00

Must Call William

A vibrant image, shot outside the William Morris Gallery, London and printed onto aluminium. 

Finished Size approx. 21 x 14" 

COST £45.00

N8 **SOLD** A study of an old road sign, printed onto aluminium.  Finished Size approx. 12 x 8"  COST £35.00 **SOLD**

N8 **SOLD**

A study of an old road sign, printed onto aluminium. 

Finished Size approx. 12 x 8" 

COST £35.00 **SOLD**

China Red Light It is China, but only just! Took a day-trip from Hong Kong. Must do better. I think this was shot on film! Printed onto canvas.  Finished Size approx. 24.5 x 15.5"  COST £42.50

China Red Light

It is China, but only just! Took a day-trip from Hong Kong. Must do better.

I think this was shot on film! Printed onto canvas. 

Finished Size approx. 24.5 x 15.5" 

COST £42.50

Howard Marks, legend to many. It turned out we shared the same birthday, and he loves a curry. That may be where the similarities end! Digital image converted to Black & White, and printed on photographic paper. Frame Size approx. 21.5 x 17"  COST £50.00  

Howard Marks, legend to many.

It turned out we shared the same birthday, and he loves a curry. That may be where the similarities end!

Digital image converted to Black & White, and printed on photographic paper.

Frame Size approx. 21.5 x 17" 

COST £50.00

 

Merry Christmas!  nfs

Merry Christmas! 

nfs

Remember Remember this fun-filled November

That has to have been one of the busiest months of my life and was a true test of my mettle. As I am writing this, I guess I passed the test.

I belong to both London Independent photographers and Islington Art Society. For the past two years I have been a committee member for IAS (these things can happen by accident, be warned). Both groups held shows in November, and for Islington Art Society, as well as preparing my works, I had to attend and photograph the Private View and invigilate a couple of times. I also found myself painting plinths for the ceramicists, as it was my bright idea to get some more made up. With the help of some fellow members we had got two of the plinths delivered to my flat a good month before the exhibition. Needless to say I finally got around to painting them two days before delivery!

Just want to take this opportunity as a ‘keep-fit’ advocate that I think coping with a hectic lifestyle is made a whole lot easier by keeping fit & active…when necessary, I can literally run from one place to the other, and lugging equipment and framed works around town when you don’t drive needs a certain level of strength and determination! I am not suggesting we should run ourselves ragged, but when several opportunities happen at once, you need to be at the top of your game to accept them. 

Beautiful Plinths!

Beautiful Plinths!

I managed to get a quick trip to Leigh-on-sea with a fellow photographer. After having fun on the barren beach, we went to see Laura Pannack's exhibition at the Francesca Maffeo Gallery. This was my second visit since it opened back in June. I get the distinct feeling I will become quite familiar with that part of Essex!

Me and Leigh-on-Sea

Me and Leigh-on-Sea

Other highlights were the Alexandra palace Fireworks display and a ‘Giving Thanks’ dinner held at my friends’ on Thanksgiving. The idea was we would take it in turns to say what we were grateful for. Some people were more grateful than others!

I have been very disciplined of late, so allowed myself to let my hair down at the Total Boxer (new venue) House-warming party, and managed to bust some moves which for me usually indicates a successful evening!

Ooh...aah!

Ooh...aah!

Work wise, I took my annual outing to Islington & Camden cemetery for the Mayoral Remembrance Service: I have been photographing the event for around nine years now! Yesterday (30th November), I did a job for a new client, WCAL. They provide educational resources for children, so I was photographing kids looking happy about learning! I had a lot of equipment to lug, so had to take cab both ways - on the way there I got to listen to a radio phone-in, discussing Tony Blair & the Chilcott enquiry, and on the way back we hit Arsenal match-day traffic which added 30 minutes to the hour-long journey. My driver told me he has worked for Uber since May and this was his worst journey to date!

I was pleased to see the Mayors of both Camden and Islington are young women this year.

I was pleased to see the Mayors of both Camden and Islington are young women this year.

New client work

New client work

Footnote. Whilst writing this the website has crashed at least ten times, which means I have been re-writing, then saving words after every few sentences! I also wanted to upload some other pictures, but have discovered one of my memory cards has corrupted. This is just how it goes sometimes :(

The overwhelming amount of energy this month, unsurprisingly went on Downtime/Hanami – my biggest solo-show to date…

My son, Sam, turned sixteen mid-month, so I squeezed in a cake-making enterprise in two sessions: one late at night and one early the next morning. I needed sustenance that week, so a slice a day kept my energy up! The exhibition was hung on his birthday with the generous help of three LIP members– one of whom had only joined the month before. He offered his services and I was happy to have any help I could get!

Mmm...chocolate!

Mmm...chocolate!

The Private View was immense, especially as I was busy tearing my hair out making labels not long before the grand opening. A good friend of mine had arrived early to help, and was telling me for at least an hour that I should probably get ready now! Lots of people turned up, including a good number of my subjects – many more of them visited at other times. It was nice to see people reading the mini-stories that went alongside the images, and discussing the people and their passions. 

Showtime!

Showtime!

Throughout the show, I got to meet new people, catch-up with old friends and family members, and got my name out and about in photography circles. I attended meetings with Picture Editors, sold some work and got myself some tuition clients. That can't be bad! 

My exhibition was part of Photomonth, an international Photography festival that takes place most years in the east of London and runs from 1st October to 30th November. It facilitates the opportunity for hundreds of photographers, amateur and professional to showcase their work in a multitude of environments. Through the show and the space I got to meet some great people, and feel more than ever that photographers are helping each other out, in recognition of a shared passion. Two people that deserve mention are Nick Findlar, conflict photographer and Marcus Bastel, Landscape/ people photographer. 

Nick was showing at Republic when I took Sam down to show him the space. We chatted about all things photography and he subsequently put me in touch with a wine supplier, who gave me a good deal on wine for my Private View. 

Marcus Bastel dropped by my exhibition as he was preparing for his own: Faces of Mustang which is running now - check it out! Marcus recognised one of my pieces, as another version was on show at the Photomonth Photo Open in Richmix, where he also had work. It turned out  that due to work commitments I could not collect my piece from Richmix when the show ended, so I had  brainwave, and asked Marcus if he would mind picking mine up, figuring he'd be collecting his own. He agreed and I shall collect it this afternoon when I go to see his show!

It's over a week since the exhibition ended and I am yet to recall all that happened. I was hoping to avoid too much of a comedown, but like any show, there is always a little deflation after the build-up and performance. You're only as good as your last job/show as they say.

I worked on Downtime for around three years, and I am sure it will continue in some way. I would love to bring you an account of some of the things that happened whilst building the images – from appeasing Park Wardens to racing around for an essential prop that I was told would be on site! In the meantime, there are a couple of other projects brewing which I will be working on in the New Year.

Until then!

Amanda xx

My general reaction to the Downtime show!

My general reaction to the Downtime show!

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibitions a go go!

The past eight weeks have been crammed with the organisation and implementation of various exhibitions and competitions. Some things are yet to be decided, but November will see the fruits of my labour, as I will be featured in four exhibitions across London Town!

Here they are in chronological order…

PHOTOMONTH PHOTO-OPEN

Preview 2nd November 6- 8pm

Rich Mix E1 6LA

Runs 02 – 26th November

Sun-Thurs 10am-12am, Fri & Sat 10am-1pm

 

This exhibition was open to all kinds of photographers, professional and non-professional,

students and young people from all over the UK and the rest of the world. All images

submitted will be screened on a projector, and a selection printed. Participants will not

discover if they have been selected for print until they visit the show!

***UPDATE! I had a piece selected for the wall, which was  nice surprise!

 

ISLINGTON ART SOCIETY AUTUMN SHOW

9th – 26th November

The Original Gallery, Hornsey Library

Crouch End N8 9JA

Private View Wednesday 9th November 6-8.30pm

I’ll be there armed with my camera. There’s lots more than photography to see.

Please come along!

The picture used for the exhibition poster was taken by yours truly and is an image of Alexandra Palace that I shot on black & white infrared film. Several people have commented on never noticing that tree before, but it seemed well-established to me. All the more reason for walking around with our eyes open!    

The picture used for the exhibition poster was taken by yours truly and is an image of

Alexandra Palace that I shot on black & white infrared film. Several people have commented

on never noticing that tree before, but it seemed well-established to me. All the more

reason for walking around with our eyes open!

 

 

LONDON INDEPENDENT PHOTOGRAPHY 28TH ANNUAL EXHIBITION

Espacio Gallery

159 Bethnal Green Road

15th – 20th November

 

London Independent Photography is a community organisation for amateur and

professional photographers with more than 500 members. There is a wonderful array

of satellite groups across the City who come together once a year to hold an annual

exhibition. Our independent selectors this year were Max Houghton (Senior Lecturer in

Photography at London College of Communication), Melanie King (curator and founder of

London Alternative Photography Collective), and Michelle Sank (Senior Lecturer in

Photography at Falmouth University).

I am pleased to announce that I have had a piece selected.

The Private view is on Tuesday 15th November, and I am not sure if I’ll make it myself! It

happens to be my son’s birthday and the day I hang my own show, so it will take a concerted

effort and a great deal of efficiency to find time to drop by for a quick hello!

DOWNTIME & HANAMI

16th – 21st November

The Gallery at Republic

Capstan House

2 Clove Crescent

E14 2BE

Private View Wednesday 16th November 6.30 – 9.30pm

Weekdays 11am – 7pm Weekend 12 – 6pm

This is big!

Two projects come together to form my biggest ever solo show…

Downtime shines a spotlight on what we do for kicks, outside of office hours.

Hanami captures some of the people who visited Yoyogi Park, Tokyo, to welcome the arrival

of the Cherry Blossom.

Needless to say that I am very excited to have this opportunity, and I do hope you will join

me at the show!

We are half way through Photomonth, and although I have managed to squeeze in a few shows, there is so much I have missed. Never have there been so many image-makers in the world!

My favourite so far was a small yet exquisite collection of black & white images by Mimi Mollica: Terra Nostra is his personal project, documenting Sicily and the impact the Mafia have had in the region. Expertly printed by and on display at the Printspace. Blink and you’ve missed it.

I nipped by the launch of Girl Town (celebrating the culture of the Female in the 21st Century), a collaboration between Shutter Hub and the Old Girl’s Club. There were 200 images from photographers across the UK and the world. A simple idea, well executed; recreated screen shots of instagram images with their numbered hearts and comments for all to see, and displayed as snapshots on the wall.

Talking of Shutter Hub, they have been very kind in writing a couple of pieces about my show and me. There are worse ways to spend your time, so why not grab a cuppa and settle in to what’s hot on the Shutter Hub site https://shutterhub.org.uk/blog

Not technically part of Photomonth, but within the timeframe I went to see William Eggleston Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery. I particularly liked his use of angles and unusual viewpoints. Something I am trying to incorporate more into my own work.

Keep smiling!

xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What's not to love?

Melonie Stennett, Teacher Part of Downtime which goes on show six weeks today!

Melonie Stennett, Teacher

Part of Downtime which goes on show six weeks today!

...Quite a lot probably, but let's not dwell on it.

To be honest, I can't stop being grateful for the number of sunny days we've had this summer, and they keep on coming! I am hopeful that I've packed in enough vitamin D to keep me buoyant throughout the winter.

And, with sunshine comes energy and I've needed a lot this past month as September was a roller-coaster...

I took on a couple of physical challenges: ten days straight of BoxingYoga™ to improve for everyone's benefit, and the Summer Sweat Challenge at Total Boxer which required a class-a-day for ten days: that would have been fine if I hadn't done a Strength & Conditioning class on day three - my arms were screaming for days!

Work has picked up a pace, so I am mostly running on adrenalin. I like being busy, and I like diversity in what I do, but I have to say my brain has felt a little challenged this month as I flit between photographer, tutor, mother, framing assistant and yogi . I could do with swappable heads like Wurzel Gummidge used to have! 

I photographed a teeny-tiny wedding for some friends. They've been together 27 years, and didn't want a big 'do'. I felt privileged, as apart from four witnesses and the registrars, I was the only one there! 

They did it!

They did it!

The exhibition and competition flurry continues, which always brings fun and anxiety. I have made some great connections recently by banding my images around, so never miss an opportunity to expose yourself is my advice!!

I've picked up a new client in the education sector and I'm booked to give a talk this weekend to a large audience of mosaicists - giving them an overview of practical photography and how best to shoot their work.

It's now just six weeks until my solo exhibition opens in Docklands. That's okay; I only have to make the invites, print & frame the pictures, promote the show, work out how to hang it, and organise the Private View! Somehow, I don't think October will be any quieter. In fact, I am off to Norfolk tomorrow to shoot one of the last images for Downtime.

Offers of help welcome! In fact, I am looking for an 'intern' at the moment - aged 25 upwards, just the odd day, work-experience/expenses covered and payment when I have help on real jobs. Must be interested in photography (video a bonus), and social media. Someone keen on strategy and data would be great. Do spread the word and let me know if you know anyone.

Thanks

Amanda

Eight weeks to go!

Graham Bayliss, Fitter

Graham Bayliss, Fitter

Graham is a ball of energy - his relaxed mode is like most people's hard-work!

Welcome to Gravel Lane Vineyard, owned and run by Graham and his industrious wife Alison. 
This photo comes from project Downtime, which will be exhibited as part of @Photomonth in London this November:

The Gallery at Republic, Capstan House, 2 Clove Crescent, E14 2BE London

 Opening times:

    Wednesday 16th 11 -7pm

    Thursday 17th 11 -7pm

    Friday 18th 11 -7pm

    Saturday 19th 12 -6pm

    Sunday 20th 12 -6pm

    Monday 21st 11 -7pm

Get in touch If you want more information, and I hope to see you there!

 

 

 

Downtime: Nine weeks and counting

David Exeter, Architect

David Exeter, Architect

David was one of the first people I photographed for Downtime. We had met at a local business meeting and I must have been on the lookout for participants! All along I have been blown away with people’s willingness to get involved, especially as my sessions are not a quick-snap scenario.

It was a very cold morning when we headed to Epping Forest with woolly hats donned and a car-load of equipment. We had a little run-in with the Park Ranger - Royal Parks red tape. Some fast-talking and a sprinkling of charm allowed us to go ahead with the shoot.

I used Profoto heads with a battery pack as I was looking for a clean light to cut across the greens of the forest. There was no action in the sky.

I think through a combination of the tribulations of the day and the final image, with it’s sumptuous greenery and stark-white suit, this photograph remains one of my favourites from the series.

The show runs from Wednesday 16th November through to 21st November.

Monday-Friday 11am – 7pm

Weekend 12 – 6pm

 The show will form part of Photomonth East London International Photography Festival.

 This will run from 1st October to 30th November across galleries and venues in East London.

 For more information on the festival click here

http://2016.photomonth.org

 

 

Downtime Showtime!

Robbie Hopper, Economist

Robbie Hopper, Economist

The countdown has begun.

The biggest solo show of my career to date will be kicking off in ten weeks time, and I’m a tad excited!! There is a lot to organise, but I will be regularly (such is the intention) updating you with progress reports!

Showcasing my Downtime project and a sprinkling of Japan it will provide an insight into the variety of things us humans get up to in our spare time.

With a nod to people’s professions, we may be surprised that a Postman dresses up like a Jedi or a cancer scientist makes her own clothes.

The show will run from Wednesday 16th November through to 21st November.

Private view on 16th, all welcome!

Monday-Friday 11am – 7pm

Weekend 12 – 6pm

Hope to see you there!

The show will form part of Photomonth East London International Photography Festival. London’s answer to Les Rencontres d’Arles!

It will run from 1st October to 30th November across galleries and venues in East London.

For more information on the festival click here

http://2016.photomonth.org

 

 

Auspicious August

 

I am quite partial to the month of August, what with it being summer, and the month of my birth. It's been so lovely to have so many blue skies and short-sleeve-wearing opportunities. 

It's been a busy month for both business and pleasure...

My son, Sam and I took a trip west, firstly celebrating my birthday in my hometown with family and friends, then heading to Cornwall for a regular whirlwind tour. 

In Cornwall we hooked up with one of Sam's first/best school friends following his return from a four year seafaring circumnavigation of the globe. I was on the communication loop from base, and was kept in complete awe of the crew of four - the youngest was a baby when she left, so it was great to see she could balance on solid ground! Their scariest moment was when a humpback whale decided to give them a nudge. Hats off and a testament to self-belief and determination.

Yes!  Rospletha Cliffs

Yes!  Rospletha Cliffs

Sam, Ruth and Sailor. Our lovely hosts showing us around.

Sam, Ruth and Sailor. Our lovely hosts showing us around.

Twas a tad windy!

Twas a tad windy!

The Clockmaker's Daughter at the Minack. Great setting for a theatre.

The Clockmaker's Daughter at the Minack. Great setting for a theatre.

Moon over Mousehole

Moon over Mousehole

Sports have featured highly this month - not just with me, but I'd almost forgotten the Olympics just happened. It's good to see there has been some kind of legacy from 2012 with investment in a lot of sports around the country. Really pleased to see Britain getting so many medals, and Brazil pulling off such a good show. 

I have been teaching BoxingYoga™ regularly and decided to practice the full routine myself for ten days on the trot to enhance my practice and examine some of the moves more intently. It has taken me years to fully appreciate the saying 'practice makes perfect'. There really is always room for improvement.

Doing the Crow, where nature intended.

Doing the Crow, where nature intended.

 

I went on a couple of bike rides with Sam. He has been cycling a lot over the past few months, so sees himself as some kind of expert! We rode down to Waterloo via the scenic route, which involved riding down the River Lea until we reached the Olympic Park and hooking onto the Regents Canal until Limehouse Basin, then getting slightly disorientated until finding the Cycle Super Highway which I must say was amazing. It was another glorious day, so the fact that it took three hours instead of one (if we'd done the big roads) was no bother.

Our destination was St. John's Church at Waterloo. We were going for a scout around 'The Crypt' which is where Southbank Mosaics have their headquarters. I will be doing some work there in October, when all will be explained. On the day, a kindly gent' gave us a guided tour.

Hanging out in the Crypt.

Hanging out in the Crypt.

And so, to Photography.

If you've only been following my work or blog since having this new website you probably don't know much about what came before...

I have been freelancing in the photographic industry for twenty years, starting out as an assistant to advertising, then editorial photographers. After freelancing for some time I worked primarily for one photographer in the home & lifestyle sector. Despite him berating the fact that his day rate hadn't increased for fifteen years, he was shooting for most of the top lifestyle magazines. I was learning a lot about photography and client liaison - these were still the days when we had big team lunches, and the clients seemed to drink coffee all day long! We worked consistently for two years on 'Changing Rooms'. You remember, the TV programme with the most outrageous approach to home decor! They had a subscription magazine that ran alongside the programme which we worked on: step-by-step images of how to stencil a table for example as well as photographing fully decorated rooms. There was a lot of set-building and painting involved, which is in part to thank for my DIY skills. The magazine industry at this stage was still flourishing, and photography still looked like a good career choice.

With that experience, most people would have pursued a career in this area, but I've always had a sense of adventure and wanted to travel the world. Paired with a keen interest in writing I decided I would become a travel writer and photographer, and why not! I did my research, read books, attended talks by my peers and had my trip planned, including a working visa for Australia.

Just a few weeks before I was due to leave, I found out I was pregnant. Oh, the irony! Let's just say, this had quite an impact on my unfounded career. Ever determined, I still managed to go away for two months; the first with my partner and a month on my own as per the plan. I took hundreds of pictures. They never did make it very far, as hospital appointments and nesting was a little distracting.

Once we brought the baby home my approach to photography was fairly scrappy for many years. Never really having the headspace or wherewithal to know what I should do, I did lots of things!

I had some success with children's portraits (I'll never know why I let that slip), then weddings when I was shooting on film. My switch to digital was unwelcome and unenjoyable. I felt my standards dropped before they rose again, by which time the wedding industry was filling up with people who were way more excited about weddings (in their entirity,) than I ever was, so I decided to leave it to them.

Then what? Then what indeed. I started working for all kinds of businesses and picking up work for various councils and charities, plus some more creative work that I have always maintained - images I would sell at craft stalls and markets.

Reach for the Sky

Reach for the Sky

Then came the recession. I immediately lost a regular client, people's budgets were cut and even companies that could afford it started using the doctrine 'we haven't got much of a budget'. Councils bought digital cameras for their staff and the phone pretty much stopped ringing. Interesting times.  

Things got pretty bad, so at the beginning of twenty-eleven I took on a part-time role as a Framing Adviser in a local shop. This is one of the best moves I have ever made. The fact that it is not photography is precisely why it works: better to do something that is completely different than take on shoddy photography jobs that you'll regret. The fact that all of the staff are creatives has allowed me to share ideas with like-minded people in a way that I had rarely had the chance to do for years. I have met so many interesting people there and finally allowed myself to see myself as an artist. Yes, I am!

Over the past four years I have been reassessing what it is I intended to do, what I am doing and what I want to do. I have made a lot of big changes in my life.

I hope you don't think it's all been difficult? Here are some highlights of my career so far:  travelling to Kenya to document a trip in collaboration with The Prince's Trust, doing a job inside 10 Downing Street. Having Sir Peter Blake admire my work in a gallery in Mayfair and photographing a wedding at the Tower of London. I have had some amazing opportunities and met many inspirational people along the way. And of course, I have had the absolute pleasure of seeing my son grow and flourish. He has been nothing but a joy to me, ever since a few weeks after the initial shock that is. 

I am glad I have stuck with it, I am glad I can write this and see what a mess it all was. I just hope that my reawakening or whatever it is gives me enough time to see me produce work that means something to me, and that other people enjoy. That is all I ever wanted out of photography. I don't expect to get rich, but I do need to earn enough money to pay my way in this astronomical city, so over to you!!

High Five!

High Five!

Oh yes, August! 

You may remember I mentioned the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize last month?  I didn't quite make it into the National Portrait gallery, but I did get shortlisted from around six thousand images to under 400. I think they end up with around sixty for exhibition. Maybe next year!

Big news for now is that I am going to have a solo exhibition this Autumn as part of Photomonth. You will hear a lot more about this nearer the time, but here are the main details:

The Gallery at Republic

Republic is a six acre commercial and retail estate located in East India Dock, London. 

Opening times

Wednesday 16th November 11 - 7pm

Thursday 17th November 11 - 7pm

Friday 18th November 11 - 7pm

Saturday 19th November 12 - 6pm

Sunday 20h November 12 - 6pm

Monday 21st November 11 - 7pm

Private View Wednesday 16th November 6.30 - 9.30pm

Also in November I will be exhibiting with Islington Art society and there is a chance that I may be in one or two more shows, depending on selection, so don't expect to see much of me for a while!

Over and out

Amanda xx

 

 

 

Reasons to be Cheerful (the July roundup)

Another month of being a photographer who doesn’t take many photographs, but there is plenty going on behind the scenes. Funny how one of the main drawers to photography for me was the thought of not being stuck at a desk - isn’t technological progress great.

Despite the daily dose of single-acts of hate and the horrors of mass-killings around the world, I am feeling resolutely upbeat. 

My favourite job this month was a simple reportage-styled affair, recording the day's events at a community Funday in a place called Chalkhill, northwest London. 

The sun was shining and the MC made a point of stating that people were there to celebrate diversity and their rich community. There was a one-minute silence for those who lost their lives in the 'Nice Terror Attacks' which had happened a couple of days before. 

Three local councillors attended and each one of them was well received. The Mayor of Brent, Councillor Parvez Ahmed was very charismatic and everyone seemed to know him!

There were lots of events and entertainers throughout the day, including an amazing performance from some traditional African acrobats. Alongside this, local people were thanked for their contributions, including a couple of long-serving foster carers. It truly was a community event and a reminder of how easy it is to serve your fellow humans.

Community spirit

Community spirit

Light my fire! Fanti Acrobats International.

Light my fire! Fanti Acrobats International.

Other things that happened this month:

I entered the Holy Grail of Portrait photographers’ competition, The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait prize. I am looking forward to the day I see one of my pictures hanging in the National Portrait Gallery!

I went to see Last Shadow Puppets at Alexandra Palace. Great crowd, very entertaining and walkable from home. Win win....win.

On the theme of music, my friend Daisy and I went along to watch The Fuze in Camden. This is a guy whose promo-shots I took about six years ago when he was starting out. A hippy-happy-rock fusion. Lovely atmosphere, not sure I dig the music, but we managed to win the prize for best dressed (slight coercion from Daisy)!

I actually had my picture taken this month, by my talented friend, Chris Brock.

Peace and out

Amanda

Jumping Jack June

Half the year gone, and June seemed to be a whirlwind of activity. I certainly packed it in, and will now try to restore a bit of calm. 

There was a lot of action amongst fellow photographers, big names and small, so I found myself at myriad events. Although it's important to feed your creativity in an industry like mine, you (note to self) have to be careful that you don't spend all your time in the research zone, or you'll never get any work of your own completed. It's a constant balance between earning and learning, and as I am going through big changes in my approach to my work I need to pare back as much of the unnecessary actions that can sometimes plague a day.

I find this quote can be very effective 'Don't give up what you want most for what you want now'.

Here are some of the events that happened in June: 

 - I qualified as a BoxingYoga™ Coach and last night I took my first official class. From a nervous beginning, I led the class  to a glorious end!

BoxingYoga™ Salutation

BoxingYoga™ Salutation

- I took a trip to Bournemouth for an Uncle's funeral, and have now witnessed for the third time how quickly cancer can take someone's life. He was a man who loved life and had an amazing energy, so made the most of his time on earth. I urge you all to do the same!

- Islington Art Society held their summer exhibition in trendy Shoreditch at the Espacio Gallery. We had a buzzing private view and I made it into the local rag with an interview for Camden New Journal. 

Royal Academician, Anne Desmet (right) and our Chair, Jo Pethybridge open the show.

Royal Academician, Anne Desmet (right) and our Chair, Jo Pethybridge open the show.

Spilling onto the street at our Private View

Spilling onto the street at our Private View

 - The Print Space on Kingsland Road has positioned itself as one of the most accessible lab's in London. As well as being friendly and helpful with the technical stuff they host an array of talks & events.  Adam Hinton, photojournalist, was speaking a couple of weeks ago, so I dropped by for a beer and an insight to Adam's work and practices over the last twenty years. Afterwards we had a chat about the industry, along with his agent. We have conversed by email since which has been very useful. It really doesn't matter where you are in your career, it's always good to have peers and like-minded people around you. Something I inadvertently let slip when my son was younger. It's amazing what a difference it makes to your output and self-belief. 

https://www.theprintspace.co.uk

- I've been working on location a lot this month, and earlier this week found myself taking pictures for the best part of eight hours across a couple of cemeteries! It was an interesting and action-packed day. We concluded that there are around one hundred thousand graves within the sites, including Vaults, Mausolea, and traditional graves. Various memorials, two chapels, a crematorium and other specifics needed to be documented. The pictures will be used for a new website and printed materials. 

Lawn-styled cemetery where only flat memorial plaques are allowed

Lawn-styled cemetery where only flat memorial plaques are allowed

Funeral Blues (tell me if it's too much)

Funeral Blues (tell me if it's too much)

Laying in wait

Laying in wait

With Respect

With Respect

-  The opening of the Francesca Maffeo gallery set me off for a pleasant afternoon in Leigh-on- Sea, Essex. Ephemera by Spencer Murphy was to be the opening exhibition. I was first introduced to his work at the Taylor Wessing Exhibition 2013 with his striking image of Mark Rylance. I have been keeping an eye on him ever since.

- A friend of a friend heard I'd been to Japan, and wanted a reminder of her own recent trip to Japan. She came around to view my images, and ordered a nice big print for her daughter's bedroom. This is a service I will be offering online as soon as I have time to create the webpage!

- I just made it to the Martin Parr curated show Strange and Familiar at the Barbican. Showcasing a diverse mix of international photographers' work from the 1930's onwards, all of which portray British Life through their unique lenses.  All in all the show provoked a good range of nostalgia, shock and endearment from 23 artists...

There was much to admire. Almost immediately I was struck by an image by Edith Tudor - Hart: Ultraviolet light treatment, south London hospital for women and children. Ca 1935 ( I can't find a  way of showing this), but it shows a group of naked children aged 2-4, alongside two nurses. They are wearing protective goggles and stand around a circular wooden fence-like structure. Hanging about three feet from the ground and central to the circle is a large lamp. I have subsequently learned that "It shows light treatment for children suffering from vitamin deficiencies, a standard cure at the time. The South London Hospital was founded in 1912 “to meet the growing demand of women for medical treatment by members of their own sex”. Tudor-Hart campaigned throughout her life for health reforms for women and children, part of a wider movement of women whose activity was vital to the formation of the National Health Service in 1948". Source: National Galleries, Scotland.

There was an image from Henri Cartier Bresson showing women in Blackpool from 1962 with their hair in rollers and headscarves - a far cry from Dougie Wallace's more recent Stags, Hens and Bunnies, a Blackpool Story.

I really liked an image by Bruce Davidson Teatime in the car 1960. This depicted three people in a parked-up mini enjoying a cup of tea, the front passenger with a terrier on her lap. A typically British scene that anyone born outside the M25 could relate to.

One of my favourite collections was that from Paul Strand - a mix of portraits & landscapes from a 1950's Hebrides.  This reminded me to book for Paul Strand's solo exhibition at the V & A which I visited last weekend. I think that's enough exhibitions for one month, but it's not my fault the curators don't spread out the work I want to see!

- Whilst pottering around outside one day I noticed there were several wasps regularly going in and out of a shopping trolley that had been parked up over the winter. I figured there must be something going on in there, and did some research. I tentatively opened the bag and revealed an exquisite structure. I then spent about fifteen minutes stood on a chair, with my trousers tucked into my socks and my hood pulled up, trying to photograph the nest! It was an extremely dark and overcast day and the nest was in an awkward position, making photo opportunities slim. That coupled with a constant buzz of stinging-machines, I chose to withdraw. The picture below was taken after the cull. 

This is what a Wasp's nest looks like!

This is what a Wasp's nest looks like!

Brexit - Hex it

What the hell just happened? This isn't the platform to express how genuinely upset I am by not just the result, but the underlying issues we face as a nation: one which in many ways was perceived as progressive. Time to get on with it in true British style, but hang-on, there may not be a Britain for much longer.....

If anyone out there has the ability to look at the whole world and can see a formula for uniting humanity, please let us know. 

Thanks and peace,

Amanda xx 

Photographer AND Boxing Yoga Coach!!

A little short of three years ago I ran into a guy called Matt Garcia He was talking about something called 'Boxing Yoga'. Having practised yoga fairly consistently for many years I asked 'what the hell is that?'

From there I embarked on a 20-day/do as much as you can introduction to Boxing Yoga.

Held at the formidable boutique Boxing club that is Total Boxer I was trained by chief yogi Kajza Ekberg and my first impression was 'this lady is mad if she thinks I can do that'. Full of encouragement I went back for more, and it is fair to say that I soon fell in love with it.

A yoga regime deigned for Boxers, athletes and anyone who wants a
serious workout, this is where it's at.

Roll forward a year and I was ready to try boxing as a sport - how quickly you get hooked: Boom Boom!

Throughout that time I have been gently pushed to places I never considered, and guided by a bunch of amazing and inspirational people.

Thanks goes to Katarina Hromnikova and Denise Grundmann for showing how it's done and special thanks goes to the superstar that is Deniz Ates who has given his time generously towards this auspicious day...

Today I passed my Boxing Yoga Teacher training assessment, so can now officially kick butt wherever I see fit!

Thanks to my lovely friends who attended today's session in the intense heat Daisy Caird Tom Aldrich-Smith Laura Ann Coates Ben Casablanca Els Caballero-Kolster Jackie Mcmanus Tasha Burroughs

The future is bright...the future is Boxing Yoga!

http://www.boxingyoga.com

xx

 

Photo London (with a large pinch of Alec Soth)

I headed down to Somerset House on a brighter-than-expected day, where Photo London was being held for a second year. Bringing together eighty of the world's leading galleries and offering a series of talks, exhibitions and book signings, this is a great event to connect with what is going down in the photographic world. 

I joined the queue for a talk I had booked between the photographer Alec Soth and curator of Media Space at the Science museum, Kate Bush.

It was a sell-out affair in a basement auditorium. I was sat quite far back, so couldn't see much of Alec and Kate, but there were four TV screens on stilts dotted around the room. These were used to show photos of Alec's work, spanning the past ten years; fragments of stories from his travels across central America. Kate tried to draw him into a history in line with some of the great American photographers, but he tried to emphasise how he hadn't consciously gone out to emulate a tradition, but was looking for stories from an often misrepresented portion of American society. 

Alec's work pieces together landscapes, portraits and inividual items, sometimes photographed and sometimes real. He talked of how he often finds photography restrictive, and struggles with the lack of narrative in the single image. This is something I am working on myself. 

Mostly as an aside to the conversation, the slides were being changed intermittently. When discussing Soth's work Broken Manual, about men who had attempted to escape the conformist lifestyle end lived as hermits or runaways, Kate suggested we discussed a particular image: A wide shot of a flat surface with something small and rubbery on top - to me it looked like a leg-of-lamb. Just peaking in the side was the end of a measuring rule. Alex squirmed as he said 'Kate. Well, this is what we call a pocket-pussy, and something a lone man in a forest may carry around with him'. She blushed and the audience giggled. A moment shared!

Alec mused that he runs a 'pretend company' called Little Brown Mushroom, under which he posts any social media. Every Friday he posts a poem...

Kate was asking him about his 'fame' and he offered us the idea of striving to be as authentic as possible in his work, always. Something that most artists will associate with, and something that must get harder once you have built a reputation on a certain project or style: how to create your own work when the eyes of the world are watching you.

It happened to be a Friday, so Alec read a little from the day's poem which relates to the idea of losing yourself to the darker side of fame:

'The Strife between the Poet and Ambition' by Thomas Merton, starts:

Money and fame break in the room

And find the poet all alone.

They lock the door, so he won't run, And turn the radio full-on

And beat the poor dope like a drum.

I only became aware of Alec's work around 18 months ago when I saw 'Charles, Vasa, Minnesota, 2002'.  http://alecsoth.com/photography/?page_id=14

Something about that image made me want to find out more. 

I was very excited then, when I discovered last Autumn that he would be showing at The Media Space in the Science Museum. The exhibition Gathered Leaves which brought together work from four of his collections created over the past decade.

At Photo London there was an opportunity to buy the boxed work from this exhibition, so I hot-footed it to the publishers section full of excitement. Hmm, it cost three times my budget, and I'm slightly embarrassed to say that I had to call my Mum to ask if she wanted to contribute in advance of my birthday. After explaining that no, I didn't need it, but it would be a good investment and a great reference she agreed, and I got to meet the man. I told him I had been to his talk, and he asked what I thought, suggesting that it was a bit short. I said it was good to know that we all struggle, and he joked that he was struggling now as he couldn't get the box to close. 

There was more than Alec Soth, honest!

Looking at Mick  

Looking at Mick

 

I made my way to the galleries area, where some great photographers are being represented by people in suits to sell their works. 

My first encounter was a young Sloane-style couple wafting pass the artworks. The woman  laughingly indicated a striking image of a young Rolling Stones to her suitor 'that would look amazing in your living room'. The man yawningly stating 'can we hurry up as I quickly get bored in these places'. To be fair, I have heard this mantra over and over, across the class divide. Seriously.

Without intention,  the first gallery I saw represented Mr. Soth, and I got to see some works I hadn't seen before. There was some great work from the Ibasho gallery, Antwerp who had various oriental photographers under their belts including some evocative work of Cherry Blossom trees by Yoshinori Mizutari...nice to see how each artist interprets a subject with such varaition.

Then there were the stunning photographs from Nick Brandt's series 'Inherit the Dust'. In real life they were a good three metres wide. Check this out! http://nickbrandt.inheritthedust.com there was a transaction taking place.

I wouldn't want to hazard a guess at how much one of them would set you back, but to know that Photography is being seen as a serious investment to collectors is a good thing.  

Other highlights were Don Mcullin - I am always glad to see his work as he is the photographer I admired and wrote about most when studying for my A levels and beyond.

Don McCullin

Don McCullin

Don McCullin has more recently been photographing the fringes of the Roman Empire. He shot a series in Palmyra within the last decade, which has highlighted again, how easily history comes back to haunt us, and for me, why it is important to record our lives today. Things can change very quickly.

Don McCullin has more recently been photographing the fringes of the Roman Empire. He shot a series in Palmyra within the last decade, which has highlighted again, how easily history comes back to haunt us, and for me, why it is important to record our lives today. Things can change very quickly.

Another large exhibition was that of Russian photographer Sergey Chilikov.  I didn't find his work instantly impressive, but it works well in the context it was made: A response to a stark and oppressive life under the Brezhnev era of the USSR.       

The curator, Olga Sviblova says "Sergey Chilikov's photography is a unique way of visualising Chekov's worldview, in which the absurd and the torment of the free spirit are found in the closed contexts of everyday banality. http://flashbak.com/photoprovocations-sergei-chillikov-draft-60200/

I'm not the only one who enjoyed myself!

I'm not the only one who enjoyed myself!

 

 

 

The Final Frontier

I awoke on our final day to a soft watery sound, and hoped it had something to do with the Onsen. I drew back the curtain, and saw a heavy rain was falling. The mountains were cloaked in a heavy fog. I told Samuel 'I don't think we'll be seeing Mount Fuji'. 

We went down to the basement where our only 'inclusive breakfast' was to be served. First up was a whole fried fish, which Samuel declined.

The buffet consisted of rice - dry or in a porridge style, shredded lettuce, a green-bean salad, potato salad and a whole load of strange looking vegetation, pickles and packaged items. One thing I picked up was some kind of bean, coated in a glue-typed substance accompanied with little packets of mustard and possibly soy sauce. As I peeled back the lid I reeled from the stench, but determined to try, my tastebuds went into overload: it was sharp and sour and pretty vile.

One of the ladies apologised for not having any bread or sausages. We weren't sure if we had missed them, or she had an awareness of what a westerner might want. That was a tough one! 

Half-fed we left the Ryokan for a very wet walk. We headed into the main part of Hakone down the hills and past a gushing river. At least the umbrella didn't have a wasted journey! 

I tested Samuel's patience whilst waiting for the perfect composition for a shot I had set up. We watched trains coming down the mountain-side then went to the Tourist office to ask what we could do in four hours, in the driving rain. Turns out just enough to satisfy our souls...

We hopped aboard the Hakone Tozan Line train formed of three squat carriages, and were fascinated when the train came to a stop at a buffer. The driver got out and proceeded to the other end of the train where he set off again, driving in the opposite direction. Because of the way the tracks are laid into the mountain it makes a zigzag journey uphill. I think the driver exchanged ends four times in total. At the final destination we swapped for a bus and headed for Motohakone-ko, making a pit-stop for hot chocolate which we drank whilst looking out the rain-lashed window. We could see Lake Ashi and snatched a glimpse of a sight-seeing (well, maybe not today) boat traversing the water. This is where on a fine day you would go out on the lake and witness the majesty of Mount Fuji. We would have to make do with pictures on this trip. 

Adopting the 'Keep calm, it's only water' attitude, we walked onwards toward the cedar lined avenue that leads to Hakone-jinja Shrine. Then down a stone stairway to the lakes edge and the red torri (gate). This was mammoth, and the painted red figure stood out more than ever against a grey sky. 

By this point our shoes were squelchy, and the wind had picked up, so we walked back to 'town' to await a bus, taking us all the way back to Hakone.

We had two thousand yen left, so peered at restaurant menus, making sure we could afford the meal. It is not common to tip in Japan, so we could manage a bowl of steaming noodles each and be left with 50 yen - around 30 pence.

The stooped old lady in charge started saying 'window, window' to us. Ah! I exclaimed to Samuel...she wants us to point at what we want in the window. We've managed a lot by utilising hand signals and nods of the head!

We collected our baggage from the Ryokan and proceeded on our final trip to, and across Tokyo, finishing on the monorail to add to our myriad rail journeys.

Annoyingly, I had wound down the Yens, but needed to get some money to pay for the monorail as it wasn't included on the rail-pass. It can be quite a task finding an ATM that allows foreign-card usage, and when you do, the minimum withdrawal is often 10,000 Yen - around £60.00. The budget was going well until the last two days!

Japan is still very much a cash-country which if I was a native would suit me just fine. 

We got to the airport with plenty of time and boarded our Air France plane to Paris Charles de Gaulle. We managed some sleep, two movies and they served Champagne as an aperitif. Gotta love the French!

A couple of hours before landing a fellow passenger came to speak to me, saying she'd been told we were changing to Orly airport too, so did we want to share a cab with her and her partner.

Well, I'd obviously forgotten this minor detail, but it seemed to make sense. As the airplane taxied on the runway, I had a message come through to say our flight would be delayed by three hours. We already had a three hour wait, so increasing it to six was not welcome news. 

We tried our luck on getting an earlier flight out of Charles de Gaulle, but the 7.30am was fully booked. 

Off we went to Orly at a cost of €40 per pair. Ouch. 

Air France gave us a five-euro voucher each for breakfast, as some form of apology, so we headed to Paul for some chocolatey treat and I am writing the final post whilst watching some plane activity out the window!

We are now back on home turf, so until I blog again...

Here are just a few anecdotes and observations from our short, but action-packed trip:

I discovered at the airport that my camera bag weighs more than Samuel's suitcase                                                               

We heard an announcement we had never heard before: Skytree Tokyo, reassuring visitors that they are prepared for an earthquake.

The Japanese are even more apologetic than the Brits

I could get used to heated toilet seats

Face masks are all the rage (we kinda knew that already)

There was something very special about Hiroshima

Ambulance drivers have mega-phones with which they make announcements alongside regular sirens. I have no idea what they are saying, so decided to make up my own words, like 'get out the way you little buggers or you'll be joining us for a joyride'. Oh! the benefits of a misspent youth.

Nodding of the head - why bother with words?

There is a lot less aggression on the public transport system than in London which was a welcome change.  

Our biggest observation was an over-riding veil of quietness. Regardless of Tokyo being massively built up and with a population of around thirteen and a half million people, the average Japanese person walks quietly, talks quietly, and keeps themselves to themselves. The only overtly noisy, and acceptable practice is slurping on noodles!

  Wet and Wild

 

Wet and Wild

The annoying shot

  Little ole me

 

Little ole me

  The final hurdle

 

The final hurdle

  Home

 

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