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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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,