inspirational photos

My First Solo Photography Exhibition

In the year 2000 I gave birth to my millenium baby. He certainly was, and still is, a joy, but that occurrence had quite an impact on what I could do with my work as a photographer.

It’s hard not be influenced by the people you spend most time with or the places you frequent. As I was with my baby more than anyone, and he had to go wherever I went, I started to wonder what things looked like from his perspective. The idea of a series of pictures called Life from a Pram was born.

View from underground - part of the Life from a Pram Series

View from underground - part of the Life from a Pram Series

Just last week at a meeting of my local London Independent Photography group someone mentioned a photographer called Marketa Luskacova, who happens to have work on display right now at Tate Britain She is originally from the Czech Republic, but moved to England in the early 1970’s. In a Guardian article by Sarah Phillips in August 2012 she was quoted as saying “Czechs strongly believe in the benefits of fresh air for babies, so I would push his pram around, photographing all the way”. She shot a series of photographs of street musicians with her son in tow. My kind of girl!

I printed up a selection of pictures, and remember traipsing to an industrial estate in Bounds Green to a framers, who are now in the West End, and probably charging five times what I paid back then!

Broomfield Park, Palmers Green. A regular haunt with baby Sam.

Broomfield Park, Palmers Green. A regular haunt with baby Sam.

I held the show in the Tollgate Cafe, which was a lovely place, in the little road that is wedged between the monstrosity of a one-way system near Archway Tube. If you’re local, you’ll know exactly where I mean! I don’t even remember if I had a private view, but I think I may have had some kind of soiree because I recall meeting people there. Can’t say it was a sell-out, but it was fun and got me on the road of exhibiting.

I worked within social photography for several years following, and sold images at Craft Fairs and Markets. It was around eight years ago that I started exhibiting more regularly. Now I show work frequently, both in the UK and internationally, normally in a group capacity. My biggest solo show, Downtime was held in Autumn 2016 as part of Photo Month East London. I was thrilled to hear it is still inspiring people: a family friend who is studying media and film-making at Brit School asked for a chat with me recently, regarding some of the interesting people I may have met through being a portrait photographer. I put him in touch with one of my subjects, and he has produced a short documentary, including an interview with the president of the Commonwealth Games. Small world!

Andrew Newell, who is trying his best to get Bowls Jamaica to the Olympics! He has got as far as the Commonwealth Games. I photographed him for my Downtime project in 2016.

Andrew Newell, who is trying his best to get Bowls Jamaica to the Olympics! He has got as far as the Commonwealth Games. I photographed him for my Downtime project in 2016.

Buckingham Palace - Life from a Pram

Buckingham Palace - Life from a Pram

Rush Hour - Life from a Pram

Rush Hour - Life from a Pram

Photos I love. Photos that inspire...

There is something happening on Instagram right now - 'the best nine', showcasing people's favourite nine images of the year, neatly presented as a montage to roundup their year in pictures.

This got me thinking; what makes one photograph stand out above others, especially in a world that is saturated in imagery?

A good picture is a good picture at the end of the day, but who gets to decide what is good? We could argue about the subjectivity of viewing images, and the education of 'reading pictures', but let's keep this light...

For the viewer it might be the way the light falls, or a memory that is evoked. It's not always obvious why we react to something. Certain images and styles resonate with us at different times of life. Some images stay favourites precisely because of this. 

And so, for various reasons here are some images that have resonated with me over the years:

Don McCullin ©  A shell-shocked US Marine, Hue, Vietnam, 1968

Don McCullin ©

A shell-shocked US Marine, Hue, Vietnam, 1968

Don McCullin was the first photographer I studied in any depth and I have been in awe of photo-journalists covering conflict ever since. McCullin started young, as he found photography whilst carrying out his national service in the RAF. 

Don McCullin © The Guvnors in their Sunday Suits, Finsbury Park, 1958  I've added this one for my local readership!

Don McCullin © The Guvnors in their Sunday Suits, Finsbury Park, 1958

I've added this one for my local readership!

Ansel Adams © Jeffrey Pine, Sentinel Dome, Yosemite National Park 1945

Ansel Adams © Jeffrey Pine, Sentinel Dome, Yosemite National Park 1945

There aren't many images from the great American photographer, Ansel Adams that do not wow the viewer. This may not be one of his most iconic images, but I have it on my wall, as I'm a big fan of Mother Nature, and love the way the wind has fixed this tree over the years.

Shooting on large-scale cameras and creating the zone system, with Fred Archer to form a grading system from the whitest white to the darkest black, his images were a scientific delight.

William Klein © From the series Pray and Sin New York

William Klein © From the series Pray and Sin New York

In my mid-twenties I was heavily inspired by William Klein. I spent considerable hours wandering through the backstreets of London's East End, somehwat emulating his style. 

I haven't kept on top of his whole career, but earlier this year as part of Photo London, I had the great pleasure of going to a talk at the National Portrait Gallery of William Klein in conversation with David Campany. Although he is old, and physically weary, he could still wax lyrical about his amazing accomplishments as a photographer and he remains high on my list of achievers.

Amanda Eatwell © Aldgate East circa 1997  This shot was taken around the time I was inspired by Klein. I finally got around to framing it just last year, so I see it every day!   Found the neg's - it was shot on Tri - X, rated 800 ASA / Processed in HC110 Dev. Oh! The memories!

Amanda Eatwell © Aldgate East circa 1997

This shot was taken around the time I was inspired by Klein. I finally got around to framing it just last year, so I see it every day! 

Found the neg's - it was shot on Tri - X, rated 800 ASA / Processed in HC110 Dev. Oh! The memories!

Spencer Murphy © Mark Rylance

Spencer Murphy © Mark Rylance

Bringing my favourite images up to date is Spencer Murphy. I first became aware of him in the 2012 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize where this image won him Third Place. I have been following his career ever since.

Single images are becoming a harder way to arrest people's imagination,  but I still love a strong portrait.

Nowadays, I am a huge fan of Instagram, with it's easy access to imagery. Any time of day I can easily access some amazing images. On this platform, I find photographs that appeal to me offer awe, beauty, or humour. 

A couple of my favourites are Benzank, with his extremely witty, stylised photographs and Jimmy Chin who literally seems to live on top of the world. I've also enjoyed following Niall McDiarmid's Town to Town and Graeme Oxby's The Kings of England (Elvis impersonators). Check them out if you get a chance. 

So, there you have a few of my favourites. Let me know yours. Let's start a conversation!