Sunday, December 5, 2010

Bladdy Movember...





I'm so glad Movember is finally, finally over... I can have my boyfriend back!!! Why does he insist on doing this every frickin year?!...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Untitled


This project is about seeing visual resemblances between human and nature, little glimpses of overlapping observations that we build up to understand the world...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Curls...

This is one of my favourite diptychs, but the photo quality is not good so I'll probably edit it out of the final selection. A re-shoot is possible but difficult, I've tried already, but I'm not giving up on it just yet! Thank you to Papworth Pat for being such an obliging model!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

About time too...


A new project, based on visual relationships, possibly called "Quotidian".
This is a work in progress for my Masters Degree...




Monday, July 5, 2010

A little self indulgence with a War & Ice explanation...

War & Ice…

As an 11 year old I was far too busy watching important cartoons on TV to listen to the ramblings of an old man…. my Granddad. To this day I am not sure why I didn’t listen, maybe I thought war stories would be as dull as I found war films as an 11 year old, maybe an exciting and plot relevant scene was ensuing on some awful Australian soap opera… what-ever the reason, I didn’t listen and to this day, long after the death of my Granddad, I have regretted that decision.

I have regretted that decision because those ramblings were not an older generations diatribe on the youth of today, or the state of modern Britain… those ramblings were stories about being on a destroyer in Iceland during the 2nd World War, travelling in stormy seas at -20, when ice had to be knocked off the deck to prevent the ship capsizing by newly trained, young and na├»ve sailors, who could only carry out the job for 20 minutes at a time, or risk freezing to death.

Those ramblings were stories of depth charging shoals of fish after having mistaken the dark shadow on the radar for an enemy submarine. They were about leaving a young family behind, to travel along the artic circle from Iceland to Russia protecting supply ships. The stories were about travelling to Egypt and abhorring the culture and climate. Borrowing 50 pence from a fellow recruit, but being too ill from food poisoning to travel on the return ship and missing the opportunity to ever repay the debt.

As a child, I missed out on a part of my Granddad’s life and on a part of history. I didn’t get to ask my Granddad how it felt to be a part of the war, what it was like to wave goodbye to a wife and young son, possibly for the last time, to travel to foreign climes, when travelling was far less common place than today.

I made the photo movie “War & Ice” as a tribute to my Granddad and to atone for not listening to his war stories…


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Stonehenge...tick

My friend Magda went to Stonehenge, for the summer solstice, wanting to get “some good energy”. Driving back from Devon last weekend I decided to avoid my usual speedy homeward route of the M4, and see some of England… Pootling along the A303 I came across the sign for Stonehenge and having shamefully never visited and desperately in need of some of Magda’s “good energy”, I decided to stop at the English heritage site.

I have heard many people comment, complain even, that they couldn’t believe the Henge was so close to a road; however what I didn’t appreciate was how close it was to not 1 but 2 roads… and furthermore, how close the surrounding fence, reminiscent of the 1983 Greenham Common images, was to the spiritual site. I found it very difficult to walk around the surprisingly smaller than expected stone circle from a by gone era, with hapless tourists who either couldn’t afford or didn’t want to pay the £6.90 to get beyond the barrier, clutching at the woven blockade to see the site. What must their friends and families think when they review the photos of them stood smiling the wrong side of a wire woven fence with the revered historical site a mere few feet away? What an advert for England…

Instantly appreciating that my spiritual quest was in tatters, I route marched the roped off route around the stones, avoiding tourists attempting to take depth deceptive photos of their friends and family members holding or pushing the pre-historic stones, swerved around the day-trippers clutching their “free” (once you’ve paid the £6.90 to get in) audio guide to navigate their way around the road enclosed circle, past the gift shop steering clear of the Stonehenge bags and souvenir caps and headed to my car to drive away from the spiritually destroyed fenced off henge.

I honestly cannot believe that the road next to Stonehenge still exists, it is completely unnecessary, merely a route for the lazy to drive up to the tarmac entrance of the once mystical home of a bygone era. According to Britannia History, the stones used in that first circle are believed to be from the Prescelly Mountains, located roughly 240 miles away, at the southwestern tip of Wales. The blue stones weigh up to 4 tons each and about 80 stones were used, in all. Given the distance they had to travel, this presented quite a transportation problem. (http://www.britannia.com/history/h7.html) And yet today tourists require the ability to drive within 50 yards of this site and carry not a 4 ton rock but a 4 pound bag containing lunch and a wallet with money to buy a souvenir cap at the end of the 20 minute walk around the henge…

UTTERLY RIDICULOUS!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The alternative M4 route home...

A traditional image of the henge... an image of how I'd like to remember it... I was too deflated and spiritually stripped to take realistic images of tourists, roads, fences and gift shops!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Adverse Camber - Photographic Degree Show


Adverse Camber - Photographic Degree Show
16th - 20th June 2010
Shoreditch Town Hall, London

Friday, April 9, 2010

Over the hills and Herne Bay


This week's travel update... nothing to report - amazingly! I did what I should have done last week and just stayed on the M2, I got to Herne Bay in the predicted 2 hours as opposed to the 3 and a quarter hours it took me last week!

Steve and Gary weren't running the lesson this week so I met two new faces, Ted and Heidi.

Health and Safety was on the agenda and Heidi explained that she had an additional fire alarm in her home alongside the traditional battery operated version.... her little dog! Heidi has trained her dog to bark like crazy if there's a naked flame in a room with nobody in it! For example, if there's an ambient candle left burning in the living room and the occupier leaves for any reason, the dog will bark and go nuts until someone re-enters the room - absolute genius!

At the end of this weeks lesson I explained to Heidi and Ted what on earth I was doing in their lesson and who I was and made my request for models. Would you believe it, 7 out of the 8 attendees agreed to be photographed which was absolutely fantastic and much more than I expected - I thought I'd be lucky to get 2 people to agree! The people I've photographed (all of whom are potential Olympic Volunteers) look fabulous in the pictures and there are some real characterful (is that actually a word?) faces, which have made the set of photographs really interesting.

From my previous journeys to Herne Bay and Tunbridge Wells, I knew I wanted to have a consistency in the images, so I took head portraits against a light background using fill flash. I wanted these images to say something about "Volunteers" more than anything else and the fact that volunteers are so often unsung heros, especially in the context of the Olympics... the additional cost of paid staff would render the Olympics financially crippled.

To this aim I took the pictures slightly out of focus using a long exposure, therefore blurring the portrait of the person.

This was to signify two things:
1) Volunteers are proactive - hence movement in the picture
2) Volunteers are rarely noticed, they are more like objects that blur into the background

Above is my test shot of Lewis to give you an idea...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

War & Ice (work in progress...)

Stay on the M2

This is more like a "modern travelling around England" update than a Creative Campus update!  

I went to Herne Bay, mapless and tomtomless, on Tuesday to meet another arm of the Personal Best group. Not really knowing the east of england too well, as I was brought up in the west, I made a note of the roads I needed to go on M25, A2, M2, A299 and planned my journey before hand... However in this great travel plan I didn't take into consideration the fact that there might be more than one exit onto the A299! Having successfully navigated my way to the M2 I finally came across the exit screaming A299.  Enthusiastically I left the M2, proud with myself for having been so astute with my memory map reading... 

And here it went wrong... I proceeded along a scenic and confused jaunt through Chatham (WRONG WAY), on my way to Rochester (WRONG WAY) turned around, drove to Maidstone (BETTER DIRECTION BUT STILL WRONG), only to find myself on the road to Hastings (DEFINITELY WRONG WAY).  Having pulled over 3 times to let traffic past and try to gather my bearings via my shiny new (but free) iPhone (THANK YOU!!!) I decided to go back to the M2 and keep on the M2 until I got to the end of the M2 to conveniently discover the correct exit for the A299 - right at the very end of the M2!  It should have been so easy!

Finally in Herne Bay I met up with Steve, Gary and the Personal Best group.  I don't need to say it, but what a lovely and determined group of people.  It's really inspiring meeting people who have chosen to fight.  Giving up can be so easy, anyone can make excuses, but these individuals are really fighting to overcome their demons and you can see the determination in their eyes motivated by Steve.  This group are slowly rebuilding their lives through this programme and the opportunities it affords them such as being Olympic volunteers... All of the people I have met at these Personal Best groups really deserve to be part of the Olympics, they are real champions...

I think a few of them will be happy to be part of my project - I'm developing my photographic slant on how to capture the subjects and will actually take some images next week...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Reaching a Personal Best at Tunbridge Wells...

To be honest I was dreading my M25 journey - not sure if I mentioned it or not??? But it was fine - I flew round and pretty much avoided all traffic jams - says something for 6:45am starts and I'm not going to mention it again!

On arriving at the Angel Centre in Tunbridge Wells an hour early, I set about finding where the course was to be held.  The lady behind the glass screen on the reception desk said, "Classroom 3, top of the stairs, turn right end of the corridor."  I followed the directions and found many rooms with names and numbers on them, but no "classroom 3". Having wandered round corridors in vain, I returned to the reception desk and found that I should actually have been looking for "Castle 3".  All became clear - I should have had that large coffee before I rushed out the door this morning!

I finally met Steve in person today and I can honestly say he's one of the nicest and most inspiring people I've ever met.  Steve's method of getting the learners motivated and enthused is fantastic and the learners really seem to enjoy the course, Steve's teaching style and each others company.

There were only 3 learners at this Personal Best course, the other 5 were off sick, but the 3 learners I met appeared keen to be a part of this photographic project.  I'll need to put together a full plan to put to Personal Best team.

It was a great day to visit the Personal Best course as they were learning about the Olympics and volunteering.  Steve enthusiastically explained the benefits of becoming an Olympics volunteer and the 3 learners on the course saw the path they'd have to take in order to achieve that goal... lots of volunteering. 

Shortly after I arrived 2 ladies from the Kent Event Team turned up to give a pitch about volunteering around Kent over the next 2 years.  It took about 1 minute for all 3 learners to sign up to volunteer - they eagerly assured me it was nothing to do with the free pen and t-shirt!

I have been invited to another Personal Best meeting in Herne Bay.  Steve has told me I'll be able to meet some more learners who may want to be part of this project.  So I've got just over a week to get some sort of proposal ready to give to the learners and try and get their permission to be photographed...

Great day - well worth the M25 trip...... 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Creative Campus / Personal Best





This project finally has movement!  Now that I've found the right people to talk to they couldn't be more helpful and appear to be as excited about my photographic project as I am...


Tomorrow I'm driving to Tunbridge Wells, I've never been there before and I have a lovely journey around a whole half of the M25 at rush hour!  BUT it'll most definitely be worth it.

I'm meeting the lovely man I spoke to today, Steve Beech, who is the Development Officer of the Shaw Trust.  Steve has invited me to a Personal Best meeting and is going to introduce me to some of the Personal Best learners.  With any luck I'll be able to chat with some of the learners to find out what they're doing with the Shaw Trust and the Personal Best project, why and how they've joined the project and what they're hoping to get out of it.  From this I hope to be able to build a solid project plan and be able to work long term with some of the Learners to photograph their journey.  I think they'll get as much out of it as I will and it feels great to finally be taking such positive steps...

HOW EXCITING - apart from the early morning M25 bit!!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Creative Campus - UPDATE

Massive break through!!! I have phoned, emailed, text, missed calls, return called, waded my way through information and names and have finally found the contacts and direction for this project!

I don't think the good people of Britain realise how MASSIVE the Olympics programme is already and how many different people all over Britain are putting in time, energy and commitment... it's HUGE! There are so many different projects being run... One of the main reasons London won the Olympics hosting for 2012 was for it's energy and commitment to long term goals and social programmes throughout the UK - it is most certainly living up to that commitment already... if you don't believe me check out the Olympics 2012 website... http://www.london2012.com/indexb.php

Anyway, back to my photographic project...

PERSONAL BEST

I have spoken to many people throughout the UK who are working on a project called Personal Best. The aim is to offer the opportunity for people from all walks of life to learn and be trained and gain a formal qualification. This will further lead to these learners being given the opportunity to volunteer at the London 2012 Olympics.

The Personal Best scheme is launching all over England and thousands of people are being given the opportunity to train and learn new skills, some for the first time and some for the first time in a long time!

I have spoken to one member of the scheme already, the Shaw Trust based in Kent. The initial contact is going brilliantly and the project's underway through the Shaw Trust are very exciting - I'm hoping to get the opportunity to meet and follow some of these learners over the next few months, with the possibility of continuing this project after the Creative Campus end date has past - it would be great to follow these learners to the Olympics.

Having made this initial contact I'm hoping to meet some of the Personal Best learners and find out first hand what excites and encourages them about this project.

I can't wait to take some photographs and start the practical side of this photographic journey...





Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ready, steady, Creative Campus go......

Well, I'm about to embark on the Creative Campus / Cultural Olympiad project. I'm creating a photographic documentary on the Volunteer sector, specifically the Personal Best Programme, for the 2012 Olympics. Around 70,000 volunteers are needed for a range of jobs for the 2012 Olympics. I don't think I'll manage to photograph 70,000 volunteers - but we'll see how far I get!

Tomorrow I'm going to start making the important calls - I think I'll start at the top with Ruth Mackenzie the Director of Culture for London 2012. Ruth reports to Tony Hall and the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Board, but I might leave that phone call for a bit later!

This is going to take quite a lot of organisation and phone calls, but I'm very excited about who I'll meet and where this project will take me...

Another "Lewis" conversation...

Lewis's response to camping...