JOANNA
BROWN

1st July 2020

I am a cliche, I live in Brighton and I have a strong liking for Nick Cave he lives round the corner. I have bumped into him a few time, he is other worldly yet warm,I would say magnetic.  I want to go down the pub with him to the ‘Hand in Hand’  with him and Susie and eat pork scratchings and drink ale until the sunrises.  Music is my second love after photography, singing and dancing is one of life’s  pleasures ; every minute of my day has a soundtrack running to it. Anyhow I am losing my thread, the thing is I subscribe to Nick Cave’s ‘The Red Hand Files’ which is a newsletter.   He is a deep thinker and feeler; vulnerable and generous with sharing with his audience in a weekly letter form.   I feel compelled to share his letter/responses this week as it is wonderfully articulate on the subject of ‘love’, over to Nick ;


The Red Hand FilesISSUE #103 / JULY 2020

If you feel that he is beside you… and within you, why would you need to look for him? (This is not a challenge, there is no aggression in this question; I simply want you to think about it and elucidate).
TOM, MANCHESTER, UK

What is love for you?
PABLO, GUARDAMA DEL SEGURA, SPAIN


Dear Tom and Pablo,
 
The voice in ‘Ghosteen Speaks’ is not my own. It is the emergent expression of an invisible, migratory spirit — the Ghosteen. It is the spirit of love and mercy. Throughout the song, the Ghosteen announces its presence — I am beside you. Look for me.
 
It says — I am invisible, but I am here. Search for me, and you will find me.
 
It calls to the compassionate act of witnessing — of seeing.
 
Love has something to do with the notion of being seen — the opposite of invisibility. The invisible, the unwitnessed, the unacknowledged, the isolated, the lonely — these are the unloved. Loving attention illuminates the unseen, escorting them from the frontiers of lovelessness into the observed world. To truly see someone — anyone — is an act that acknowledges and forgives our common and imperfect humanity. Love enacts a kind of vigilant perception — whether it is to a partner, a child, a co-worker, a neighbour, a fellow citizen, or any other person one may encounter in this life. Love says softly — I see you. I recognise you. You are human, as am I.
 
To pay witness to another, in an alert and loving manner, is essentially an act of forgiveness for it is to acknowledge with compassion our mutual human capacity for all things, both good and evil.
 
When we reduce each other to symbols or representations, rather than see each other as the complex, flawed human beings that we are, we engage in the very antithesis of mercy — heartlessness, condemnation and sanctimoniousness. Within this baleful clamour the luminous spirits of compassion retreat.
 
I am beside you. Look for me — call the windswept voices of love, to all that have the forbearance to hear.

Love, Nick


30th June

In the olden days {PC pre-covid} I am mid season and bedding into a lovely rhythm; travelling most weekends having adventures whilst capturing stories far and wide.  The house is usually a tip as my bag is never unpacked, batteries are charging at ever socket and the fridge is filling up with film.  I do admin in the day and seem to edit late into the night often end up falling asleep with fox in his bed so I get a full nights sleep.  This is how we live for about 5 months of the year, a kind of beautiful chaos of picture making, juggling, fatigue inducing and sheer joy and happiness making. This year the rhythm is so different, my schedule is disrupted, my adventures are restricted to the town I live in and I am generating work trying to navigate this unfamiliar landscape.  It feels so weird and I really miss my job, my job is more than just that; it is an honour and pleasure.  Every couple, family and tribe I meet is unique no wedding party are the same and I bloody miss this.  There is a lot of uncertainty in the wedding industry at the moment with inconsistencies coming from that bloke that I can’t even utter his name here.  Panic not, as there are many ways to celebrate your union and commitment, elements, portrait sessions, intimate smaller gatherings.  This is the time to get creative, think about what is important and start from there, create something that aligns to this moment in time, love still wins right?  One thing lockdown has taught me is that all I need are good people, connection, nature, love and everyday mindfulness and to carry on being creative with life and I urge you to do the same.  If you are reading this feeling bogged down and frustrated whilst trying to plan your wedding maybe become a bit playful with the idea and encourage your imagination and just see…. This brings me to Lyndsey & Dyfad;  I was lucky enough to be able to document their beautiful emotional London ceremony.  This wedding was small and just perfect, with just both there mums and dads present… 4 guests in total and in total 8 and it was a wonderful celebration.  After the short ceremony we headed off for some portraits.  It was the hottest day of the year last year with balmy temps in London hitting the 30s, however it didn’t stop these two being effortlessly cool and stylish.  Lyndsey & Dyfad are two successful actors who have the world currently at their feet {you may recognise their faces}.  They have an infectious energy between them; playful, funny, caring and loving.  I know that their lives will be full of adventure as their success grow alongside their love and friendship, it was a joy to capture and witness this moment in their lives.  If you fancy a small ceremony or an intimate wedding or a portrait session drop me a line, I will be there in a heartbeat, my batteries are charged and I am ready x



22nd June

I guess this diary entry is more of an insight into who I am;  this space is about sharing more about my work beyond my wedding images and so this fits in with that idea to naturally share more about me.  

During lockdown it has become more and more obvious that my world and crack is full of people, I love ideas, I love energy, sharing experiences and being creative.  The wisdom which comes from ageing I can honestly say I have never felt more free and assured of what I love to spend my time doing.  Don’t get me wrong I like to let me hair down but in all honesty creativity is at the centre of the world I create for me and Fox.  I am so grateful that it informs my life choices these days from growing flowers and fresh veg, to running my own photography business and renovating a house in France.  At this exact moment in time I am able to fully express myself in my work, my life choices with the love and support of my friends and many inspiring networks.  Part of this process is to raise each other up and help one another and inspire, support and come together as communities enabling the creative process to flow.  This is a really long introduction to an interview well it is more of a conversation piece.  It is part of a series that the ‘Postmodernist bridal’ collective have been working on where they are conversing with women creatives who are at the top of their game whilst trying to push the edges of their discipline.      Pippa (Bon Bride), Anya (L’eto Bridal), Mannie (Bowie Rae), Ann-Marie (AM Faulkner) and Prea (Prea James Bridal) are a few of the powerhouses behind the collective, looking to disrupt the bridal industry. What began as a support network of like-minded women, working mothers, designers and friends soon became an unstoppable force.  Mannie and I chatted across other sides of the world and it was like she and I were sitting around my kitchen table like old friends catching up with a glass of wine.  I think it is probably easier for you to listen to the interview, we had a whole heap of questions which transpired were not needed as we naturally ebbed and flowed in brilliant engaging and inspiring conversation. I wholeheartedly echo the values and intentions of this group of talented and fearless women;  we are all one big community and sharing and collaborating is in this time of crisis never so pertinent. I have never been more inspired and motivated to create with a sense of playful irreverence than I am right now. My hope is that this interviews helps shift something in you as well. In whatever way you interpret this energy within your own work.  Please do message me if it does, I love to chat and collaborate…….. 


19th June

It is a miracle either of these rolls of film were ok, they have been knocking around the bottom of a bag full of sand, shells and mud which is a true depiction of our lifestyle; beach and allotment.  This post is a collaboration between me and Fox, one camera is his and the other mine; 12 weeks we have wandered a round looking at the world through a rectangle.  He has gone back to school this week and work resumes at home for me, I am so proud of the little scamp, I love how he feels and sees the world, a sensitive fiery curious soul who is my sidekick.  I will treasure these images forever, teaching him to see and feel inspired and catch a moment that means something to him has been a total joy.  I showed him the images last night and as he saw an image he relived the memory with a mighty grin across his face, “memory catching” is what we called it….  This was meant to be an activity to do in lockdown however I think it might become a sweet little thing we do together from now on.  I am going to make him a book of these images an album from this extraordinary time that we have lived through, a time that I don’t think we will every really know the impact from until a little while off from now.  


7th June 2020

I had lost one of our disposable cameras that both Fox and I had shot way back in April.   I have been looking for this object in earnest for about a month now and had resigned myself to the fact that it had been swallowed up somewhere.  It is always at the moment you give up that it then appears, I found it buried underneath a rotting bag of carrots in the bottom of the fridge.  The camera was unscathed and the scans came in yesterday.  It feels like a lifetime has actually passed since we took this.  This roll dates back to early April of when we were living in that intense stage of lockdown where we only allowed out for an hour a day.  When I look at the images I recognise visual cues of corners, barriers, layers denoting the theme of confinement maybe… yet at the same sky, horizon, light, nature signifying hope, optimism and beauty.  These  pictures we took are very basic snapshots all taken within a stones throw of where we live.  They offer an insight into how we were feeling, nothing more than small rectangular insights into our subconscious; daily vignettes.    I can see throughout all the rolls we have shot to date over this lockdown period an ongoing quest to explore a sense of place, connection and at the same time freedom and escapism.  I am ever so grateful for all that we still have, the community we have around us, the beautiful place we live and the ability to create during this time.  


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