JOANNA
BROWN

25th September 2019

I got in my car, boarded a boat, had an anchor point of where I was resting my head and I drove like the wind! I needed to feel free and have the open road at my beck and call.  If you know me then you already understand that really I am a vagabond at heart; adventure, the unknown and being lost really does make me come alive, adulthood responsibilities can quash these afore mentioned pleasures and I was really ready to roam.  My intention was to explore be curious and follow my heart in the heart of Normandy whilst eating peaches, drinking red wine and cheese.  I already believe that I am somewhat french as I wear berets and did so before it came a thing, I listen to FIP, I eat lots of cheese and I frequent ‘the real patisserie’ most weeks.  My love for France started young I was 6, I went to after school french lessons in the village, Elizabeth a mother was french and she wore bright red lipstick, had 3 tortoises and she sashayed around her kitchen only speaking to us in French.  It sounded like a dance as she spoke and it was hypnotic,  I daydreamed, I fell in love with her beautiful son Jean Marc and I learnt to sing in french.  Since my introduction to France I have visited with the school, with my parents, for work and this was the first time on my own.  5 days I travelled and it gave me everything I needed; I met new people and drunk wine in an orchard, I experienced stillness in churches, I listened to Charlotte Gainsbourg on repeat.  I sketched, wrote, ate, smoked {and I don’t smoke anymore but when in France…}, got lost, paddled in rivers, got sunburnt shoulders, read books, swam and took photographs with my trust old Olympus point and shoot film camera.  I fell in love with France and the tiny village I stayed in and I made friends and I suspect this could just be the beginning of something for myself…..   

The song that resonated the most ….


2nd September 2019

“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” - Mary Oliver.


Look at the light, feel the sun, seek out the shapes in the shadows, smell the flowers, lie down and watch the clouds go by.  As part of my work as an artist and my job as a photographer I have a daily practice of the afore mentioned.   The photograph is only the end result, the process of touch and a sensitivity to a connection to the world is the daily practice.  Some may call it mindfulness I like to call it curiosity.  This thirst for discovery never stops, maybe I am nosey or am I an explorer?   Who knows but my job is to tune into how I see and experience the world in a visual sense and I am more than happy to spend part of my days dong just this.


19th August 2019

Just like that it’s
late August, hot days where the sun scorched the ground and the sunflowers
worshipped every ray are lessening.  The pavement is cooling and here
by the sea the air is cooler too.  My work mirrors the seasons, I am
busy looking at the world through my viewfinder; observing, noticing,
feeling & capturing many different stories all over the country.  I am
travelling and very happy to do so, the adventure begins as I pack my bag and
leave my home behind and the story begins.  Every couple, family and tribe
I meet is unique and I am open and tuned in to receive their narrative and
listen to the  twists and turns. No
wedding, party, celebration of family are the same and it would be foolish for
me to even think they are, it is my job to experience these precious one off
moments and tune in to each narrative. This brings me to Lyndsey &
Dyfad; they initially contacted me about capturing their wedding party but alas
it was not meant to be.  They are splitting their wedding celebration in
two parts.  Firstly getting married in an
intimate ceremony just with their parents and then a big old party up in
Scotland later on in the year.  I was lucky enough to be able to
document their beautiful emotional London ceremony.  After the short
ceremony we headed off for some portraits. 
It was the hottest day of the year so far with 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. 



11th July 2019

 Chris is a very talented photographer  and his girlfriend Alline is equally a wonderful talent  too, the other week I get the following message from Chris.

‘Hey Jo, Alline + i are going away for a couple of days to celebrate her somehow tolerating me for the past 2 years. we’re not doing gifts or any of that sh*t but we do both absolutely adore your work + wanted to see if you’d be free to shoot us at our little hippy crack den in rye harbour nature reserve? here’s a link for context.  We get there on the 3rd july before i head to wedding nearby on the 5th july. there’s no brief, we’re not looking for an “out of the box” couples shoot, we’d wanna just give you full creative freedom + licence to experiment, without any restrictions. “licence to experiment, without any restrictions” sounds like a james bond porno spoof…which isn’t entirely what we had in mind but yeah… we are bringing tonnes of film and some of our favourite point shoot / medium format cameras if you want to play too…’

So I headed down to the beach retreat on the afternoon of the 4th July, the weather was hot and sun twinkling brightly in the huge sky above, the scene was set.  We hung out and I shot til twilight, squeezing the last bit of light out of the day.  I don’t want to fill this space with too many words as for me the photographs tell the story much better than my words can.  Hit play, turn up the music; the track is ‘House of cards by Radiohead’. 


1st July 2019

1st July, 2019 

I am sitting under a big oak tree in a tiny village somewhere deep in the Cotswold’s. The heat is rising and there is a welcome cool breeze gently tickling the hairs on my arm.  I am shooting an outdoor wedding today and the weather could not be any better; ‘the hottest day of the year’ they repeat on the radio, I think they are right about this, the temperature is already 23 degrees and it is still only 10.

I set off this morning at 6 and spent the 3 hours absorbing and reflecting on last night’s ‘in conversation’ with Nick Cave.  I have been a longstanding fan of his and I also live in his hometown, Brighton. The last time I saw him I was having lunch in a local café and he was with Warren Ellis just sitting opposite. My gaze kept being drawn to him and I felt very foolish as he looked straight at me and I pretended that I was not utterly captivated by his presence. 

I digress,  the format of his performance last night was a mixture of the audience asking questions sandwiched between Nick playing his piano.   He began giving the evening some context and brief explanation of what it was that he was hoping to explore; ‘connection’ and ‘intimacy’. Simple, it was an invitation to have a conversation thus dissolving the barrier or space that sits between the artist and the performer.  It was an extension of his ’Red hand files’. He confessed to how nervous and vulnerable this made him feel, how he had no idea where the evening would take him or and beyond the shows he has not thought how this might be expressed in his music or anywhere else. 

I felt like us in the audience responded by reaching out to hold hands and together we created some kind of circle for him and us, a space to collaborate   He literally was surrounded by the audience with tables and chairs on the stage with some people being a metre away from him.  I have seen quite a bit of immersive theatre over the years, and experienced this idea of shifting the physical space of the audience and also of the conventional format and narrative narrative being challenged and remolded.  I had never seen this done however with music; how well he weaved the two elements.

It felt like a dance he was initiating between him and us the, being passed backwards and forwards.  He assisted this with the lights being really low down when he performed and in this moment it was just him and the piano.  Then in contrast the opposite, full lights on the stage and in the auditorium enabling dialogue, we were all equal.  He would choose when to break up the talking with a performance and it enabled a welcome bit of space around the previous conversations, it worked really well.  The intimate performance was in contrast to the raw, open and illuminating conversation that followed.   

I could ramble on for hours and hours about the finite detail of what he said and sung, however the most important thing was his humility, compassion and humour. He demonstrated through out what it is to be a human.  My highlight was when someone asked if they could sit next to him when he played his next song; yes he said.  They sat together and as he played ‘Distant Sky’ it was clear that the piano stool was too small and that this would mean them being pressed against each other, two strangers whilst being watched by a thousand people! As he started to play and sing to her whilst looking straight into her eyes she gently put his arm round his shoulders and this moment was to me the most powerful part of the evening.  They were not afraid and instead moved and sat together.  Just think about that for a minute, please click the link to the track and just imagine what that felt like and how intimate and beautiful it was… something and nothing, just being human.  He cultivated intimacy for 3 hours connecting with each and everyone of us at the moment and beyond, what a gift he is, he really is a wonderful artist and human being.  I left inspired, slightly tingling, and glowing.  Nick you shined on that stage so very brightly and also and forever more up in the distant sky above. 

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