1st May 2020

As another week rolls around so does another roll of film.  I am not interested in taking photographs of the lockdown parse, why?  Because I find it all too painful, because it is mostly full of loss and I don’t want to hang about in that space too long, it is not beautiful… {as in the literal sense I mean and then I think about it, not in any sense}.  Yes there are portraits behind glass and through screens but again it feels too uncomfortable.   I can see empty streets echoing Hopper, reflections and space where shadows at last can stretch out.  Discarded gloves and masks can be signifiers.  Images  would feel like I am the last one left at the end of a Michael Jackson fancy dress party.  Picture the scene “thriller’ is on repeat and everyone has left the party, the room is empty, the sun is rising and all that is left is the detritus, the odd glove and mask, and the echo….  I need to create as that is all I really know and so I am searching for what….?  I am continuing to notice, explore, listen, walk, I am seeing very small vignettes that make me feel joy and that life is still magical and more importantly beautiful… I dunno another week has passed;  another week of thinking and not really becoming clearer. Here are the images, maybe they speak more eloquently than myself. 

23rd April 2020

I have brought 6 x disposable cameras from Amazon; they were cheap as chips with no ability to focus, meter the light or capture any subtle nuance of life.  This is not about quality but enabling a process of carrying on my art; to encourage, to feel free , to create some creative in this space in time.  At the same time, I am treading the fine line of pressure and expectation in terms of outcome.  I am acutely aware of my high expectations especially when it comes to my work.  I am bypassing the outcome by using a cheap and quite frankly dreadful tool;  I am intentionally cruising blissfully into potentially the worse work I have ever shot… or maybe I am about to fly into a creative space of freedom. Here is the proof. Roll number 1 is back from the lab and thank god for my lab for still giving me and my work life. Within  this process I have got Fox my son involved, so when he finishes up his roll we can see how he is seeing the world.  Anyway, I am off for my daily walk with another crappy camera in my pocket.  

29th March 2020

Life has shifted, there is no normal and with each minute that passes our landscape continues to change and morph into new shapes that we never knew was even possible.  The land we have carefully shaped and sculpted to create a life that we can live in is now redundant and no longer relevant. You can fight, scrabble, grasp and gasp, you can cry, mourn, freeze or and become suspended also.  How we each live in this moment will feel and look different  as we each experience our personal version of  financial, health, and personal stress.  I am waking up at 3am and on the edge of consciousness I experience a sense of loss, it is so great that it manages to prod me in my sleep and demand that I feel this in most dark and loneliest time of the night.  I feel it, walk downstairs make a drink return to bed and write some notes and let it be.  I check on Fox sleeping soundly through the darkness and as I lay down to fall back to rest I try and let go of my fears and accept that this is my new normal.  Loss of human connection, loss of control, loss of work, loss of earnings, loss of friends, loss of family, loss of business, loss of freedom…. need I go on. Everything is up for grabs and nothing at the same time, how can we navigate our way through this?   I have been looking back at my notes and I see the word ‘fear’ come up time and time again and start to feel disarmed very quickly as I feel my breath shorten  I feel trapped and powerless.  I start to spin and think maybe in this moment I have to do a huge marketing push, try to beat the algorithm,  write a new business plan and analyse the market and what possible impact a recession will have on the industry I work in…… I need a lie down it is exhausting and I quickly feel like I am in sinking sand.  Instead I  have started to let go and all I can do is day to day embrace and explore the freedom we currently have been gifted and turn towards being creative.  We have been stripped back to just our skeletons, a state that is the most brutal I have ever been part of.   I have experienced hardship and difficulty like we all have in I cast my mind back to remember what were my coping mechanisms then.   I have always in these moments been able to lean into my work, connect to humans, create beautiful images;  it really is a very cathartic and never ending source of my creativity even more so when the going gets tough.  Right now we have the gift of time and space so I am going to spend it in two ways.  Firstly connecting with what I have shot, going back through my archives both professionally and personally.   I am currently  looking at my portfolio,  reviewing and evaluating, challenging myself to identify the meaning of my image making.  I am carefully going through both my hard rives and my personal photographs that rummaging through in boxes.  Questions are coming up; ‘what am I looking at’ and ‘what am I drawn to’, ‘what am I connecting with’ and how do they make me feel and think and does this actually align with how I feel about the world and my values.  People are central to this and I am really looking at how I am capturing their essence or relationship to others and how I feel these moments and capture them.    Secondly I am going to try and create something and give myself permission to play again within the constraints of the lock down.  I do not have any firm outcome in mind, seeking out freedom in my work, what is my work? what could my work be?  I have started with writing and not reaching for my camera, I have started to let go of what I would ‘normally’ do i.e pick up my camera.  I am reading lots, listening to music, running, pottering at my allotment and I am actively encouraging myself to daydream.  My aim is to play with this everyday with Fox by my side at home within the confides of our small house.  My online spaces will maybe start to look and feel a bit different as I start to document and create and share with more dialogue and experimentation.  The algorithm is not important in this moment, it is what it really means to being stripped back to the bones of being human; so onwards into this new space we have been granted and be grateful for the sun and the air we breathe.   

20th March 2020

‘Passion for modern weddings with fashion and empowerment taking centre-stage, is what both Bon Bride creator, Pippa Cooke and I live for.’

I came across my first Bon Bride dress last summer in London when one of my brides wore one of Pippa’s dresses.  It caught my eye, firstly the fabric as I hung it up and then the effortless style and cut of the dress, it epitomised modern London bridal fashion.  I reached out to Pippa and we hit it off straight away and begun planning an editorial shoot which came to fruition Autumn last year.  We shot within the opulent grounds of Somerley House,  with an intention to offer brides a new direction, allowing current fashion to take its rightful place in the modern wedding.

PHOTOGRAPHER: Joanna Brown @joannabrownphotos 

HMUA - Shiv Ashman ,

STYLIST - Pippa Bon Bride @bonbride  and Marina South @Marinasouth

MODEL - Annabelle Strutt @abstrutt_model

MODEL AGENCY-  Bame models London @bamemodels

VENUE : Sombrely House @somerleyweddings_events 

DRESSES: Bon Bride @Bonbride 

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