Living in a Fairy Tale World / It’s Okay to Collect Moths

2014 10 07 mr finch book glitterati 04

I’ve been waiting for this book for ages. I must have emailed the publishers at least half a dozen times asking them when I could expect it! And then it arrived.

2014 10 07 mr finch book glitterati 05

With its foiled front and page marking ribbon there’s something a little magical about it.

2014 10 07 mr finch book glitterati 06

A handful of the images don’t appear to be particularly sharp, or of the highest photographic quality, I suspect many of them are smartphone images from the way they look. But, it’s okay, it’s not a photography book and it’s a means of sharing work that may have been documented some time ago before being packed off to shops, galleries and collectors.

2014 10 07 mr finch book glitterati 01

This really is a visual delight, with limited text, including a few simple interview questions such as, ‘What’s a day in the life of Mister Finch?’ ‘Why use vintage materials?’ and, ‘What’s the best piece of advice given to you that you’d share with other?’ – to which Mister Finch’s reply is: ‘Be positive; form a plan of what you want to do and where you want to get to and believed that its going to happen. Surround yourself with images of what you want and see it clearly in your mind. Work hard.’

2014 10 07 mr finch book glitterati 02

It’s the dead birds I’m drawn to most, and the moths. I love moths. The chunky furry bodies of the moths are delightful.

2014 10 07 mr finch book glitterati 03

I think birds are beautiful. At the garden centre I always head off to ogle the finches and canaries. I pick up feathers whenever I find them and bring them home. It’s always so sad to see a dead bird, their fragile delicate bodies, still and weighty, heavier than a deep sleep.

Mister Finch, when talking about the birds says, ‘To recreate them in death for me is not to illustrate death itself, it’s more to communicate loss… how one minute you can be in the sky and the next, gone.’

2014 10 07 butterflies and moths 01

One lovely thing about this book is that it helps me justify my random collections. I’m not the only one who loves tattered and worn, random items of the best storytelling variety.

I love all the little snippets and images, like a scrapbook of an intriguing life. – boxes of little brass shoes, rows of glass salts, pin cushions and trinkets galore.

Mister Finch Living in a Fairy Tale World is published by Glitterati
November 2014 Release  | £30.00 | ISBN: 978-0-9913419-7-9

2014 10 07 butterflies and moths 04

Thank you to the team at Glitterati for kindly sending me a press copy of  Living in a Fairytale World

Odd Parents, Ammonites & Wild Kittens

IMG_0906

I’ve had a busy ol’ fun time lately, so I thought it might be nice to share a few pictures and some words, maybe.

IMG_0720

Sasha laid her first egg. I thought it was going to be blue, I hoped it was going to be blue. It wasn’t. Autumn arrived.

IMG_0974

Last week I was invited to Staffordshire University to talk as part of the university’s Photo Voices series. I told some bad jokes and got some laughs, so I told some more! Later on I even put out a small fire. It was a good day!

IMG_1098

I ought to apologise to the poor lady who nipped out just as I was at the point of talking about not putting images on social media that you wouldn’t want people to see or associate with you and your work. I know she wasn’t in a rush to get on a computer and remove lots of files, but that didn’t stop me from saying she was! Oh, how I laughed at my own joke!

IMG_1069

I also visited Grantham College and gave a talk in a room that smelt of hamster. It was good. Someone left their hat behind, so I wore it – Nice!  When I left the car park I saw a squirrel, just like when I left Manchester College. I expect every college to now release a squirrel to signify the end of my visit. 

IMG_1079

I found an ammonite in the driveway.

20140915 driveway ammonite iphone 02

We became (G)odd Parents to our chubby little friends Milo & Lotz.  I was also given a lit candle to hold by a vicar. Both pretty serious things. 

2014 10 05 millie and lottie christening gainsborough 14

The church was absolutely beautiful. Stunning and lovely.

2014 10 05 millie and lottie christening gainsborough 13

Adam got attacked by a Yorkshire Terrier named Mercedes. Her and her entourage of Chihuahua’s tried to pull his trousers down. He survived, he’s still got his trousers, and some dignity!

IMG_0911

We went to Snetterton to do a track day but it was just too rainy and wet for wimpy old me! There were some cool cars there though.

IMG_0908

IMG_0910

We did manage a track day at Hethel with Lotus on Track though. It was sunny because they are nice people.  I went too fast through a chicane and clipped a cone. It shot up in the air and hurtled at great speed towards the car behind me – an open fronted 340R… gulp! Luckily everything was okay. I went to apologise later and the chap said he didn’t mind, it had added a bit of excitement to the day!

IMG_1053

Lots of lovely people donated money and together we raised £218.75 for the Child Funeral Charity through the photos I took for the Good Funeral Awards and Ideal Death Show.

IMG_0696

I made my first t-shirt with Society6, especially for my dear little niece – she really is a wild kitten!

We had the big screen premiere of the Young Peoples film at the new cinema in Wisbech. I don’t know how big the screen was, but it was big! There were over 200 seats in the auditorium. The young people absolutely loved it.

IMG_9360

I found this little fella on my travels.

IMG_9345

MoJo did some sleeping. It’s one of his best skills, along with looking like a large loaf of bread or a watermelon.

IMG_9439

And finally, finally we installed the sculpture at WWT Welney. It has been such a long time coming. I’m so relieved. It even looks alright! The launch event is tomorrow, you are welcome to join us.

a

Do you like sculpture and/or swans? No? Oh well, carry on.

This Beer Tastes of Cauliflower & Other Revelations

2014 10 24 london princelet street 03

When I got to the railway station I bumped into Gemma and Simon. She delivers parcels and he protects her from the chickens. Simon was off to Folkestone to camp in the woods. We got talking on the train. He used to work in a factory, but he thought there must be something else that he could do, so he had a go at dance teaching for a couple of years (I’m sure I heard that right?!) and that was alright, but he thought there might be something else, like writing, so he had a go at that and got a book published. Then another one. He’s now writing his third novel and earning a full-time living from the royalties!

2014 10 24 london brick lane 01

Simon writes about blood and gore. He said he’d often thought that he’d like to be our neighbour. I hope it’s not for research purposes!

2014 10 24 london brick lane 02

He’s going to let me have a copy of one of his books and I am going to read it two pages at a time so I don’t get too scared.

2014 10 24 novotel city south london view 07

I checked in to the Novotel City South, on Southwark Bridge Road. I don’t think you can go wrong with a Novotel for a simple, smart stay.

2014 10 24 novotel city south london 03

2014 10 24 novotel city south london 02

2014 10 24 novotel city south london view 02

After dumping my bags and marvelling at the view, I headed over to Salt & Pegram to meet Flora, and view their current exhibition. Flora runs the exhibitions programme there and we worked together on the PLACE exhibition for Shutter Hub.

2014 10 24 london princelet street 02

We stopped off for a drink and a catch up, then headed over to the Old Truman Brewery for the PhotoMasters launch event, meeting my old chum Emma there.

2014 10 24 photomasters truman brewery opening SH 01

George had done an excellent job with the exhibition, in an excellent space. It was busy, (over 300 guests attended) but not rammed, so we had plenty of space to enjoy the photography on show.

2014 10 24 photomasters truman brewery opening SH 02

Trumans Beer had kindly supported the event with free Pale Ale, but unfortunately for me I felt it smelt and tasted of cauliflower. I tried to take the taste away with a salted soya bean but it was so dry, so dry my mouth couldn’t work anymore, and I couldn’t even bare to take a sip of my drink – my face must have been a right sight! I’m surprised they didn’t just euthanise me on the spot.

2014 10 24 photomasters truman brewery opening SH 05

The exhibition was good though, and the company was great. We said goodbye to George, Ross, Mia and Kiera who were working hard to keep the drinks and information flowing, and headed over to Whitechapel to Tayyabs for some fine Punjabi cuisine.

Whilst Emma expertly ordered us an Indian feast, Flora accidentally launched a spoon into a ladies handbag. I enjoyed both of these things very much.

2014 10 25 novotel city south london breakfast 01

I slept very well indeed. As I ate my muesli quietly alone, a medium sized boy lay beside me sucking on a pancake and exclaiming how delicious the chocolate sauce was. Of course, I was sold!

2014 10 25 novotel city south london breakfast 04

After pancakes (check out the pancake machine!) I took photos of the carpets and packed my bags.

2014 10 24 london southwark street 03

I meandered through the bustling streets, struggled like a over loaded donkey, to Hanbury Street, Brick Lane, back to the PhotoMasters exhibition, where I’d been booked to give a talk as part of PHOTOBLOCK and London’s PhotoMonth.

2014 10 24 london southwark street 01

I had a quick look at the LEICA Photography Unplugged exhibition, showcasing the wonderfully witty street photography of Matt Stuart, and then got on with the job in hand. I was really delighted that so many photographers took the time to come to the Shutter Hub talk. It was quite funny, as I heard later that Sian and Marcelo had been sitting talking and saying how what they really wanted now was to know what to do next – and then Lorraine came along and asked, ‘Do you know where the photography talk about what we do next is?!’ Of course they came along!

2014 10 24 photomasters truman brewery opening SH 06

I chatted to lots of lovely photographers, and had some great conversations, before dragging my way back to Kings Cross and onto the train back home.

One of the photographers I spoke to told me that he felt that a person could never be a really good photographer as well as a really good writer, or stylist, or whatever. I’ve met lots of brilliant creative people who can do many different things to a really high standard, so I found this statement a bit odd, but he planted a seed, and on my way home I reflected on this.

At first I questioned – should I be focused on one path only? Am I doing the wrong thing by spreading my interests? Can I, or should I, do all of this? And then I thought about all the wonderful, interesting and exciting things I’ve been able to do in life, and how lucky I am to be able to do so. I don’t need to conform to someone else’s standard, I’ve set the bar higher! I’m good at being me. I’m good at my life, that is what matters, and that is all encompassing.

2014 10 25 photomasters truman brewery SH hazel davies 01(Image above: Work by Hazel Davies, exhibiting at PhotoMasters)

(Graffiti from Southwark Street and Brick Lane)

Professional Development for Photographers

2014 03 07 wisbech museum camera collection 03

I’ve got a busy couple of weeks coming up, and I thought I’d tell you about it, just in case you want to join me – the more the merrier!

Next week not only will I be talking to photography students at Grantham College and Staffordshire University, I’ll also be giving a talk as part of London’s PhotoMonth, at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane. This is all very exciting. Very!

photomastersCome and join us at the Private View of PHOTOMASTERS on Friday evening, and then pop along to my talk on Saturday at 2pm. I promise I won’t keep you too long, and I will give you lots of photographic food for thought. If you are an emerging photographer and you’d like to get some ideas on how to take your career further, then you should definitely come down and get involved. I’d love to meet you!

photoblock ad5 sep 2014 OUTLINED
Are you a photography student, lecturer or a member of a photography group? You might qualify for a free Shutter Hub Professional Development talk. If you want to, you can find out more here.

Oh, and that photo at the top of this post? Part of a series of photographs I’ve been working on, The Camera Collection, I took this at Wisbech & Fenland Museum. I can’t stop looking, I love collections!

Alternative Processes & Double Rainbows

2014 10 11 the engine room 01

On Thursday I drove up to St Helens, to Lisa’s house. We went into Liverpool to Nolitas Cantina, where we drank ginger ale and I ate things I’ve never eaten before. Frickles and corn dogs, new to my food vocabulary.

2014 10 11 lisas house st helens 02

Lisa’s little girl kindly gave up her bed for me. Thats right, I slept in the cabin bed of a 7 year old. I even had to climb a bookcase to get into it!

2014 10 10 the manchester college 01

On Friday morning I gave a talk on Professional Development to students of the Contemporary Photographic Practices Foundation Degree at The Manchester College. If you’re interested in photography and want to know what I talked about, you can find out more on the Shutter Hub blog here. It is true, I curtseyed at the end of my talk, but I apologised, so I think that’s okay.

2014 10 10 the manchester college 07

shutterhub_alt_process_exhibition_invite_web

My job for the afternoon was to head over to The Engine Room Gallery at Woodend Mill in Mossley, with its owner photographer John Kiely, and hang Shutter Hub’s latest exhibition, Alternative Process. I couldn’t wait.

2014 10 11 the engine room 06

2014 10 11 the engine room 03

When we left the college a squirrel ran in front of John’s van and he didn’t run it over. I took that as a good omen. The exhibition went up easily and looked fantastic. This is because John didn’t kill a squirrel. Also maybe because I did good at selecting some proper nice photography, maybe. I like squirrels.

2014 10 11 the engine room 09

2014 10 11 shutter hub alternative process exhibition opening 04

It was a very long but rewarding day. I drove back to Lisa’s and eventually climbed the wooden hill to Bedfordshire, (AKA the bookcase to bed).

2014 10 11 woodend mill 02

2014 10 11 woodend mill 03

On Saturday morning, before heading off to Mossley to launch our exhibition at The Engine Room, I met up with Heather for tea and chatter. It was a good job too, not only was it really nice to see her, she totally organised me for my day!

Woodend Mill was bustlingly busy. A little white Westie trundled through the corridors bringing delight to those of us who caught a glimpse of him. Or just me – whatever!

2014 10 11 woodend mill ford mustang 03

The mill was open for it is Autumn Exhibition, a chance for people to visit the many workshops and studios in this developing creative space. Up in The Engine Room there was no exception. In fact, we’ve been told that it was the busiest room in the mill! Over 100 people stepped through door and joined us for our opening event.

2014 10 11 shutter hub alternative process exhibition opening 03

Lollies and chocolates, along with tea and juice, were the order of the day. Being the all-seeing Karen, I fully observed two guests hurriedly stuff their pockets full of sweet treats (they either didn’t know I was watching, or just didn’t care!) I was most amused. I felt like offering them a sandwich, the way they scrabbled away desperately and unashamedly at the wrapped confectionary, they must have been truly ravenous!

It was really wonderful to be in such an inspiring an awesome location, with some excellent photographers and photography lovers, amongst some of the best alternative photography you could hope to see – it’s true – check out this star-studded list of exhibitors!

burnt out carsI also had two images in the exhibition. One lady told me that my work reminded her of Robert Frank. Wow! I’ll take that!

2014 10 11 the engine room 05

As an extra special added bonus, I got to meet an old friend for the first time ever. I’ve known Emma for years, like eight or ten years, but we’ve never met. Strange hey? Well, it wasn’t that strange actually. She was just as I thought she’d be, apart from her voice. When she spoke her voice was all wrong. She asked if it was because her voice was deep, other people had said she had a deep voice. No, it wasn’t that, it was because it wasn’t my voice! All these years of reading letters and messages from her, I understood her tone, but it was all read in my head, in my inside-head-voice!

2014 10 11 the engine room 07

2014 10 11 woodend mill cat

It was a lovely day. Lisa and Scarlett came along, we drank tea and befriended a cat.

IMG_0841

Emma gave me a veritable picnic for my car journey home. The mini pork pies took pride of place on my passenger seat and the Capri Sun made me laugh because it reminded me of the time I saw a grown man choke. (He made notions and noises to imply he needed a drink and rushed into his kitchen, only to come out with a Capri Sun and a look of relief on his face. First-hand witness to the life-saving properties of Capri Sun, me.)

2014 10 12 pennines 05

I drove back across the Pennines and stopped at the top to look at a double rainbow. It was remarkable. The sky was incredible. I ate a banana.