I’m just back from Belgium. It was an amazing trip, mostly to gardens, full of floral delights, but I did see the odd phallus (and by odd I mean peculiar, not occasional). It was the first time I’ve stayed in a hotel since March 2020, I was glad of the scenery change, and the breakfast pastry selection. It’s good to go away, and it’s good to come back home again.
I read something the other day about how we all did weird things during the Covid-19 lockdowns, and I thought ‘erm, don’t think so!’… and then I remembered that I’d brought a pigeon into the house for 3 months and set a paddling pool up in the back garden so I could swim miles whilst tethered to a bit of wood.
This month’s reading list goes something like this: Homes and Antiques magazine, because I was super honoured to be commissioned to write this six page travel feature on the Netherlands. ‘Going Dutch’ features some of my Dutch favourites including Jopenkerk, Teylers Museum, and Hotel Lion d’Or.
I’ve been sent some interesting things in the post: a fire extinguisher and 103 pairs of pants.
According to my Google Alert (I’m just curious!) the Karen Harveys of the internet have been up to all sorts – mostly perverting the course of justice and breaching the peace, but one of them, Chef Karen Harvey, has invented unicorn muesli.
Tutti turned 15. She didn’t have a party.
I drove a car full of incontinence pads to Scunthorpe.
Louise and I went to a field full of 14 million tulips.
Adam and I went to the Practical Classics Restoration Show because he was shortlisted for Restorer of the Year with his S1 Elise. There were lots of other cars on display too, stalls full of car parts, and a small mountain of pork scratchings.
I spent some time alone in Peckover House, which was a real treat.
I made a very yellow sponge cake. (The eggs came from our chicken Sasha, she’s been laying day-glo eggs, and apparently that’s safe and normal).
I saw a bat’s winky.
I met at lady whose dog used to have a Milky Way every Sunday and lived until he was fifteen.
I was interviewed by Closer magazine for my ‘expert opinion’ on hygiene poverty. Brush your teeth people, you’re lucky you have a choice!
Toiletries Amnesty has a new website, it’s very nice to look at (like a rainbow pigeon) and it’s super functional too. We’ve been working hard to get it up and out there, in anticipation of launching a new campaign and partnership next month.
It’s been an intensely busy time, not just because the needs of the 400+ organisations we support have grown drastically, again, but because when Russia invaded Ukraine we got to work straight away, borrowed warehouse spaces and teamed up with multiple organisations (including a collaboration with Marie Claire) to get vital hygiene products to people on the ground in Ukraine, as well as those seeking refuge across Europe.
Within 4 days we had processed over 50,000 product donations, and so far we’ve delivered over £400,000 worth of useful supplies to the people who need them most. Read about it here, and if you can, please do consider donating financially to Toiletries Amnesty, we’ve been supporting refugee centres across the UK and around the world for over eight years now, and we can’t do it without you.
At Shutter Hub we’ve created a free Portfolio Review Guide full of tips for photographers on how to make the most of the portfolio review experience. The YEARBOOK 2022 call for entries is now open (enter here). Alamy ran a competition to win a portfolio review with me, I gave portfolio reviews and an award at FORMAT International Photography Festival, and reviewed again for the New England Portfolio Reviews.
Our exhibition at Cambridge University, Postcards from Europe (including a selection of images from Postcards from Great Britain) was a success. Over 1000 images, and the 20th and final exhibition in the series of pop-up exhibitions for this project. The Postcards from Great Britain archive catalogues have gone off to their forever homes, to be housed in libraries and collections across the world including the V&A Museum, The British Embassy in The Netherlands, Lightbox Photobook Library Taiwan and the Portuguese Center of Photography in Portugal. There are a few catalogues left in the Shutter Hub shop if you’d like to get one. (Also in the shop, this magnificent limited edition set of 100 postcards).
Our exhibition Your Body Belongs to You, opened in France, Showcasing almost 100 photographers, and over 200 images, in the beautiful seaside town of Saint Gilles Croix de Vie. To accompany the exhibition, and make the work accessible to more people, we’re hosting a free online Symposium on 19 May 2022 with photographers talks, panel discussion and a Q&A session. See you there, on the internet?!
And, in other news, it turns out I’ve been crossing my arms wrongly all my life.
If you’d like to keep up with what I’m up to work-wise (talks, events, exhibitions, that kind of stuff), you can find my Agenda on my website. And, if you’d like occasional updates about all sorts of other nice things, in your inbox, you can join my mailing list here.