I’ve been watching the Jays flying in and out of the Holm Oak tree, beaks clasping green acorns that they’ve plucked from the branches ready to push firmly into the lawn. Apparently, they store them there for winter food, but I have a sneaking suspicion that they’re in cahoots with the back-garden moles.
These past few months have possibly been some of the busiest I’ve experienced. It doesn’t feel like I’ve stopped at all. Until last night. We drove to London to take part in the CEO Sleepout and I was forced to be still and just exist, under the stars. The air was cool, the sky was clear, and I even managed an hours sleep. It was no real hardship at all (and so much better than last year!) but an important conversation starter – with people I met last night, and with you. What can we do about such an extensive and overwhelming issue as homelessness? Well, we can make a start with the small things.
Something we are trying to do with Toiletries Amnesty is put an end to hygiene poverty by encouraging community interaction and social engagement. Do you ever feel you’d like to do something, but don’t know where to start? If you don’t already know about Toiletries Amnesty then please do head to the website and find out more – get involved, because you can. Immediately you can do something to improve the lives of others (and your own). We can all make a positive difference, and collectively that can be something pretty special.
If you’re feeling the urge to retrospectively sponsor me for sleeping in a puddle, well, I won’t say no!
So, in all of the other news that I’ve not shared when I perhaps should have…
We went to Ghent, ate the most excellent meal in Cochon de Luxe and saw a great exhibition at the Design Museum. On the way home we got to hang out on the bridge of the ferry and watch the captain reverse park it at Dover. (Read about it here!)
I spent the best part of two weeks in Rotterdam delivering the STREET / FORM exhibition as part of Pow! Wow! Rotterdam, Europe’s largest Street Art Festival. It was wonderful. I urge you to read about it here and here.
I stayed a night at the Nova Hotel in Amsterdam, with a little Japanese-style garden outside my window, catching all the calm sounds of the rain falling.
I gave portfolio reviews for Photo020 in Amsterdam and took a walk along the canals in the rain.
I bought some fabulous neon socks, got given a super cool Pow! Wow! Spray can, walked 49.7 miles in 7 days, visited a dairy farm on a pontoon, and held a random stranger’s baby on the train home.
We saw 24 horse and traps go by our front window. We live in the middle of nowhere.
Festival Pil’Ours asked if we’d extend the Shutter Hub Time to Think exhibition until the end of November, and we said yes, because we are sensible like that.
I photographed my friend, printmaker Louise Stebbing, in her studio ahead of her retrospective next year, and I also photographed her cat because, well, just because!
Then I went to Wales to install and launch HOME.
HOME is a very beautiful exhibition, created from the generosity of 80 photographers who donated their work to be sold for homelessness charities – Crisis, Shelter and Toiletries Amnesty. Shutter Hub teamed up with Gallery at Home in Usk and together we made something really special (see the full exhibition in photos, here).
I stayed in the Greyhound Inn (didn’t see any greyhounds, did see a shiatsu called Harry though) and it was lovely. Proper old school. Horse brasses, and peas with everything.
There’s a five-page feature about HOME in Be Kind magazine this month. If you want to read the interview with me and see some beautiful images the full PDFs are here on the Shutter Hub site, but really, you could just pick up a print version and read all the other things too.
HOME prints are for sale here until 05 December 2019 for just £35 each. That, in case you need it spelling out, is a mega bargain.
M E G A B A R G A I N !
And now what am I doing?
I’m working on Now, for the Future, an exhibition for LOOK Photo Biennial with Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool. I’m also working on (and will be for many months) a touring exhibition project called POSTCARDS FROM GREAT BRITAIN (and you can get involved too!) and, one more exhibition for good measure – Everyday Delight. If you’ve spotted the obvious face in your wallpaper, caught sight of an autumn leaf spinning magically in a spiders web, or noticed a finger nail that looks like Paul Daniels (I’ve done them all) then you’ve had a glimpse of ‘everyday delight’ – the joy in the everyday. Keep looking for it.
Shutter Hub will be hosting a Professional Development day on 30 November in London, and if you’ve any interest in photography you should sign up for a free space, it’s going to be a super day. I’ll be there (is that encouraging?!)
And hopefully, in between these things I am going to find time to walk more, pot plants, stroke cats and get a haircut.