Refreshed website

After some weeks, the website is now refreshed and functional. ┬áThe blog, which had lived on another site, is now part of this website and six years of posts have been imported so they’re all in the same place. I hope this will mean easier navigation for readers. Over the coming weeks, I’ll be adding more wedding and portrait galleries, links to favourite local businesses I like and adding to the blog, which has been neglected while the changes were taking place.

Eamonn McCabe talk and article

I’m a sometime contributor to the Dulwich OnView blog, which covers things on and around Dulwich, including its picture gallery. There is a talk by photographer Eamonn McCabe at the gallery next Wednesday morning (February 11), so I did a small interview with him last week to promote the event. It’s on today’s blog – he was lovely to talk to and I’m looking forward to his talk.

Becoming a Fellow

I am now officially a qualified Fellow of the Master Photographers Association. I qualified today, after showing a set of 20 images to a panel of judges as well as a working profile. All 20 images were judged to be of Fellowship standard (the pass level is 90%, so 18 are needed to gain it) and the panel’s decision was unanimous.

It feels great to have the qualification, but almost an anticlimax. The panel was finalised a number of weeks ago after feedback from two very experienced photographers and months of mentoring. It just reached a point where I couldn’t find any weak images, so figured that the whole panel was probably either going to pass or fail.

All 20 images are maternity portraits, printed onto watercolour paper; with many abstract rather than figurative. My certificate will be in Illustrative photography – and the panel recommended a number of images to go into this year’s MPA awards, which is judged in the summer. In any event, I’ll be in Newcastle in October for the awards ceremony, where I’ll officially accept the qualification. What’s also nice is that it’s likely that the panel may also win best Fellowship panel of 2008 – fingers crossed on that one.

The MPA judges Fellowship panels once a year and about 6-8 people had their panels judged today at Stansted. To succeed, a panel must show the photographer’s individual style with all the images working together. It’s the highest accolade the association bestows – and out of its 1500 or so members, about 60-70 people in the UK hold it. Of those, fewer than 10 are women. So yes, I’m very, very chuffed at the moment.

One of the main things I discovered in writing up my working profile, was how important client input was in creating the images. Whether it was their choosing what to wear, what they wanted to show or their preferences for images I’d already taken. So this wouldn’t have happened without great clients nor a number of experienced photographers as mentors for this particular journey. As my high school english teacher Miss Johnson used to say, no man is an island.

A PhD in shoes

I met Naomi and Phil today at the Metropolitan, where they are getting married in October. They’ve been planning their wedding while Phil is in Yorkshire and Naomi is working on her PhD in London – it’s in anthropology, but on women’s shoes – how they are designed, how buyers select what to put in stores and everything about the process to when we get to choose them. Writing 100,000 words sounds like a challenge, but perhaps there are worse topics. I made sure that Naomi had one of my business cards – of which there are four – the one with a pair of Jimmy Choos taken at The Grove. Can’t wait to see what shoes she chooses for her wedding day!

Lighting workshop and party at The Globe

I spent yesterday at a lighting workshop with Paul White, a fashion and portrait photographer who also photographs a limited number of weddings – and about 16 other photographers. We worked with a number of different lighting set-ups for varying styles and portability and some of us had new headshots taken. It’s given me some new ideas and skills which I can’t wait to use in the studio.

In the evening, I worked with two other photographers on a 40th birthday party at the Globe Theatre on the South Bank. EVERYTHING was beautifully done – from the waitresses, who had wonderful costumes, hair, make-up and beads to the underground party space that was filled with huge white balloons, drapes and statues. Guests started the evening wearing a stunning array of carnival masks at a drinks reception. A crowd of onlookers gathered in the late afternoon’s golden light to watch the glamorous arrivals ushered in – there were lots of blacked out windows, personalised number plates and a blonde diva in a red dress singing arias from an overhead balcony. Guests entered the Globe’s open-air theatre to watch a team of improvisational actors including Stephen Frost create a musical theatre story around the birthday ‘boy’ and his passion for cars.

The evening then split into three levels of partying with an oyster bar, gambling and cocktails, before guests were invited into the underground space for drumming and two wonderfully elegant and lithe women on red aerial silks.

When they were finished, non-stop music started with one band, segued into another funkier one and the live music finished with Lamar. I’d only vaguely heard of him previously, but he was a really great performer & the swapping between musicians was very slick. The evening continued with DJ Spooney and in the early hours, the waiters and waitresses brought out trays of chicken kebabs in paper wrappers. By the end of the night, I was pretty much flagging and tried what looked like a hot donut ‘hole’ with chocolate sauce and a glass of champagne – an amazing combination!

I can’t wait to see the edited collection of photographs from three photographers and the albums they are going to make! Unfortunately, I don’t have permission to post them here, but it will still an amazing night.

Valentine’s Day portrait gift

One of my friends from tango, Samira, saw some images I’d taken at the last milonga and thought that one of her and her husband Peter would make a great Valentine’s Day present. After a bit of wall measuring to decide where it would go and therefore its size, she chose an 18×12″ art print on watercolour paper. Samira collected the print yesterday and emailed me today to say that he was really ‘made up’ and they are going to get it framed this weekend. They’re also going to a Valentine’s Day tango event tonight.
Below is how the original print looked as well as the retouched art print, where your eye is drawn more to Samira and Peter’s faces than the light behind them.