I went to the summer fair at Excel today, to look at well-designed products. There were some lovely things, including Portmeirion’s new designs, German bookbinders Bindewerk (using fabulous patterns – apparently they should be in the UK soon) and Velvet Olive cards.
The fair included a talk by James Lohan of Mr and Mrs Smith – a website and guidebook for insider, boutique travel. An expansion into CDs which reflect the brand and a Europe-wide event guide called Smith52 were fascinating to hear about. He said Mr & Mrs Smith is a pseudonym that couples might use for a weekend away, but the concept translates to other nations – the French have “Mr and Mrs DuPont”, for instance.
Later on, I went to visit the Greenwich Penninsula revamping of the area around the former Dome with a tour of the new square from its architects. The amount of detail that had gone into its design was staggering – for instance, the fountains contain recycled water but the mist jets use drinking water because it could well end up on people’s faces. The square was designed after looking at great squares around the world – I just wonder how many of them have so much advertising sponsorship?
The spear sculpture I did like very much – apparently it’s as tall as Nelson’s Column – up to his foot and was twisted for strength using boatbuilding techniques.
I don’t usually do product shots, but met Monica at the London Baby Show with her babyrugs from Australia and she came over today with lots of her products to do some shots of them. We decided what shots we wanted and then visited Gillian at Fanny Ford florist – about a five-minute walk away in Tanners Hill – for some styling extras. She has a fabulous eye and collection of things – so we walked away with some flowers, coloured papers & assorted loaned baskets and containers. These are some of the shots we put together.
The Wine Institute of California hosted its annual trade tasting in London today, with Californian wineries having their best bottles out for tasting. The institute’s benchmark wines – those which were selected as being the best in a blind taste a month or so ago – were also on offer at a stand displaying four columns of my images reaching 2m high. It was great to see them being used, showing what the institute does.
On the journey home, Big Ben was looking especially shiny in the bright sunshine (is it really too early to celebrate spring?) and Greenpeace had managed to put up a banner beside parliament on the river – just caught it through the bus window when going past.
Things have been quiet on the blog in the last couple of weeks because I’ve been getting ready for London Baby Show which started at ExCel Centre yesterday and ends tomorrow at 5.30pm. It’s a packed schedule – talking to people all day about their children and how they’d like them photographed. My stand has three large photographs on display from a maternity session with Tia Lush from last year that she did as a surprise for her husband Paul. Maternity shoots, bump shots or pregnancy photography – whatever you call it – is certainly popular. A couple of women visiting the stand talked about how much their partners loved their bumps, which was lovely to hear.
The main thing about the sessions is that they are a reflection of the client. Tia’s photographs feature a silken kimono and pretty girly underwear and a bare tummy – that’s her. Other maternity shots might be far more funky and urban – perhaps a fitted T-shirt, little jacket, skirt & boots against a textured wall – whatever best sums up the client. When one woman and I were discussing what clothes and accessories to bring along, she asked if she could bring a fur coat – what a fantastic idea! Can’t wait to do the shoot – all Ella Fitzgerald glamour – perhaps with diamonte earrings? Seriously, accessories, handbags, seductive shoes – even a tablecloth if the mood takes you – it’s all possible.
A major consumer brand has a sponsored a baby shoot at the show, for which there is a huge queue. There are four people involved with every shoot – one taking the photographs, one holding the children if necessary, another waving a colourful toy and another on hand to back up the others. They certainly earned their keep this weekend. On an adjacent stand, there’s a shallow ball pit with translucent white balls for toddlers. At the end of yesterday, one of the stand attendants said I could try it out – and it was amazing – supportive all around me – didn’t want to get out. However, managing that was certainly NOT ladylike! If you’re at the show tomorrow, do pop down to stand B3 & say hello. It’s opposite the Cravings Cafe.
Inspired by the luscious choice of music and partners at the dance weekend a week ago, I was revising my favourite late night music on iTunes and finding some new tracks for the gym. Some of the late night faves you can find at BluesRoomSnuggle, which stays online for a year – or just search on iTunes iMixes under BluesRoomSnuggle.
When chatting to a friend of a friend at a party last night, he mentioned something that our mutual friend had said to him and he’s remembered: “Your life becomes poorer when you stop trusting people”. It’s not something our friend has said to me, but it’s stayed with me as perhaps the most important memory of the evening. Our mutual friend is also someone who is able to ask for and to accept help when it is offered – and that in itself is a skill that not everyone has.