Some readers of this blog may have forgotten it ever existed! To be honest, I’ve ignored it for a while. I started it several years ago and routinely made an entry, almost every week to begin with. In 2016, however, I slowed down. Several momentous things happened that year (you may remember), which made me think that wittering on about my photography seemed silly and pointless when so much awfulness was taking place across the globe – and although I tried, I couldn’t find a way to reconcile my disquiet. I gradually stopped writing the blog altogether and just shared images as and when they came, on Facebook and Instagram. But lately I have felt that a blog might have something to offer again, although I’m not sure I’ll be writing quite as often, nor as personally.
I have also recently finished a second degree (currently awaiting results) and am hoping to begin an MA in September. So there is a natural hiatus and it could be the right time to abandon a blog altogether! On the other hand, as we emerge from Covid lockdowns and life gets back to normal, there may be some life left in it yet. The journey I have travelled on my studies has been quite adventurous and the work I ended up making at the end of my degree, and will continue into further studies, is very different to what I made at the start of the course. Well, that’s the point, isn’t it? To explore. But it’s not quite what is expected of a commercial photographer.
Some of you may have noticed a name change at the top of this blog. Because of the wildly different work I have developed, after lots of to-ing and fro-ing and wondering and pondering, I have decided to separate the names that head up my commercial work and my more experimental meanderings. I will continue to be the same photographer but I will keep these two different strands of my work completely separate.
If you’re interested in the multi-disciplinary ramblings of my on-going inquiry into systems change and its relationship with media, as well as some occasional documentary photography, then please do follow Sarah-Jane Field at www. sarahjanefield.com on Instagram and Twitter.
I’ve no idea what to do with LinkedIn! I’ve never understood it, but maybe in time it will make sense to me.
Last week I headed down to Hampshire with my kids and spent a lovely evening having fun, despite the bloody weather, which switched from gorgeously sunny to heavy rain in moments. After a year and a half with barely any socialising, we were determined to keep going and that’s exactly what we did.
As some followers of this blog will be aware, for several years I’ve been documenting trips to Northern France with London-based charity Just Shelter, who raise money, collect necessary items and organise educational activities for displaced children in France. For others, it might come as a surprise to hear that people are still living precariously in Calais and Dunkirk. The well-publicised Jungle closed in 2016 but families and individuals have continued to arrive in the area and many are existing without any of the basics most of us take for granted.
Donated toys are washed and books sorted in a warehouse in Calais before being given to children and families. Another warehouse nearby continues to provide food for people in need. (2020)
Over the last few years, I have focused on landscapes which aim to mark the passing of time, as well as the Just Shelter’s activities, and when appropriate I’ve photographed people we met. Cameras and displaced individuals are not a great mix, but one of Just Shelter’s aims is to remind people that there are still many in need as well as busy, underfunded, volunteer organisations providing support.
The Jungle was a vibrant albeit difficult and unsatisfactory home for up to 10 000 people (January 2016)
A camp behind a shopping centre (Winter 2018)
Food distrubtion (Summer 2017)
Children living in tents (2017)
This weekend was the first time I accompanied Just Shelter after a break of several months, and it was distressing to see that, although some things have shifted, the situation is not improving. One is left wondering if it ever will. Today, as we remember some of the worst events from of our history, we can reflect on the way people are being treated in the US and across Europe, and consider the lack of empathy evidenced by Parliamentarians recently who voted not to reunite refugee children with family members in the UK.
Images of a workshop run by teachers with Just Shelter and volunteers from Project Play this weekend with children who really enjoyed the games and maths lessons provided. (2020)
We love a winter walk and are fortunate enough to live close to several open spaces in or very near to South London. Just before sunset this afternoon, we traipsed about Richmond Park and almost ended up being locked in! Worth it though for these images. Incidentally, the yellow gloves were for magnet fishing – it’s a thing, apparently! (c)SJField2019 (click on individual images)
This Summer I ran away. I spent as long as was feasibly possible in Europe. Huge thanks to my mother for going to the trouble of breaking her ankle and giving us the excuse to escape the UK, and for facilitating it all too. I can’t begin to say how much I appreciated the time and the rest. Even so, I didn’t sit around doing bugger all. (Mostly…) I took my work with me and did my best to keep up with it. I wrote essays and I read a great deal. I caught up with books I’d been meaning to read and found new ones. And now back to reality.
But before that, here is a visual poem expressing something about my time in Umbria this summer.
Do get in touch for event or portrait photography on 07581694934 – 5% off the advertised price on my website for family shoots and events if booked before 30th September 2019. (Term & Conditions, as ever, apply.)
Today I chatted with several people as I wandered through Parliament Square documenting the anti-Brexit protest. Two guys I met, Chris and Bill, asked me who or what I was taking photographs for. I told them I was doing it because I think we’re going through a really important time and that I thought it was worth documenting; in years to come we will look back at this period and children will learn about it in history. People want and are willing to speak up about the things they feel passionate about – and let’s face it, we’re British; under normal circumstances, we’d rather talk about the weather. But lots of people (although not quite everyone, it’s true), regardless of which cause they associate themselves with, are currently frustrated and choosing to be vocal about their feelings one way or another.
Here are some images from today, more than I would normally share on this blog. But I really wanted to convey a message that the people speaking up today were from all walks of life, and not, as some in the media would have you believe, easily categorised into a little envelope. We must do our best to avoid that kind of simplistic thinking as it helps no-one. I also want to point out that there are a few images here of people who feel passionately that we do not need another referendum, and as you will see, they were having perfectly reasonable conversations with people who hold different views to them.
Finally, if anyone finds themselves on my little corner of the internet and would rather they weren’t, please get in touch and chat with me about it.
It’s that time of year again when well-known brands start releasing their big-budget adverts and the shops go crazy trying to sell us plastic and gift sets. For me, it’s when I start to think about creating a family photo album. To be honest, I am normally pretty busy with work so I don’t get round to doing my own one until February at least. I thought I’d share the last album I created so you can see how special these objects are. Despite people thinking photographs mostly look best on screen, you can’t beat a beautiful book to hold in your hands and keep on your shelves. It’s quite wrong too, you know, about images looking better on screens. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. It depends on the image and its meaning in the world. I could attempt a long academic rant about it but I’ll refrain from inflicting that on you. What I am certain about, is that I am often really thrilled when seeing how an image looks on paper.
Click on the link below to scroll through a PDF of my last family album and if you are interested in hiring me to do something similar for you, do get in touch!
I have lived close to the Wandle Trail for some time now and heard all sorts of lovely things about it being a super place to ride your bike, but until this afternoon we had never done so for some reason. What a shame it has taken me so long to get it together. Even today, as we set off on our bikes, I was a little unsure how to get to where we needed to be, but after a couple of wrong turns, we found a route about two minutes from where I live onto the banks of the Wandle. And everyone was absolutely right. What an amazing bike trail to have access to in the middle of London. We ended up riding to Dean City Farm which we have visited lots of times over the years but always by car. My youngest son said, “Wow! We rode all the way to the farm and we’re not even tired!”. My middle son was only disgruntled by the absence of his favourite drink in the enormous supermarket which he ducked into on the way there. “Disgraceful!” he grumbled. Where do they get these sayings from?
Here are a few images from our afternoon. I think I could certainly return many times and take lots of pictures along the route. The mix of nature and variously-sized signs of industry along the river’s bank, as well as a long history of documentation, is potentially really interesting. The picture with the lace curtain is for my mum who loves and collects owls. (We’re a bit sad the owl at Dean City Farm is moving soon).
Next time, I might be able to write about a seminar I photographed recently which promoted inclusion and diversity in the workplace. I was very impressed with the way the seminar was handled, especially when comparing the industry in question to my own. Until then, happy weekend everyone.
Wishing all my clients and followers a very Happy New Year! We spent a couple of days by the seaside; and here is a short sequence from our brief visit taken on the last day of the year. I hope everyone manages to have more than a few moments of this type of joy in the year to come. x