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)
It’s been a busy year and I’ve had lots of super successful moments. My work has been chosen and published in more places than ever before. I was offered a bursary to complete the part-time art degree which I’ve been doing with The Open College of Arts, and I received a 90% grade for the last module I completed. (I hope to complete the degree this year if I can.) I also took part in several exhibitions and met lots of new people. And I finally got around to publishing a new website.
Here are a handful of images that will sum-up 2019 for me. I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings. To celebrate the New Year, I’m currently offering 5% off all shoots completed by the end of January 2020 (T&Cs apply). Get in touch on 07581 694934 or drop me a line at email@example.com to find out more.
But most of all – Happy New Year! x
A few weeks ago I went with a family to a local park for a shoot. I tend to recommend families take their time when choosing which images they would like to enlarge and frame. Sometimes we need a little bit of a gap to see what’s going on in photographs, perhaps even more so when young children who are growing and changing all the time are concerned.
I aim to capture photographs which are full of life and was very pleased when a photographer friend described one of my images precisely in that way. Perhaps working nowadays on digital means we have greater opportunity to take risks, which we might not have been inclined to do back in the day when photographers worked with film. Some photographers see this as a problem – I see it as a brilliant plus. I don’t mean you should simply press the shutter down for ages and rapidly shoot as many frames as possible under all circumstances – apart from being an unhelpful strategy, there would be way too many frames to look back over when editing (in a world where we bombarded by images as it is!) Rather, you can try things out and experiment because the cost of a digital frame is not prohibitive. And so it’s not a problem to allow the kids to get involved in the creativity. Of course, you also need to pay attention to their energy levels and patience – but ultimately I want to take pictures that are teeming with life rather than stilted and posed, and that is my aim when working with families.
Here are a handful of images from a morning with a lovely family and two beautiful, very sweet children. This shoot was given as a Christmas present last year. Check out the link for more details, and find a discount available too for anyone who books before the 1st December.
Just before the end of the summer term, I was invited to lead a photography workshop with an enthusiastic group of eight to nine-year-olds at my local school as part of their Arts Week festival. The work they created was great!
One of the things I always impress upon children when doing these workshops is how accessible phone photography is nowadays and why that is a very good thing. Not only do we have ever-improving cameras in our pockets, they can be accompanied by a host of editing programmes, many of which are free or don’t cost very much, and which are becoming easier and easier to use. This is great news. Traditional software can be prohibitively expensive and darkrooms obviously out of reach for many, many people. What that means is, everyone with a phone can engage in creative photography. All they need is the desire to do so.
When I first started getting into photography I remember reading comments made by photographers who lamented the ease of digital photography and all its related software. I recall being shocked to see someone moan how any old mother could potentially set up and become a photographer nowadays – as if this was a terrible thing which threatened to kill off photography altogether. Not any old mother?? Good lord, how dreadful! I mean, whatever next, mothers taking photographs and becoming skilled at something creative which might just fit in with their role as parents. Shocker!!! Stop it now, please before the old order it overturned entirely!
Last week a famous filmmaker said something equally daft about phone photography. Phone photography is, according to this highly successful man with access to all the cash he needs to pay for Polaroid film, killing off real photography. In fact, it’s so dire, we need a new name for photography. Photography, when translated back to its Greek roots, means drawing with light. I think the word fits perfectly fine and what we actually need is a new attitude. Photography is not for a select few. Phones have made it possible for everyone and anyone to start playing and creating and having fun with the recording of light. What’s more, there are lots and lots of avenues for people to go down, from making commercial images to creating obscure experimental work, meaning there is space for all sorts of photography out there.
I am one of those terrible mothers who had the audacity to just set myself up as a photographer. Of course, just setting oneself up is a complete fallacy in most cases – I suspect very few people can just do that and succeed. The business of learning is long and at times tortuous whatever the equipment. As a financially strapped single parent, a darkroom is pretty much out of the question for me, and film is prohibitively expensive, so I am enormously grateful to the whole digital process which has allowed me to learn and develop a skill which would have been very much harder to access otherwise. My learning has also been significantly enhanced by the apps I use on my phone, not only in terms of ease but also access.
Next term I have more workshops booked in and as well as teaching people how to edit, blend images, cut out and make montages, incorporate moving image alongside still, I will continue to promote the idea that photography is for everyone. You don’t need lots of money or space. You need your phone and the desire to create. That’s’ not to say phone photography is everything. Of course, it isn’t. But it’s an amazingly fruitful and egalitarian route into photography which anyone with a phone can access.
Below are links to my own creations all made on a phone and here is a link to some images by digital artist Stina Walfridsson which go far beyond in terms of editing. And let’s not forget you can also make films on a phone – check out this film by director Micheal Gondry called Détour. Next time you hear someone say phones have killed photography, roll your eyes, say “what a load of rubbish!” and think of all this amazing creativity.
Clients always tells me they hope for lovely weather when we have shoots, but don’t completely write off rainy days for photography. The light is generally much nicer and easier to manage than when it’s bright, and cloud cover is a brilliant diffuser. I’m not sure the kids are quite as enthusiastic as me, and perhaps if it had been a bit more stormy this morning they’d have had something to say about being dragged up to Wimbledon Common. Nevertheless, they were content enough to go for a walk in the drizzle, providing hot chocolate and marshmallows were on the agenda, and even let me grab a few snaps of them as I we did. Here are a handful. (That’s my woolly hat, he’s wearing, by the way…)
Despite the weather there are definite signs of spring in the air! And to celebrate I am currently offering a 5% discount off the cost of a family shoot (as specified on my site, valid until the end of April, T&Cs apply.) Get in touch for more information.
Have a great week. SJ x
Images (c)SJField 2017
Phone photography sessions for children aged 8-12, £8 per child, Tuesday 31st May, 2016, 5.30pm. Get in touch for more details on 07581 694 934 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Advertising over…. I have been a bit quieter than usual on social networking the last couple of weeks or so. Several reasons and actually, a good thing for my relationship with the non-digital world, but maybe not ideal for my business. It’s tricky to get the balance right. You read all this stuff saying you must be Tweeting/Instagramming/Facebooking constantly to get your social media marketing statistics up, aiming always, of course, to result in bookings, and you should be regularly engaging with others too otherwise it doesn’t work – obviously, and don’t what ever you do, disappear from the digital airwaves. Geez… so many rules! When’s a person meant to do some actual work? And when did all those terms become verbs, anyway? Language, heh…. fluid, in flux and developing always; so interesting.
Anyway the reason I am quieter than usual is because a couple of projects I am working on are taking up a great deal of my time, energy and internal resources. So much so, that I am often surprised by how quickly time passes; especially when I turn around and notice that it’s 6pm instead of 3pm, which is what I assumed it must be on Sunday evening, having finally remembered I needed to tell a friend I wouldn’t in fact be turning up … admittedly that was quite a large amount of time to be wrong by, and thankfully it’s not always so dramatic. Sunday, however, utterly disappeared and before I knew it the kids hadn’t been fed properly or even put to bed, and I had a meeting online with fellow students, which to be honest proved slightly tricky, but all we got there in the end, wherever there might have been. Bed and asleep for those small people, thankfully.
The whole creative process is incredibly fulfilling, even though it means being on a bit of an emotional roller coaster…”that’s what I mean… shit, no it isn’t,… yes, this works,…oh, my god, I’m awful, I can’t do anything right!… yes! No! Maybe! Try that … help! try this… back that way, where did I put the thing that I need now?..Aaaaargh!!!” It’s quite tiring too, actually, but most of the time I love it a lot. And, despite the current political debate within the education sector, where it appears that some quarters are attempting to limit and thwart creativity in our schools nowadays, children are thankfully still very much up for exploring the world in a creative and artistic way. Which is a good thing.
And is probably why I’ve been asked to do some photography sessions aimed at kids. I’ve had a think about the best way to go about this, and decided to initially offer an hour in a local park and to concentrate on using a phone/tablet or iPod, and see how that goes. All participants will need an electronic device like a phone that has a camera on it. We’ll have a chat about taking images, how to edit, the merits of apps, whether or not to use effects, and where to share them. Get in touch and I’ll give you further details as there are a couple of apps that your child will benefit from having access to.
Right, that’s it – must get on with some admin whilst I’m taking a quick break from one of the projects that’s absorbing so much of my being. Here are some pictures I have taken on my phone recently, which are the sort of thing we’ll be aiming to do in the kid’s session. (Mmmm… wonder if the social media gurus will be satisfied with today’s efforts…)
Have fun! SJ