The title of this blog might sound geographically a little bit confusing, but we should make no mistake about the love and adoration between the newlywed couple who very clearly adore each other! It was such an honour to document this amazing, sumptuous and very lovely wedding a couple of weeks ago and to spend time with Mr. & Mrs. Pitcher along with their respective families. I wish everyone the very best for the future.
See more weddings on my website or this blog and contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out about family portrait and event photography.
I like so many women I know, can do lots of different things. And often simultaneously. I can get dressed, hoover the carpet, eat toast and reply to an email on my phone, and all at the same time as yelling at a small child who can’t find his shoes because he’s hidden them in a basket for reasons only he understands. Sometimes I truly impress myself with that common mum-like ability to travel through the day successfully, surrounded by several virtual plates spinning maniacally all about my aura. And often they don’t even come crashing down before I make it to the end of the day. Instead I’m able to place them neatly in the corner ready for the next morning, when once again I’ll be getting dressed, eating toast, tidying up and yelling at a child about getting dressed before he ventures out into the street to hunt for ants to observe, because he’s decided that they are the greatest possible pet option on a growing list of exotic creatures, all of which I’ve rejected so far. Nevertheless, I’m sometimes saddened but also perfectly honest enough to admit, there are plenty of things I have yet to master, and many that I likely never will. I have not worked out how to grow an extra couple of arms, although, lord knows, I could really do with a spare set. I haven’t worked out how to be in two places at once, and I can’t even deduce that young boys in places quite far from me are disgruntled because I’m not where they think I ought to be, at exactly the time they think they need me to be.
“I exist in a reality outside your head too, young boy! I’m a person in my own right, really, I am. How can I possibly know you’ve not got your keys if you don’t call and let me know?” He replied, “I did!” I looked at my phone. And it’s true, he did, precisely three minutes earlier. But not at the very beginning of the 45 minute episode that he’d been sitting on the doorstep waiting impatiently. “Where are you????” he implores with utter indignation on my voice mail.
And no matter how hard I try I will never be able to morph into a dustbin, coat-rack, towel or snack, regardless of how much my children think I am surely any one of those objects at any given point. And I will never, ever, ever be able to control the weather. Nope, not ever. And nor do I wish to either. This comes as a shock and rather bad news to at least two of my children who make weather-dependent demands and then become infuriated when it just doesn’t work out the way they hoped.
All of which made me immensely grateful when I spoke to a client who has some weather specific aims for her photographs. We’ll need to play things by ear and see what the weather is doing for that, I said. Of course, she replied, I’m all over ‘flexible’. When you’re dealing with small people on a daily basis, flexible seems like a most precious and cherished trait to come across in someone. Mind you, my client is a yoga teacher, and not a somewhat willful and intractable 8-year-old boy, so it seems perfectly acceptable to expect that of her. And because she’s a mum, I bet she can do loads of stuff at the same time, and a sun salutation to boot too. But of course she wouldn’t even try, because we all know, that way sheer madness lies.
A couple of weeks ago I dropped the kids off at school and sauntered down the road to Wandsworth Registry Office to photograph one of the loveliest weddings. Maybe most weddings are lovely but I particularly liked being witness to the genuine and extremely evident feelings of joy I hope I was able to capture in this one. And what a cute baby to make my day too. I’m so pleased Hannah & Andy got in touch with me so I could photograph their day. All in all, everything about my morning at work that day made me think, this job’s pretty good indeed. As always in blog posts about weddings, I think I’ll let the photographs do the talking. Have a great week, SJ
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 email@example.com
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…)
I do not like receiving emails telling me off because someone else hasn’t done their homework. Son No 1 knocks on the door. He has a key but instead of unlocking it he tends to turn the key the wrong way so has given up. I look through the peephole. His guilty distorted face looms at the front door.
“You told me you had done it!” I bemoan as I open the door.
“Sorry,” is all he says. True, we have already had a long circular conversation via text message where he eventually admitted he didn’t do the homework because it was boring, as opposed to to all the other ludicrous excuses he started with. But I feel it’s important now, in person, to give him as hard and terrifying a stare as I can muster.
That prompts him to say, “I have medical procrastination.” From the tone in his voice, I think he’s even vaguely serious about it.
“Really? A medical condition? Well then,” I retort, “there is nothing to be done about it, I guess!”
But I don’t want to be emailed by the very scary, strict maths teacher who undoubtedly thinks I’m a flake who can’t be trusted to be stern enough with my over confident, cheeky 11 year old (who thinks he’s 27 at the very least). And what does she know anyway? She doesn’t have to live with him. Nor argue with the stubborn, argumentative little shit on a daily basis!
And whose idea was it for him to go to debating club anyway? Medical procrastination, indeed.
Later at supper he says, “Mum, if we had to receive a classification from the British Film Classification Board they’d be very confused about where to place us….”
What is he going on about now, I wonder?
“Violence; a U in this house (good – glad he sees that), sexual content; definitely a U (hilarious!)” he smirks, “but language… well they’d be wanting to slap a 15 at least, or even an 18 on us…I don’t think you’re meant to refer to us as little shits.” He feigns mock tears and horror…”Childline!?!” he cries.
“Just finish your homework, you little shit…
Or don’t. And go to detention over and over again.” You’d think that might cure him of his ailment. But no.
I do understand. I was 11 myself once. And even now, I am a couple of months behind with my own studies and although doing my best to catch up, there have been any number of genuine things getting in the way. You don’t find me resorting to medical procrastination as an excuse. I’d like to, of course. And then drink some medical wine to console myself. Really good wine, because I’m too old for nasty cheap wine, which, anyway, can’t possibly be medical because instead of helping it gives me a headache.
Last night I received an email from my tutor. I had asked if my homework was too rambling and unstructured. He kindly replied that I was a modernist writer rather than a classical one. I scoured his email to work out whether ‘modernist’ is in fact a euphemism for really awful. “Modernism is good” he says… “But…” oh, there is always a but! Apparently the overall thing to be is rigorous.
Oh, god! I imagine the maths teacher would agree. I need to be more rigorous with Son No 1 too. “Do your bloody homework, you little shit!!” I think about yelling. He’s asleep at the time though so I hold off until morning. One can be too rigorous, surely!
The two of us are working it out. What’s acceptable, what’s required, what we can get away with. It’s an ongoing process.
Happy rigorous Sunday all. I’m off to plan a social thing with plenty of medical wine involved. It won’t cure the procrastination. But it’s reasonably decent so it will taste nice.
Christmas, commercialism, and consumerism. They’re all tied up together and I can’t help feeling disappointed that Christmas is more about shopping than anything else nowadays. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the mid-winter festivities, feasting, imbibing, socialising and gift-giving. Not to mention the sense of bittersweet nostalgia that these weeks bring with them. It’s lots of fun. Or it ought to be. But I’m really not keen on the intense shopping aspect to it all. So I tend to ignore it for as long as possible. However, I wouldn’t advise anyone else to follow my lead. Since I leave everything until the last minute, I quite often can’t get hold of the gifts I know people in my family would like. A few years ago my mother had to do with a promise of a Kindle on Christmas morning which wasn’t due back in stock until mid January.
This year I have told the boys I am not able to spend lots of money on presents although I’m pretty sure I say that every year and then a sense of guilt sets in and somehow I forget my intentions and still manage to get out in time and buy a whole load of ‘stuff’. But I’m going to be strong this year and try to stick to my guns. Perhaps it can be a sort of old year’s resolution and unlike a new year’s resolution, where you have a full 365 days ahead of you in which to fail, there are only a few weeks left, so surely I can do it. Not only do I want to avoid buying lots of junk, I’d really much rather give experiential presents.
Even before I mentioned this Son No 1, he totally surprised me when said for Christmas he would like a photography shoot of us all in Richmond park. He has decided he’d like a framed print to put on the wall of his room when we move. Obviously he’d also like a TV, sofa, sound system and coffee table, because at the tender age of 11 he is fantasising about turning his room into some sort of bachelor pad. But thankfully he knows there isn’t a chance in hell of getting any of that stuff from me for Christmas, so not only is he being delightfully unmaterialistic by asking for something so personal, he’s also being a realist, which is an impressive development, I must say. I was, nevertheless, quite gobsmacked.
“What?” I said, “You want a picture of your family? And you want me to take it?” Wow – all those anger-fuelled insults during the last couple of years about my photography being rubbish and how much he hates his brothers and me suddenly dissolved in a moment on uncharacteristic familial appreciation. I’m not sure it will last and I suspect he’d be rather disappointed on the morning of the 25th December if there wasn’t any junk at all to unwrap. Oh, no! I suddenly feel so full of love, awe and motherly pride, prompted by his wanting one my photographs on his wall that I’m starting to feel compelled to go out and buy him lots of expensive stuff which I can’t afford, such as a special fruitily named watch I know he’d be extraordinarily pleased with …. goodness, what a slippery slope that could so easily be. And how short my old year’s resolution nearly lasted. Yikes, it’s hard to resist the pull of commercialism.
Son No 2 has not yet learned the art of subtle manipulation so there are plenty of straightforward “I wants” coming from his direction. To be fair to him he has said he is perfectly prepared to pay for the plastic arsenal he is so keen on acquiring with his pocket money savings. Sadly for him his concept of what £20 can buy has yet to reach anything approaching reality so it’s a constant circular discussion right now. Thankfully, the youngest still doesn’t really know what any of it’s about so his needs and wants are more immediate and often easier to satisfy. I want a funny yogurt he’ll wail from time to time. By that he means the ones that are half pink and half yellow for anyone wondering how yoghurts ever get to be humorous. Easily sorted though! Although it does require actually remembering to order a shop from the supermarket occasionally. My poor kids – in fact it seems, all they might really want is a mother who can get it together to make sure there is milk for breakfast in the morning! (I’m not that bad really – all in the name of hyperbole, honest!)
I know this whole present buying conundrum is felt by most parents nowadays. Kids have so much stuff it’s often quite difficult to work out what to buy them; how much to spend; what if anything do any of them even need. I’m not sure how everyone else goes about solving it. If you have any ideas, do let me know!
This week I’m posting some images from a family shoot that was given as a Christmas gift last year. If that’s the sort of thing you might be interested in then do get in touch and I can arrange a voucher. Alternatively, there is still a little time left to organise a shoot and print photographs before Christmas. I also have framed prints of images ready to go or which can ordered in the next couple of weeks. Check out my website for details.
Have a good weekend all. I’m looking forward to a PTA organised quiz at the kids’ school!
I have just edited a bunch of photographs I took last year. I remember doing them. It was the second job in a single day and I’d just finished shooting my first christening. I’d been pretty nervous at the time and was tired. I went along to the subsequent job, got a little lost on the way and arrived feeling stressed. I managed to get through the job and got home later to edit two sets of photos.
I can be quite hard on myself and I was a bit worried about the photos I’d taken for job no 2, as I was in the very early days of all this photography stuff at the time. Well, I still am but not quite so very early now… The family were just about to move back to the States at the time and it has taken them quite a few months to come back to me with an order. Which, of course added to my concerns. However, not only have the family got back in touch and ordered their images but they have also ordered many more than were originally offered in the package, which is pleasing.
What’s interesting for me after all this time is to see that I had actually taken some photographs that were OK, despite my reservations. Yes, there are some that I’m not at all happy with but then there always are and I suspect there always will be. I hope however that by now, after 18 months or so of slowly building up my little business, I would have found different ways to solve some of the conundrums that come up when doing family portraiture. The images that work, work well (enough) and I needn’t have been quite so tough on myself at the time. Nevertheless, opening yourself up to the world with work that will be liked and disliked by people depending on their tastes is part of the job.
I recently read a very helpful blog by a successful and thriving photographer/blogging person, in which he wrote that he is sometimes told he takes horrible photographs, writes awful blogs and a whole bunch of other such negative stuff – all of which he helpfully advised to ignore if you were to find yourself in that situation. Good advice! And goodness knows, there is enough truly ridiculous crap in life to be getting on with without piling any more crap on myself by being overly harsh and negative about my own work! (I do wonder as I write this if I’ll ever take any real notice of my helpful realisations…)
So, that’s it for now – just some photographs I took nearly a year ago which have been helpful for me to revisit. Interesting to see where I am now in relation to nearly a year ago, and I think was more than heading in the right direction. Anyway, I will have to write another blog pretty soon to chat about my very first foray into exhibiting my work to the general public, well, I say general public, I mean mostly my very supportive and lovely community… but it was a good start. Does that mean I am going to step up to 2 blogs a week yet… it’s something I’ve been contemplating for a while… we’ll see. Certainly, I might make it to two posts this week.
Right, that’s it for now… off to get those kids to bed. Have a great couple of days – back soon. All images (c)SarahJaneField 2014
Despite the inconsistent weather, warm one minute, freezing the next, it’s great to know that spring is poking its buds into the snug little cave I’ve been hibernating inside of these last few months. I do know this because I suddenly feel a little more energetic and am starting to do things that have been languishing on the ‘list of things to do’ for a while now. (Perhaps I must remember to pack away a bigger store of nuts for the next winter.)
So, having been meaning to make a few changes to my website for some months, I am now rather pleased to have done so and can see the very long ‘list of things to do’ beginning to shorten. Making space for more.
As well as work and college tasks, I have also been doing some traditional spring-cleaning. Sorting and de-cluttering is always therapeutic and what’s more it’s just great to be able to sit down without finding a bit of Lego or train set stabbing you in the bottom. Of course, Son No 1, is pretty much up-in-arms about this new zest for order I’ve suddenly imposed. Nothing like some inconsistent parenting to confuse the complacency out of the little monkeys; but I do find it keeps them on their toes.
When I explained we’d be tidying the older boys’ room and taking some of the toys, of which they have far too many, down to the charity shop both of them rather appallingly said, “Yay, then they’ll give us some money so we can buy some more!”
“Uh, no… that’s not quite how it works…” Seems I should have got it together a bit sooner, but better late then never, I hope.
My oldest son also told me that messy rooms are much cosier. We sat down and discussed the term ‘pathologically chaotic’ and messy, however, in retrospect I’m pretty certain letting your child know that you think he is somewhat emotionally and developmentally challenged might fall outside the boundaries of positive reinforcement and all that….oops!
As any mum knows, taking care of your family as well as trying to take care of yourself and your work can be exhausting and demanding, so I have to add I am always grateful for the help I receive, especially the constructive and genuine sort – and I do receive a lot from here and there. My life is certainly richer for it.
So, just to remind everyone, I do events and have finally, prompted by queries and the rhythm of changing seasons, managed to update my site, so prospective clients actually have a chance of finding me!
Have a great week,
Below are photographs from one of the the nicest weddings I’ve ever been at and I was really chuffed to have been asked to do it. I’ve got a couple of lovely looking weddings coming up, and beginning to get queries for more and other events so it’s certainly time to start letting people see some more examples. These were taken on one of the hottest days of the year. See other weddings and events on my site.
I like leaving London sometimes. Gives me a chance to take photographs of different places and I take my camera everywhere with me. Getting out of London can be tricky of course, but on my most recent journey getting back in was the problem.
Rather unhelpfully, there is something not quite right with my SATNAV. I say not quite right. What I mean is, I think my SATNAV is a psychopathic monster sent from Hades to confuse, torment and wreck my mind. Which is odd when you consider that a SATNAV is meant to guide you from A to B, prevent you from getting lost and save you the hassle of looking at maps while you’re driving, so in essence, keep you safe.
For a while, I thought it was just me being daft but I had a witness to the SATNAV’s murderous tendencies when it told me repeatedly to turn right as I drove up a dual carriageway. Had I listened to the digital voice in my car that time I would have driven through a crash barrier, across a stream of traffic coming the other way, over some pedestrianised paving – mowing down several innocent bystanders in the process – several times, and still not arrived at the place I was aiming for.
So, you may well ask why during half term I chose to rely on the faulty software once more (my own fault, I know – I need to do something about this). Heading out of London with too many Wotsits, digestive biscuits, bottles of Lucozade and some cursory apples to make us feel better about our less healthy travelling snacks was fine. There were really only a few moments where it told me to turn left or right in 100 meters only to say immediately afterwards, “turn left NOW”. So, I’m a lot of things but a fast and dangerous driver I am not, and there is no way I could have driven 100 meters within a second. Whether I turn or not the SATNAV frequently says “recalculating route” in as monotone and dispassionate a voice as you can imagine, and I can’t help but begin to hear the unspoken ‘Turn left now, NOW, NOW, like I told you, you stupid cow!’ or “Oh, OK, dumbass, I’ll recalculate once again, shall I?” Good grief, I wonder as I obediently swerve just in time or incorrectly as it turns out, twitching only ever so slightly, what on earth have I done to warrant this? (Not updated the software, indeedy, you may well say.)
On the way back from our little half-term break, the SATNAV took a pun-worthy turn for the worse. Sometimes it suggests an alternative route due to a ‘traffic event’. I’ve learnt to ignore these moments as it either doesn’t take us anywhere different even if I’ve said, OK, reroute us, or it guides us straight into an actual traffic event that we can’t escape from. So I’m not sure why the machine suggested we come off the road we were on and head into London along one of the most circuitous routes you can possibly imagine (little fingers perhaps) but it was during this most bizarre detour that I begun to believe that my SATNAV wasn’t just a little out of date but actually demented and that it may even hate me with all its little mechanical heart. Yes, you’re right, I hear you – it has no heart, of course. “Turn left now, recalculating route, turn left now, recalculating route” – oh my god, we’ve just been here, haven’t we, again and again and again at one point….
As we went round and round and in and out of roads I have never been on nor hope to ever visit again I began to unravel. Our journey which should have taken 3 hours was getting longer and longer. My oldest passenger, just 10, fed up plus feeling slightly guilty perhaps for accepting the SATNAV’s alternative route suggestion began to hate me almost as much as the SATNAV does. I can’t quite remember why he yelled he never ever wanted to speak to me again, ever, and that he wished I were dead, but driving alongside him in the dark and in the pouring rain I began to see that I really, really, really need to do something about that SATNAV before we head out on our next journey. Otherwise I might be driven to a place of complete insanity. I mean, I just don’t want to share my travels with something that seems so determined to send me running down the motorway being chased by men or women (of course) in white coats, crushed Wotsits in my hair, gibbering about the SATNAV that my delusional mind has turned to Beelzebub. Why does it hate me so much, I’d ask them plaintively. Why???
Anyway, we had a nice time away and I am sort of refreshed for the next half of the Spring term, I think, and I’m sure I’ll get over the sense of feeling utterly frazzled by our journey home. I will get that SATNAV sorted, because of course, it’s just madness not too, isn’t it? And I love to take photographs of places other than London so it would be a shame not to venture out of the city again soon. Perhaps I should listen to Son No 1s pleas and just get the train next time. Hope everyone else had a good half term and is raring and ready to go now that the kids are firmly ensconced back at school. I’ll tell you all about the amazing Dede next week, whose 70th birthday party I photographed this weekend – she’s incredible!
Son No 1 has decided he’s going to MIT – Yup, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I’m not one to thwart or discourage his ambition so I said, “Ok, Lovely, that sounds nice.”
Son No 2 told me he’s going to be a YouTuber. “Really, darling?” I said, “That will be fun!”
“I’m going to throw this sweet at you!!!” said Son No 3. A slightly less ambitious aim in life but at least a highly realistic one – however, I did manage to persuade him to aim for something less aggressive that time but I’m sure he’ll return to the candy violence at some point.
I’d just like to remember to take the washing out of the machine before feeling I should probably put it through another cycle because it’s been sitting in there for several hours. I don’t think it’s very ecological or economic to keep washing everything twice (sometimes three times – oops!) My solution this week seemed to be to forget to switch it on at all – I had a mini-internal celebration every time I went into the kitchen saw the washing in the drum, thought, ‘bugger I’ve forgotten to take it out again’, and then realised it hadn’t been washed in the first place! Oh, the joy at not having to drag it out and hang it up straight away.
I imagine the mummy in this week’s photographs needs to be a bit more organised than me. Her baby is only 10 weeks old and lives on a Barge with his very lovely parents, which made the work really good fun to do. It was a very relaxed shoot – and I loved meeting this little boy and his family.
I’m sure Sons No 1,2 & 3 and I have too much stuff to live on a Barge – but we’d certainly have to get rid of all the toys in order to fit in and that is nearly a good enough reason to go for it!