Sunset at St Ouen's, Jersey

I was so happy to be able to sneak a few days to go and hang out with my family in Jersey last week.  It's my family home and I don't go back nearly enough.  The house is always full of people and there is constant noise and energy.  My parents had me up at 7am every morning for a long walk around the cliffs.  Here are a couple of pictures from one evening at St Ouen's.  I'm not so big on landscape photography as I prefer to just enjoy the grandeur of a sunset with my naked eye but I got quite excited at how the light changed every second during this sunset and towards the end the light picked up beautifully on the sand. 2013-08-06_0001

An exciting new adventure in Kenya

I am very lucky to have a number of people in my life who act as mentors and guides.  When you work alone as a business sometimes you need a little push and encouragement, someone to tell you are doing the right thing - or the wrong thing.  Someone to bounce ideas off and offer inspiration and guidance. One of these people is Samir.  We met when he came to Electric House to give a small talk to a number of small business owners in the creative sector on Creative Business Mentoring.  They ranged from PR to dress makers.  It was a small and intimate gathering and gave us all the opportunity to ask a few questions.  At the end of the session he kindly offered further help should we want to follow up.

Samir has a fascinating career history, with a masters in mathematics, was CEO of an airline company at 29, worked for the Ministry of Defence, guest lectures at Oxford and King's LSE, founded several successful companies including Debut Contemporary, worked with Bosnian refugees and other charities such as Repossession.

Never one to miss an opportunity to engage with someone inspiring of course I followed up and at our first meeting one of the most provocative things he said was that I needed a manifesto for life (he pointed me in the direction of Vivienne Westwood).  I needed a purpose and to give something back.  I went away with this very much on my mind.  Maybe a week later Keith, the brother of one of my very dear friends from Kenya, contacted me to say that he had set up an volunteer organisation called Gap Creative to provide art, drama, music and photography programmes for a number of orphanages near his home town of Nakuru in Kenya (coincidentally the same small town that my father was brought up in!) and asked if I would be prepared to get involved in setting up the photography arm of this.

'No' is not generally a much used word in my vocabulary, particularly when it comes to travel, adventure or photography - and particularly those three in combination.  So, my flight to Nairobi is booked for a week Monday.  I am booked in for my jabs.  I have had pledges of over £300 from kind friends and family to purchase some cameras, printer and inks and will be setting off to spend a week with Keith in Nakuru meeting with the orphanages, talking to the kids, devising a workable programme for the volunteers who start coming out in January and making a short documentary about the work that will be happening out there.

I'm meeting Samir next week and can't wait to tell him all about it.  But as he sagely said; when we open our eyes and mind to opportunity it comes knocking.

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Saville Row at Lords

On behalf of sponsors Chivas (and Campbell Bell Communications) I attended the first fashion event to ever be held at Lords Cricket Ground last month.  Nineteen Savile Row tailing houses showcased their style across one hundred outfits showcased in a live fashion show across the  Lord's Long Room and Pavillion. Models, friends and actors including Dougray Scott and journalist AA Gill were modelling the outfits.

My client Chivas were holding court in the Writing Room where they were serving  Chivas 12, 18 and 25 on the rocks plus cocktails on the roof terrace.

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The Service of Others

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.Mahatma Gandhi 

There is so much more to people than the tip of the iceberg that they choose to show us and it's all too easy to judge on that basis. When you take the time to get to know someone you realise what great weight they may be carrying or what depths that have kept hidden. And what awe-inspiring beauty lies beneath.

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I spent  last weekend staffing a women's personal development retreat in Surrey run by an international organisation called Women Within at Juniper Hall in Surrey.  I only recently came to this organisation back in February when I attended the weekend for the first time as a participant.  What I experienced there was nothing short of life changing - for me and the women around me.  I found an acceptance and openness in a community that shares so much love, laughter, tears, communication and support based on ancient traditions of sisterhood.  As I left that first weekend I knew I wanted to keep this connection and so volunteered for this recent weekend to enable other women to have the same experience. I am grateful to Christian for making the introduction to me through his own experiences with a similar organisation for men, The Mankind Project. And grateful to the incredible women who have come into my life to make it so much more joyful.

The next weekend is November 1st - 3rd.

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Perrier-Jouët at Collect - The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects at Saatchi Gallery

Last week at 2pm the phone rings with one of the agencies I work for, Campbell Bell Communications. I'm in my pjs sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of tea and pottering through a wedding edit and thinking about what I was going to cook for my friend Andy that evening. 'Can you be at the Saatchi Gallery at 4pm to photograph an event. Such is life as a freelance photographer. I grabbed my bag and headed over to cover the opening evening of The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects. On display was work by Hitomi Hosono, the inaugural Perrier-Jouët Arts Salon Prize 2013 Winner. You can see the events I shot for both the launch of the prize at The Ritz and the selection of the winner at the St Pancras Hotel. The salon judges included artist Kate MccGwire, designer Stephen Jones and executive director of the Crafts Council Rosy Greenlees who said ‘We were faced with a challenging decision and exceptional talent within the shortlist of nominees, yet recognised Hitomi Hosono as an outstanding artist whose unique artworks truly evoke a contempoporary and beautiful interpretation of Art Nouveau’. 2013-05-24_0001 2013-05-24_0002 2013-05-24_0003 2013-05-24_0004 2013-05-24_0005 2013-05-24_0006 2013-05-24_0007 2013-05-24_0008 2013-05-24_0009 2013-05-24_0010 2013-05-24_0011 2013-05-24_0012 2013-05-24_0013 2013-05-24_0014 2013-05-24_0015 2013-05-24_0016 2013-05-24_0017 2013-05-24_0018

Photographing People

When I look at why I love photography I can clearly see the subjects that I am drawn to; people.  Whether that is people captured unawares expressing joy in a crowded party, a corporate portrait to help a person find a way of clearly representing who they are in a business capacity in a way that builds trust with their clients; a young family capturing the early moments of their life together or a woman bravely embracing her natural and honest beauty in a boudoir shoot - either for herself or for her partner. For me there is nothing more satisfying than have a client look at a picture that I have taken and knowing that they have shown a little part of themselves to me for maybe just a fleeting moment and recognising themselves in that.

I have had the privilege of working with so many fascinating people.  For my final college assignment years ago I chose to photograph people I knew in the arts, in their home or working environment.  Here are some of the pictures I took.  Some are more obvious in their vocation, others more subtle.  I hope you enjoy them.

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Thinking about having a photobooth at your wedding or party?

2013-04-11_0074 The photobooth has been around for a while and seems to be gathering pace as opposed to being a dying trend.  There are so many different types you can have from black taxis and passport photo booth style which print out pictures instantly through to more elaborate set ups with backdrops, furniture set and props.  You can make your own by providing a box of dress up, a polaroid camera, book and pen and theme the booth through your choice or props or backdrops.  You can either rummage in your local charity shops for props or companies such as Etsy

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Alternatively your photographer (i.e. me) may offer this as an optional addition to your package.

Here are a few reasons why I think photobooths work so well at weddings:

1.  They usually take place later in the evening when your guests are a little more, ahem, relaxed and in the full swing of the evening.  This means they will be ready to perform and it would be a shame not to catch your friends at their most entertaining and creative.

2.  Put a silly hat, wig or prop into someone's hand and suddenly the camera seems far less scary and your guests are more likely to pose for a photo rather than ducking into a camera-shy manoeuvre.

3.  The pictures provide a great momento for your guests of the evening.  I upload all of the images onto a private online gallery that your guests can view and order prints from.

4.  It's a source of interactive entertainment for participants and viewers alike throughout the evening.

5.  You can use chalk boards to have your guests write messages to the happy couple.

I really enjoy running a photobooth - it is a great opportunity to interact with the guests who I have been photographing all day and capture another side of them; relaxed, fun and often very silly!

Below are some examples of recent booths I've run including in a yurt at Lucy and Simon's wedding at Inshriach House (the team there went all out to help me decorate the yurt with some awesome props)  and those with the green curtain are from a wedding party at Shoreditch House.  I set up in a corner using what was available in the venue.

I always bring extra lighting and use my professional camera so that the images are as high quality as the rest of the images from the wedding.  The images can be edited for a more vintage style and are always supplied in colour and in black and white.

If you are booking me for your wedding then I will set up a photobooth for £250 for 1.5 hours after the first dance.  For stand alone photobooths for parties and other events I can provide a quote depending on length of time required and location.

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Salon London - Ma Cherie Amour at Adam Street, London

Another fantastic, stimulating and challenging night at Salon London at Adam Street as we tested our vocal cords with voice coach and trainer on The Voice; Juliet Russell, challenged our fuddy duddy image of sherry with wine writer/expert/broadcaster Jane Parkinson and tested our ratings as a psychopath with Professor Kevin Dutton. There was at least one borderline in the audience. Apparently we can learn a lot from them - and they are probably running your company if they are charming and influential. Never dull evening at Salon. Salon London 2013-04-12_0002 2013-04-12_0003 2013-04-12_0004 2013-04-12_0005 2013-04-12_0006 2013-04-12_0007 2013-04-12_0008 2013-04-12_0009 2013-04-12_0010 2013-04-12_0011 2013-04-12_0012 2013-04-12_0013 2013-04-12_0014 2013-04-12_0015 2013-04-12_0016 2013-04-12_0017 2013-04-12_0018 2013-04-12_0019 2013-04-12_0020 2013-04-12_0021 2013-04-12_0022

 

Perrier Jouët Arts Salon Dinner - selecting the winner

Back in January I blogged about the inaugural Perrier-Jouët Arts Salon Dinner which was meeting for the first time to launch a prestigious arts prize.  They came together again at the end of March to discuss the shortlist and make their selection of the winner.  I can't tell you who won as it hasn't been officially announced yet but the committee enjoyed a delicious food and champagne supper at the Royal Suite at the newly refurbished St Pancras Hotel in London. It's not something I do much of but my clients Campbell Bell asked me if I could film a bit of the event for a small showreel - here are my efforts.  I quite enjoyed it and look forward to incorporate film into my events offering in the future.

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Some nudity...

Not last Christmas but the one before that, I was given a very special birthday present by a dear friend.  The gift was most unusual but so perfect - a half day shoot with the very talented Holly, or Ivory Flame.  I only recently managed to organise a shoot with her and supported by my team including stylist Caroline Williams, make-up artist Tori Harris and with me assisted by Luis Urena, we shot in a location which I have been dying to use for ages - the home of my friends, artists Molly Micklethwait and Rufus White in East London. We were ridiculously lucky with the weather and although freezing the sun burst through the windows creating the most beautiful light for many of the shots.  Holly was incredibly professional despite the cold and was a dream to shoot.  At one point I put down my camera and professed that I couldn't breath I was so excited.  I think that is the point at which you realise that you are the luckiest girl in the world to have discovered a job that you love so very much.

(if you are interested in using this location let me know and I'll put you in touch with Molly and Rufus)

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Easter Yoga Retreat in Ibiza

With two days to spare I managed to grab last minute seats on Ryanair to get me to Ibiza in time for the first retreat held by Formentera Yoga and Jax May Lysycia at their new country house over Easter.  Having followed Jax for her yoga instruction from London to Morocco to Formentera I was keen to try out their newest venue up in the North West Hills of Ibiza; a finca set in 20 acres of fruit trees and scattered with sheep and goats, not overlooked by a single neighbour and only a 45 minute walk to the beach.  The perfect escape to unwind and recharge.  What attracted me to this trip was the combination of early morning silent walks; deep, sensitising yoga; meditation and the opportunity to explore another side of the island on two challenging 10km hikes around the coastal paths, led by the very entertaining and knowledgeable Toby of Walking Ibiza who introduced us to the flora and fauna of the white isle (white for it's salt...) The food of course is very important on such trips - you can't demand so much of your body without putting something back in, but the team included Guici the Italian chef who delivered mouthwatering Ottolenghi-style vegetarian food each day.

We were blessed with the most beautiful weather for the entire trip.  Clear blue skies and warm breezes as we stretched out on the deck overlooking the sea as the sun rose and cooler air as we climbed through the pine forests in the afternoons.  Not quite warm enough to enjoy the sea (with some exceptions!) but we sat in a circle on the beach at the end of one day for an evening meditation to the sounds of the waves.

I met some amazing people on this trip, strengthened friendships with others and connected with an energised and more whole self.  I can't do trips like this every month (sadly) but I can take with me the tools to look after myself in day to day life.

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and the wonderful team... Suni, Jax and Richi.. who looked after us so well. 2013-04-04_0001

 

The Great Ormond Street Hospital Carol Service

I recently started working with a leading agency called Red Photographic and the first job I was assigned to was the 13th Great Ormond Street Hospital Carol Service in Knightsbridge, sponsored by Trailfinders.  Over 700 guests attended the concert in the beautiful St Pauls Church.  The concert featured performances from The Gallery Choir of Westminster Cathedral Choir and Tansy Bennett, plus readings from Downton Abbey creator Lord Julian Fellowes, Jonathan Pryce OBE, Penelope Wilton and John Standing.  Afterwards the guests headed across the road to The Berkeley Hotel to enjoy champagne and canapes and bid in the silent auction.  It really got me all Christmassy being part of the night - and for a fantastic cause as well.

It was truly a spectacular night for a first job with Red and I'm looking forward to much more this year.

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Wedding Planning by Katherine Courtney - and 5 minutes with me!

I recently met up with two absolutely fabulous girls with a beautiful creative vision.  Katherine and Courtney are the duo behind Katherine Courtney Wedding Planning & Coordination.  I'm very excited at the prospect of working with them in the future on both some styled shoots which we are planning, and of course on some weddings this year. They write a wonderful blog as well as being very active on Pinterest with their ideas.  They recently did a short piece on me talking about my inspiration and way I view the wedding photography industry.  You can read the piece here.  I'm looking forward to writing for me soon about the importance of wedding planning.

The transcript for the interview is below:

KC:  How long have you worked within the industry?

HA:  I have worked in the photography industry for 5 years having retrained after 10 years of working in events and marketing.  I used to book photographers for my events and it was always a career I held in high esteem – at the time I never dreamed I could actually become a photographer myself.  However, a combination of luck, opportunity and a lot of hard work have turned that dream into a reality and I’ve never looked back.

KC:  What inspires your work?

HA:  My inspiration comes from a lifetime of travel and experiences and I gain a lot of ideas for poses and techniques from fashion magazines, portrait and fine art photographers and film.  My first degree was in History of Art and so I have always had a love of imagery.  When working with wedding clients I am often led by them as people and the way in which they love.  I take my creative cues from their relationship and how they like to express it.

 
 

KC:  What three “tools-of-the-trade” are a must have?

HA:  My 5d Mk 3 cameras, my Shootsac (essential for carrying spare lenses, batteries and cards when on the move at a wedding) and huge amounts of energy!

KC:  Any advice for our brides?

HA:  Always meet with your wedding photographer.  Your photographer will be close by your side for much of the day and it’s really important that you have a good personality fit.  If you have the opportunity do a pre-wedding shoot then this is very useful.  I offer this as part of my standard package as I think it’s so important to get used to being in front of the camera and to build a relationship with your photographer BEFORE the big day.

Don’t be afraid to be honest about you want – at the end of the day it’s your day so work with your photographer to ensure you get the type of photographs you want but do listen to their advice – they will have done hundreds of weddings and can be a great source of information about what works and what doesn’t and can guide you in planning a smooth and successful day.

KC:  What trends do you forecast?

HA:  Wedding photography has changed dramatically over the last 10 years from being very formal and formulaic to a more natural and documentary style.  I love that wedding photography has developed into the creative and personal expression it is now and that is why I was attracted to working in the industry.   There will always be trends in wedding photography but I’ve always believed in simplicity.  I don’t want to use gimmicks in my photography or post production but to capture a scene in the most natural, beautiful way that will stand the test of time.

Polly + Damon's Wedding

Only days after getting back from snowboarding in Switzerland Polly and Damon came together at Islington Town Hall on Wednesday, near their home, to get married in front of a very small group of close family from near and far.  I was only with them for a few hours but thoroughly enjoyed their energy and relaxed natures. Even though it was absolutely freezing Polly came outside the hotel for a few minutes to get some lovely shots of her and her sisters.

They finished off their day at Frederick's in Camden Passage.

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Stevie & Stuart's Engagement Shoot at the British Museum

Sometimes the terrible British weather can bring fortuitous results - such as a previously arranged engagement shoot at Virginia Water being moved to the British Museum as a wet weather alternative.  I am always very happy to try alternative locations for shoots and this was somewhere I have been wanting to shoot in for a while.  The light is beautiful, the backdrop stunning and on a Thursday morning not too busy - other than a few bus loads of tourists and school children.  After a while I think Stevie and Stuart even forgot they were in a public place and we just enjoyed the space and freedom of this incredible place. 2013-02-05_0001 2013-02-05_0002 2013-02-05_0003 2013-02-05_0004 2013-02-05_0005

A few holiday snaps from Sri Lanka

So we had our hearts set on Cuba - 3 and a half weeks through January to get us through the new year post-Christmas blues.  We were to arrive on New Year's eve.  But life gets in the way of the best laid plans and at the last minute we changed our adventure holiday to the more relaxed option of ten days in Sri Lanka with nothing more challenging than a gentle cycle with Idle Bikes through the paddy fields outside Galle, a deep back bending yoga class in the outdoors with Christophe at The Galle Spa, a sunset meditation at Yatagala Temple  and of course lifting our arms to request another cocktail at the Frangipani Tree or the Dutch House - the two fabulous places we stayed. With both Christian and I being photographers it becomes incredibly difficult to enjoy beautiful experiences without the strong urge to capture it in all it's glory.  Sometimes though it's nice to drop the camera from your face and be fully present in the moment.  I did however get quite excited when I spotted some Sri Lankan bridal parties around the Fort - see my blog here.

So here is a few pictures but by no means comprehensive of the trip.  A little taste of the wonders of Sri Lanka.  We certainly plan to go back and more of an exploration of the interior of the island and enjoy more of the temples throughout the country.

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The Perrier-Jouët Arts Salon & Prize

Last night I had the privilege of shooting the inaugural supper of the Perrier-Jouët Arts Salon in the Grand Hall and Wimborne Dining Room at The Ritz for my client Campbell-Bell Communications. 2013-01-25_0002

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Launched in January 2013 the concept of the Perrier-Jouët Arts Salon stems from the origins of the Salon in Paris from the mid-1700s, bringing together like-minded people under the roof of an inspiring host to refine tastes, must on the Arts, inspire and increase knowledge through conversation.  The Perrier-Jouët Arts Salon aims to bring to life the original spirit of the salon drawing together an eclectic and dynamic group of members to share ideas and debate on developments in the Arts, with a philanthropy goal at its hear.  The Salon will support the selection of an annual prize winner who will receive a substantial sum and experiences to support him/her in the development of their career.

Candidates will be nominated by leaders in the fields of Applied Arts and Craft, and the winner's work will best evoke a contemporary interpretation of the Art Nouveau spirit of the House of Champagne Perrier-Jouët, 'transforming the mundane of everyday life into something truly beautiful'.

Perrier-Jouët Arts Salon Inaugural Members:

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CHAIR FOR 2013: Rosy Greenlees, Executive Director, The Crafts Council

Peter Aspden, Arts Writer, Financial Times

Tord Boontje, Artist

Claire Brewster, Artist

Louisa Buck, Arts Writer, The Art Newspaper

Tony Chambers, Editor, Wallpaper Magazine

Claire Coles, Artist

Nancy Durrant, Arts Writer, The Times

Nicole Farhi, Fashion Designer

Harry Handelsman, Art Collector

Stephen Jones, Milliner

Kate MccGwire, Artist

Julia Royse, Curator and Art Advisor

I've only eaten at The Ritz for afternoon tea but was lucky enough to try the menu (after photographing each dish!).  The menu featured the following, with each course accompanied by a different vintage Perrier-Jouët:

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Dressed crab roll, spiced apple and grapes  {}  Spiced turbot with mushroom puree and morels  {}  Roast rack of veal, celeriac and truffle  {} Red berry soufflé with buttermilk sorbet

 

 

 

Hayley's Pregnancy Shoot

It's such a personal stage in a woman's life and it was a real privilege to have the opportunity to shoot Hayley only one day before he was born.  She was absolutely glowing and beautiful and we did the shoot in the comfort of her home using mainly natural light and the lovely space of the house.  Congratulations to her and Wes on their new arrival. I had the pleasure of shooting a heavily pregnant bride, Amber, in the summer at a gorgeous central London wedding.  For how to maintain your glamour whilst in the second trimester see the blog post here!

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A bit of Ascot sunshine on a grey day

Some sunny and cheery photos for this dismal and grey January, and something to plan for the summer; a day trip to Ascot! One of my regular clients is Ascot through agency RPM Photographic, for whom I cover various events and food photography.  I get to dress up and spend the day wandering through the crowds at the summer race days taking pictures of cute kids, magnificent horses, gorgeous girls and boys in their finest and... the queen!  She arrived with such little drumroll into the winners enclosure that I virtually had to be pulled out of her path by my colleague.

If you have children, the kids day is brilliant.  All the rides and entertainments are free once you are into the grounds and there is so much for them to do.

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