Memories from Home No.3: Creative Flow & Fools
Welcome to my third blog post in this series of ‘Memories from home’ (catch up here on one and two).
This weeks research has brought me to concepts of ‘Flow‘, either in leadership, creativity or in pursuit of happiness the term Flow explored more recently by Professor Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi.
Flow in creativity is a process of exploration between what is known i.e. a rock and an exciting place, where you find yourself creating, being totally absorbed in what you are doing.
Csikszentmihalyi suggests that there are key factors that are needed to support this way of thinking and being:
How Does It Feel to Be in Flow?
- Completely involved in what we are doing – focused, concentrated.
- A sense of ecstasy – of being outside everyday reality.
- Great inner clarity – knowing what needs to be done, and how well we are doing.
- Knowing that the activity is doable – that skills are adequate to the task.
- A sense of serenity – no worries about oneself, and a feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of the ego.
- Timelessness – thoroughly focused on the present.
- Intrinsic motivation – whatever produces flow becomes its own reward.
I came across similar ways of thinking through such writers as Piotr Stzompka and Sarah Pink. They both write about the use of visuals in social research, Stzompka referring to it as a ‘Third Sociology’ what happens in society between structures and actions. I liken these to Flow, being ‘in-the-zone’ having focus, time in finding new ways to approach creativity and explore feelings in a safe space, to find or process new meanings.
I can attribute to what I experienced through my photography after the deaths of three family members within a period of four years, as being in a state of flow as a way of navigating my grief. I gave myself time to fall into a process of being, photographing and reflecting on the objects and memories I had from my family members. I had my skills as a photographer, someone who was bereaved, focus and time to connect through flow.
The one object that I felt most at Flow with was my Dad’s watch. I would spend hours photographing, filming, touching, wearing alongside my own smart watch, listening to the ticking, imagining, smelling the leather and old aftershave. I contemplated the passage of time us both living alongside one another in digital and analogue, the symbolism of death and ending when the ticking stopped like a heart beat, I knew it would happen one day, instigating another loss of something of him.
I chose not to replace the battery as it would not be ‘of him’, and think of it like Triggers Broom, if you’ve seen the Only Fools and Horses sketch of the well maintained Broom, he’s explaining he’s had the same broom for 20 years, but essentially is made up of a number of ‘new’ parts!
Have you been in flow when creating something?
If you want to join me on my journey through my PhD research; my focus is expanding towards creativity and how artists and others use creative expression as a way of navigating and exploring grief. You can always contact me, if you wish to be involved as a participant in my research.
I look forward to seeing your shares and stories with me through my Facebook page.
Memories from Home No.1: Mirror
My Masters (and now expanding to PhD) focussed on everyday home objects and photographs that are kept after a bereavement in a family. I’m interested in what memories and stories, objects and photographs evoke, and why people choose to keep certain items around them in their homes.
I’d encourage others to share home photographs and objects in a similar vein that we have in our home now, that may relate to a loved one, or kept as a memento of a holiday for example. I’ll be sharing items from my home and archive and will include a little story about the associated meanings, memories and anecdotes I have, occasionally linking to readings that I’ve found useful, and you may too.
In the current global climate, many of us are working from and spending more time in our homes, and thinking this would be a good time for us to come together online as a community, sharing our memories, stories, objects and photographs from our homes. Connections to everyday objects and photographs that are important, valuable (not necessarily in a monetary way) as well as enriching our lives.
Those of you who have been following my blog and Masters journey, will be familiar with this mirror:
It belonged to my Grandparents, gifted to them as a Wedding present back in 1958. It has 12 sides, held by a short chain and circle, with clips attaching the mirror to the backing, something vintage now, definitely of the time, I’ve done some research into the manufacturer, most likely to be G-plan:
It was always a feature in my Grandparent’s home as long as I can remember, in the house they lived in from when I was young until I was 36. As kids we would dance and sing in front of it, put on Nan’s scarves and put makeup on in front of it.
I’ve been reading Brian Dillons ‘In the Dark Room’, and in his ‘Things’ chapter he talks about the wider associations to a kept object, going beyond what it is at face value, similar to the writings of John Berger who wrote about memories being non-linear. Objects and photographs allow us to focus on recall of memory, however not always working in a linear way, i.e different associations to an object or photograph at different times.
Sometimes the evoked memories through the object or photograph go far beyond the initial memory;
The mirror for me is symbolic as reflecting our family life, sharing the laughs and the sorrows, birthdays, the room in which it was hung, the other objects and photographs that surrounded it like a shrine of my family history. The smells that filled the room, the pie and mash dinners, fish and chips, tomato ketchup that sat opposite it on the table, the sweet smell of cake, hairspray and atrixo hand cream. Beyond the room in which the mirror was hung, was an ordinary terraced house that sat in an estate, in the early days had a conifer in the front garden, a short walk to the river. The mirror, now over 60 years old now sits in my home, reflecting my life, in my terraced home. It shares and reflects the people in my life, those who visit, the couple who visited me during my Open House, who had lived in my house some 40 years earlier. What memories the mirror could tell if it could speak.
I’ll be writing a blog soon on my Masters Research, and those wanting to join me on my journey through PhD; the focus is expanding towards creativity and how artists and in the everyday use grief as a way of creative expression. You can always contact me, if you wish to be involved as a participant in my research.
I look forward to seeing your shares and stories with me through my Facebook page.
Until next time.
Delving into an MA……..
I’ve been thinking about further study for a while now, and after an incredibly positive and encouraging conversation with a fellow colleague (as you may know, photography isn’t my full time occupation at the moment), I’m looking into applying for an MA by Research. All I know at this stage is that a major part of it will focus on photography, and will give me the opportunity to complete a qualification at a higher level in the arts.
My journey to University to complete my undergrad degree, at the time, was something my head told me I needed to do, but my heart was bitterly disappointed as I hadn’t achieved the necessary grades to pursue a degree in art/digital media. I am a great believer in that everything happens for a reason, so I did go to uni and achieve my Business Studies and Marketing degree with a 2:1 honours, and many years later after years of hobby photography and work, I started my own business.
I’ll be using these blog posts as a journal in my thought processes through and up to the application deadline date (May 2017 and hopefully beyond if it gets accepted) as a way of collecting my thoughts and developing my ideas on my research focus. Whatever happens will be the right path for me.
I’ve made a great start, contacting a colleague who is undertaking an MA by Research now in creative media, I’ve joined the University library and signed out a couple of books to get me started, I’ll be researching online journals and will be looking for a mentor/s soon.
I have an internal monologue that’s asking me why now? Well I feel in a good place to undertake further study, my business is steadily growing, and I’d love to get my teeth into something meaty about photography (ridiculous phrase maybe for a vegetarian!) that is purely of my own direction, and starting Nikki Price Photography (amongst other things in my life) have proven to me that I am highly motivated working on my own.
Three broad key areas my initial thoughts have touched on are (Documentary) Photography (obviously!), Sociology, and the concept of self/identity through photography, which has been a running project theme for a while.
That’s the first stage, I’m excited and very keen to get going, and I hope you will join me for my new journey, whatever path will be the right one for me.
2016 What a Year for Nikki Price Photography
Those of you who caught my round up of 2015, will know how pleased I was to see that year grow for Nikki Price Photography, and have been so delighted that my business has once again gone from strength to strength in 2016. A sincere and heartfelt thanks to all my clients, models, and everyone who has supported Nikki Price Photography. Testimonials from client shoots have reaffirmed that you love my informal style of photography too! So once again thank you.
2017 is bringing some fantastic opportunities for me (watch this space!) and I’m already being booked throughout next year for your gorgeous events, and family shoots. If you need a photographer for your product, portrait, event, or other shoot, drop me a line on my contact me page or via firstname.lastname@example.org .
I have loved looking over the past years photoshoots, commissions and projects, here are some of my favourites:
Cafe Sunlight – Food Photography
I am immensely proud to have worked with so many fantastic creative and charitable organisations this year such as Cafe Sunlight
Cafe Sunlight is based in the Sunlight Centre Gillingham, and the team invited me to take photographs of their hot food offer for parties and conferences; as they wanted to refresh their website for their London events. The food produced by Chef Dave was fantastic as you can see below, and the team were a delight to work with.
Top tip for indoor food photography using flash: have some white card or white fabric handy to make the most of the flash, bouncing the light back onto your gorgeous food, avoids harsh shadows.
Exhibiting more of my work this year, has been a thrilling but scary experience! I took part in Medway Open Studios with my ‘Hidden forms in nature theme’, which sparked lots of interesting chats with visitors. I was also proud to have interpreted work by Poet Dan Simpson in the Wordsmithery Heretics exhibition/performance. I produced a layered photograph which contained a self portrait, woodland and a glacier, it was good to pushed my boundaries. I was also involved ‘In the footsteps of the Pilgrims’ exhibition at St Mary’s Church Burham, one of my favourite churches near my home town. I exhibited 2 photos, both taken at night of the Church, I was extra pleased about this as one of the pieces sold and is now winging its way to America to a family who emigrated there from Burham over 20 years ago. The exhibition that had most impact on me was the Pandora’s Other Box ‘Skin’ exhibition at the Horsebridge Centre.
Top tip for exhibition photographs: have a plan for your final pieces but don’t be afraid to change it! Playing through your plan; will often bring forward ideas you may never have thought of.
I have loved working with local youth groups, artists, and Rochester Literature Festival this year. A highlight was working at Woodlands Youth Centre MC and DJ workshop for young people, lead by MC artist Harry Shotta. The young people loved the opportunity to try out their MC skills and my only regret is that I didn’t have time to try DJ’ing! A poignant event for young people I had the privilege of photographing was the Tryangle awards at the Central Theatre Chatham, the first time I had been on that stage!
Towards the end of 2016 I was pleased to photograph the See and Create launch, headed up by Artist Chris Sacre. The launch, at Nucleus Arts Chatham, was a great opportunity to learn about his Arts Council funded project aimed at Deaf families providing accessible workshops and other events in 2017.
Top tip for photographing events: sturdy shoes with no heels! and a wide angle (F1.4) lens make for a good shot particularly in low light situations and shoes with no heels make for quiet movement over wooden floors, nothing worse than a photographer with squeaky shoes!
Family photography is one of my favourites, meeting new people and providing some gorgeous informal photos for you is a pleasure. It is a delight to be invited into someones home to capture moments at a party, outdoors with mum (and dads) bump shoot, or in the studio with you and your little ones; I received some great feedback on your shoots. I also ran a competition for a family shoot this Autumn as I had missed out on taking some great photos in the autumnal leaves last year.
Top tip for photographing families: particularly those with small children/babies; ensure you have a rough plan in your head about the shots you want to achieve, and take your time, feeding and changing stops need to be factored in!
I have put this section to wrap up the year for all those things that would seem a little lonesome on their own, but gives you a flavour of everything else I get up too!
I’ve started my series of skills sharing blogs, and ran nature photography workshops with young people in Grain. My business is also now live on Gravesend.co.uk business listing pages, a particularly significant direction taking Nikki Price Photography into North Kent.
Although I am not a wedding photographer, I do make exceptions for very small number of intimate weddings each year; Garry and Vicky’s was just that, a lovely family and friends relaxed wedding, in such a beautiful setting, it was a pleasure to be part of their day.
This years short documentary/business info films include The Right Step Dance Company and my own personal short about Time which had its launch at Seasonally Effected a cultural open mic night back in November.
Being a photographer I don’t ever really stop taking photographs, after all its what I love the most. I’ve usually always got my i-phone on me to take snaps or love to take the 6D out for a spin when I feel the urge.
Since 2013 I have been thinking about and producing photographs for a body image project, celebrating the nude without over processing in photoshop. The bulk of work is growing, with more shoots to take place in the new year (when the weather warms up a bit!); this (or some elements of it) will form part of my solo exhibition (so sorry no sneak peeks here!), more news to come on that one throughout 2017.
Last on the list -but not least! some photos of my Christmas day morning stroll around the West End of London, with my partner and pooch.
Thanks for reading my blog, and your support throughout this year. Here’s to another great year of photography.
How I go about taking a photo….
As you know I love sharing my completed and ongoing photography projects with you, whether they are through commission or personal, working on both for me is such a pleasure. I have wanted for a long time, to share more about the planning and processes I go through in order to capture that ‘best shot’.
Light.co contacted me and said how much they enjoyed my previous blogs and asked if I could write a blog about how I go about creating so many great images, so…..what a perfect opportunity to do just that. Light Co are keen to get more photographers sharing their stories of how they go about creating that great image so if you want to do get involved contact them direct. Their new camera does look very interesting, kind of a DSLR capacity but with the convenience of a phone, it uses a multiple lens system to shoot the scene at once and then they are put together in a DSLR quality photograph.
Personal projects; these start as little creative balls that bounce about in my head, sometimes they come from inspiration of other artists work online, or face to face in galleries. Other times they are the ‘wake first thing in the morning and have to keep a sketch pad next to your bed’ kinda shots that you know you just have to take or you’ll burst! My submissions for the Skin Exhibition this year at the Horsebridge Centre were like this, I had pictures in my head of exactly how I wanted these photos to look (after months of thinking about it!).
Commissioned projects; Clients contact me to book shoots as they like my informal style, our initial meeting is more of a friendly chat, them letting me know what they want, and me explaining how this can be achieved. It is the trust clients have in me (through my years of courses, practice, and self taught skills), that I love the most, its about collaboration, enabling me to have full creative reign with the photos, but within their requirements.
For a start point, what you choose to photograph, is unique to you, from your gut/your place of instinct, you have chosen to press that shutter at that exact moment for a reason.
It is difficult to think of just one shot to describe to you, so you may find the following process useful:
- Sketch (stick women are fine!) some initial ideas of how you want your particular photo to look, what camera are you using? I have upgraded to a Canon 6d, there are so many ‘point and shoot’ cameras out there, including ones on mobile phones, which provide good quality photos. What lens do you want to use (I love to work with my 50mm lens) taking into consideration of things such as depth of field. I get fully absorbed in my mind of what exactly I want to shoot sometimes over many hours!
- Shoot time – key tip if you are shooting all day, or out on location (If its a shoot for a client, I will undertake a pre-shoot to familiarise myself with the location), wear comfy shoes! remember a strong stance will help the shot if you are working with a heavy full frame camera. Many must do photography tips mention the basics of the rule of thirds, this is a good starting point to set up your photo but as the saying goes ‘aren’t all rules meant to be broken?’. Your golden shot may not come immediately, so having patience to get to it, is important, equally if you feel that you aren’t getting that ‘one shot’ then move on to the next, particularly if you are time limited, my night photography shots are very much like this; setting up in the evenings in the cold and wind, but patience and perseverance will reward you. Have a try also mixing up your photo orientation; play with portrait and landscape shots. Basic edits on phones can be undertaken by in phone or downloadable apps, I have Photoshop Express on my iPhone, and use lightroom and photoshop for more in-depth edits on the Mac (I could go into this much more, on another blog perhaps?).
- Have fun – I can’t emphasise this enough, taking photos professionally or personally is a pleasure. Always try new things and push yourself to those shots which are out of your comfort zone, some accidental photos and mis -fires in the studio have provided me with some of my most favourite shots!
Here are just some of my top recent photos:
Products: A great shoot with the Sunlight centre cafe team. This shot was taken under studio lights, 1/125 f5.6 iso 100, with my 24-105 lens. Post processing in Lightroom.
Portraits: Working with the fabulous Sullivan family. This shot was taken in early light 1/200 F5.6 iso 320 with a 50mm lens. Post processing in Lightroom.
Personal Project: Night Photography. This shot was taken at 11.30pm, 8 sec exp, f1.4 ISO 200 50mm lens. Post processing in Lightroom.
Please feel free to share your photos with me.
Brownie 127 – A review and next Project
I must admit I haven’t played around with film photography for a while, my last project of film photos was for my modern day fairytale exhibition for Medway Open Studios.
I was delighted to be asked to have a play with a Kodak Brownie 127, something of a staple camera from the 1950’s.
The prospect of using another film camera was exciting. I’m at the start of prepping for a blurred / imperfect / destructive digital photography project, and the imperfections and a ‘hope and a prayer kind of photo’ that film gives you, has fuelled my fire of producing more film photography.
As I had come to the Brownie 127 Project quite late, it seemed the perfect time to have my 9 exposures entitled ‘The Last Day of Summer’. So on the sunniest and warmest day of August 2015, I loaded up the Brownie 127 and spent some quality time in my garden.
I was fortunate enough to have ben lent a Brownie camera with a film by a fellow artist who is also submitting work for the Brownie 127 project. This and the advice via email from the project lead made this start very easy.
I was however a little apprehensive to start…..with my staple 35mm Canon Film camera, (make sure its loaded in a dark room, automatic wind on, be careful when handling the film, make sure its in a dark room etc etc), the ease and simplicity of the Brownie camera seemed a little too good to be true! but it was! Loading the film in the shade was a breeze, it was quite difficult to work out if it had caught on the spool, but after a few turns it was. The number of exposures from the rear of the camera, didn’t appear as easily I’d hoped from the instructions with ‘2 or 3 turns would suffice’, however the roll needed to be turned at least 6 to see the exposure numbers. The Brownie seemed pretty hardy and robust.
I had posted a photo of the camera on my Instagram and my Facebook business page, and quite a number of family members and friends were posting that they too had a Brownie camera exactly the same back in the day. This was also great way of getting any further tips on using it!
I really wasn’t too sure if any of my photos would come out, however as the day was bright and all photos were taken in the garden, so thought at least they would be well lit!
Due to the timescale to the project submission deadline, I sent the film away for developing, and within a week they had been returned, I think the price was reasonable for the developing. I will in the future have an experiement and develop my own.
When I had received the photos and the film back, it was evident that stillness when taking the photo was key (a skill to perfect on especially without the stabiliser function on digital cameras!), and to keep the subject wide in the view finder. I had perhaps been a little too close in shots of my dog (and that he was very energetic!). It was great to see however the contrasts in the photos were good (which I love high contrast photos), and some ‘happy mistakes’ were made when I didn’t turn the film on enough and got a double exposure on part of the film. This double exposure reminded me of when I went back to the very basics and made a camera obscura out of a shoe box. These ‘imperfections’ of slightly blurred, out of focus, and contrasty photos, I absolutely love. This camera is definitely one for more abstract photography (and great for quick holiday snaps).
I also couldn’t resist taking a photo of my digital camera, as homage to the film!
Nikki Price, The Last Day of Summer (2015) 127 Film
For those of you who would like to be involved in a Nikki Price Photography project then carry on reading:
I’m revisiting a significant/memorable place for those of you who were children/young people growing up in the Medway Towns (or near) in the 1950’s, to have your photo taken at that place today, and to give this a short paragraph of why it is memorable/significant.
If you are interested in volunteering for this next project then drop me a line through the contact me link here:
Thanks – Medway open studios 2015
Been a while since the Medway open studios 2015 exhibition ‘It is what it is’
Thank you to everyone who came and guessed the film quote from many of my favourite 80’s and 90’s movies. It was great to see different interpretations of my photos.
Bigger thanks go out to all the wonderful people who took away with them lollies (for all correct guesses) and Nikki Price photography prints!
My favourite photo’s have to be these:
‘If I’m not me, then who the hell am I’ -Arnie in Total Recall
Big thanks to my good friend Riven for the make up!
Although there was also room for something a bit silly:
‘You should see the toast I couldn’t even get it through the door’ – John Candy as Uncle Buck
Again, we see her frustration with the system. The fetishism of everyday living is symbolised by another reoccurring theme, that is breakfast, which serves as a duel reminder of new beginnings and our constant struggle with power and authority. She has given up hope and the crisp bread is discarded before it can fulfil its potential.
I’ve already got my thinking cap on for the 2016 theme………hope to catch you there.
Art, Activism and the Community
I’m taking part in a short course called The Body Electric. I wanted to undertake something purely for my own development, I’m aware that it has been some time since my last blog, but hey ho, I Love to be busy!
Starting The Body Electric course has proved a very valuable time to me as a community activist and photographer, giving me wider thought about my community; the role I play within it; how my photography reflects my passion for the Medway area, and to also open my mind to new creative ways of thinking.
The breadth of experience within the room, and willingness of sharing skills and ideas, is wonderful. Some areas of the Medway Towns are sometimes put down in the media, over the recent years I’ve only felt a real ‘can do/will do’ attitude through the people I meet. Don’t get me wrong there are improvements that can be made anywhere and no place is ever really ‘perfect’, but feel that your little slice can be made great and have a knock on effect to the wider area.
We shared lunch today, thinking about our environmental community, many people chose to bring along food to share that they had made themselves, I bought along a vegetarian pasta with pesto made from the spinach in my garden. The visit to the Sunlight Centres Community Garden, and Mens Shed project was inspirational.
I have definately got out of my comfort zone at our full day session today; I just went for a wander with my camera (those of you who know me well, know I like to have a plan of action!) to explore lower Gillingham, a place I hadn’t really visited before. Rambling over the old port train track, to Hillyfields. Amongst the rows of Victorian terraces I stopped at the Orchard on Hillyfields pondering over a cut tree and wrote this:
Hilly fields 09.05.15
Your roots are still there
And part of you to see
An illusion of a grand tree
That you once were, to me
I don’t know what happened
Or how it came to be
That you are there
with your bare bones to see
Amongst this concrete jungle
You are in an oasis of calm
The birds continue their tweeting
As the sun beats down on my arm
There are so many places in Medway
I have yet to see
But for now thanks Hillyfields
Thanks for having me.
Just loving documenting things
It has been a while since my last blog back in July. I thoroughly enjoyed the Medway Open Studios and the feedback from my Mindfulness exhibition was fantastic, some more filming to come I think.
As well as being busy with commissions, event photography, workshops, photography courses and personal projects, I wanted to share with you that as a photographer I just can’t resist the urge to document things!
Everything I see and experience I want to capture in my memory as well as my camera, seeing everything from a pleasing angle. It is very easy these days to capture anything at any time (if you have a smart phone on you). Some of my most wonderful moments have been on a relaxed woodland walk with my Woof, taking the odd photo on my I-phone, which I would urge you to do as well.
My photography is such a mindfulness act, being right in the moment with my clients, friends, loved ones, continuing to see things in the best way possible, capturing that smile, the laugh of the audience, seeing the confidence grow in people who have never really done any photography before.
Documenting things has become such a part of me through my love of photography, helping me to capture those wonderful moments in life.
I just wanted to share that with you. Happy Snapping x
On late winters sunny day I popped into the Rochester Flea, located in the Gordon Hotel on Rochester High Street.
A bustle of people popping in and out of the doors, with their recycled bags full of individual treats and goodies from the stall holders inside.
The Rochester Flea for me (like the Farmers Market) is a fantastic opportunity to source something individual and chat with local people who are passionate about their trades.
This feeling was so abundant especially when chatting with Ron from Papa’s Yankee Workshop. Ron’s passion for his carpentry is infectious. I was fascinated when he was telling me that all his items were made in his own workshop from reclaimed/found wood. I loved the lines in the tulip wood, and enjoyed looking at each of his gorgeous bespoke pieces.
Robin from Scorpio Gallery was another interesting person to chat to, it was good to have contact with a local Picture Framing service, since the sad closure of Langley Galleries on the High Street.
Now as you may know from my last post of Rochester Farmers Market, I love food! The Rochester Flea doesn’t disappoint on this front, as well as having some wonderful crafts, vintage clothing, house hold materials, reclaimed and reloved items, and even a Disco, there is Fikabrod.
Headed up by Rikard, Fikabrod is a Swedish bakery selling all kinds of original Swedish treats. I particularly love the cinnamon buns and the chocolate coconut balls! The photos probably don’t do it justice you have to sample the delights for yourself!
The next Flea is on 29th March 12-4 why not pop down and enjoy.