Wow! It’s been such a while dearest readers since my last blog, plenty of things keeping me busy. Medway Open Studios and Arts Festival (MOSAF) 2018 was a great platform for me at the start of my Masters, working through my initial ideas for the photo part of it and getting some fantastic feedback and critique from my visitors.
MOSAF 2019 was a ‘taster platform’ of my final batch of photographs to exhibit before choosing the final 4 for submission in September (formats have been chosen, more of this to come!). I had some great conversations with visitors around my research subject of exploring Personal Loss, Memory and Family, with photographs and objects after a bereavement (more info about it here). I am interested to see if there are any common themes shared that reflected my own experiences of loss in the family, and if there were any similarities in which objects and photographs we keep and the memories we share. My research has helped me navigate my own grief and the whole process has been, (as my research participants have told me), a good thing to ‘Hold space’ for others to also have that time for dedicated conversations.
The exhibition included 10 photos of both my family photos and others from my research participants, accompanied by their written memory about each object or photograph. Here is a taster of one of my exhibited photos:
Vase with wilting Flowers
A Vase sitting on the sideboard that was bought as a Wedding Gift for my Grandparents. The flowers wilting, losing their glorious bloom, the room lays silent, soon to be empty, a whisper in the echo of a memory.
[Grandparents home 2016]
I am also pleased that visitors to my MOSAF19 exhibition felt able to share their memories if they wished they could leave their thoughts on my memories corkboard. I loved chatting with all my visitors about this subject as I had done interviewing the participants for my research. A big thank you to all my MOSAF19 visitors and participants. If you would like to get involved in my future research, or just want to get in touch to share your views then contact me here.
In the week of MOSAF19 I was interviewed on BBC Radio Kent as part of their ‘Phone Tracker’, (2.28 in) this gave me a great platform not only to promote my exhibition but to also talk about my research. It’s amazing what points you can get across in 4-5 minutes!
So, what’s next?
I have the summer to write up my research and prepare for my MA exhibition, and very happy to have the ‘time off’ I’m quite enjoying this final stage. I don’t think I’ve had this much time off in summer since I was 14 years old, so I’m going to make sure this happens with much self-care as well as study. I’m also going to be enjoying taking more photographs, joining up with a few like-minded ‘togs for some photo walks, and may treat myself to a new lens or two!
I am, as ever, passionate about living well and ensuring that we have great photographs to keep along-side our memories, this is what our loved ones will cherish, I know I do.
On reflecting my research which I have really enjoyed doing and so passionate about someone said to me recently ‘Nikki you won’t get time like this again, so make the most of it’, and I plan to do just that.
Thanks to one of my visitors for this photograph:
During my 2014 Medway Open Studios, the wonderful Stuart Turner (of Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society) popped in to see my exhibition. We spoke for a bit and then I let him gander through my photos, a 6×4 bluebell photo caught his eye……studying it for a bit he asked ‘Nikki I’d love to have that on our latest album cover’……well I was gob smacked, I’d never been asked for my photos to be included on any bands album cover, sure I’d done band shots for other promotional material but not for a cover! My response was ‘yeah sounds cool’.
………’oh and we’d like to have the bands photo taken in the autumn in the same spot’, eek! help! I vaguely remembered the forest that the photo was taken in! luckily I had the GPS location embedded in the metadata for that particular photo (I’ve never been more thankful of using that little feature), so in the Autumn of 2014, we all piled in the car headed for the Fallen Tree/Bluebell location, Canon kit and i-pad GPS tracking on.
The band was such a giggle to work with, suggesting poses, and going with some of my crazy ideas in order to get the ‘best shot’, muddy bogs and soggy boots included!
Then fast forward around 16 months (with some great promo write ups for the band and a little Vlog from me about supporting local bands on Record Store day) the launch event was here; such a great evening on board the LV21 in Gillingham, a fitting space for the launch with great acoustics, with the band supported by Rachael Lowrie and Theatre Royal, an absolute steal of talent for the entry ticket!
Here’s a few treats from the launch night:
More info about bands and solo artists photo shoots here.
Over the past few months I’ve been shooting Nudes in preparation for my July Medway Open Studios Exhibition. The more I’ve done, the more fascinated I’ve become about ‘us’, about ‘people’ our aspirations, our acceptance of self and realising more and more that everything is in a constant state of flux and transition.
From my exhibition shoots (and other recent nude commissions) I’ve worked with many people that are at a various state of change, transition or flux; engagement, marriage, coping with death/illness, heart break, indifference, highs, lows. We all have elements of ourselves that we aren’t happy with; curly hair, bit of a belly, too skinny, too hairy, too tall, too short, our scars, stretch marks, post baby belly, too old.
Going through this process I’ve become more accepting of myself, as well as appreciating more that we are all fantastic and beautiful people, whose bodies are just telling a story of time, and that we should embrace this. Every person I have photographed had a story to tell about themselves, why were people more open with me during these shoots? Is ‘to be nude’ to be more thoughtful and open? All my models have all said that it had been a liberating experience, allowing them to go back to basics understanding themselves and gaining clarity in a way forward with their lives.
As Blur (in one of my favourite songs) sings:
‘And you’ve been so busy lately
That you haven’t found the time
To open up your mind
And watch the world spinning gently out of time’
So an interpretation of this song, (perhaps is to do with War), but I choose to read it as that we are so caught up in our everyday lives that we sometimes ‘need to find the time’ to become more at one with ourselves, accept who we are as time stops for no one.