Tagged: photography

MOSAF19….& the end of the Masters is in sight

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:

 

5 Months Masters Milestone

What a great start to my Masters, and Nikki Price Photography will still be running in a business sense, but I’ve decided to take a small step back to concentrate on my studies.  This choice of course isn’t an immediate concern for me as I’m not directing my time a million miles away from where my passion lies, and I have some smaller projects in the pipeline for 2018.

I’ve realised in writing this blog, that I had two pre-loaded draft blogs on:

  • a literature list (in an attempt to encourage myself to write as I go along)
  • and a two month review of where I am with my research

I won’t repost the whole blogs but here’s a little flavour for you:

The thing I’ve found with research and reading around a subject you are so passionate about, brings up all kinds of the thoughts and processes.  I’ve found myself in a natural ‘rabbit hole’, wanting to keep delving into subjects and getting more and more excited about where it is leading me.  I have been writing using good old fashioned paper and pen, and often let my thoughts wander having ‘revelations and ideas’ at times, so I always try to keep my observation journal on me.  In many ‘how to’ guides I’ve seen advice like ensure you diarise time to just think, which I think is sound advice!

Great thinking places I’ve found are (I’ve also got Lauren Elkins Flaneuse book waiting in the wings to be read so hoping for some further inspiration):

  • on a train  -journeys over half an hour are best (great for when I travel to Uni)
  • in a cafe – always a bonus for a long lunch
  • in the shower -all best ideas are made here aren’t they?

So where am I now?

Three months further into my reading and I feel I’m getting to that research niche in that shadow, my thirst for knowledge and reading is growing, like I commented to my supervisor, ‘I loved that book so much I felt like I inhaled it!’ (speaking of Annette Kuhn’s Family Secrets).  I’ve completed my first presentation and was comfortable doing it.

My research (no matter how wide I am reading at the moment) keeps pulling me to: using family photography (memory and narratives) as a means to researching Identity, Belonging, and Loss.

So in photography’s core concept of the ‘Rule of Thirds’ here are my top three (boy this has been hard!) key readings that have made a huge impact on me so far, and would encourage you to read them:

Annette Kuhn (1995) Family Secrets

Taking Autoethonography to the next level with this book, a straight talking 360 degree analysis of the authors family photographs, allowed me to think more about the ‘face value’ of the immediate photograph.  This read has enabled me to think more about my childhood photographs, particularly those during my senior school years and to analyse them within the wider social context at that time, and my family unit.  Kuhn’s reflection on her school uniform echoed that of my own, mother buying the size up so we ‘would grow into it’ (I’m sure many families consider this!) coming from a single parent family.  I was also the first in my family to go to University, and all the expectations and feelings that surrounded this.  Kuhn’s father was the photographer and yet it was her mother who was the instigator for the photos of Kuhn in various home made outfits, mirroring a matriarchal perception of mother as the nurturer, time keeper, and recorder of childhood moments.  This also ignited my love of concepts of time travel, and awareness of time using photographs to allow us to metaphorically travel/connect with different points of time, Marc Triver notes that ‘a room needs a clock to denote the passing of time’ P185 in Berger’s book;

John Bergers (1967) Understanding a photograph

I read Bergers book at the same time I watched his 1972 BBC series of Ways of seeing.  Both have completely transformed not only the way I am thinking about and analysing my own work, but art I see in many places.  My connection to of art is greater, taking a 3 minute ‘dedicated’ time to ‘see’ work that I find of particular interest to me, looking deeper into what the artists message was, the context in which it was made, and having that critical reflection.  I particularly enjoyed Berger’s diagrams on ‘Memory’  and its ‘non-linear’ way of looking at a photograph, in that recalling memories from photographs although constructed in a very chronological/linear way (in a hard copy of an album Birth through to before Death), the process of understanding/seeing a photograph happens in a very “radially”  way “that is to say that an enormous number of associations leading to the same event” (P59).  This allowed me to think that a photograph isn’t simply a static moment in time, but an artefact to revisit again and again, to enhance or obtain different meanings from it as Berger says “The appearances of the event photographed implicates other events,  It is the energy of these simultaneous connections and cross references which enlarge the circle beyond the dimension of instantaneous information” (p91) i.e. a photograph allows for more interpretation, beyond what you can initially see.

The great thing about Berger’s work is his no-nonsense straight forward talk, and written words, that I find very accessible, de-mystifying the arena of ‘art’.

Roland Barthes (1982) Camera Lucida

Probably the key three things to come out of Barthes Camera Lucida is his analysis of the ‘Winter Garden’ (p63) photograph, the Punctum (p27) and Studium (p28).  In his analysis of the Winter Garden, Barthes was searching for his mothers true identity, connecting with who she was before he was born.  He suggested that ‘the photograph doesn’t necessarily say what is no longer but only for certain was has been’ (p85), in the case of his mother, she was at the Winter Garden, that is for certain, looking at the concepts of photographs moving across time, this would allow Barthes to  now ‘see’ his mother as she was then.  Although strange for me to say perhaps from coming from a visual perspective, I found the beautiful thing about his analysis and his connection to the photo was that there was no copy of it for the reader to see, as he notes ‘this photograph only exists for me, for you it would be nothing other than an indifferent picture’ (p73).  The Punctum; that something within the photo that pricks your interest, and the Studium; allowing time to contemplate the photo, have been two simple concepts but inspirational ideas.

Along with Berger and Kuhn’s books this has changed the way I am seeing, I have revisited past work and family photographs, to really ‘see’ what is contained within. For Example; my Punctum in this Family photograph is the red coat I am wearing.  This photo was in a collection kept by my late father, I didn’t recall the moment it was taken until I saw the photo, and the red coat immediately stood out to me ‘pricking’ my interest, the spending time (studium) to analyse it further.

 

Nikki

 

 

Body Image my beginnings & #altogether reflection

I began taking photos of nudes as part of celebrating our bodies without photoshop in 2013, models consisted of friends and I took part also if I wasn’t prepared to be photographed in this way, how could I expect anyone else to be?

I wanted to make my models as comfortable as a possible, so in doors (whether that was at my home or theirs) under studio lights (interfit) with a plain background was my preferred shooting style.  At the beginning I think I was more obsessed with getting the lighting right, and using a ‘stock’ of gathered poses for all my models.  I was quite apprehensive to start, I’d never photographed anyone this way before, and I wanted to ensure that my models were in a safe and relaxed atmosphere.  As a photographer I think it isn’t just about the technical aspects shutter, its about rapport with the people you have in front of your camera, and a vision to be thinking of the next great shot.

I am unsure how I feel about those 2013 photos now, it was undoubtedly a great stepping stone to get me into thinking about this project more,  but that is the good thing about the start of a new project you can develop it, and it will often lead you to places you hadn’t thought of. Models volunteered for various reasons; not only as they believed in the cause; but to also visually share their journey with their body at that moment in time. It was truly humbling to hear about their stories from eating disorders, mental health and post baby body to name a few.

Not just women:  Perhaps the most prominent thing about the start of this journey was men volunteered to be included, having strong feelings about the way mens bodies can often be misrepresented in the media.  One of my favourite actors Wentworth Miller was sadly subject to a body shaming meme in 2016, this upset me with social media hounding the guy when he wasn’t feeling his strongest mentally, I needed a response to this.

nikki-price-photography-man-sunset-portrait-nude

My volunteers said they were very nervous before, but after the shoot they appreciated that it was a very empowering experience.

In September 2017 my ‘Altogether’ exhibition at Sun Pier House Tea Room was in full swing.  This was a collection of pieces of positive body image, using everyday (non model) nude subjects, photographed in non-traditional places.  This exhibition seemed a natural progression for work that I have been producing since 2013, the pieces for ‘Altogether’ have been taken over the previous 18 months, and include locations such as derelict buildings, marsh land, nature reserves, and in the studio.  I want to portray an image that individuals could relate to, ‘real’ bodies without the furnishings of Photoshop or designer clothing, taking it right back to the basics of who we are fundamentally underneath, Human.  I have found this series of photographs a real balance, of ensuring the importance of the message, affirmation of my own skills, sympathetic to my subjects and the audience eye.

nikki-price-photography-male-portrait-nude“Didn’t have time to write a comment in the book but here’s some thoughts. What struck me most about your photos (apart from the lovely pictorial qualities – lighting, composition etc) was the way that the people in them seemed relaxed and confident – happy in their bodies. This gives the pictures a calm, self-contained feeling at odds with the fact that here are naked people in places where otherwise they wouldn’t normally be naked. I’m guessing that this probably comes from your relationship to them, their trust in you and your approach as a photographer. This makes the photos very different than just nude figures placed in unusual places and takes it away from what you might call “art” photography into something more personal and much more interesting.
So, just as well I didn’t have time for the comment as I seem to have written a short essay. Looking forward to where this takes you.”

-Dick Perrin Film maker and Photographer

 

“I don’t usually like photography Nikki, but love what you have done”

-Peter Reed Painter

“Nikki Price is, in my opinion, is one the major talents to emerge from the Medway scene. Her visual images show a genuine love of humanity.”
—Bill Lewis

“I’m not a model in this series but have modelled for Nikki before and can 100% confirm she is a wonderful photographer to work with, she really makes you feel at ease!”

– Charlotte

Some of the responses from the comment book from my #altogether exhibition Sun Pier House

‘Viewing the photographs still provokes old feelings that conflict’

‘Incredible honesty…amazing composition too’

‘Very rich we are so programmed’

‘Really beautiful work’

‘Beautiful poetic’

nikki-price-photography-female-portrait-nudeThank you to everyone who participated, supported, and followed my work on this topic so far.

Watch this space as there will be more on the topic of identity in the future, and next week I’ll be doing my usual yearly round up of photographs so stay tuned!

Nikki x

Flower Photography at home

I was delighted to be contacted by Julie Davies to collaborate on a blog.  Julie lives up to her name of being The Florist that teaches, providing online tips for you to do exactly the same in the comfort of your own home, or face to face in workshops.

It felt very natural for me to write this blog as a way of my skills sharing series, with top tips to enable you to take photos of your floral creations at home.  There are a variety of other scenarios in which to take photographs, for example out in landscape with wild flowers, in workshops, sheds, markets etc, perhaps this is room for another blog!

Although the photos you see here have been taken using a Canon 6D, the following will give you some pointers for ‘point and shoot‘ cameras, or using a smart phone, both of which can work just as well, particularly if you are uploading small versions of your photos onto websites or social media.

  1. Position your flowers next to a large window; this will help maximum natural light which is better than using the orange tinge of household lights, (there is always the option to shoot outside).
  2. If you have a macro / flower symbol setting on your camera, use it!  It will let you bring out the finer details of those gorgeous blooms.nikki-price-photography-flower-2
  3. Don’t forget to ‘set the scene‘ if you are wanting to show how you work on your flowers through your photos, pop some scissors, oasis, ribbon etc on a wooden block (a kitchen chopping board will do just fine if you have one), everyone loves a story.
  4. Keep the background to your photos simple, after all you want to highlight how beautiful your floral creations are, white (or black) card can work and help with bouncing the light into those harsh shadows.
  5. Take the photos using interesting angles, the rule of thirds can be helpful, however, be creative and use a variety of angles in your shots to show off those blooms.
  6. Using your macro setting on your camera, shoot ‘through‘ a bouquet to focus on one particular flower that takes your interest.nikki-price-photography-flower
  7. Similarly as above; take one flower out of the bunch and make it the star of your show!
  8. A little post production may help bring out the best in your photos, so if you have photoshop, or other editing software, don’t be afraid to use it.  Photoshop express on the i-phone is fab.

I hope these tips have been useful and if so I would love to hear from you, so why not drop me a line through my contact me page.

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 nikkipricephotography@gmail.com .

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.

Exhibitions

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.

Event Photography

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

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!

Everything else!

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.

Nikki-Price-Photography-informal-wedding-kent-medway-knowle-house-higham-

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.

Personal Projects

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.

Nikki x

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:

  1. 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!
  2. 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?).
  3. 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.

nikki-price-photography-product-food

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.

nikki-price-photography-portrait-family

Personal Project: Night Photography.  This shot was taken at 11.30pm, 8 sec exp, f1.4 ISO 200 50mm lens. Post processing in Lightroom.

nikki-price-photography-night-stars

Please feel free to share your photos with me.

Nikki

Opening the Other Box…the finale!

This blog post follows my previous blogs here and here of me getting together my ideas for the Exhibition of ‘Skin’ for Pandora’s Other Box.

During July and August, I also had my Medway Open Studios Exhibition of ‘Hidden Forms in nature and other stories’ (more about that in another blog – I promise!), which extended the exploration of ‘The Nude’ into forms of nature, mainly faces, and the suggestion of body parts mainly in the trunks of trees!

I am also preparing for a larger exhibition in 2017, where I am documenting interesting locations in states of decay, or change, with the addition of a nude figure to capture how everything eventually declines.

Whilst working in these three areas I organically came to what I wanted to submit for consideration for the Skin Exhibition.

Nature, Mother, and Grandad – three photos I was so immensely proud of, and was delighted to be accepted for exhibition of all three!  The following words accompanied the photos whilst on display:

Nature – this photo is part of a series exploring nature and its hidden forms. Bark on a tree enables preservation, and encourages us to look at familiar views on ourselves, linking to the concepts of body image, and just as we come in all fabulous shapes and sizes, so does nature and we should embrace it.

Nikki-Price-Photography-nude-nature-bark-tree

Mother – this photo is part of a series which started in 2013 exploring the concepts of body image through the nude. This photo in particular on the brief of skin is acting as protection for our children.

Nikki-Price-Photography-nude-mother-mum-baby-bump-maternity

Grandad – a tribute to a wonderful man who sadly passed away in July 2016. This photo forms part of a series over the last year where Nikki explored the concepts of self and family documentary photography, preserving a moment in time, life, and ultimately with the ones we love.

IMG_0368

The Private view took place on Sunday 29th August; and here are a few photos taken celebrating all the wonderful artists who were included, in particular a live performance from Laure Meloy who responded to the art pieces in the form of Opera, and Clair Meyrick local poet and performer.

It has been a very personal, and heart felt journey from the first meeting to exhibition.  I have felt that as a photographer, you put so much more into a photo, it’s not just about pressing the shutter, having a technically great result, but it also has a part of you, your thoughts your ideas, your creativity, your view on life is what makes your photos and what you do so unique.

Here’s to the next one.

Nikki

 

 

 

Opening the Other Box………

Through a friend of mine, I noticed a post on Facebook inviting women to an informal talk about Whitstable Womens Art group Pandora’s Other Box.

A little apprehensive to start I drove to my favourite sea side place, I was’t sure really what to expect but I suppose that is the great thing of going slightly out of your comfort zone to learn about something new.  I’ve wanted to expand my art based photography more along side the commercial side and felt that this would be great opportunity to do it!

The women at the meeting were very welcoming and the wide scope of the exhibition title ‘Skin’ was the focus, explained that there will be a series of meet ups, and enrichment workshops to lead to exhibition at the Horsebridge Centre Whitstable what a great focus.

Feeling totally inspired from the session, I hurried away making notes and sketching ideas on what I wanted to focus on, my initial thoughts were around Macro Photography, focussing literally on the skin capturing all its wonderful blemishes.  I’d focussed on The Nude in a previous project so feel quite comfortable around this subject.  Another thought is around tattoo’s and piercings as a form of body armour/expression, another part of me wants to run off and make something in clay!

A visit to the British Museum was great to bring my focus back and great to go as a group as well helped the sharing of ideas over cake!  I’ve only ever been to the British Museum once before, and how many of us can say we have been inspired by Japanese, Egyptian and Mexican art in one day!

The second meet up was a great leveller, I was very conscious that I hadn’t ‘played’ enough with my project ideas and getting into a bit of a spiral of lots of thought and no action.  It was reassuring to hear that many women in the group felt the same.

My conclusion to this part of the process is that I need to play more and be confident that the outcome may not be the final piece, its more the journey we take sometimes.

Pandora

Pandora’s other box visit to the British Museum

Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society

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.

 

 

Horsewash Lane – a memory

In a little corner of Rochester in Kent there is a little unknown lane (in comparison to its well documented sister Rochester High Street), Horsewash Lane.  As you know I love a bit of local history and have been fascinated by it for ages, however the history behind Horsewash Lane has only come onto my radar recently.

When I was little my father lived in Strood, and when returning home we’d always cross Rochester bridge, going under the subway which is the start of Horsewash Lane (opposite the Crown Pub), at the time I didn’t know it by that name.  I was fascinated by that white tiled subway, as I descended the spiral stair case to it, or when I went with my mum and brother (who was in a pram at the time) down the ramp.  I can’t really explain why I had a real connection with that subway, perhaps as it book ended some great memories from days out, then we returned home with the hustle and bustle of the road above, safe in our echoey subway.

Anyway I digress, Horsewash lane, I’ve investigated the history behind the area, through Medway Council Archive Centre and CityArk online, both of which note that horse washing took place at this point at the river from around 1828, as depicted in sketches found from the Frindsbury side of the river.  The lane has been documented to have been there since 1548 (then known as St Clements Lane) when the Parish of St Clements declined following Henry the 8th’s united church policy.  The City ark document noted that in 1851 an arch from the Church of St Clements was found when the new bridge was being built.  This Lane linking to the area know as ‘The Common’ hosted many a market in its hey day including wheat, cattle, corn.  It is refreshing to see that the traditional markets of Medway are being kept alive such as the Rochester Farmers Market and Rochester Flea.

Visiting the area today, it is very run down, fenced off, with no real evidence of the interesting area that it once was, it feels unloved and neglected (apart from the graffiti and the coach park).  The old subway is now boxed in, the stairs removed, and a new pedestrian crossing now takes it’s place.  With the new Rochester Riverside housing development, I wonder whether Horsewash Lanes new residents will even know that this place ever existed.  So much of our local area is well documented, I don’t like to see those little gems not so well known, fall to the way side in our wonderful and rich local history.

The photographs I have taken show the area 2016, before further development takes place, and this area’s history is potentially forgotten.