Gender based crime is nothing new.
Throughout history worldwide, violence has been used against women as a mechanism to force women into subordinate lives.
In the modern day society that we live in which recognizes equality, you would think these forms of abuse would be a thing of the past but that couldn’t be further from the truth…
According to the World Health Organization 1 in 3 women throughout the world will experience sexual or physical violence in their lifetime.
70% of the population living in absolute poverty are women
An estimated 603 million women are living in countries where domestic violence is not yet classed as a crime.
250 million females alive today were married under the age of 15.
Shocking? These facts are just the tip of the iceberg, the list goes on and on… Female genital mutilation, rape, human trafficking, the abuse of refugees and volatile women and children living in war zones.
It’s hard to comprehend the magnitude of gender based crime that is happening all around us. And the problem is so depressingly vast that as a woman, I have been sat reading about the subject and am sat writing this blog to accompany my latest image wondering what the hell can I as an individual to help other women in these situations? The simple truth – not much. As one person, one woman just going about my every day life there isn’t a whole lot I can do to solve the problems women all over the world are facing….
But I am not just one woman on my own. I am one of 3 and a half billion women who are currently residing on this planet with me. And as a gender we should be looking after one another better.
There are incredible organizations like womankind.org.uk out there, who’s sole purpose is to promote women’s rights internationally.
If I myself show support to womankind, and if every woman that reads this blog clicks on THIS LINK and at least likes Womankind’s Facebook page, perhaps in some small way our unity will help other women around the world.
Gender Based Crimes need to STOP.
That person who is suffering is not ‘Only a Woman’.
– She’s is someone’s mother, she is a daughter, a carer, a business women and a person with dreams. She is a woman with the human right to feel safe, just like you and I.
So this month I create my first book cover for fab sci-fi author Richard Dee.
The book is called Myra and all being well should be published in March 2017, I literally cannot wait to see it in print!
Myra is a prequel to Richard’s book ‘Freefall’, and is about a a female character who is half human half machine, but I’m not going to give anymore than that away, you will have to go out and get a copy – as this proves to be an exciting read! As soon as it is is in publication I shall let you know!
The character of Myra on the cover of the book is modeled by Alana Miller. Richard having seen my exhibition this summer, had seen a different image I had done of the model, and just knew that Alana should be the face of Myra.
I would like to thank Richard for giving me this opportunity, he’s a great guy and I really enjoyed designing my first book cover, and I am hoping this will be the first of many…. So if you are an author GET IN TOUCH!!!
I created this image after a recent trip to Amsterdam. I wanted to create an image to illustrate the harsh world of being a sex worker in one of the World’s most famous Red Light Districts. I am not used to creating images like this – I find it easier to create pictures of women looking beautiful and empowered. But not all women have the luxury of feeling that way; many women suffer degradation, vulnerability, and feel unsafe on a daily basis; so as my aim is to illustrate women through ‘story telling’ images, I guess there was always going to come a time when I would produce an image like this….
In 1957 Annie Zentveld also known as Chinese Annie (she had an Oriental look about her) was murdered. She was a girl who worked in the brothel myself and my friends visited whilst in Amsterdam last month. The person who killed her has never been held to account.
The building in which Annie was brutally murdered is now home to the museum of prostitution. Located in one of the rooms is a memorial stone dedicated to the memory of Annie, along with a plaque detailing the murders of so many other sex workers who have lost their lives trying to earn an income in such a volatile way.
I would certainly recommend a visit to ‘Red Light Secrets’ the museum. I like many others thought a trip to the Red Light District would be a ‘bit of a laugh’, but was instantly brought back to reality when I saw the girls stood in the windows (some of whom looked younger than my own daughter). The museum visit starts out to be quite colourful and titillating and dare I say it exciting.
But it soon becomes apparent that this is a very harsh world to be a part of and being a prostitute is far from glamorous. One room in particular opened our eyes to the reality of being a prostitute, when you are invited to sit in front of a window (which is actually a TV screen) and forced to endure the degradation and utter horror, of how the people walking past the window treat you. The reactions of the men looking through the window at you range from seedy rude gestures, degrading insults, being laughed at, and sexual insults – to women throwing looks of disapproval at you whilst dragging their partners away from the window – it all left me feeling dirty and degraded.
I left the museum feeling so unhappy and depressed that in this day and age, any human being would ever feel that this lifestyle was their only option to make money to not only survive but in many cases provide for their families. And if this is the way a person has chosen to live their lives, then why isn’t more done to protect them?
Of course there are organizations out there who are trying to help the situation for female sex workers. ‘UN Women’ for instance. UN Women believe all human development and human rights issues have gender dimensions, and are focused and devoted to areas that are fundamental to women’s equality.
It is unknown how many prostitutes are working in Amsterdam, but having read several reports on this it appears the number ranges anywhere from 2 – 25 thousand. 90% of whom are believed to be female, 5% male and 5% transgender. Many of these are vulnerable women, some allegedly victims of human trafficking and organized crime gangs.
Also, many sex workers are known to have drug addictions – sometimes induced by pimps or ‘Loverboys’ to create dependency but often used as a form of escapism to cope with the horrendous harsh reality of living a life like this.
Women working within the sex industry experience more levels of violence against them than women working in any other fields known. Many of these cases are sexual assaults, some rape, and in extreme cases murder. Practically every year prostitutes are murdered in the Netherlands whilst at work, but with sex tourism bringing such a large income along with it, this is not always talked about. A survey carried out in 2001 reported that 93% of outdoor prostitutes and 60% of indoor workers had experienced violence of some kind from their clients.
I’ll just end my blog by apologizing if my image or the content of my blog has offended you in any way. That certainly wasn’t my intention. It’s just that so often we have low opinions of these women, but the prostitutes themselves aren’t really the problem are they? The problem is the people that abuse them.
All too often we see prostitutes as characters in films (take pretty woman for instance) or in Art (Olympia by Manet to name one of many) and the way they are depicted is a far cry from the life many sex workers lead. Did you know Marilyn Monroe was allegedly a prostitute? And yet by many seen as one of the most beautiful women who ever lived….
All women deserve the right to feel safe, no matter where they are, who they are, or how they choose to live their lives.
RIP Annie <3
If you want to keep in touch with all my latest images and news – why not head on over to my Facebook page! The Image below ‘Aurora’ is my most favourite from a series of images I am doing of the beauiful Avisha – Make-up by Estelle Cole.
Well! My Facebook page caused a bit of a stir this week after the post you see below was viewed over 17,000 times! Featuring the lovely Jacob; after a visit to my studio from him and his lovely family of Star Wars enthusiasts!
I first met Natalie and Craig when I photographed their son Jabob in a super hero ‘Creative Kids Portrait’ back last year, and then again when I photographed their wedding also last year. So when they came back for a shoot recently, to transform Jacob into a Star Wars Superhero, I have to admit I was thrilled to bits being a secret Star Wars geek myself!
The image was created with lots of different composite images of Jacob dressed in all of his different Star Wars themed outfits, and the special effects using Photoshop brushes, and techniques. I have to say, Jacobs ability to play out the character for each of his Super heros was amazing being so young, and without any effort and only fun – we captured all of the images required to make this mock poster ‘The Jacob Menace’ for his bedroom wall!
I have to say it’s the most fun I have ever had editing… my son has even now asked for a picture like this and he is 21!!!!
If anyone else would like to turn their children’s fantasy’s into reality, or would like to know more about my children’s work which is about portraiture through play, please CLICK HERE!
….and…. when you book your session, use this voucher code: KIDS25 and I will give you a whopping £25 off of your shoot!
Thank you young Jacob Padawan – for being a Star Wars Super Hero! – I enjoyed every minute!
If you are interesting in expanding your creative editing skills to a whole new level – this should not be missed! One UK Workshop planned for 2016 – for further details
Very pleased to have been awarded a Blue Ribbon this week by The FIAP (Federation Internationale de L’Art Photographique) – this is the first time I have ever received an award from the FIAP and am delighted to hear that it was for my image of model ‘Paula Hames’ ‘Missing’. This picture has been published extensively, now won 4 International Awards (PSA, FIAP, RPS, SWPP) and been selected for exhibitions in 3 different Continents! Making it my most successful image to date! Many thanks to the judges at Photo Art Magazine – Prague . :)
This week I have been awarded the GPU (Global Photographic Union) Silver Medal for my image Crystals of Model Paige (featured below). Many thanks to the judges :)
I am delighted to now offer our my customers a selection of beautiful Jorgensen presentation products to show off their portfolio’s and photographs.
My favorite is the beautiful 14×11 Portfolio Print Box (featured above) which features 20 fully mounted images in both Satin or Matt prints… I’ve just received mine from South West Photo Mounts and the Quality is fantastic.
If any of my clients would like to see samples let me know – these are a great way to show off your pictures to perfection!
It gives me great pleasure to announce that today I have been Awarded a Gold Medal by The Trienenberg Super Circuit for my Image of beautiful model Kayleigh – ‘Cirque’!
Over the last 20 years the TRIERENBERG SUPER CIRCUIT has attracted hundreds of thousands of pictures from nearly all the countries around the world. It is by far the largest annual competition of photography on the globe.
It is the aim of this competition to find out the very best photography from different styles, techniques and genres. It is the task of an international panel of judges to select the very best entries and to distribute prestigious awards….. so to also have 23 of my images selected for their Exhibition makes me so very proud!
This morning I have also received an invitation to the Gala Awards Ceremony in Vienna to collect my Gold medal – so with that and traveling to China to be awarded my prize and medals for the 1st China Zhejiang Qiandao Lake Photography Contest which I won last week, I am going to be one well traveled lady before the year is out!
Many Thanks to the judges and everyone at The Trienenberg Super Circuit.
I was extremely delighted to receive the news yesterday that I have not only been awarded a Gold PSA Medal in China today in the ‘Colour’ catagory; for my image ‘Missing’ of the beautiful Paula Valpy, but I also received the title of GRAND PRIX WINNER! I’m still in shock!
This is one of my own personal favourite images, as it was created to capture a specific moment in the models life.
I am beyond excited to have been invited by the hosts of the competition, to join them in China later in a few weeks for a special Presentation event where I will be awarded my incredible prizes and medals.
Huge thanks to the judges of the 1st China Zhejiang Quiandao Lake Photography Contest for selecting my image. I am beyond happy with this result and very much looking forward to meeting you all during my trip to China!
Delighted to hear this week that I have been awarded The PSA Gold Medal (Photographic Society of America) for my image ‘We Are Three’ and The GPU Gold Medal (Global Photographic Union) for my images ‘We Are Three’ ‘Missing’ ‘Crystals’ and ‘Head’.
These were awarded by The Atlantic International Photographic Exhibition 2016 in New Jersey, USA.
Many Thanks to The Atlantic Institute of Photography – I’m thrilled to bits!
Well it’s been a while since I wrote a blog post, so I thought I’d do a little catch up as I have had such a great couple of months – thought I’d share some of the things I have been up to! Firstly I was published in a Tattoo magazine. The image (below) features Tattoo artist Dave Perry at his studio in Torquay ‘Revolver’.
I was also published in Professional Imagemaker Magazine, with a 10 page feature which talks about Portraiture as Art and the Masterclass that I am doind at the Photography Convention in January. But the best thing – my image of Paige Frost as ‘Ms Christmas’ from my series of images ‘Behind Every Great Man’ was featured on the front cover! Professional Imagemaker is one of my favourite magazines, so I am very proud of this!
And now we are into December and the good news keeps coming! This month I have received 4 Gold Awards, 2 For December and 2 Upgrades… The First 2 of Paige…. The cover Image, and the Reindeer image (which took me ages shooting and editing Reindeer to look right!) plus my image of Charlotte Crews as a refugee girl ‘Your World, My Dream’ and my first art nude image ‘Joined’ illustrating sexuality. (Below)
Finally and most importantly – I have been nominated for Photographer of the Year, not once but twice! The categories I am a finalist in are ‘Digital Art’ and ‘Avant Garde’. It’s not the first time I’ve been nominated, and I have never won – so I have no expectations at all, but I am delighted that my hard work this year has gained me a nomination. When you produce pictures like mine, you cannot expect them to appeal to everyone, so it is unlikely I have won but how cool to get nominated – thrilled to bits!!! I would recommend all Photographers enter The Societies Monthly Competitions, it really isn’t about the winning… but it will build your confidence, inspire you to work harder, and if you are lucky – reward you with Gold! The Awards night is on the 23rd January 2016 and is being held at The London Hilton Metrapole Hotel. With my dearest friend Hannah and my daughter Jodie there with me to share the celebration of being nominated (and to share a glass of wine or two!) it is sure to be a great night for everyone attending….
I probably wont be writing on here again until the new year, so all that is left for me to do is thank everyone for your support of my work during 2015 and to wish you all a very happy and restful Christmas and New Year….
I hope for love and peace the world over for 2016.
Just found out I have been awarded 3 Golds and 2 HC’s for 5 images this month, in the SWPP Monthly Competitions and I really could not be happier!
I use my image making as a way of telling a story, and this month the 5 images selected all have a story to tell …so in this blog I thought I’d give you an insight into the things that go on in my head and a brief description of the images which have been given awards.
‘Be Still My Beating Heart’ – Gold Award ‘Pictorial’
A couple of weeks ago sitting on the number 32 bus coming back from the studio; I was sat behind two old ladies talking about the refugee crisis. Their take on the situation was very different to my own but never the less very interesting to hear! One of them mentioned something she had heard about which had happened off of the cost of Kos, and made reference to a Greek woman who took out her fishing boat every evening in the hope of saving any refugees who may be too weak to swim to shore… ‘silly bugger, she’ll get herself killed!’ (Her words not mine). The way the Greek lady was described by the woman on the bus was very different to how I was imagining this person. A selfless woman, with a big heart, risking her own life in a beaten up boat to save the lives of others… hero’s come in all forms… what a wonderful woman, and far from a silly old bugger as far as I’m concerned!
‘I’m Fine’ – Highly Commended ‘Portrait Avant Garde’
This image is of a very dear friend of mine, who is struggling with illness at the moment. I asked him to describe to me how he was feeling and the answer was mostly frustration…. If he could only find the key to his medical condition to unlock the answer to restoring his health again, he would not feel so heart broken. I called this image ‘I’m Fine’ because this is someone who puts on a brave face on the outside, and for that I admire him (being the whinging drama queen that I am myself!)
‘Shiner’ – Gold Award ‘Open Avant Garde’
This image is a conceptual image to illustrate domestic abuse. It is in no way an image relevant to the model in the picture who is in a very happy relationship!
I have wanted to put this picture together for a while. The expression ‘Give someone a shiner’ revolts me. It refers to giving a person a black eye – i.e. hitting them so hard that their eyes turn black and blue. We refer to stars and gold and silver and the treasures that Magpies collect as shiny. Abuse is not shiny – abuse is dull, dark and there is nothing shiny about it.
‘Crystals’ – Gold Award ‘Digital Art’
Paige – the model in my image ‘Crystals’ came to me to pose for a Christmas editorial project I am working on. I had no intention of doing an Avant Garde Portrait of this kind. But having chatted to her for a while during the shoot I really wanted to capture her personality in an image – and this was what I came up with messing around in Photoshop.
I admired Paige greatly. She has an absolutely stunning face and it radiates from every single capture I took of her. I wanted Paige to look like a Sci-Fi style Queen because that is just how I see her! Sci-fi because Paige is young and very modern with her blue dread-locked hair, and a queen because she has powerful and strong personality traits which I admire massively in any female I meet. Paige loves modelling and is ambitious along with it, but what I love about Paige is her self respect, her high standards, she will not be talked in to shooting any kind of images she is not comfortable with, and I wish all young female models were more like Paige… she is a role model to young models everywhere.
Thank you to Estelle Cole who created the make-up and hair for this shoot. Another female with great talent just like Paige… this shoot was certainly a ‘Girl Power’ day!
‘Paige’ – Highly Commended
I had no intention of entering this image in to the competition, but another photographer pointed out to me, that the black and white version of the image used for ‘Crystals’ really brings out the emotion of Paige’s eyes. And though I see her as a strong queen like force to be reckoned with… her eyes tell a much more gentle story, the loving, gentle caring side….
Thanks to the SWPP and thanks to everyone in the pictures!
Very pleased to have been featured in this months Professional Imagemaker.
The article discusses how I come up with my images and features several of my personal favourite images.
This month I decided to push my boundaries and have been having a go at ‘Art Nude’ imagery. I would definitely say I am a total amateur at this genre but thought I would give it a go, putting my spin on it a little!
I am delighted this week to have received a Highly Commended from the Societies, for this conceptual image – illustrating a person’s battle with their own sexuality…. ‘Joined’.
Hope you like it!
Very pleased to have been published this month in Practical Photoshop Magazine on pages 1 & 2!
Page one features a full page image of model Alanah Miller in one of my personal favourite images ‘Aquamarina’. And page two features ‘We are Three’ and ‘The Complexities of Bubbles’.