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’.
Very pleased to receive a Gold and 2 Highly Commended Awards today in this months SWPP Competitions.
My Gold was for my image ‘Borg’ of model Gemma Blackburn, and my HC’s were for ‘Malady’ featuring fellow photographer and dear friend Graham Warwick, and for ‘Tribe’ featuring model Hannah Williams.
Many Thanks to the SWPP, I am pretty sure their competition has been the thing which has inspired me most to work hard and improve my skills over the years….
Looking forward to being one of the speakers at the PermaJet Open Day in Stratford-upon-Avon on the 28th November.
If you are attending, make sure you come and say hi after! :)
It would be fair to say I feel very uncomfortable on the other side of the camera!
Going to London to be filmed by Yahoo for ‘The Weekly Flickr’ moment would go down as possibly the hardest thing I’ve had to do!
I have always felt quite uncomfortable photographing a person sitting before me in front of a static background, not only in my children’s creative portraits but in my Avant Garde Adult Portraiture too. I know how excruciating I myself find this, so why would I expect anyone else to feel comfortable with it?
So in my work I have always sought out the personality behind the pretty face and tried to inject that back into the image taken with a very alternative style of editing during post production.
The very essence of a child is to inquire, play, learn, ooze energy and to take in the world around them and all that it has to offer them – they are just small human beings after all, with a sponge like quality to soak up everything that is presented to them, which will form the adult they will become.
As someone who is going to produce an image for this child, an image that they are going to see themselves in; I feel some responsibility.
I want to produce an image for that child which is like a magic mirror. An image which instead of reflecting a person grinning back because the photographer told them to, or a picture of a child wearing the clothes that mum picked for them; I want them to see staring back an image which reflects all the magic and dreams which goes on in their creative little mind, the fantasies which they act out in play every day. I want to capture the absolute brilliance of childhood; the dreams, the hope, the ambitions and the love of all things magical… those days when you believed anything was possible in your life… the days before society kicked in and smashed the hell out of the things we thought were achievable once upon a time as a child.
In my studio children can be ANYTHING. Telling a child to sit down, look pretty and be quiet can have a detrimental effect, there is none of that when you come to me for a picture!
Hopefully when the children I have worked with look at their images in 20 years time, my greatest wish is that they are going to see the awesome kid they were, and be reminded of the magic of their childhood and not just see that dress that mum loved. (But you didn’t – not really!)
Here is the serious bit, the boring bit about why I do this….
Someone once said to me: ‘Big changes in society will only ever come from each of us individually making some small change in our own small way’….
We live in a society filled with people struggling with their personal appearance and body dysmorphia (myself included). When we log in to social media we are faced daily with a whole generation of teenagers worldwide obsessed with selfies, worried about how they look and worrying whether society will accept them because they are too fat, too thin, too ugly, and that they do not look how others would like them to.
Surely it is time to point out to these young impressionable people that yes it feels nice to look good and it is important to stay healthy, but really your appearance is just a superficial shell protecting the very essence of YOU the person, and not as important as the concoction of things which come together inside you which forms the person you have become.
Should a teen girl worry that she might not get a boyfriend because she doesn’t look like a porn star or her boobs aren’t big enough? Isn’t it time we started trying to teach our children from a very young age that how they look is not the most important thing in life, but actually confidence, self fulfillment, having ambition, being content and just being happy with the person you have become when you grow up is worth so much more?
We as parents, photographers, people who work with children, adults in general…. can make a change in how a small child sees themselves from a very young age.
Children can be ANYTHING with a little bit of confidence, a lot of hard work and the support, love and encouragement from the people around them. Left to explore their imagination and creativity, given the confidence to believe in themselves – armed with these tools, just maybe we would see a future generation of children that don’t battle with anorexia and bulimia, children who are not frightened to stand up for themselves, people who are not prepared to sit down, look pretty, and be quiet…. a future generation of people who are content and happy, now wouldn’t that be something?
For years I have struggled with both my own personal and professional identity… It has taken a lot of soul-searching to come to terms with the person I am.
I worry about my weight and health on a daily basis, and so I understand all the problems and anxieties which come with not looking the way society expects you to.
On a professional level too…. Am I a photographer or a digital artist?
Purist artists argue that having shot 300 weddings prior to starting my creative journey, and the fact that I started out learning the processes and filters I now use in Photoshop – in a dark room, and that the main image I work on is a photograph taken in a photographic studio….that I am a photographer. Purist photographers argue that my use of digital art and mixed media processes to achieve my final piece, makes me not a photographer but a digital artist or a retoucher. One thing is for certain, it has been a lonely place at times trying to stay true to the images that I believe I was meant to create, but it’s been worth hanging on in there because I am finally starting to see people looking at the images I create, and understanding the passion and ideas behind them.
There comes a time when you have to stop worrying about how you look to the outside world and be happy with the person that you are within!
I AM A PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTIST AND PROUD OF IT!
Filming this for Flickr has really made me take a good look at both myself and my work, and really made me analyze why I do what I do, and it’s simple;
I use the skills I have picked up over the years – since I myself was one of those children with loads of magical dreams, ideas and creativity, to now recognize those qualities in others.
Armed with the encouragement my mum gave me growing up and the support I now receive from a loving husband, family and friends; I make images of people that reflect the super kick ass person they really are!
I would like to think that if just one person looks at an image that I have created for them; and sees looking back at them a creation that reminds them of the person they REALLY are and a person they feel proud to be… then my job is done.
Thank you Yahoo and The Weekly Flickr for giving me the opportunity to get my message across in my own small way!
I am delighted to be able to confirm I have been selected to speak at Europe’s largest Photographic Convention in January 2015, at The London Hilton Metrapole. My talk will be aptly named: ‘PHOTOGRAPHY AS ART’ for further details about the Masterclass and to book, please CLICK HERE Hopefully see you there! Vicki :)
This month has been a good one for awards with the SWPP for me. Many thanks to the judges.
Last week my portrait of Robert Hall was the winner of the competition entitled ‘It’s in the Eyes’.
Today I can confirm I have been awarded a Gold Award for my image also of Bob, ‘The Complexities of Bubbles’!
This image is one taken from a collection of images I am working on at the moment which feature Macabre Men, Clowns and some other disturbing characters yet to be revealed!
Also this month I received an award for my Child Photography of a Miya wearing a beautiful princess dress.
And finally for my Avant Garde Portraiture another Highly Commended Award with another of the Macabre series of images – featuring model Shaun Rogers in the image ‘The Demise of Ronald McDonald’!
And here they are…..
Last month I entered 4 images in to the National Photographic Society Competitions and am delighted to confirm that for the first time ever 100% of my images submitted received an award!
My Gold Award was for ‘The Pearls of Summer’ featuring model Sharon Chapman. Highly Commended was awarded to my images of ‘Macabre Man’ featuring Doug at Permajet, ‘Sunlight’ featuring model Monika Haglundh and last but by no means least my image named ‘Dance’ featuring Amelie…. this image will be going up on the wall in the studio as it’s a favourite of mine!
Many thanks to the team at The NPS – thrilled to bits with these results!
Delighted to have receive Gold Awards for Digital Art and Pictorial/Fine Art this March for My images; ‘The Pearls of Summer’ – Featuring model Sharon Chapman and ‘Aquamarina’ – featuring model Alana Miller. I also received 3 Highly Commended awards for my Images, Skullage, Macabre Man and Penography. Many Thanks to the SWPP!
Delighted to receive a Gold Award for Digital Art with the Societies (SWPP) this month. I also received 3 Highly Commended awards in the Fashion, Beauty and Baby categories.
This is the first time I have entered these competitions for a while, and I have remembered just how much fun it is! Here is the image which received Gold, of model Ceris Ronan named ‘Glass Half Empty’.
After my decision to create another children’s book, and knowing what I wanted it to be about; I deciding the main characters and the superstars of this book had to be real children rather than models. I wanted real children, with real ambitions, real emotions, real problems and real qualities…. and so I decided to create a competition to find the right little people for the job! This book is about how the future generation (your children), are almost definitely going to be, the people we rely on to save the planet we are living on…. yes, tomorrows actual real life superhero’s!
Parents and friends were invited to comment and vote for individual children, and the comments played a huge part in helping me get a glimpse at what the child was like and what others thought of them!
When I set up this competition I anticipated maybe 50 people entering their children in to the competition, and I had planned to have 6 characters. To my amazement however we had over 3oo children enter, and with more and more applying I decided to cut the deadline short as my job of selecting 6 individuals was becoming near on impossible! During the development of the characters it was decided that there was a need for a further 2 super cool heros for the book…. we were now looking for 8!
So tonight all 8 children are selected.
I must tell you, I have agonized over choosing each and every one of these 8 characters! Night after night I have selected 20 children and then systematically thought through how each child might work best in the book, and as which character. Every child was considered for every part. Every child with their own winning qualities. It’s been very difficult but I am pleased with the final selection for the main characters.
I still feel that every child that was entered in to this competition is worthy of having a part in my book. And it is for that reason I made a monumental decision this week; for the 297 children who were runners up in my competition, I would like to invite you ALL to pose for a group photograph in the summer holidays which will be used in the story in the book…. every single one of the children who were entered in to my competition are now winners ….as you are all now invited to appear in the book! I will post details on my wall in the last week of June for all the parents who’s children took part, with details of this shoot, and if you would like your child to attend then simply message me with your child’s name and what number image they were in the competition and you will be given the shoot details.
So before I declare the final 8… the 8 up and coming superstars of my book, I would like to take this opportunity to say 2 more things…
Firstly, thank you all for showing this competition, my work and me so much continued support, I really do love my job. I’m always overwhelmed by how supportive and kind everyone is, and I really do mean it when I say THANK YOU.
Secondly, I just wanted to say congratulations to all you parents for raising these amazing little people. The comments I have read about these kids have literally made me laugh, made me cry and reminded me how wonderful being a parent is. We are all blessed, and with two grown up children of my own, this competition has pointed out to me that really the true winners/the lucky ones are us!
– I have been receiving lots of drawings of the characters from the children… keep them coming! We hope to publish some of them, and I love them all and am decorating part of the studio with them! x
Not so long ago a friend of mine, Mr Alistair Law (known to his friends as Larry) suggested that I held an exhibition of my work. He wanted me to show photographers how the medium of photography is developing, and how photography can be used to create art by introducing different genres of creativity such as drawing by hand and digital art to create a whole new genre of photography which we playfully referred to as ‘Penography’ – the collaboration of design and photography.
Yesterday was the first day of my very first exhibition, and sadly Larry who I had hoped would have been there with me, was not able to attend, as he sadly passed away in September of last year. Therefor I would like to dedicate my first exhibition to dearest Alistair ‘Larry’ Law.
I am pleased to report that yesterday was a rip-roaring success! After a few hiccups with the initial installation, and with help from Mum, Dylan and my dear friend Clare Whalley, we pulled it off and I really do think it looks FANTASTIC!
The exhibition is being held at Seale-Hayne in the Hannah’s exhibition rooms, and I could not have chosen a better venue quite frankly! Set in the countryside of Newton Abbot, this beautiful building hosts an array of other craft rooms selling items such as jewellery, the countries largest hydro pool and a great Bistro if you fancy something to eat! The grounds and building are stunningly beautiful alike, I would recommend everyone pay us a visit, if only to experience Hannahs!
This month I have experienced a lot of publicity worldwide for the Children’s photography shoots I do. With the Likes of ‘The Times’, The Daily Mail (SEE HERE!) taking an interest it seems my alternative approach to photographing children through play instead of making them sit, be quiet, and smile; has really taken off! The idea of the shoots are for children to explore their own ideas through play and dressing up, to then be captured in a final image which will capture their personality and aspirations whilst they are still young. Why make our children sit still, and look pretty, when we can capture their amazing personalities! Are we not just instilling the idea in our children from a young age by making them pose and look pretty, that what they look like for a photo is more important than just being themselves and having confidence in the way they want to act?
For anyone who wishes to book one of my children’s shoots, I am doing a special half price offer of only £75 (usually £150), for any parents who visit the exhibition and wish to book a shoot whilst they are there. Also on sale this month at the exhibition is my book of children’s portraiture, aptly named; ‘I Can Be Anything’ – a collaboration of poems written by the parents of the children featured and my images. A donation from each book sold is being donated to the children’s charity ‘Little Princess Trust’.
If you haven’t already been to see the exhibition, please come along. It will be running daily from 10-4pm right through January til the 31st of January, and if yesterday’s feedback is anything to go by, I think you are going to like it!
Great to see one of my Child Fantasy images of ‘Skater Boy’ Jake in the Times Newspaper today!
This is one of my favourites from the series featured in the book ‘I Can Be Anything!’ so it was a great surprise to open page 11 and see his beautiful little face staring back at me!!!
Check out this fantastic article in The Dailymail online this week, featuring several of my children’s portrait images… these will all be featured in my first Children’s Book being published in January called: ‘I Can Be Anything!’ and can be viewed at my Exhibition running from the 10th – 31st January 2015 at Hannahs, Seale Hayne, Newton Abbot.
Thank-You to all the fabulous children who took part, and all the parents who have been put to work on poems for the book!
I really appreciate the work and support, from each and every one of you!