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Something went missing …

Most of us have something that forms a central core in terms of personal interest in an attempt to manage a work/life balance. Taking time to pursue these family/friends/pastimes/hobbies/sports/etc (Choose the one that most meets your expectations, or supplement with something more appropriate)  forms a big part in our ability to recharge out batteries.

Unfortunately for many, the balance is often weighted heavily toward work. Maybe a balance, or ‘see-saw’ is not an appropriate metaphor. An apple my provide a better example. ‘Work’ often consumes all the fresh juicy  flesh. ‘Life’ becomes to resemble the core – trying to nibble at the last remnants of the succulent flesh before it finally turns black and and becomes inedible. Or at the least, far less inviting.

That is how I found myself recently. All my energy and time carrying out my paid duties and that time remaining dealing with government and legal bureaucracy to continue to live and work in a country that feels more and more like ‘home’. I am fortunate. I enjoy my work. But it does come at a price. Very little time for me to be, well, just ‘me’.

A brief spell of reflection was needed. Unfortunately it took a small spell of illness to kick that retrospection into action. A sure sign that my ‘balance’ was out of kilter. So, what was missing? How can I ensure I save some of the good apple flesh and the resulting energy for me, an not struggle with the mouldering core to recharge the batteries.

I looked back through some of my images, and the resultant experiences. What I noticed was how certain images sparked memories of the times and the people when the images were created. The interactions. The emotions. The weather. The thought provocation. The images, for me, were part of ‘the moment’, not as others may see as ‘capturing the moment’.

Recalling the creation of the following images was as much about how I felt at the time, and how they remind me to feel now. I don’t see photography as an ‘activity’ with an end result of ‘an image’. I recognise that the camera becomes a tool for me to interact with others, immerse myself in the environment, problem solve situations – lighting, weather, connecting with people to create an image, and so on, and so on.

For me to recharge my batteries for my work life I need to make time to ‘feed the rat’ – an expression Mo Anthoine used to describe the need to climb in mountains. The solution is to make time to get out, even for 30 minutes, and engage with the world with my camera.

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Fiona wrapped up against the German winter, indoors, consumed by a particular book. As always, great times for me in Nuremberg, particularly the breakfasts.

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Louise modelling on my first TPS photography workshop. An annual event that I do my utmost to attend. Great people – great learning. And where I met one of the most amazing people in my life so far – Tim Hoy.

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Although short lived, I tried to go up to people in the streets of South East London and create a portrait every day, for a year. I only managed 4 weeks, but learned so much in how to forget my inhibitions and just approach people, complete strangers.

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Probably my favourite form of photography – The Candid Portrait.
Watching and choosing the right moment to press the shutter to show an essence of the person. It also reflects on situations that attract my attention.

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Emma needed some images for her acting portfolio. It was great just to ‘goof’ about and see what images we could create between us.

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A real character, Murph was the local ‘lovable rogue’ where I lived on the Essex/London border. You were never quite sure what situation you would end up when in his company, but you could guarantee it provide wonderful ‘pub fodder’!

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Another from Tim Hoy’s annual photo workshops.
Another major learning session.

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Professional commissions also get you into areas the public wouldn’t usually have access to. This was the O2 Arena. Not sure this image was ever used, but it reminds me of trying to view an event to get images an audience would want to see – what they would expect, but with a slight twist – something they wouldn’t necessarily think of taking themselves. But it also provides wonderful material for me looking for ‘visual humour’.

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And then there is getting the right moment!
Same O2 event.

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The juxtaposition of elements in an image appeals to my humour.
This 16th Century re-enactment actor with the latest TV set still makes me smile.

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It was the dachshund in pink over coat that attracted my attention. And I spent 30 minutes just chatting with this couple in the bitter winter cold. And they were a really engaging couple. The dachshund just waited patiently. Probably thinking ‘Not just pink, but Bright pink! Why???’

1 Comment »

  1. When I look back over any previous year as one does near new years eve, it’s easy to remember the bad bits – the dear friends we’ve lost to cancer or heart attacks, redundancies, suspensions, unsuccessful industrial action, austerity, house repossessions, wars, torture, genocide – all stuff going on every day around the world. You’re absolutely right about perspective in this as it’s a timely reminder of how well off I am compared to so many other human beings. My photos of the year however reflect mainly celebrations – weddings, family portraits, life events, gigs. I don’t know whether I try to capture the moment or just record faces and events that mean something to me when I’m not being paid to do the work, but the photographic review of the year is always far more upbeat than the one the news channels put out. Our annual training days you refer to are only a success because of the calibre of the people who turn up and make them so with their talent and good wit. At risk of labouring the point – the best is yet to come melovely..

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