Thoughts on Learning to Breathe and Finding Joy.
This morning my shoulder is all frozen up and I feel like I have a drill in my head. The silent scream of pain. I have a cure, my lunch time yoga class will change my body again. This is why I need at least three classes a week. Amanda Riley (see photos) has a holistic approach and designs adaptations for me, Libby is my Thursday fix, on Wednesdays it is my inner hippy at One Yoga’s Spiritual Warrior and some times I dip into Lorna, Dana or the great Andrea Everingham. Chorlton huh! Where I’m told is is fashionable to wear yoga pants all day!
Who else out there suffers chronic pain? When something in the body breaks and it takes more than an excellent surgeon to heal you? When trauma is trapped it has to be released, not once but to practise everyday. Did you find wonderful teachers or a yoga guru? The jivamukti mantra is “let go” and I think this is why I am drawn to it.
I’m a photographer and I do not suffer from pain when shooting! I find the joy in my flow when I watch people, waiting for the moment, opening my heart and exhaling.
Portrait of Britain
Get Your Phone Out!
1. Don’t say CHEESE. I’m not a fan of the cheesy smile, it looks a bit fake. So try asking your child to look into the camera calmly and let you see into their eyes!
2. Crack a joke. I love the way children look when they belly laugh. They are not self conscious and this is true joy. Go with it even if they get a bit rude!
3. Finding the light. I’m a bit (totally) obsessed about light, I like a certain type and I ruthlessly seek it out. Here is an easy tip for you- put your back to the sun or window light. This way the child is lit evenly. Unless you want to get arty and faff around like me! Better to focus on the kid not the technical stuff.
4. Capture the personality of your child. We often feel the need to make every photo a “jolly” one. What about the other emotions like the thoughtfulness or concentration when they are reading or drawing? Your kid has lots of faces that reflect who they really are.
5. Lights -Camera- Action. Last week I went outside with my daughter when she was playing sports. Galloping on a horse. So how do you avoid the blurry Dad shot?
( Sorry Dads - but Dads always ask me this not Mums). You need a fast shutter speed. Your phone camera will do this more easily if you avoid using the zoom ( walk in) and put the sun behind you, even on a cloudy day.
If you need help you can post an image and I will give you one to one coaching for free.
My focus this year is photographing the daily life of families. I want to see what ordinary life looks like and have set myself the challenge of creating art out of the chaos of everyday life. Plus I get to play with fabulous parents and their splendid children! So most of my work will be capturing the moments that tell your stories and finding the light I obsess about.
I have decided to work on my art based family project too, and this ties in with my commercial work. It is actually a kind of relief to know that I must work over and over on one thing until I have work worthy of winning something big - okay you know I’m ambitious and I want my work to be art - but why would you pay for the mediocre? You want to know that I shot the moments that will bring a tear when you look back. I am trying to revive the family photo album. I worry that all we have is digital and what happens if we loose it?
On Mother’s Day I saw many posts on Facebook about Mum’s and lots of old photos. I love digital but there is something so poignant about those old phots that I have of my Gran and she looks glamorous and fun. I’m not sure I remember enough of her without the print in my hand. When I hold the phots I remember her scent and the tone and rhythm of her voice. I want to make books for the families I shoot. Or ribboned boxes of prints.
Below is a poem by Yeats. I love his work. He wrote this for a woman but it could be a poem for all of the people we love who grow old with us. When he writes “book” I think of a photo book. Enjoy!
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.