Sunday, 3 May 2020
Lets get creative! A bit about me
I thought about writing a photography blog a few times but never got round to it. The time is right so here we go. A little bit about me before my first creative photography post.
I am 52 and live in Tyne and Wear. I was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, but have lived about half of my life in other areas around the UK, including about ten years in Middlesbrough and Stockton on Tees, plus about nine years around Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. I've settled back in Tyne and Wear and find myself living near the coast now, not far from Cullercoats/ Tynemouth/ North Shields. I am lucky enough to live near some stunning coastal scenery, a wonderful, vibrant city and not far from beautiful countryside, with lots of varied nature reserves all around me. I live with my partner Michael and have a 21 year old daughter living nearby.
I used to work as a nurse, ending my career on a high as a Rheumatology specialist nurse. Since then I worked part time in a specialist reptile shop and as editor for a reptile magazine. My career was cut short as I have M.E. which means that I tire easily, have very little energy and cannot walk far at present - I currently use a mobility scooter or wheelchair to get out. Im explaining how it affects me here as I have to adapt how I do photography. The M.E also affects my cognitive functioning, my memory, my ability to think things through, problem solve and causes brain fog. Other symptoms I experience are pain, cold hands and feet, difficulty regulating my temperature, sleep disturbances. I've had M.E. for 14 years, it does affect how I approach photography so its worth mentioning this now as I have had to adapt over the years in many ways. Some of these ways might be useful to other photographers now stuck at home under lock down, hence starting my blog now so that I can share many of the ways that I have adapted in my photography at home.
I have always been interested in art and crafts, from choosing art and pottery, plus the history of art as subjects at school, to continuing to draw and paint as an adult, resulting in being commissioned to produce some paintings. I also enjoyed cross stitch, embroidery, knitting complicated patterns, getting creative with home decorating - free style painting characters on my daughters bedroom walls etc, planning and creating gardens, designing tattoos, learning Photoshop and designing banners. In recent years I have designed and made jewellery - mostly with copper and polymer clay, as well as copper wall art - I have a strong interest in creating copper art and jewellery with patinas and plan to work on this further in time, although I have had take a break from making copper jewellery lately.
But as you can see I have always had a creative nature. Since delving into photography I discovered that I love creative portraiture and have been drawn to create portraits with a bit of a fantasy or historical element to them (think Vikings, witches, fairy tale characters etc). Not being able to afford to buy or hire costumes or head wear, I slowly created my own head wear and simple outfits and still do this now, although it can take me months to make one head wear - I love the process of planning and pulling everything together. I will go into this more in future blogs. I am lucky to have some wonderfully talented creatives amongst my friends who also produce outfits which I borrow.
I have consistently enjoyed taking photographs all my life, but didn't get into photography properly until I had M.E, I was given a camera as a present and decided to use manual settings only two weeks later. At this point I was spending most of my time at home, so chose to photograph flowers from my garden, my pets which were frogs, and reptiles from the shops my partner ran, as well as insects and nature when I could manage to walk to the countryside just ten minutes away.
Over the years I have tried most genres of photography and enjoy macro/close, landscapes, gigs and portraits more than anything else. But I like to get creative with these where I can. Obviously I cant do much in the way of landscapes when stuck at home with limited energy, and portraiture can be limited too, but I have found ways around this where I can plan ahead and shoot a portrait session in 25 minutes! at home.
I've had to stop shooting gigs whilst working on improving my health for now, but over the years Ive been lucky in getting photo passes to photograph two out of three of my favourite bands. So I am mainly producing macro and close up images with the occasional bit of portraiture, although that has had to stop due to lock down.
Im hoping this little bit of background story will give you a fuller picture of me and explain some of the reasons why I do what I do.
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