Open Studio event

It’s been a while since my last blog post, but I haven’t been idle. Among the many projects on the go, this coming week sees me participating in Surrey Artists’ Open Studios for the first time. Together with my friend, Jenifer Bunnett, I am opening my studio to the public. The Open Studios project offers the public access to artists and makers by visiting studios, meeting artists and makers, browsing completed works and learning about their method and work in progress.  Our first open day is tomorrow, Sunday 5th June, and our studio is ready and waiting.  In addition to sharing our printed work, there’s a slideshow of other photographs, a demonstration of the on-camera filter system we both use, and drinks and homemade cake served in my courtyard garden (weather permitting!).  If you are able to make it, you will be very welcome. Dates and opening times in the flyer below.

SAOS flyer

Focused Moments, the exhibition

A5 flyer side 1

It is a year and 5 exhibitions since I decided to shift the focus of my photography towards the fine art side of things.  This time last year I was exhibiting a series of Surrey landscapes in a joint exhibition with my shooting buddy, Jenifer Bunnett, at The Lightbox in Woking. Then, in March, we showed some of the images from that exhibition alongside new local landscapes in ‘A Certain Slant of Light’ at the Guildford Institute. In August, I hung a panel in ‘Light on the Land’ at the Mall Galleries, and in September, five black and white pictures in ‘Mistresses of Light’ at the Oxo Tower.  It was a lot of work, and the learning curve was steep, but it was also great fun.  However, the climax of all this has to be my first solo exhibition, ‘Focused Moments’, currently showing at Arté Gallery in Weybridge.

exhibition bio

I needed a lot of images for this exhibition and I wanted to make sure I could offer something for all budgets and also remain true to my own style.  I must have spent a small fortune (I daren’t add it up!) trying different papers and framing options.  In the end, I went with three fine art papers in simple black frames and a few prints on aluminium.  I also decided to have two special books made for visitors to browse.  On the advice of the gallery owners, I have made these available as limited editions, and they seem to be going down well.

arte exhibition space

There is something really rewarding about filling a gallery. I have hung 60 images of which most are new pictures, taken in the last year, but there are some going back as far as 2009.  When planning the hanging in this intriguing space with several different surfaces, it helped to create groups of images that worked together and then it was relatively easy to decide the order of the groups so that the exhibition flowed.  I say easy – it still took us two full days to finish hanging the show!

arte exhibition pv

Of course, there had to be a party.  Many thanks to local lettings agents, Martin & Wheatley for sponsoring the opening.  In a bout of last-minute nerves, I worried that no-one would come, but I needn’t have fretted. In the end, the event was buzzing, and we sold seven prints and two of my limited edition books during the course of the evening. Phew!

PV

I think it’s important to be present at an exhibition as much as possible; people like to be able to talk to the exhibitor.  I have had many interesting conversations at the gallery this week, some with old friends and some with new. And today I got to show my Dad around, which was really special.

arte 1

If you have ever thought of trying something like this, I heartily recommend it.  The experience has been amazing – exhausting, but amazing.  It’s nice to sell, but even if I had sold nothing, it would still have been worth it.  Many thanks to Mike and Sally at Arté Gallery for allowing me to bring my work into their lovely space, to my friend, Sam, for all the fetching, carrying and coffee and to my daughter, Maggie, for her excellent work as server and photographer at the private view.  I couldn’t have done it without you!

Curlicue

Norfolk

Just before I started photographing the seals featured here a couple of days ago, I couldn’t resist capturing a few frames of the gentle dawn light.  As before, this is Horsey beach in Norfolk. A two-second exposure captured the shapes made by the surf.

I have been promising a post about shutter speeds and waves. It is still in the pipeline but it’s been busy week! This afternoon alone I have fielded three enquiries for images, all expecting me to provide them without charge in return for the ‘honour’ of attributing my picture to me. I know, the internet is full of photographers whinging about being asked to give images free. I do try to remain stoical, but I must admit it is a little irritating sometimes.

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On a lighter note, here are some more 365 images.  365/54 is from 2009.  I was walking with one of my greatest friends on Puttenham Common.  The light was very ordinary but I snapped a shot and had a go at improving it in editing. It was useful experience at least and, in accordance with my 365 redux pledge, I have re-edited before sharing it again now.  I chose it because it seems to be the only picture I have taken on 23rd February in any year since 2009 and because, coincidentally, I was out walking with the very same friend again on 23rd Feb this week.  One of the interesting and unexpected things about this project so far has been finding connections and coincidences across the years.

Surrey landscape

365/54

365/55 and 56 are from 2014.  55 is another watery local landscape during the flooding of winter 2014. 56 is Farncombe Boathouse on the River Wey Navigation near Godalming.

Surrey

365/55

Surrey landscape

365/66

Inundation

Surrey floods 2014

 

This time last year, my local area was affected by unusually heavy flooding. The Thames burst its banks on a scale we hadn’t seen since 1947. I captured as much of it as I could, fascinated by the changed landscape. My 365/40 and 41 are images not previously shared here, of Walton Quay (41) and the Thames towpath between Molesey and Hampton Court (40).

Surrey floods

365/41

Flooding at Hampton Court

365/40

Surrey floods 2014

365/40

I had to include one more picture, even though it has appeared on Focused Moments before. This last image, snapped as the flood water came rushing in, was the closest I have come to having an image go ‘viral’ on social media. It was shared 450 times on Facebook alone with views well into 5 figures. The view seems innocuous enough but to people who know the area, it was a unique sight.

Surrey floods 2014

Birch and pine

Surrey landscape

I thought I’d share some more pictures from my walk in our short-lived snow, on Tuesday morning.

Surrey landscape

No canoeing today!

Chatley Heath is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and it is managed as a nature reserve by Surrey Wildlife Trust.

Surrey landscape

Birch and pine

In its efforts to restore Surrey’s lost heathland, important habitat for several species at risk, the Trust has to do battle with birch and scots pine, the county’s dominant trees.

Surrey landscape

They self seed freely in the sandy soil.  I have to say, however that they do look well together under a dusting of fresh snow.

Surrey landscape

I did find a few beech trees too, some still hanging onto autumn foliage.  And one or two venerable oaks.

Surrey landscape

My 365 is from this day in 2009.  I foolishly let on to my daughter’s headmistress that I took photos.  Next thing I knew I was doing all the photography for the school’s new prospectus.  It was a challenge for me, especially as at that time I had only a very entry level DSLR with lousy noise levels at ISOs above 400, no flash and little experience.  But I enjoyed every minute of it.  This image is from my first shoot at the school.

running

365/36

Snow, reflections and the English winter

Surrey landscape

f/7.1, 1/40, 35mm, ISO 400

Another shot from yesterday’s foray into the snowy landscape.  The snow is gone now; it doesn’t last long here.  Back to grey and wet today, but it was fun while it lasted.  Looking back to this day last year for my 365 redux project, I found images of golden light and blue skies.  This little island is known for its variable climate; discussing the weather is practically a national sport.  Last year we had one of the wettest winters since records began and nary a single flake of snow.

reflections in canal

365/35