A love letter by Laura Ward

I got a handwritten letter recently. Not a card, but a letter, and it wasn’t from my mother-in-law who often writes very thoughtful letters. It wasn’t a love letter either but one filled with gratitude reminding me that in the occasional drudgery of business making-decisions, you can make truly worthwhile ones. Decision making can be a mystical maze of wrong-turnings and occasional dead-ends.

Business aside, when it comes to projects I decided to try a few things out. Approach that person I’ve admired for a while. Do a talk about my work (inspired by my womb) to a small mostly-male audience. Say yes to small publishing projects. Say hells-yes to taking projects overseas. Be honest, even if people don’t like it. Review practically everything else to see what I don’t have time for, including relatively noxious things that float my way simply by the wind changing course. There are fewer dead-ends here.

Current photos: went to Sheffield for the weekend and ventured to Wales again.

Talking about yourself by Laura Ward

I've been keeping myself busy since the beginning of the year. I hear a lot of people telling me to make more time for doing nothing, like it's better for the soul. In my case, it's not. I'd always rather be doing something rather than nothing. Some of these somethings are developing into exciting ventures.

One of my new roles is Project Manager for Shutter Hub (I totally L-O-V-E that team). One afternoon in early February I had the opportunity to address a room of aspiring photographers at a workshop run by Accumul8. Their mission is to empower young, homeless people through creativity. I talked about my journey and approach to photography, and how my camera is my tool, my weapon, my voice and occasionally my therapist. Afterwards I spent some time with one of students who couldn't believe we had so much in common. 

The most refreshing thing about the afternoon was the lack of assumptions anyone made about me which is what I had feared the most. I walked away feeling empowered by the process of sharing advice, tips, fears, ideas and how I measure success. People listened and made notes. I'm very grateful to both Shutter Hub and Accumul8 for giving me that platform and for allowing me to listen to them too. 

It's helpful to spend a chunk of time thinking about your motivations, your work and the narrative behind the pictures you take. Sometimes it pays off to be honest about the stories to tell and the reason we pick up a camera or paintbrush or pencil or guitar. I've often found myself editing or deleting blog posts that tread onto the fringes of personal content. Recently a good photographer friend Ted told me 'if it's not personal, why bother?'. He's right. So right. My most recent projects have helped me heal, forced me to get outside of my comfortable zone and in turn, made me feel much better about my place in the world. The most immediate thing in my gift to change is where I put my energy, which projects I'll focus on and who I want to invest time in. It's my food for thought this year.

Here are a few pictures from my local park this winter.  I can't get enough of Crystal Palace when it's cold.



2016 photography review by Laura Ward

I had every intention to blog more in 2016. I prefer this space to wordpress even though very few venture here to read my words. That's OK. We're living in a world of likes and hearts and broadcasts via Twitter and Facebook these days.

I know it's been a difficult year for a lot of people, for countries, for the environment, for communities. The latter half of my own 2016 has been <insert very bad words>. I am not going to blog about that but I've found it incredibly easy to keep on taking photographs. 

There is plenty that I haven't blogged about which has been really, really, really exciting and good and cathartic and creative. Plenty of excursions - sometimes with only a tent, a camera and a willing companion. Exhibitions in Cambridge and London (one of which is due to head to Tel Aviv next year thanks to the force for good which is Shutterhub and Karen Harvey). There have been photography shows and conversations I can't stop thinking about. I've collaborated with Margaret Clift McNulty on a small project that I want to share in the new year.  Effra FC hosted its inaugural 'in conversation with..' event which was so inspiring. I'm looking forward to it being my turn in early 2017 where I'll be in conversation with David Viramati Sampson. I'm grateful for the support and warm words of so many people. Am I gushing? Maybe. These are darker days and it feels important to be grateful.

Here are my favourites (the ones I can share) from the year shot on film, digital and phone.  This is the first year I seem to have swapped musicians for trees.

Go here for 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.


Shutter Hub by Laura Ward


I am excited to be showing a bit of work in Cambridge next month with the awesome Shutter Hub. Not only has it felt really easy (they're so organised - I love them) but my prints look great and nearby family get to come along to the private view.

I'm grateful to them for showing me in two venues - Hot Numbers and Stir.

For more information on the full Shutter Hub Open programme, follow this link. Events, workshops, exhibitions, conversations etc.

<edit: I later won 2nd place for best in show. Thank you!>





Fast Forward: Women in Photography by Laura Ward

Last week I took over the 'Fast Forward: Women In Photo' Instagram account with photographers Maria Baoli and Shelia Zhao. Fast Forward is designed to promote and engage with women in photography across the globe which is resolved at a Tate Modern conference.

We explored the theme of 'extraordinary ordinary'. My contributions to the week are here below in order of posting.

I took this photo in central London, on one of its busiest shopping streets, as I was waiting 30 minutes for someone.

This pinhole photograph of an ocean wave was taken last year.

I selected this photo by photographer Jo Underhill. Jo enjoys exploring and documenting the built environment with a focus on light, material, detail and how people interact with spaces.

This picture is taken from an unpublished series of photographs about an unremarkable looking neighbourhood of my childhood. My 2014 exploration of the physical spaces of childhood was a departure in style, but influenced a significant shift in my outlook towards the present. I now embrace a more mindful approach to photography. 'Letting go' has transcended beyond creativity into an empowering mechanism to cope with personal turmoil.

This wall was sprayed with bullets by the IRA during their terrorism campaign of the '80s. I passed this on my school route and the threat of terror was a daily reality. Seeing the patched up wall in 2014 had a profound impact on me.

I shot this in a fleeting moment during a ground level shot of a small pony in Wales. Its mother trotted into protective view as I took it. This, combined with an accidental double exposure, produced something magical. On this trip I'd witnessed distressing cruelty to horses and ponies suffering obvious signs of neglect. This moment was uplifting.

Lights from Piccadilly, London.