Every year I shoot one or two BW rolls. Here’s a few old BW motion picture 35mm photographs.
Suggesting the feature to lovely Frances at Oh Comely was made on a whim after I shared a bottle of red wine with my friends Nemone and Fleur - both of whom nudged me to do it. I’m a fan of Kathryn’s and thought she’d be perfect for the magazine. Luckily, they all agreed and I found myself collaborating with writer Jessica Furseth ( you can read her feature here). I’ve known Jessica for a few years and I thoroughly enjoyed reading her piece and found parts of it relatable. “At 43, you could call Joseph a late bloomer, except that she’s always been making music – just, you know, for herself”. I feel this way sometimes about my own work. It also reminds me of a recent comment by a man who said all of his favourite photographers were women in the 40s plus who were mothers. He couldn’t understand why they were overlooked in the bid to find the next hot young thing. Parental status aside, age affords plenty of stories.
As for the photographs of Kathryn, I prefer to shoot in natural light but I knew ahead of time that we’d be doing these pictures at night. The only option I had was to shoot on cinestill 800 and find whatever light was available. Lit stairways, light bouncing through windows and a bright bathroom.
Kathryn is currently on tour in the UK.
I’ve come to look forward to my annual year in review. I’m not much of a blogger but the odd scraps I write up here are getting a bit better. My website has had a little face-lift too with the addition of a ‘places’ section and a general tidy up.
Last year I wrote that I’d be scaling things back in 2018 which is funny now that I think about it. I’ve packed in more this year than I ever have before. I knew I had to focus on other things, but the universe didn’t really agree with those plans.
Some of the things I’ve been up to, in no particular order…
I exhibited six times. Four times with Shutter Hub (The Shutter Hub Open at 5&33 in Amsterdam and Truman Brewey in London, Because We Can at Festival Pil’ours in France and Girl Town Tel Aviv, at Alfred Gallery in Tel Aviv), a co-headline exhibition called Dino Island and The Lake with Nik Strangelove and at the British Museum Staff Art Show. I was also featured at FIX Photo Festival at Menier Gallery
I moved house and couldn’t stop photographing it
I was 2nd in the judges vote for Women of the Year at FIX Photo Festival
I went to Italy to do a little photography work, and onto Zurich after that to photograph a party
Lomography gave me a Diana 120 to test
I pitched an idea to a magazine, they said yes, and it’ll be published in February 2019.
I’ve just finished working on something with Stylus Boy
I was fortunate to be on the long list of nomations for the Hundred Heroines
One of the non-photography projects I’ve worked on this year has been a pre-requisite for getting to the next stage of something really huge. I’ve gone back chronologically and written, in great detail, about every significant moment in my life and how it made me feel. Doing this kind of work would feel really self-indulgent if not for the fact that someone, in a very professional capacity, needed me to do it. This coincided with winning a place on a cross-boundary leadership programme. If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, I can assure you that I didn’t think it would be mine either. Both of these non-photography related things have been really magical in ways that I hadn’t expected. 2017 closed a few doors for me, but this year they swung back open again.
There are a couple of things in my notebook for 2019. Let’s see what happens.
Shutter Hub Open, part of Photomonth East London
It’s difficult to put into words how brilliant the Shutter Hub Open was to work on. 220 images from 150 photographers from all over the world - that’s many hours of organising, publicising, and hanging work - at the Truman Brewery off Brick Lane in London. It was also wonderful to meet so many great photographers and listen to the stories behind the photographs. My image was of Emma Watson on the London tube as she was #waitingforthecall. An exhausting but incredible week.
Out of the Ordinary, Bridewell Theatre
It was straight from Truman Brewery to Bridewell Theatre in the blink of an eye. Karen at Shutter Hub asked me to curate a Shutter Hub show, from concept to selection. I was grateful and thrilled to be asked. The selection process wasn’t easy, with photographers Christopher Bird, Phillipa Bloom, Matt Dever, Mieke Douglas, Anna Harrison, Pippa Healy, Simon Isaac, Ray Knox, Janet Lees, Anneleen Lindsay, Ioana Marinca, Lisa Mitchell, Natalie Paetzold, Clare Park, Ann Petruckevitch, Tina Reid, Barry Reid, Jo Stapleton, Marianne van Loo, Stephen Williams making the cut. The installation of the show went smoothly with a busy (Monday!) opening that evening.
Staff Art Show, British Museum
My next show is in gallery 5 of the British Museum. I cannot wait to see the selection and installation. Pictures to follow.
Recently I was on a train bound for a northern city in Italy . People were boarding like they were on a Ryan Air flight, desperate to cram their suitcases into whatever space they could. They stood in the aisles and muttered to one another in tense and tired tones. At one stage the train stopped inside a long, dark tunnel and the lights went out. Heat began to rise and I forced myself to take deeper, slower breathes. The train would start moving again and the lights would come on soon, surely.
By this point I’d been in Italy for 6 days. It may have been September but the heat was still pounding the low 30s and I’d been bitten by mosquitos almost 50 times. On day 3 I had started to sleep more soundly than I had for a while. It was probably all the cycling I’d been doing through Tuscany. It was as idylic as it sounds and worth every mosquito bite.
I’d been out of sorts for a few weeks. Books, music, gardening and walking were not really helping. During the tense, dark moment on the train I had just about enough time to have a stern word with myself. What was wrong with me? <edit a month later: I figured out what was wrong but that’s a whole other adventure>.
A year ago I decided I really wanted to go to Norway but for some reason found myself in Italy. This, of course, was no hardship. I casually discussed Italy with an Italian colleague and then found myself going to her neck of the Tuscan woods, doing photography work at an Air B&B in Torre del Lago. A later blog post on that will follow.
I don’t normally travel with my heavier camera gear but this gave me a good reason. I had a job to do. I could take as many pictures as I wanted of the apartment, Torre del Lago and the places I visited from that base including Lucca and Florence. I also traveled up to Como via Milan and then onto Zurich to celebrate another landmark birthday (and to photograph that too). This was a lot of travel so I packed lightly and made sure I could cycle with my camera gear.
All was well until I lost my Olympus Pen EE-2, gifted only two weeks before on my birthday. Foolishly it had dangled from my handlebar. Foolishly I had only shot one roll through it. I was so angry with myself and didn’t talk for hours.
I took around 850 photographs on my trip. I was surprised to take so many. There are around a roll of film’s worth of photographs I’d like to keep, but the rest don’t really do very much for me. I found myself pining for film the entire time, wishing I’d packed differently and mourning the loss of my Olympus Pen EE-2 hard.
When I finally came back from my trip (with the mandatory flu caught on the plane home, which I still have 2 weeks later), I found myself back in waiting rooms with surgeons deciding what they’re going to do to me. There will be a bit more of that going on it seems. I am not fed up, nor do I have post-holiday blues, but it’s been an interesting time of reflection. A lot of clearing out.
There’s a lot of good stuff though. More writing, books through the post (thank you Hannah!), trees through the post (I love you CB), a friend on my doorstep with a plant and in need of a cuppa. And a staggering evening watching Kathryn Joseph. We hugged, chatted a little, she made me blush and wrote me a love note. A perfectly timed tonic.
There is also the fact I am helping out and taking part with the Shutter Hub Open at Truman Brewery for East London International Photography Festival which is going to be brilliant. I’m exhibiting at the British Museum staff art show and I am curating something for Shutter Hub at Bridewell Theatre. I am ridiculously excited about that. More posts about this soon.
I often blog on a bank holiday. There's nothing sweeter than a cosy bank holiday when you feel like you've earned a day to be lazy. This is the first day I've truly stopped moving for months.
Fantastic Plastic: In exciting news, Lomography have given me a Diana F+ camera to use and take pictures with! I am really thrilled to be asked. The greatest thing about this is that I've managed to get through two 'vintage' Dianas in the last 15 years (Ebay and vintage shop finds) but this Lomography one is slightly more robust and has a flash. It's been raining almost every day since it arrived so it may have to come to Italy with me in a few weeks.
Not Fantastic Plastic: I've published a new series called 1000 years. I began taking pictures of helium balloons trapped in trees after their majestic prime. It's slowly growing to include other plastic items which end up becoming intertwined (un)comfortably with nature. Where possible I've picking them up and keeping them in my shed. It's amazing where you'll find balloons. A couple of times recently I've watched them fall slowly and aimlessly down from the sky. This happened on Friday night. It's lucky when humans are around to pick them up. Not so lucky for livestock and the rivers and oceans out there.
I've spent a lot of time in greenhouses and gardens lately so here's a bunch of pictures of the hottest summer in a long time. I took most of these on cinestill film. Autumn now please!
So much has happened in my life during the last six months. I've been more London based than ever, in part due to a big house move (I've inherited 28 roses bushes), but I managed to squeeze in a magical break in the Isle of Arran and quick jaunts to York and Southend. Arran was a truly picture perfect place, though I was blown over by the wind as I tried to descend a cliff side path on a mountain. Things like this always happen to me. Thankfully I put my camera away just before it happened.
For the last couple of years I've been taking pictures of my mum on her journey through vision loss. Last week her specialists admitted that 'she came to them too late'. Her mission to save some vision was thwarted by a blood clot the size of her entire lung - they said it massive, they meant it. I'm not quite ready to publish the pictures yet because I thought she'd have a happier ending, but I'll get there.
In contrast, I've come to the end of my own years-long-hanging-around-in-waiting-rooms which is like having a chain cut off my neck. When I look at the pictures I've been taking, I wonder if they're better because they have more depth to them but to be honest, I'm happiest taking pictures of a wet landscape and blooms on a blissful morning. It's not difficult to understand why when photography is your true escape.
Some good news... I'm exhibiting with Shutter Hub in a show called Because We Can at Festival Pil’ours, Saint Gilles Croix de Vie in France. That is going to be wonderful. Shutter Hub are wonderful.
Here's a few of the pictures I've taken..
I blogged a little bit last year about how I found myself gravitating towards water, and in particular Crystal Palace lake which is a local London Victorian charm. The lake and the spaces around it served as an antidote to the noise and bustle of central London. I'm now showing some of these pictures alongside Nik Strangelove from February 23rd at The Douglas Fir in London.
Entitled Dino Island (Nik's bit) and The Lake (my bit), my photographs are from two separate series which explore the healing properties of water and the positive impact of nature during periods of personal metamorphosis. I met Nik through making these photographs. It was that classic tale of discovering someone on Instagram who is also interested in local landmarks.
Nik's work is a collection of photographs of the dinosaurs that live in Crystal Palace Park, that were created in 1854 as part of the Crystal Palace Exhibition. These prehistoric park dwelling friends are in danger of crumbling into extinction all over again. Working in partnership with the Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs Nik gained exclusive access to Dino Island to photograph the dinosaurs, in a bid to help with fundraising efforts for their conservation.
Come and join us this Friday. It's up for 6 weeks!