Let me introduce you to the blog circle of wonderful women I’ll be linking up with this year. I took a trip to Venice with some of these talented girls in the autumn; there are still more who I’ve only met online. We live in different parts of the UK, Europe and worldwide (hence the ‘Ineffable Wanderlust’). All of us are passionate and experienced photographers – for some it’s our job; for others, another string to their busy bow. But I know you’ll enjoy seeing different parts of the world through their eyes, and you might get to know me a bit better through seeing my locality, loves and life.
We wanted to give our creativity a bit of a kick with a challenge based on evocative, unusual words. This month’s theme was roughly (and speaking for myself, really very loosely) based around Light and the word chosen was Luminescence. Goodness me, I need the light at this time of year. The meaning of Luminescence is slightly different, given that it’s the sort of light given off by a chemical reaction or an organism, so I hope you’ll forgive me for the liberties I’ve taken with the theme! Battling the old winter viruses meant that I didn’t get out and about in the really beautiful cold weather as much as I’d planned. Here goes – you’ll find a link to visit the next photographer’s set of images at the end of the post, and follow it on from there. It’s a bit like a non-dodgy, rather lovely chain letter!
WINTER. It has been so cold that you can see your breath, but brightly coloured leaves glowing with a hoar-frost-outline more than made up for it.
More glow – icy beads tracing the outlines like a spotlight. I hope the spider found a warm place to hide…
I spent a couple of days in London to attend a photography convention, hearing an inspiring speaker and then seeking out the best new products and equipment at a photographic trade show. January makes for really short hours of daylight, but I liked the neon café sign in the restaurant window. In the morning, the sun rose across Hyde Park and hit the hotel bedroom’s net curtains with gentle ripples of sunlight – if you squint it looks like straight lines of tree trunks, just like an echo of the park beyond. (iPhone images)
Setting off. Hands up if you remember the momentous point in Live Aid when this soundtrack played over the distressing footage of the Ethiopian famine? The song instantly transports me back to that moment – I think for many people, it was like a light switched on and we understood, and wept, and collectively rose to action. I wonder if, in the intervening years, we’ve become immune to human tragedy and genuine selfless compassion? Goodness knows we need that awareness more than ever.
Freezing fog. Utterly entrancing. Genuinely hair-raising to have to drive in! I really loved the dim and unearthly glow it gave to the world.
A Christmas present, and possibly the most beautiful bottle in the world – I spent a good long time studying the light through the illustrations on Silent Pool Gin, distilled just down the road in Albury.
In January, we had a birthday boy – sadly after all these years I’ve not learnt that a dusting of cocoa powder on top of a cake where candles will be blown, is a really. bad. idea.
So this is Guildford High Street, the town where I live, and on more than a few days in January we were treated to some delicious winter light.
I went for a visit to one of my favourite local places, Watts Gallery in Compton – little shafts of light and shadow are my favourites; a cloisters like this is just perfect on a sunny day.
The Watts Cemetery Chapel – such a gem in the local area. It’s an extraordinary Arts & Crafts design, based on artist Mary Watts’ vision for “the loving memory of all who find rest near its walls, and for the comfort and help of those to whom the sorrow of separation remains“. Built during 1985-98, not only astonishingly beautiful on the inside, but the work of a female artist and visionary, alongside the community of villagers she taught artistic skills to. We’re so lucky to have this in the local area – once your eyes adjust (and it’s quite dimly lit inside) it has the most uplifting glow to it.
I love wood carving and the fact you can see the chisel marks made by hand, not a machine, somehow connecting you to that person… The light was falling beautifully on these.
Here’s my middle one signing the visitors’ book – she was so taken with the chapel, it’s quite hypnotically calming.
Just such beautiful handiwork with gentle light leaking in and kissing the details.
Inside the Watts Gallery at the moment there is an exhibition by local Compton artist Mary Wondrausch. Clearly it was in the planning for a while but Mary died on Boxing Day, aged 93. Every single piece of her artwork was sold and marked by a red dot. It has such a light and luminous quality to it, with a clear sense of fun. She takes collage pieces, painting her vibrant gouache over the top, making still life studies of the everyday and turning them into something out of the ordinary. By all accounts she was quite a character, and her work really shows that. My 13-year-old was so inspired that she came home and created a piece of her own artwork in the same style.
In the winter months I’m often taking care of the ‘business’ side of things, and not so much out taking photographs. I like to feed my creativity in new and different ways instead; before Christmas I learned needle-felting and made a little reindeer at Ardington School of Crafts. This month I’ve started crocheting a blanket with Attic 24; made a fat cat ornament with The Portable Pottery Company; and went on an introduction to mark-making in linocut course at Ochre Print Studio in Guildford. The light coming in the window was bee-yoo-tiful arty light and I loved how it cast shadows in the troughs and peaks of the lino. You can see some of my first go at printwork below:
This little rescue cat lights up our lives. He’s nearly been with us a year – he was basking in a shaft of sunlight one day, and I got my macro lens out to try to capture all the features that I like to study with my eyes!
Here’s my eldest girl – we took a trip into London town to see a brilliant fiddle-and-piano quartet from Orkney, Fara, perform their folk tunes in time for Burns Night. I’ve visited Orkney twice – once on a school residential trip when I was 11, and then again to see the Orkney Folk Festival as an adult. Sometimes the places we visit when we’re younger carve themselves a special place in our hearts; I’d love to revisit the Orkney Islands. This photograph was after the concert as we made our way back to the tube station – making use of illumination from the shops, street lights and traffic.
Going home. London Waterloo Station at 11pm. Tired people rushing to travel; platform announcement signs lighting the way home.