Let’s talk about 2017

We’re here again.

We’ve reached the end of yet another year, one I’d really rather forget.

With Neko going missing I don’t think this was ever going to be a good year, but this is one that went from bad, to worse, to unbearable at some points.

I wish I was able to offer up some note of hope or faith or optimism, but I just don’t have any of those things left at the moment. I know we’re supposed to go into New Years with at least a little of those things, but all I have is the looming sense of fear that it’s just going to be more and more of the same.

Entering 2018 I am going to be sad, broke and feeling as though I am the least employable person in England. I need things to change so that I can take care of myself and relieve the pressure I’m putting on Joe because he’s working so hard to support us both and it’s super unfair. I apply for so many jobs but never get anywhere and to be honest I’m a little tired of hearing the well scripted rejection letters consisting of tripe about how the standard was so very high – and basically I’m not good enough. I’m tired of going to interviews where I am tasked with things which have nothing to do with the job I’ve applied for, how is that a fair assessment of how well I can do they job you’ve actually advertised. I’m tired of interviewers not listening to what I’m saying and twisting it to make it into something that suits their agenda. Job hunting should not be that hard or that unfair.

I work hard, I try hard. I just need a chance.

This year has also been kind of lonely, I’ve not seen that much of my friends this year and that is largely down to me. I promise I will try to be a much better friend next year.

Health wise, this has been one of the hardest ones on record, and I don’t just have the uveitis to thank this time. I’ve been struggling with low moods for a very long time. This year, it all came to a head in very traumatic circumstances, which I won’t go into. Diagnosis: Panic Disorder and Depression. I used to be one of those people that didn’t really understand depression, but now I do, and it all came too late.

I’ve always been pretty open about suffering from anxiety. The symptoms are very physical and hard to ignore, depression is something which can easily be confused or mistaken for low mood. Then one day you realise those low moods have been hanging around for quite a while and have long outstayed their welcome. You’re exhausted constantly and everything feels like an effort. It doesn’t take much to upset you and them bam! All of a sudden, there it is. The big black cloud of depression. So cliched, yet so true. The world is suddenly full of dark fog and you can’t find your way out no matter how hard you try.

I’m still very much lost in that fog. I will be until help arrives and I have no idea how long that will take.

Creatively, this year hasn’t been too bad. I’ve been networking like crazy and met some awesome people, been to some amazing shoots and got to do things I never thought I would. Here are a few highlights.

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So there you have it. 2017 all wrapped and almost gone. I would really like for the creative stuff to keep going, but the badness to stop.

Please cut me a break 2018. I’m not sure how much more I can take.

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Year in Review – 2016

It barely feels like a matter of weeks since I last wrote one of these posts, yet somehow, another year has passed and we’re here again.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. We spent it in Devon with my family this year and it was fantastic. Tonight though, we are at home and celebrating the departure of 2016 quietly  with the kitties.

For many of us, I think it’s safe to say 2016 was a difficult year. I’m yet to meet anyone who has described it as being their best year ever, but for those of you who have had a great year, I’m so glad for you. I truly am. It’s been tough so I am happy for anyone who made it out still smiling.

Last year, I wrote a huge, illustrated, month by month account of my year and initially, this was also going to be my plan for this year, however, I just can’t bring myself to relive a lot of what has happened, so this is the best I can manage.

2016 began on a grey Friday morning in Leicester. We saw the new year in in style with my brother’s house party, so very different to this year!

Like every year, it began with feelings of melancholy, anxiety and quiet optimism. I knew what needed be done in order to correct the mistakes of the past year and wasted no time in setting about searching for the solutions. And that was where my luck ran out really.

I took a gamble by leaving my job at Sainsbury’s for a Freelance position. After all, it had worked out once before so why wouldn’t it happen again, right? Well, I was very wrong, and what seemed like a promising new position at Packshot soon turned out to be my very undoing.

Six months of unemployment ensued, and when I did finally manage to get some work again over the summer, I ended up spending more time chasing my wages than I did actually working. This prompted the rapid decline in my love of Photography this year. The industry I once loved had betrayed me for the last time, and as it stands, I am now still in limbo over what will happen next. I really have no idea. I’ve never been this confused before.

Entering the year still in mourning for Sam has probably set the tone for a lot of the fact this year has been so difficult. No sooner had I began coming to turns with losing her, Leica had entered my life and departed again in such a short space of time that I don’t think grief has even left me yet. Then there was the sad tale of the Floofs. More loss. In fact, I’d say the word of the year would be loss.

Still, there have been fleeting moments of joy.

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This little girl is still with us, and as she sits curled up on my lap, purring her little head off, I’m reminded that there will always been small moments of light to keep us going. I miss Leica so much, but really feel I’ve said all I can about that. She was so special and I will never forget her, but Yumi is such a great little character, she has saved me from some very dark moments since she arrived.

Other memorable moments include my birthday back in January. Natalie did a great job of organising it, and it was so lovely to see everyone. I spent a weekend in London in July with my Mum and Auntie which was amazing, and I have now acquired a new appreciation for The Rolling Stones! There was an occasion where I came face to face and even help an enormous yellow snake, a night at the London Transport Museum in November, where I got to have an enormous geek out over my passion for all things London Underground, and countless Pokemon walks. Yeah, I like Pokemon now, it’s really fun and keeps me sane! I also got into exercise, and was really good at it for a while, then I kind of dropped the ball a bit. However, everything is in place to get it all back up and running again very soon.

Now we’re at the end of the year I am back in regular work, if only part-time, but it’s all good. It’s allowing me to study and giving me the time to figure out what I’m doing next. It’s also been quite good having time to spend with friends that I otherwise wouldn’t see anywhere near enough, so, swings and roundabouts.

As the year draws to a close, i am still met with those feelings of melancholy and anxiety, yet I am really struggling with the quiet optimism of past years. Previously, Hope was the only thing which got me through, but I think I may have run out of that, and as we enter January, I must begin my year with a number of very unpleasant tasks in order to move forward. I won’t go into that now, but hopefully, if I manage to get some resolution I can fill you in.

My health is hanging on by a thread at the moment too. Everything feels uncertain and scary, and I just want it all to be over with. I need answers, and the solutions I need to get life back on track.

So to end the year, we are about to go out for a nice long Pokemon walk followed my snuggles with the kitties. This year will not be going out with a bang, just a mere blip on the radar.

To all my wonderful family, my friends , new and old, my followers and lurkers, I wish you all a very Happy New Year. Love and light to you all, I shall see you again in 2017.

Laura.

PS – I may have sucked at it, but I kept the blog going for the whole year!

 

It’s Over

An awful lot has happened this year, and not all of it has been good. I’ve been feeling very low recently. Not because of any one thing in particular but because of many things. Given that until this point, I have kept most of it bottled up I figured maybe writing about some of this stuff might help.

The first thing is just how difficult it has been making the transition from doing nothing to doing everything. I was out of work for the better part of 6 months, and now all of a sudden I am juggling a job and a degree. I feel tired a lot of the time and doing things for myself has become virtually none existent since the end of September. Of course, I understand that in every situation we’re in sacrifices need to be made, but right now I’m trying to find ways of re-integrating things that I enjoy back into my weekly routine. Exercise for example. I feel shit without exercise and the sooner I get back on that the better.

Secondly, little things are setting me off down the downward spiral again. I’m really struggling to keep my mind in a good place, and as always, as life does, it is just throwing a constant stream of challenging situations at me and I just don’t have the energy to handle them at the moment. This isn’t meant to be a pity party, just an opportunity to blow off some steam in the hopes that my permanently foggy brain may start to clear a little. I never know what to do anymore and I feel like I’m just aimlessly meandering down a path that isn’t taking me anywhere.

Finally, I recently had a major revelation. Since starting my course I haven’t quite been able to decide what direction I want to take my photography down. Torn between my want to be creative and the need to become more employable, a lightbulb suddenly went off in my head. I no longer love photography. In fact, I fucking hate it. There, I said it.

This has been a long time coming as it’s been a very long time since I picked up my camera with genuine joy and excitement about what I’m about to do, but now it has all become clear.

The Photography world is a mass of egos and mediocrity. I’d place myself in the mediocre category. I’m a tiny fish in an enormous, over saturated pond and quite frankly, does the world need another mediocre photographer? No. It really doesn’t.

I even closed my PurplePort account. I don’t use it anymore and more often than not I’d browse the pages asking myself what exactly the point most of it is all about. Did half of these images need to be made? Do they have an audience outside the model, photographer demographic? No, they don’t. For many it’s just a hobby they want to take further, for some it’s an opportunity to get your ego stroked, and for some it’s a genuine passion. But those are in the smaller numbers.

Yeah, I’m fully aware of how negative this sounds, and quite frankly at this moment in time, I really do not care. In fact, I truly believe that more people should be taking a long hard look at what they’re doing and asking themselves ‘Why?’ How many people go to University and study Photography because they hope to be a Wedding Photographer, or a Family Portrait Photographer? Not very many. This is meant with no disrespect to the people who do these things as a career, they’re challenging jobs which can be vastly rewarding and I know people who are hugely passionate in both of those areas, but if we’re being honest, these are usually fields we fall into because it’s a chance to use our skills to pay the bills.

It was never my dream to become a product photographer. It was a job I fell into because it would allow me to use Photography to make money, then incidentally, I grew to enjoy the E-Commerce industry which is where I decided to stay. So, what now?

I’ve decided to use the next few months to try as many new things as possible and see where I fit. Perhaps, I’ll fall in love with Photography again and I’ll pick my camera back up with feelings of joy rather than resentment once again. Maybe I’ll discover something completely new all together, which in my heart of hearts I’m hoping to do. Either way, I’m not a total quitter, if you throw enough mud against a wall some of it will stick, and then I can start climbing out of this hole.

The truth can really hurt, and it’s taken a long time to finally admit this to myself but I no longer want to drift along in an industry which is undervalued, underpaid and destined to keep the majority of people who fall into its jaws at the bottom of the career ladder all their lives. I don’t want to be in minimum wage jobs all my life. I don’t want to be working in studios which pay through the floor day rates then spend months chasing for my wages. It’s time to move on and realise, that while I had an absolute blast for the best part of the last eight years, this is where that journey ends.

I really don’t know what the future holds for me, and yes, of course I am scared. Fear is a large part of my nature, but there are many things out there I am yet to explore, that in itself is pretty exciting. Photography grinds you down, like many things in life, but it is an industry that can swallow you whole if you let it, and I am not about to let that happen.

Where have you been?

I’ve been absent again. This time, it’s been deliberate though.

It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say, it’s just that I wanted to wait until I had some firm and proper news in place to tell you.

As you well know, I’ve been struggling for work and not really been doing very much for the last few months. Well, as these things usually happen, after months of nothing, everything began happening all at once and with all my balls floating high above me in the air, I decided to wait for them to land before updating.

So, what’s been happening? Well, firstly, I know have a job. I am now Photographer at allbeauty.com. I first applied for this job back in March but didn’t get it. Then back in August, the ad reappeared and I was offered the position without even having to interview for it again. They also offered a little more money than the rate advertised which was a bonus!

Secondly, I am now officially a student. Yes, you did read that correctly. I have returned to University after being accepted onto a Masters degree, so hopefully in one years time, I shall be a graduate once again.

Now, all of a sudden I have gone from having little to do, to having to juggle work, a course and all my other commitments, though in all honesty, it’s really not a bad problem to have.

I don’t have any shoots lined up or any kitty related stories for you today. I literally just wanted to post a quick update to show I am still here, and will hopefully have a lot more to share with you all very soon.

Have a wonderful weekend everybody!

Floof Overload

Today is the two month anniversary of Leica’s early passing. When I woke up this morning, I instantly filled with sadness. Sadness, not just for Leica, but also for The Floofs that we lost. I think about Leica every day, sometimes it fills my eyes with tears and sometimes it brings a smile to my face. I love remembering all her little quirks, like how she could never meow properly so she’d just squeak instead. How excited she’d get at watching me spray deodorant on because she thought it was a can of squirty cream. The time she dive bombed Joe’s plate and ended up up to her ears in spaghetti. The adorable way in which she would follow Neko absolutely everywhere he went and how sad she looked when he went outside.

I’m glad I have happy memories of Leica. I just wish I’d managed to get a few more of the beautiful Floofs. The three remaining baby Floofs are doing really well now, they are growing and getting stronger, thanks to the amazing Lisa from Fur and Feathers. So, in that spirit, I decided that I didn’t want my last post about The Floofs to be a sad one. During the time they were were, they too put a smile on my face, and while I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t regret what happened to Sakura and Finn, I also want to remember them for the beautiful souls that they were.

Being a Mad Cat Lady with a camera always meant that they would be captured in pixels while they were here, so now, please allow me to share some pictures of these beautiful babies with you all.

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If you have your own fur baby, please give them a big hug today and remind them how special they are.

 

 

 

Camera Casualty

Hello everyone,

After writing to you last week from under the sunny skies of my garden, it feels a bit crap to be back inside, hiding from the rain or whatever crappy weather being thrown at us next!

Sadly, one of my shoots from last week was cancelled, but I still got to go out and shoot a couple of little pink cameras. Cue, my first Camera Casualty! As anyone who has ever worked with film will understand, it can be a complicated process, many things can go wrong, so you need to be confident enough to relinquish some elements of control if you want to work with it.

I was shooting in town, with my Sister-in-law, Heather. We’d only been to two locations when the film ran out. Each film should come with 24 frames, sometimes more if you’re lucky, but this one died after we’d only taken 12 shots, annoying, but something we had to accept. We’re planning on going out again at some point to try again very soon.

When I went to collect my images the next day, there was a note on the packet. The man behind the counter explained that the film in one of the cameras had been jammed in the canister and had actually torn when they were trying to load it into the machine – that would explain why there were 12 frames missing. Luckily, the ones we shot were safe and I got some usable images from them.

So today, may I share with you the results from my most recent little pink camera antics.

Models are Heather and Alex.

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Enjoy!

Until Next Time.

 

Little Pink Camera Project

Roll up, roll up, if you like image heavy blogs, this is definitely the place for you right now!

May I present to you, the first stages of a little project I began work on in February. Little Pink Camera Project. Why Little Pink Camera Project? Well it does exactly what it says on the tin, I am creating images using a job lot of little pink disposable cameras that I bought.

I’ve always loved film and using analogue methods. When I was at uni, I was so reluctant to switch to digital, although ironically I was the first one to make the switch after a few problems made using a darkroom nearly impossible, but more on that story later. Towards the end of last year I decided I was feeling pretty jaded with a lot of things about the Photography world, from the sheer amount of Photographers that are out there now, to the images being produced and also my own frustrations at being in a bit of a creative slump.

It would appear that the nineties are having a bit of a revival at the moment, not only the fashions, but there are a lot of Photographers producing work that have that kind of aesthetic to it, which reminded me so much of my old collection of ‘The Face’ magazine. I decided to take this as a starting point to trying something new, so I began drafting up some mood boards on my Pinterest account. If you’re interested, you can check it out here:¬†https://uk.pinterest.com/grrlish/lpcp-inspiration/

Once I gathered a few ideas. I purchased the first batch of cameras. I had a group shoot back in February so that is where I debuted the idea and shot my first few rolls of film. Naturally, as with the beauty of film, you never know what you’re going to get until you receive the images back from the printer, so of course there are going to be varying levels of successes and failures, but I’m sure the more I do it, the more I’ll get used to what works and what doesn’t.

The first batch of images definitely reflect this fact, some things were a flat out epic fail, it’s so easy to forget the whole finger over the lens thing on a range finder camera! However, there were definitely some amazing images too, I got exactly what I was looking for a couple of times, and I have already decided that I think the images work better indoors, with flash than with natural light. Then again, once the brighter weather comes I could change my mind about that.

A few people have asked me why I don’t just load up a roll of 35mm in my old SLR, but the truth is, I quite like working with restrictions. I feel like as a Photographer, my skills are pretty limited in the digital world, I’m certainly not as confident or clued up as a lot of people out there, I’ve just always tried to make the best of what I can do. Using the disposables means I am free to explore the limits of what they can produce using what I already know, and by stepping out of my comfort zone in one go.

I’ve really enjoyed doing this so far, and I am definitely investing in my second batch of cameras once my invoices are paid. I will try to write a little bit about the process and experience with each new lot of images, as this is definitely a learning process and there is still a long way to go, but I am very excited about what I can create.

For now, please enjoy a selection of the best images from my first few trial shoots.

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That’s it for now. A nice selection of raw and gritty images, in the literal sense!

I hope you enjoy, I can’t wait to see where this project goes.