What are you doing?

Well, the simple answer is I’m doing a Masters Degree! So there’s your answer if you don’t feel like reading any further.

This is a question I find I ask myself an awful lot. This is usually closely followed by ‘Why am I doing this?’

On this occasion, I have actually been asked to think about what I am doing and make a few notes for class this week. Being the Queen of over-thinking that I am, not only am I asking myself what am I actually doing, I’m also going to throw the ‘Why?’ and the ‘How?’ in there too. I could just write a few notes, but I’m kind of feeling inspired enough to write today, so we’ll go with this instead.

There is no simple, clear cut answer for as to what I am actually hoping to achieve by doing this, so I shall bullet point my answers for ease of reading.

  • Firstly, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you will know that I am riddled with self-doubt and suffer with an inferiority complex the size of a small country. I regularly write about how I want to improve as a Photographer and contemplate ways of doing this, so for me, applying to return to study was one way of getting out of that rut and actually doing something about it. This is going to be hard. I’m not naive and I am fully aware that I am probably going to feel a whole lot worse before I start to feel better, but here I am. There’s no going back now.
  • I want to be able to produce work, that I’m proud of, and if I can’t manage that, I at least want to be able to produce work that I don’t hate. I want to learn as much about lighting and creating beautiful, glossy images as I can. I don’t want to constantly compare myself to other artists and tell myself I’ll never be able to do that, I want to at least give it a bloody good try.
  • In addition to this, I don’t want to spend my entire life being a one trick pony. It’s hard enough to stand out in the ocean of Photographers that exist in the world today, and while Photography is my first love, I want to be able to do more with post processing, moving image and even create art without the use of a camera.
  • By the end of the first semester, I want to feel as though I am moving forwards. i want to be able to post blogs showing you that I have moved forward, and that my work is developing the way I want it to. I don’t want to hide things from the world any more, I don’t want to feel uncomfortable wearing the label of ‘Photographer’ forever. I don’t want to hide from the world anymore, and while I know I will never have the confidence to put myself out there as much as a lot of artists do, I would at least like to get to the point where I can maybe post an image or two and say ‘Hey, I’m Laura. I’m not the best Photographer in the world, but I made this and I’m pretty pleased with it.’
  • I want to be able to walk away from this course in a years time being able to say that I gave it my all and it paid off.

So, there is a very brief overview of what I want to achieve, now for the ‘Why?’

  • I’ve always toyed with the idea of taking a Masters program, but for whatever reason, life would never quite allow it for one reason or another. The main one of course being work. Making a living has to come first, so returning to study never felt like a viable option.
  • Having spent the best part of this year out of work, I decided that it was now or never. If I wasn’t back in work by September, I knew I wanted to be doing something constructive with my time, so I finally applied. Got accepted, then got offered a job. Sod’s law.
  • University wasn’t a great experience for me first time around. I really struggled on my Bachelors program for a number of reasons. The main one being my health being in a terrible place at the time, causing me to find things a lot harder than everybody else. Despite the fact I somehow managed to make it through, I know that under more positive circumstances I could have done so much better. Now I want to prove that.
  • I now have an incredible support network around me. While I am largely keeping this a secret, the people who do know have said they are all behind me 100% and this is really spurring me on.
  • When I look back at my time at University the first time around, it brings back a lot of bad memories. I want to be able to attach a much better experience to study this time, and when I look back in another 8 years time (yup, it’s really been that long since graduation!) I want there to be fond memories to reflect upon, such as ‘Yes! I remember the day I finally mastered that.’

Finally, How am I going to do this while holding down a job? Well, lets keep this one really simple. If I could complete a Bachelors while losing my eye sight, I’m pretty sure completing a Masters while holding down a job will be pretty easy! Well, perhaps not easy, but I’ll make it work somehow.

If I can finish this having spent most of my time on campus and not in a hospital, that’s good enough for me. If I can finish this and be able to wear the label ‘Photographer’ without feeling inadequate or ashamed, then I’ll know I can do anything.

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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.

 

 

 

Out of Office

Hello there!

Today’s edition of Cameras and Kitties is brought to you from the Garden of chateau Dempster. It’s so nice to finally have some warm weather, and sitting at the patio table under a gorgeous blue sky is just wonderful. However, as soon as I came outside, Neko decided it was time for him to go in, cheeky little sod!

If it’s an image heavy blog you’re after, today is not your day. Today I am purely checking in and making sure I keep this thing remotely up to date. Tomorrow though, I will be shooting. And on Friday too. In fact I have quite a few good shoots coming up over the next few months, I’ve even booked one as far ahead as July, which feels unreal.

While work has been so slow the past couple of months, today I am feeling quite thankful for that. It’s been nice to take a step down and use that time to organise my head space a little. Obviously, losing Leica was awful, but I’m so glad I got to spend so much time with her during her short little life. I certainly don’t miss 12 hour plus, long days. I’m starting to feel a bit like myself again. Naturally there are bad days too, but on the whole I feel much more human.

So, while you patiently await some bigger news stories, I will fill you in on a few smaller ones. Firstly, Joe and I have decided to look into fostering. I know I’m certainly not ready for a new fur baby yet, as much as I miss baby girl, the time just doesn’t feel quite right yet. Fostering seemed like a good idea as not only will it give a homeless cat the chance of finding a forever home, it will keep us busy and take our minds off the pain of losing Leica. At least until we can look back and smile.

Secondly, I finally have some work coming in. Seven days in a row of it in fact. I’m going to be so knackered by next Sunday, but I totally need some of my own money again! Not only do we have bills to pay, but there are things I want to do and places I want to go, so it’s all good.

Speaking of places to go, that brings me on to my trip to Devon in two weeks time. Not only will I be spending some time with my Dad for his 60th birthday, but I will actually be shooting down there for the first time in two years and I am super excited. I have a studio, I have a hair stylist, now all I need is a make-up artist and some models. So excited.

Today, I did a thing. A thing that may not seem much to many people, but for me it is a huge deal. I went for my induction at the gym. It felt really good to be taking the first steps towards making positive changes to my health, not only have I really let myself go over the last few years but my general well being has really suffered for it. Sneer if you want, but for me this is a small accomplishment. I’ve done this before and I am determined to do it again. I know things about health and fitness are pretty boring to read, so I’ll try not to post about it too much. After all this is Cameras and Kitties, not Cameras and Kitties and Chubby Bitches. Though I may change my mind!

Neko has come to join me, he seems to find it curious that his human is sitting out in the garden where normally only he spends time. Hope he gets used to it, because I’d love to spend much more time out here over the summer.

Well, there we have it for now. There’s a fair bit of stuff going on meaning more camera and kitty related stories are well on their way. I hope you’re all enjoying the beautiful Spring weather as much as Neko and me.

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.

 

Reflection

It’s late at night on Easter weekend. I’m at my parents house in Devon. Naturally, being my childhood home, being here always stirs up memories of the past so it’s not unusual thing to feel nostalgic.

The thing is, since arriving here, away from all the recent events which have challenged me, it has also made me reconsider the future somewhat.

I have to admit, my confidence is at rock bottom at the moment. Lack of work coupled with low mood, doesn’t exactly do wonders for a person at the best of times, but recently, I have bee struggling to stay motivated and questioning whether I want to do Photography at all anymore. I’m a tiny fish in a pond so big, it can’t even be classed as a pond at all. At the very best I am average in most of the work I do and just feel like I’m stalling.

When I was 15, I knew I wanted to study Photography when I left school. I was adamant I would get out of town to do this too, Newton Abbot is hardly the hive of creative activity and I’d always had my sights set on Exeter College. When I eventually got there, it was everything I hoped it would be. I had the time of my life and I loved studying Photography every bit as much as I hoped I would. I’d never felt like I’d fit in anywhere before, and this new and exciting adventure is what propelled me to where I am today.

Being here, reminds me of my 16 year old self, and how happy Photography made me, so I’m using this period of reflection to try and reclaim some of that passion and excitement. I was never the best image maker in my class, but I wanted to be, and that drive has always stayed with me. Even now. I just don’t know how to give it the kick start it needs.

There are definitely some decisions to made in the near future. The adult in me knows I need to get things done, and by any means in order to keep things stable, however I need the teenager in me to keep screaming about the excitement of image making if I’m going to continue down this road. She was never a very confident person either, but boy, did she have vision. I can’t believe how enthusiastic and optimistic I was.

Perhaps one day, I’ll share with you some of the work I created back then. Mediocre images of an over-enthusiastic teenager let loose in a darkroom, before pixels took over. I really miss those days.

For now, the conflict between my teenage self and adult self will continue for the next few days. I know you shouldn’t really pick sides, but I have, and I am whole-heartedly rooting for her. I’ve been so very fortunate, I just hope that doesn’t end here.

 

For Leica

We lost Leica on Thursday. It was the most heartbreaking, soul-destroying thing ever. She was too weak to carry on, so we agreed the best thing would be to end her suffering. Her body was already shutting down when we got her to the vets, she just couldn’t carry on.

I miss her so very much. Just as grief had begun to free up some space in my head for other things, it has now rushed back in to occupy every corner of my mind once more. I will never forget you little one. You were meant to spend your short life with us, because nobody could have loved you like we did.

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‘Do you have a name picked out for her?’

‘Yes, we’re going to call her Leica.’

Leica

October 2015-March 2016

In our Lives

January 16th 2016-March 17th 2016

St Gertrudes Day

How Ironic.

Love you forever Baby Girl.