Hello and thank you for calling in...

My name is Helen and I am a Photographer living in England. I started this Blog on the day that my Grandma died, three months after my Father died and several weeks before a third funeral. Initially it was a very personal way to stay connected to the people I'd lost and it helped, it really did. But writing and taking pictures everyday has opened back up a creative side that I had lost during the everyday. A big thank you to my followers, to those who take the time to comment and to new visitors, I hope we will become Blog friends too...

Sunday, 30 October 2011

a letter by candlelight

Firstly some 'spooky' pictures for Halloween.......

I came across a site that has a pen pal exchange and it reminded me of how much I want to write letters again. Actual letters on writing paper with envelopes and stamps - remember those?

Oh the absolute thrill of receiving a letter from a friend in the post, I wonder how many people still do that. Facebook is wonderful, being able to interact with friends at any time of the day (or night) and of course reconnect with lost school friends. I am going to meet up with some in three weeks, people I haven't seen for twenty years, only talked to on Facebook.
I have letters in my Garage, bundled up in pink ribbon from those friends that we sent to each other when we were all 14 or 15, endless ramblings of how dull our lives were and what they were going to be in the future but we took the time, even though we saw each other everyday, to write, draw little pictures, stick on decorations and spray with perfume. It went on for a very long time, until we left school actually and then we stopped which is such a shame as we were entering a very changing time of our lives and probably the most interesting to write about.
how does all this relate to photography? well it started with the trip to Scotland. Its only when you drive through our little country that you realise that actually its a blooming long way up to the top and we started from the middle. As I said in a previous post I loved our trip to Scotland, the scenery and the colours were magical and although we literally drove to our work appointment and back again over two days, I went along for the few five minute photo stops on the way and during this 'photoshoot' there was a lot of time to think and discuss. It coincided with the anniversary of the Internet (well almost) so, seeing the remote villages in the highlands that are cut off in the winter combined with thoughts of how much the Internet has changed the way we communicate, I began pondering the lost days of letter writing, as those highland villagers would have had to do in the past as their only form of contact with the outside world in those long winter months. This weeks photo shoot with my photography group was at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire, a forty minute drive from my house but I had never been to visit.

So I toddled off thinking we were visiting a grand stately home and I had such a thrilling surprise and one of the most inspiring, moving, magical photography days of my life. Calke Abbey had been taken over by the National Trust in the 1980's when with soaring debts the Harpur Family could no longer see any other way out to save the house which had fallen into a bad state of disrepair.

But instead of restoring the whole house the National Trust have restored the entrance hall and initial rooms only. This is where you begin your tour, ikea like, shepherded around the house on an amazing journey from opulence to decay of the most inspiring kind and this is where the photography opportunities and photograph related musings explode.
The rest of the house has been spring cleaned but in essence left exactly as it was when the Family moved out, peeling paintwork, 18th century wallpaper falling off the walls, the families possessions piled in corners as though Julian Fellowes himself had constructed the set.
And as you walked from the restored rooms to the 'real thing' the lights are dimmed and become less, then turned off altogether, the gorgeous blistered window shutters closed ever so slightly more and more in each room to transport you back into the past.

You feel like your Cora herself hurrying along the cold, dark crumbling corridors, your skirts swishing on the dusty floor and when entering one of the many grand drawing rooms, now stooped under the weight of time passed it makes you want to sit down at one of the dusty wood wormed desks and ......... write a letter by candlelight.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Me Reflected Photography Share

This is a photograph of me and my friend on one of our photography shoots, in Stratford-Upon-Avon. She was showing me the shots that she had captured and i suddenly noticed our reflections on the ground, so I snapped the image as our shoots are so valuable to me that I wanted a record of them.
I am myself on those days, with those friends. I am my authentic self, taking photographs. And that got me thinking about the photographs I take. They say you can see an artists authentic self in their paintings and that paintings without that are lifeless, meaningless.Is the same true of photography? Is the picture that we choose to take more than just a collection of things that catch our eye,is it really a window into our soul?
My 'Me Relected Photography Share' is inspired by my love of photography, the way in which it has connected me back to the 'Me' I really am and my curiosity of how it has shaped other peoples lives and journies.
It is a share for people who find themselves reflected in their photographs, be it their own image, their taste or their favourite things, in fact anything that reflects the you that is, inside or out.

This page is all about sharing, in a safe environment, the love of photography and how it relates to you, the joy of enjoying your photography and perhaps healing negatives or nurturing positives in your life. So, if you want to, please leave your thoughts along with your photographs and how each picture relates to you
or leave a link with your photographs to text on your blog.

Add your images to the Me Reflected Flickr Group by clicking on the Me Reflected Flickr Group Link

Share your favourite images inspired by the 'Me Reflected' theme by clicking on the link below and link your images and the blog post they are on.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Glorious Orange

'Autumn Soup' by Helen Watson-Jones

At Bumbles & Light this week the Shades of Autumn photo challenge colour of the week is Orange

And there was oodles of glorious Autumn orange on my road trip to the North Coast of Scotland this week. Autumn colours are rather non existent in my area but during our 1000 miles in 2 days the colours were stunningly breathtakingly beautiful.

I will be writing a few posts with photographs from Scotland as I am positively gushing about the scenery, rainbows and cheeky little pheasants who loved to have their photograph taken!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

something interesting to check out

A series of 5 programmes by Adil Ray on BBC Radio 4 following contemporary photographers 'Picturing Britain'

Very intersting and inspiring, the only drawback is that you can't see the pictures they are discussing - a bit frustraiting. I wonder if theres a link to them somewhere, i will investigate.

'Ice Coast' by Helen Watson-Jones

Monday, 10 October 2011

single or not?

A year has gone by since I took my first photography course and it feels like a great achievement to have spent so much time perfecting my photography, visiting locations and staying in touch with some of the lovely people I met on the course, who have now become good friends.

'To The End and Back'
Its not often you meet people who you just click with and I was lucky enough to meet three. Photography was initially our common ground. We've had photography days out together, where we've taken hours to walk a path that normally takes half an hour, nights out where we've laughed and laughed like we've known each other for years and we've also formed a club, with new members who are enjoying the challenges set.

Its lovely to share, too see how each person interprets the same scene, to share techniques and laugh at mistakes - especially to laugh, you should have seen us trying to capture wine 'sploshing' into a glass last week, what a mess!

What strikes me is how solitary being a photographer can be and I absolutely love that too. You can spend hours in your own company, wandering along looking for shots and its heaven!

One of my favourite quotes is from Billy Connely
"solitude is not the absence of others, it is the presence of me"

I LOVE that! I don't know if its his own words or if he snaffled it from someone else but I can relate it so much to the self indulgence that is spending hours photographing on your own - bliss!
I went back to the location of our first 'field trip' on that initial course, an anniversary trip if you like but I went on my own and I regretted not inviting the others along with me too. It got me thinking about which I enjoyed the most, trips on my own or days out with others, I still don't have an answer, how about you?