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...

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Stoneleigh Abbey and the visitor that changed everything

It takes some talent, or not, to go to a house as stunning as Stoneleigh Abbey in Warwickshire and not take one single photograph to be proud of! To be fair as I have done very little photography this year, it will take a while to re-find my eye and I know to be patient. Today was the first step in getting back into the swing of it and having been invited onto the Jane Austen Tour at the Abbey I put my camera where my mouth was yesterday and took a few shots when the tour was finished.
My friends and I found the tour a little odd as it turned out that Miss Austen only set foot in the house for 10 days in her entire life but it was sold to us that these 10 days were the inspiration for Mansfield Park. It was amusing how enthusiastically the tour guide pressed the notion upon us, with rather overly hopeful links to chapters in the book, that it "must have been Stoneleigh"  Her joy that the handwritten manuscripts for Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Predudice would have been within Stoneleigh's walls during the stay was charming and we were directed to the many pieces of furniture that Jane would have seen as though the novelists gaze had turned them to pure gold. Such belief and delight held a mirror to me that I hadn't really felt that enthusiasm for anything much this year.
 Life is better, much more peaceful but I have felt numbed and dampened down, not in humour as I've laughed more in this last year than for several years previously but in the ability to be immersed in anything really deeply. I lost a lot in a year and its bound to take its toll, it'll take time but today was a huge step forward, I'll be trudging down country lanes in pursuit of that perfect shot again before we know it. The gate has been shut but its about to open again.

Monday, 17 September 2012

After the Storm

After the Storm was a Nick Butterworth story that I used to read to my children when they were little. Its a tale of Percy the Parkeeper and the animals that live in the park who are of course his friends. One day a huge storms hits the park, causing damage and disruption the the lives of the animals and good old Percy gives them support and love and rebuilds everything until all has settled again.

I have had my storm and am still in the aftermath, feeling 'very sniffy' like the fox in the story. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a mess, I have been very brave and steadfastly determined. I have committed to developing my house, worked hard at my job and spent lots of lovely time with friends and relations but I've done no photography or artwork at all.

My heart was broken at the choice that I had to make and somehow it has been unthinkable over these last 9 months to tap into 'emotional me' to be creative. Emotional me has been too broken.

A great artist, they say (whoever they are) is someone who has suffered and lets all of that pain and angst out into their work, creating pieces of much greater depth, feeling and brilliance. Well, like I told my counsellor, I haven't wanted to let it out, it can stay nicely packed away in the moving boxes that still stand in the corner of my bedroom thank you very much.

But after a conversation with the photographers and creative types at work yesterday I began to think that that was an awful shame, and a waste. I think, actually upon reflection I would like to try a little emotional creativity after all now. Slowly at first I think.....

The photograph above was of a storm that hit us a couple of months ago on what had been a lovely sunny day. The sky went very very black and all of a sudden the most enormous hailstorm and hurricane took over our world, denting all the cars in our town, smashing windows, conservatories, destroying roofs and flooding houses and shops. It was unlike anything anyone had seen before and my car still resembles a golf ball! Things have been put back to normal and now all that remains is story swapping and knowing chuckles whenever you see a fellow golf ball driver, life goes on and I feel very lucky that it does. I shouldn't waste my given talent, more is to come.