Tuesday, 13 November 2012


Right well, this really was quite a while ago now but I honestly still have a good old chuckle when I remember the amazing performance by Wind-up Collective at Wilderness festival this summer. I was with the theatre company at the festival as their resident photographer, camping along side the merry bunch to ensure I'd get a snap of even their most out-of-character-portaloo-waiting-moments. The main purpose, of course, being to photograph them on stage at the bandstand, on a wonderfully constructed set of the London underground.

The London underground. Isn't it great? Especially at rush hour when somehow being in a complicated network of tunnels beneath the streets of London combined with the innate feeling that getting to our destination in the shortest possible time causes us to find it completely necessary & understandable to contort into yogic poses while the sweat of business men rubs delectably on our new shirt & a woman's work bag digs into our hip. Waiting for the next train in one minute isn't even a consideration. Such a fascinating ability to mess with the common sense we human's have a habit of priding ourselves on. Up above ground I am laughing at this absurdity, but at the same time am completely aware that in an hour or so I will be grumbling irritably about the 1 minute wait time for the next central line while giving evils to the man standing a millimeter over the yellow line...
Wind-up collective's performance shares a similar absurd thread as our rush-hour mindset - 'Box Junction' takes the audience - who sit along side the actors 'on the tube' - through a journey filled with shocks & scares as deep desires are realised through the unpackaging of a white cardboard box.

Performance at 1am, we hauled hay bails onto the Wilderness Festival bandstand to take centre stage as the tube seating. Two rows with long yellow (circle line!) poles creating a cramped awkward tube-like space. The aptly dress train guard then took to the microphone to call on all those festival dwellers ready to board the surreal underground experience to BOX JUNCTION.

1am at a festival? Can you imagine the audience we acquired? Drunk, high, fancy-dress, old, young...you name it, we had it.

I wish I could aptly describe the completely surreal experience that took place that night, but I'm afraid words just can't go there. However, if you check out these photographs, paying close attention to the audience's expressions, you may get some idea...And if you'd like your own face to make such expressions I'd highly recommend you keep an eye out for the next WIND-UP performance - it's bound to blow your mind.



AMAZING. oh yeah, 21st century update - follow them on twitter @WindUpCollectiv

Monday, 24 September 2012


In my last post I mentioned my fabulous acting friend Kat - who became even more fabulous when she asked me to join her theatre company at Wilderness Festival as their photographer. Such an exciting offer, I accepted immediately.

I've always loved a bit of a festival, my first one ever being a tiny hippy weekend in Headcorn, Kent called 'Small World - summer gathering'. Being newbies to the whole field frolicking & tent dwelling festival way of life, I turned up with a lovely suitcase on wheels & the most inappropriate footwear one could imagine...I did, however, have a box of wine which is definitely a step in the right direction. Smooth hair - not tangled into a mass of dreadlocks - certainly put me in the minority, as did my well hemmed clothes. The festival was five days long & since I wasn't used the experience of being dirty in a field in sunny, sweaty circumstances, I was rather keen for a wash. My chum Olivia felt the same on this matter so we were very excited when we spotted a tent inviting one in for 'sauna & shower' - bypassing the 'sauna' bit we were instantly decided, swimming costumes on & into the tent...Inside it soon transpired that bypassing the sauna part was a definite mistake as the experience was to get hot & sweaty in a hand built suana yurt followed by a solar-powered, temperamental shower head to rise off the apres-sauna-sweat with a trickle of cold water. Oh well, we thought - why not? There was just one more minor detail we only discovered when ushered through to the sauna - everyone was naked. Bits, bobs, boobs & dreadlocks hanging all over the show. ON SHOW. Nude hippies? Now that's a sight I'm probably never going to forget (aka erase from my mind...) Olivia & I considered the situation & concluded that we'd stand out much more if we kept on our swimming attire rather than remove it, so the decision was made & we de-clothes to join our fellow hippies to sweat out our toxins & feel the love.

Years down the line & I'd say I'm slightly more festival savy - for one, I understand the wonder of a 'wet wipe shower'. I've been to about 10 now - big & small - from Glastonbury & Bestival to Big Chill & Festibelly. I love them all. For a few years I've worked with Oxfam at festivals as a steward which is fab - only having to work three 8 hour shifts over the whole festival, you get a free festival ticket, free food & other perks like showers, separate campsites, tea & coffee...ideal. I really recommend it, chappies.
So off to Wilderness with Wind-up collective, we were in the Artist & Performers campsite which was great although while this meant I may have been in the loo queue with a high-flying musician, I certainly didn't recognise them.

Cruising around the festival, as one does, I spotted a tent hiding among some trees with a sign outside saying 'Life Drawing Classes'. How wonderful! My favourite activity in a field! So I popped in. A wonderful vibe - record player gently spinning tunes while the artists sat on hay bails, pillows & colourful blankets, using charcol & pencils to define the curves & flesh of the nude model sitting before us. 
At the end of the class I had a chat with the lovely woman who ran the class, telling her that I life model myself. One thing then led to another & I was signed up to return to the class the next day - but this time as the model! 
Oh, I really do get myself into the most bizarre things. Why not though, eh?! Bit of nudity in a field never hurt anyone. I don't think.

Sunday, 16 September 2012


There are many wonderfully creative & inspiring people in this world & feel rather lucky to know quite a number of these passion-flowing types. From nursery school when my best friend at 4 year old stood boldly in front of concert hall, belting out 'Little Donkey' to art school where a group of friends spent the night wrapping the Millenium Bridge in cellophane (seriously, it happened). It's great to be surrounded by those who understand the beautiful in the eye of an owl or the scales of a snake. Actually I am particularly not keen on snakes, but that is beside the point.

From musicians, artists & artisans, I also know some pretty great acting types. At Durham university I was involved with some theatre here & there - from set painting to photographing performances. A particularly memorable encounter with actors at Durham was when I spent a good session with the whole of my college theatre company - IN THE NUDE (just how I like them, of course). This wasn't quite as random as it sounds, I was asked to photograph the college of St.Hild & St.Bede's naked calender to be sold for charity.

A very good job for me I must say - the bits & bobs of Durham's finest clubs & societies flying all over the show with me & my camera here to snap it all up. A bit of side boob here & a cheeky bum cheek there, I was lovin' it. The theatre company were lots of fun with all their props & well devised facial expressions - shock, excitement, joy...they didn't need the slightest bit of direction from me.

My second favourite shoot of the calender was of the college's very own student rock club hosts - FULL COLLAPSE. This interesting night held in the Undercroft of the college plays Metal, Rock, Punk, Emo, Hardcore, Industrial and more alternative music, described to be belted out by the DJ at 'ear-bleeding volume!' every fortnight. I'm sure you can imagine, I was a regular.
...How wonderful...
So this lot really did their bit for my camera's eyes - bondage, nipple tassels, black leather knee-high boots, electric guitars & some tactfully placed records.

My third most thrilling shoot was of the college reps - the respectable lot who show all prospective students what we are all about. NAKED.
This lot were amazing - naked in the snow! At least there are a number of benefits of this - keep things perky, you know.

Recently a lovely old school friend of mine got in touch with the desire for me to take some headshots of her for her acting portfolio. Flattered to be asked, she rocked up to my house & we had a jolly time taking shots around the park & in my garden. We chose to take the photographs in the fresh air to keep them lively & light which I feel can be lost in a long session in a studio with artificial lighting & far more technical matters to attend to.


 The lovely Kat. http://www.castingcallpro.com/uk/view.php?uid=438127

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

21.st.of.JUNE? Oh.Dear.Bella.

I am still a hardcore 'bits-&-bobs'-er but alas alack, since the 21st June I havn't been a hardcore 'blogger'. NOT IDEAL. I'm back & ready to sort out that situation.

Instead of updating the virtual world on my life over the last few months, I'm just going to cut to the chase of the most important recent activity of my life - I went to the zoo. London zoo. Know it? If you do not or have not ever been, I weep. Help me wipe away the tears & get down there immediately, okay? Giraffes in London town, I'm not even kidding.
Since getting back from South Africa my animal passion has intensified & I will now quite frankly travel far & wide to hang with some unusual furry fellas. The other day it was London zoo for my fix, getting there in good time to watch the penguins feeding party & otters munching on white mice. I walked around in complete glee, chatting to an owl here & a monkey there - standard Thursday afternoon, ya know.

A couple of my favourite zoo-y chums...

The funniest owls I've seen in my life. They look like little old men!

When I was little, for a few years running I had 'The Animal Man' at my birthday party. He would turn up in a van filled with creatures great & small - creepy crawlies & those of a soft & fluffy variety to keep the girls happy. I was all about the spiders & cockroaches - not your typical 6 year old. My favourite part of the party was when The Animal Man made me & all my party-goer friends lie down on our backs in a row to reveal our tummies (which is retrospect seems rather creepy, espically as The Animal Man was well into his fifties & had a van full of insects..) A 12 ft long snake would then be produced & laid over our bare flesh for us to squeal at it's cold, wet feeling skin.
Yes, I can definitely understand why I repeated that particular party on more than one occasion.

In South Africa I made an exciting adventure to a place in Cape Town called 'The World of Birds'. I'm sure you can imagine my emotional experience there - it was practically spiritual. Here are a few snaps from the day!

...The eye of nightmares

This poor friend had a bit of an eye problem. Life through one eye from an owl's perspective. I wonder what that's like. Magical, I imagine.


owly owls la la la
And some other chums I made...