South London Photographer: Winding up the summer holidays

I promised the boys a trip to the Wonderlab at the Science Museum before the end of the holidays and today I kept my word. After picking up new uniforms in preparation for next week, we jumped on a bus and made our way over to South Kensington.  I was extremely grateful to my mum who had bought us annual tickets, as these things can be quite expensive, especially after a long summer. But goodness, it’s a photogenic venue so I hope she will know it was worth it for that at least. Oops, they had lots of fun as well, which I think is more the point! Either way, I have some lovely shots of the younger boys which will certainly be going into this year’s album. (I’m getting better at making sure I get those organised, and am very glad about it too – make sure you do, it would be awful to lose all your digital images and not have anything material to show for it.) Here are a handful of my favourite shots from today.

Do get in touch for information about family shoots in your home or at a favourite venue*. Autumn is around the corner and a great time for organising extra special Christmas presents for grandparents!

(c)SJField 2018

*Please be aware, some venues require prior permission for photoshoots

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South London Photographer: Phone photography​

Just before the end of the summer term, I was invited to lead a photography workshop with an enthusiastic group of eight to nine-year-olds at my local school as part of their Arts Week festival. The work they created was great!

One of the things I always impress upon children when doing these workshops is how accessible phone photography is nowadays and why that is a very good thing. Not only do we have ever-improving cameras in our pockets, they can be accompanied by a host of editing programmes, many of which are free or don’t cost very much, and which are becoming easier and easier to use. This is great news. Traditional software can be prohibitively expensive and darkrooms obviously out of reach for many, many people. What that means is, everyone with a phone can engage in creative photography. All they need is the desire to do so.

When I first started getting into photography I remember reading comments made by photographers who lamented the ease of digital photography and all its related software. I recall being shocked to see someone moan how any old mother could potentially set up and become a photographer nowadays – as if this was a terrible thing which threatened to kill off photography altogether. Not any old mother??  Good lord, how dreadful! I mean, whatever next, mothers taking photographs and becoming skilled at something creative which might just fit in with their role as parents. Shocker!!!  Stop it now, please before the old order it overturned entirely!

Last week a famous filmmaker said something equally daft about phone photography. Phone photography is, according to this highly successful man with access to all the cash he needs to pay for Polaroid film, killing off real photography. In fact, it’s so dire, we need a new name for photography. Photography, when translated back to its Greek roots, means drawing with light. I think the word fits perfectly fine and what we actually need is a new attitude. Photography is not for a select few. Phones have made it possible for everyone and anyone to start playing and creating and having fun with the recording of light. What’s more, there are lots and lots of avenues for people to go down, from making commercial images to creating obscure experimental work, meaning there is space for all sorts of photography out there.

I am one of those terrible mothers who had the audacity to just set myself up as a photographer. Of course, just setting oneself up is a complete fallacy in most cases – I suspect very few people can just do that and succeed. The business of learning is long and at times tortuous whatever the equipment. As a financially strapped single parent, a darkroom is pretty much out of the question for me, and film is prohibitively expensive, so I am enormously grateful to the whole digital process which has allowed me to learn and develop a skill which would have been very much harder to access otherwise. My learning has also been significantly enhanced by the apps I use on my phone, not only in terms of ease but also access.

Next term I have more workshops booked in and as well as teaching people how to edit, blend images, cut out and make montages, incorporate moving image alongside still, I will continue to promote the idea that photography is for everyone. You don’t need lots of money or space. You need your phone and the desire to create. That’s’ not to say phone photography is everything. Of course, it isn’t. But it’s an amazingly fruitful and egalitarian route into photography which anyone with a phone can access.

Below are links to my own creations all made on a phone and here is a link to some images by digital artist Stina Walfridsson which go far beyond in terms of editing. And let’s not forget you can also make films on a phone  – check out this film by director Micheal Gondry called Détour. Next time you hear someone say phones have killed photography, roll your eyes, say “what a load of rubbish!” and think of all this amazing creativity.

(c)SJField2018

South London Photographer: On a road​ trip through Europe

I had never driven to Italy, which I am fortunate enough to be able to visit regularly, but this time I thought I’d try it. And I’m glad to say, it wasn’t as remotely arduous as I thought it might be, although I could have lived without the sinusitis on the return leg. The only problem for me was, despite driving through some absolutely beautiful spots not to mention a couple of incredible sunsets, being the sole driver meant not taking photographs unless we’d stopped. And had I pulled over every time I wanted to snap something we’d never have arrived at our destination.  As we hurtled round a bend of a mountain or emerged from a tunnel at 70 miles an hour, faced with spectacular landscapes, I yelled at the boys, “take a picture, take a picture, it’s beautiful!!”

“Oh, Mum”, said my eldest with rather too much joyful irony, “you’ve got to learn to live in the moment…”

I was very pleased with most of their music choices, however, and from now on I suspect every time I hear Daft Punk I will be reminded of the amazing mountains and tunnels and skies of Switzerland which were absolutely stunning – their Euro-electronic sound was the perfect audio track for our drive. I particularly liked tracks 3, 4, 5 and 10 from Random Access Memories, especially the following spoken words by Giorgio Moroder. Thanks to my lovely boy for playing it me (over and over again!)

‘Once you free your mind about a concept of
Harmony and music being “correct”
You can do whatever you want’

I’m sure that sentiment can be applied to most creative endeavours – and I wonder if we need more of this thinking rather than the conformist tyranny which social media seems to encourage.

Here are a few images from our time away – none of them from our actual road trip, but check out my Instagram page for a selection taken on my phone mainly in various service stations along our route. Do get in touch to find more about family photo shoots and albums or visit www.sarahjanefield.co.uk.

(c)SJFIeld 2018

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And a few street photographs which were taken in Rome below:

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South London Photographer​

I am doing a spring offer at the moment with 5% off family shoots and portraits – even though the weather is trying to convince us we’re still buried in the depths of winter, we are most definitely about to hit March and that is, without a doubt, the end of the dark season in this part of the world.  Come on warmth and sunshine, our pasty complexions need you, not to mention the vitamin D levels! Check out the offer here but also take a look at some of the snowy pics I’ve enjoyed capturing over the last couple of days…click on the images to see more. Enjoy it while it lasts, everyone!

(c)SJField 2018