South London Photography: Headshots and other portraits

My first love with photography is portraiture. It always has been. And since taking up photography I have enjoyed the process of spending time with people, getting to know them relatively quickly and capturing an authentic quality about them in my camera. However, there is something quite satisfying about photographing people I already know well, like one of my oldest friends, Trudi Jackson, who also happens to be a talented actor. Trudi was recently kind enough to let me work with her for longer than I normally do when shooting headshots. Poor woman must have been exhausted after our day, which of course included a couple of breaks, (I’m not a total tyrant!) during which we fetched her daughter from school and ballet. And who, lucky for me, is equally obliging. Working with Trudi for an extended period gave me plenty of opportunity to play and learn, so I was grateful for her time, and her daughter’s too, of course!

Here are a handful of head shots with some very different looks, chosen by Trudi’s agent, followed by portraits for my own purposes including a couple of the future talent that is Ms. L, who may well follow in her mum’s footsteps by the looks of things.

(c)SJField 2017

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South London Photographer: Good surprises and other nice things

Don’t you hate it when people refer to unexpected babies as mistakes?  “Was he a mistake?” they say with pity in their eyes.  “No!! He most certainly was not. He was a wonderful surprise that took me a while to get my head around.”  I suppose the word ‘mistake’ might be better than a comment I had from a women working at a playgroup I visited.  “I had three.  All grown now, ” she said sadly, “Wish I hadn’t bothered with the last one.  He’s nothing but trouble!” Not an overly sensitive thing to say to a women heavily pregnant with her own third child. And actually, by the time No 3 arrived I was immensely grateful for the opportunity to experience those early precious days with an infant again.   I’m not saying it was easy.  A friend who also had a 3rd baby at the same time and I still talk about the enormous shock to our systems.  Goodness, imagine all those poor women who had 8, 10, or more children in years gone by.  I have no idea how they coped.

If you thought it was hard finding time to pee after having your first child, just wait until you try to manage three.  Also remembering to feed everyone, walk the dog, pay the bills, and talk to grown-ups too. Prior to having children I had a verdant collection of house plants, a super-organised filing system and regularly hosted dinner parties where I impressed my friends with culinary delights. “Wow, Sarah-Jane! It’s like eating in a posh restaurant!” By the time Son No 3 arrived I had lost the ability to keep even a cactus alive, managed to misplace important court documents and am currently the less-than-proud owner of a cardboard box full of bank statements, randomly chucked in, in no particular order.  My cooking skills have been reduced to the level of burnt baked beans and undercooked frozen pies.  And I’m not pointing fingers or name shaming or anything, but I’m not sure being dumped by the now ex-husband before baby No. 3 reached his first birthday helped any… that aside, having three kids has proved challenging to say the least, and it was only when I started packing up my flat to move a couple of months ago that I started to appreciate just how immensely chaotic the last few years had been.

As I sorted through our belongings I realised that I must have barely unpacked when we’d moved in there two and half years previously.  I seemingly just chucked overflowing boxes and bags in corners and cupboards, only took out what we couldn’t do without, and then did the best I could under the circumstances.  Which is I think all any of us can hope for.  As I packed up this time round, I began finding things that I had forgotten about, thought I’d lost, or never even realised I’d had.  I came across all sorts of objects and items, but mostly what I discovered were shattered and disparate parts of me that had long ago been put aside, shoved away, hidden and misplaced, perhaps because being a mum and a wife made me think there was no room for them.  I don’t think I’m unusual in this – it seems to be part of the process, and there are undoubtedly several groups of anthropologists dotted about the place looking at changing roles for modern Western women and how they cope with children, marriage, and work. (Especially interesting when you consider that nowadays so many have never even held a baby by the time their first one arrives.)  As I packed up my home, I seemed to be unpacking myself.  And guess what? I was pretty pleased to see all those parts of me resurface.

The last few weeks have been a bit strange though, as all the separate parts I recognised try find their way back into my existence.  Will I ever have an organised filing system again?  I’m not sure; I have been slowly trying to sort out the mess that several years of un-filing amount to, but there is always a floor to mop, a bottom to wipe, or a meal to cook that everyone will grumble about for some reason or other. I’ve been bought a beautiful plant as a moving-in present, and I’m very much hoping to keep it alive for longer than a few weeks.  And I’ve invited some friends for dinner soon, who I know will be hoping for a little more than burnt baked beans and a pie that’s still frozen in the middle.

I guess the point is that having a family, navigating life, and just getting from one moment to another isn’t always straightforward.  Perhaps it’s not easy to accept that in a world where the general consensus seems to be that we should be aiming to have it all NOW!! And be damn good at every aspect.  Perfect parents who never shout, with successful happy children and blossoming careers too.  I’m pretty sure that’s not how life works all the time though, despite the plethora of articles in women’s magazine telling us otherwise. So let’s recognise the good stuff, work through the difficult and just be a bit more realistic with ourselves. I’ve had some other really good surprises recently; like when I lost my phone and found it still lying in the gutter half an hour later, where it had presumably fallen out of my pocket as I yanked a sullen, sulky child out of the car so we wouldn’t be late.  Or the beautiful foggy morning we had yesterday so that I was able to take photographs in some of my favourite weather conditions.  Neither of those of course even come close to the best surprise of recent years, my amazingly cute and funny Son No 3 who celebrated his 4th birthday last week.  He’s an absolute pain in the arse sometimes but I am so very glad I bothered.  And if anyone refers to him as a mistake again I might be compelled to slap them.  Hard!

Image (c)SJField 2016

 

(c)SJField 2016

South London Photographer: Shopping or not as the case may be

Christmas, commercialism, and consumerism.  They’re all tied up together and I can’t help feeling disappointed that Christmas is more about shopping than anything else nowadays.  Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the mid-winter festivities, feasting, imbibing, socialising and gift-giving.  Not to mention the sense of bittersweet nostalgia that these weeks bring with them.  It’s lots of fun.  Or it ought to be.  But I’m really not keen on the intense shopping aspect to it all.   So I tend to ignore it for as long as possible.  However, I wouldn’t advise anyone else to follow my lead.  Since I leave everything until the last minute, I quite often can’t get hold of the gifts I know people in my family would like.  A few years ago my mother had to do with a promise of a Kindle on Christmas morning which wasn’t due back in stock until mid January.

This year I have told the boys I am not able to spend lots of money on presents although I’m pretty sure I say that every year and then a sense of guilt sets in and somehow I forget my intentions and still manage to get out in time and buy a whole load of ‘stuff’.  But I’m going to be strong this year and try to stick to my guns.  Perhaps it can be a sort of old year’s resolution and unlike a new year’s resolution, where you have a full 365 days ahead of you in which to fail, there are only a few weeks left, so surely I can do it.  Not only do I want to avoid buying lots of junk, I’d really much rather give experiential presents.

Even before I mentioned this Son No 1, he totally surprised me when said for Christmas he would like a photography shoot of us all in Richmond park.  He has decided he’d like a framed print to put on the wall of his room when we move.  Obviously he’d also like a TV, sofa, sound system and coffee table, because at the tender age of 11 he is fantasising about turning his room into some sort of bachelor pad.  But thankfully he knows there isn’t a chance in hell of getting any of that stuff from me for Christmas, so not only is he being delightfully unmaterialistic by asking for something so personal, he’s also being a realist, which is an impressive development, I must say. I was, nevertheless, quite gobsmacked.

“What?” I said, “You want a picture of your family?  And you want me to take it?” Wow  – all those anger-fuelled insults during the last couple of years about my photography being rubbish and how much he hates his brothers and me suddenly dissolved in a moment on uncharacteristic familial appreciation.  I’m not sure it will last and I suspect he’d be rather disappointed on the morning of the 25th December if there wasn’t any junk at all to unwrap.  Oh, no!  I suddenly feel so full of love, awe and motherly pride, prompted by his wanting one my photographs on his wall that I’m starting to feel compelled to go out and buy him lots of expensive stuff which I can’t afford, such as a special fruitily named watch I know he’d be extraordinarily pleased with …. goodness, what a slippery slope that could so easily be.  And how short my old year’s resolution nearly lasted.  Yikes, it’s hard to resist the pull of commercialism.

Son No 2 has not yet learned the art of subtle manipulation so there are plenty of straightforward “I wants” coming from his direction.  To be fair to him he has said he is perfectly prepared to pay for the plastic arsenal he is so keen on acquiring with his pocket money savings. Sadly for him his concept of what £20 can buy has yet to reach anything approaching reality so it’s a constant circular discussion right now.  Thankfully, the youngest still doesn’t really know what any of it’s about so his needs and wants are more immediate and often easier to satisfy.  I want a funny yogurt he’ll wail from time to time.  By that he means the ones that are half pink and half yellow for anyone wondering how yoghurts ever get to be humorous.  Easily sorted though!  Although it does require actually remembering to order a shop from the supermarket occasionally.  My poor kids – in fact it seems, all they might really want is a mother who can get it together to make sure there is milk for breakfast in the morning! (I’m not that bad really – all in the name of hyperbole, honest!)

I know this whole present buying conundrum is felt by most parents nowadays.  Kids have so much stuff it’s often quite difficult to work out what to buy them; how much to spend; what if anything do any of them even need.  I’m not sure how everyone else goes about solving it. If you have any ideas, do let me know!

This week I’m posting some images from a family shoot that was given as a Christmas gift last year.  If that’s the sort of thing you might be interested in then do get in touch and I can arrange a voucher.  Alternatively, there is still a little time left to organise a shoot and print photographs before Christmas.  I also have framed prints of images ready to go or which can ordered in the next couple of weeks.  Check out my website for details.

Have a  good weekend all.  I’m looking forward to a PTA organised quiz at the kids’ school!

SJ x

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South London Photographer: How my catalogue of images relates to a kiddie’s film about memory and self

I am certain there are more pressing things than writing this blog for me to be doing since my To Do list is as long as ever, but I also know that this part of my job has proven to be quite effective recently. The more I write the more likely my name pops up when people insert “photographer” and “South London” into their search engines. As Son No 1 pointed out to me last night though, there is also quite a lot of other people’s ‘stuff’ out there linked to me, so I guess posting more of my own things is quite pressing in the end.

Anyway, despite the many work and domestic related items on my list, not to mention the sickly 3 year old in my care today,  I think I’m going to give myself a break from more serious tasks and witter on here for a moment. Truth be told I’ve not exactly had an arduous morning but it has been trying and annoying as I sat here communicating with Adobe for several hours trying to sort something out that I’d cocked up. It took a while but at least I now do have my editing software on a lovely new bigger and better Mac. And a deeply sincere thank you to Mr. & Mrs. C who kindly donated it to me after reading about my computing troubles in an earlier blog. How lucky to be surrounded by such generous friends.

Of course, ensuring everything I need going forward – minus all the crap that I don’t – was transferred to the new Mac proved challenging for me. I’m sure it wouldn’t have been so for everyone out there in my position but my brain doesn’t always lead me down the smoothest of paths so after downloading and uninstalling and attempting to re-download and then getting in a right pickle I was extremely grateful to the helpful, patient souls I spoke with this morning. I am now almost there. All that is left is my catalogue of images; a catalogue that reaches back to 2011.

Now here’s the thing. I remember reading that it’s best just to keep one catalogue and not to have a whole bunch of catalogues scattered about the place in Lightroom. So I have stuck to this. But it seems to me that I have reached a moment where it is possible to let go of all those hundreds and thousands of old RAW images. I mean why would I want to keep them at the ready going forward anyway? I have a bunch of edited JPGS safely stored and easily accessible. Surely I no longer need to scroll through all the overexposed, underexposed, unutterable genuine rubbish that exists within that relatively old catalogue. So, I’m pretty sure now, after some back and forth, upside down, inside out scratching and working out which went on inside my head, that actually it might be feel rather nice to start a new catalogue and simply archive all that’s gone before for now; a bit like in a scene from Inside Out (oh, one of the best kid’s films ever to come out of Pixar by the way – a film that brilliantly explores philosophy of the self. And, my goodness, like most of you who have seen it must have done, I balled my eyes in that memory dump scene!)

So here I am, surrounded by various wires, leads, separate drives and USB sticks, as well as a few too many Mac related bits and pieces, feeling streamlined and lightened by the decision to start afresh. And it’s not like I won’t be able to retrieve things should I ever need to. (Gosh, it is just like Inside Out! And quite frankly, a lot of those old images, deserve with a doubt,                                                               nothing more than the memory dump, for sure.)

Right, now that I’ve thought that through and written about it here, I think I might be ready to get on with the more pressing things that make up my long and never ending To Do list.  Or perhaps just sit with my little boy who is burning up instead, which may well be the most pressing thing of all.

Ps! I recently did a family shoot which was a present given last Christmas. For anyone trying to think about what to give grannies and granddads this year, consider a photography shoot. I know everyone was very pleased with the results and it went down very well as a gift.

(c)Sarah-Jane Field 2015

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This morning I’ve been getting on with some technological house-keeping

South London Photographer: Reluctantly having an enforced break

I can’t tell you how annoying it is not to have my MAC here.  It’s a bit sickly, running very slowly, and so has gone into the MAC mending shop to be sorted out.  Having a small, but growing business is all about learning from mistakes, as much as it is about anything else. And all my images are backed up on an external hard drive, but are my invoices and records?? Er… nope!

Also, whilst I do have a small laptop, courtesy of some generous friends of mine, on which I am working now, it is much better to edit, portraits especially, on the bigger, higher resolution screen that is currently idling away in MAC hospital.

Being forced to slow down through a mixture of necessity and incompetence, however, is probably not a bad thing.  I’ve had the most awful cold for a couple of weeks and I can feel myself getting better and a lot less tired, which is not only a relief but also quite a pleasant feeling…hmm, weird!

And although I also do feel quite frustrated by my inability to get on with admin and editing, I take comfort in the fact that I have been able to have some fun, grab some street photography on my phone and catch up a little with the study stuff.

Here’s an iPhone image I took yesterday on my way to meet a friend for lunch, which I enjoyed without feeling any guilt whatsoever about all the editing I have waiting for me, but can’t do for a few more days.  (Ok, maybe I did feel a bit guilty but was able to rationlise it in my head as I told myself to stop fretting – No MAC, dingbat, enjoy your falafel!!)

Right, enough of the relaxing Erik Satie and chit chat about how nice it is to slow down a little. I’m going to brave learning about Marx’s base and super structure….a subject which I tried to read about earlier this week and promptly fell asleep, which is probably slowing down a bit too much, wouldn’t you say?

Wedding pics next time.

SJx

(c)Sarah-Jane Field 2015

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Image taken on my phone yesterday at Waterloo Station. I love it when the sun shines and we get these amazing shapes and patterns. Luckily we had about 20 minutes of strongish sun as I went to meet my friend yesterday before it headed behind the clouds…

South London Photographer: The start of a new era and another baby!

Last week as I walked away from big boys’ nursery school, having just dropped my youngest son off, No 1 said to me, “So, this is the first time in nearly 12 years you will be free…” I don’t know what to say about the fact that at the tender age of eleven he had decided his presence no longer counts in the mix of small boys I am responsible for, but anyway, I did try to answer at the time without twitching and also maintaining a clear and reasonably calm modulated voice, “YES!!!”   Not that I was excited by the prospect of a few hours of daily uninterrupted work time available to me from now on, or anything. Oh no, I’m lying. I was!!

Later that day Son No 3 who had waved me away so cheerily that morning, and with so much confidence and a genuine sense of happy independence, put his head in his hands over supper and moaned, “I haven’t got a life!”

Oh, my god, I thought. One day at school and he has obviously realised that this is it for him; the start of a life long journey, which for many of us is made up of going to school, then possibly university, then work, then retirement followed only by the inevitable end.

I was just about to quote Woody Allen, who’s alter ego Alvy Singer, says in the opening gambit of Annie Hall, “Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering – and it’s all over much too soon” followed by “so stop your wailing small boy and make the most of it!” when I noticed the plastic cutlery he had thrown on the floor ….

…Aaaah, yes, he wasn’t actually having an existential crisis. He simply can’t pronounce the word ‘knife’ properly and was merely expressing his sadness about the fact that he (and no one else, take note) threw his knife on the floor and was really quite annoyed that it hadn’t magically jumped back up on table ready for his grubby little paw to grab hold of.

Phew! I mean I do like a thinker and all, but there is a limit and succumbing to the futility of a modern, Western, materialist-driven existence when you’ve not reached your 4th birthday is under-stepping the mark, surely. I don’t think he can have overstepped it at this stage, but of course I may be wrong. And actually, even if I do say so myself, he looks to have a fantastic life from where I’m sitting, which at that time was not as near as he was to the knife/life he’d discarded, and so I said to him, “Well, pick up the knife you’ve belligerently and churlishly chucked on the floor then.  And your problem will be marvellously solved!” He did.

This morning Son No 1 started secondary school and so now I truly do have a great deal more time than I’ve had before to get on with work and studies, and, oh yes, that other murky thing I don’t quite get…domesticity. Yes, time for that too. I have a million things to do though before I begin balling socks and folding clothes; such as editing clients’ baby and wedding photos as well as setting up a blog for my new course, which all come at the top of the list.

Last week I photographed a little boy who was just 5 weeks old. His mummy and daddy look like they’re doing amazingly – They won’t believe how fast it all goes. I remember so very clearly, like most parents, bringing home Son No 1 for the first time and wondering what on god’s earth I was meant to do next.  Thankfully, almost twelve years later the two of us are able to muddle through together, which sometimes results in minor scrapes and mishaps, like this morning when he left his brand new school bag on the doorstep at home, as we drove off to the start of his first day. “Oh, crap!” he announced when he realised and we were already half way there.

Here are some of the images from the baby shoot. I love these jobs and I do absolutely adore babies. But having tasted what is now nearly 4 hours of my newfound freedom I am certain that photographing other people’s tiny people is the way forward. My latest baby is my photography and that is just perfect for me.

SJ x

(c)Sarah-Jane Field 2015

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South London Photographer: A metaphorical lesson from my kids

“Can you literally open the door, Mum?” said my three old child to me the other day.“What do you mean, can I literally open the door? How else I am meant to open it for you, small person? Metaphorically?”

“MUM!!” he wailed, “Literally open the door!”

Wow, I think perhaps I should stop reading to them. They’re all getting much smarter than me and quickly too. Why am I embarking on a metaphysical/philosophical conversation with Son No. 3 at 8am in the morning?

Son No 1 is no better. As we left a friend’s recently, he discussed various parenting styles and compared mine to my friend’s.

“Oh, you use to be just as overly patient and understanding with me. Then No 2 arrived and you grew up.”

“Did I? How so?”

He was fairly sanguine when he answered, “Now you just scream that you’re going to castrate us all and throw us out the window.

“Oops!” I said.

A few days later I tried to excuse my insane and ludicrous threats made in rage and said that at least I don’t literally castrate them. Son No 1 looked at me and smiled,

“No, but you’ve definitely metaphorically castrated us…”

Oh my god, have I? Really? What if he’s right? I’m going to console myself with the fact that Son No 1 wouldn’t even remotely be able to have such a conversation with me if he were indeed castrated in any metaphorical sense and in actual fact, despite a traumatic and horrible family break-up, he’s doing pretty well indeed. And why do I say such ludicrous things – because I kind of feel that by making truly and utterly ridiculous threats I send them all a very clear message that even though I’m furious, I’m also minded to turn myself into a cartoon, therefore making myself less threatening to them while there are metaphorical flames flying out of my ears.  Well, that’s the theory anyway.

There is so much parenting advice out there. Basically, if you breathe the wrong way you are potentially damaging your child forever, so don’t, whatever you do, breathe the wrong way. That kind of atmosphere makes us all terrified. And so we compensate by over-parenting, which is probably what I was doing with Son No 1 before any more children came along.  Many of us do it at some point in one way or another.  It’s difficult to avoid nowadays.  But what over-parenting does to children is make them totally unprepared for real, robust and three-dimensional relationships. Relationships where people are able to express their themselves and know that it is OK, that an angry person has not stopped loving them, but is simply angry. I’m not saying it’s easy. And there is no failsafe ‘recipe’.

Paranoid Parenting by Frank Ferudi is one of the best books I’ve read on the subject of over-parenting. In it he says, “Parenting is not a complex science. It is not even as a science at all. Sometimes boring, ordinary, and even banal, bringing up children is always demanding. Parents can afford to make mistakes but they would do well to learn from them”.

I know the quote I’ve used invites plenty of “but what if” questions and sure, the subject is probably a little more complex than can be summed in that paragraph – which is why I absolutely recommend reading the whole book.  Whether or not I’m doing my best by threatening castration as a behavioural solution (mind you, you never know…) is of course debatable. It is also subject to personal opinion, cultural outlook, and the sort of relationship you might have with children in general.

I do know, however, that my children are more or less doing pretty well with life. We have been on quite a bumpy journey over the last few years and it continues to be less than smooth at times. But we’re all doing OK.  Literally and metaphorically.  It’s a hard slog getting over a divorce, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, and it takes a long time. (I was going to write about the reality of that in response to a post on a forum I saw the other day which had some ignorant and flippant comments in it but I think I’ll wait and let those thoughts formulate for a little longer). Weeks go by and I think, yes, we (I’m) are getting through this.  And then something happens and I feel like I’m back in the early traumatising moments all over again – and on those days, Son No 3, I am barely able to open any doors literally or metaphorically.  But when Son No 1 laughs and teases me about my slightly wonky parenting style by making a pretend quiz-show buzzer sound followed by “Parenting fail, Mum!” I am filled with the knowledge that for now the 4 of us are just fine.

I’ve managed to do some work over the summer but I’m posting some recent family shots this week. Mainly because they tie in with the text, and because I feel that if I posted a client’s family to illustrate this week’s blog they might take offence at being associated with my brand of parenting. But also because these photographs were taken at the same place as some photographs I posted last year – West Wittering Beach. And I am quite heartened by the steps we’ve all taken over the last 12 months. They may be small steps in some instances but things have certainly moved and all for the better. For me, at any rate, that positive journey is evident in the difference between the photographs I took last year and the ones I took the other day.

Hope everyone’s bearing up with the long summer hols. I have to say there are days when I’m not sure I am, but thankfully they are countered by some really great days such as the one recorded in these images. SJ x

All images (c)Sarah-Jane Field 2015sand- sand-9415 sand-9462 sand-9564sand-9586-2

South London Photographer: Some more road rage but also a long-term personal ambition achieved!

On Wednesday I overslept.  This was a bit of a shame as it was an induction day for Son No 1 at his new school.  With very little time I threw some clothes at all the children, made arrangements for the younger ones, and also for my supermarket delivery to be welcomed whilst I was out as I’d evidently forgotten about the school thing when I finally realised our cupboards were quite bare (I really was quite disorganised about this whole day, it turns out); and leapt into the car yelling at Son No 1 about how we had to hurry because we were going to be late, almost as if it were his fault. I guess it wasn’t an ideal start to the day.

Of course we then hit a traffic jam and I had to do a U-turn to avoid being even later than we already were, so when an annoying man banged on my car and told me off for turning around near a zebra crossing, I must say I wasn’t really in the mood for receiving his opinion about any possible errant driving habits I may have.

Poor Son No 1.  Nervous about his upcoming day, a bit ruffled by our rushed exit and now sitting next to his highly neurotic yelling mother, who was currently swearing at a complete stranger about how she thought he was a wanker who should wait until his own life was perfect before taking it upon himself to start telling others how to live theirs!

“Mum, you’re so embarrassing!  You don’t even know him.” Mmmm.  Would it have made it any better if I had known him?  Sometimes, I do wonder how much the therapy that my intelligent and sensitive boy will need later is going to cost him?  Not ‘me’ you notice…

So anyway, we got to the secondary school on time, thanks to my U-turn. (Which I will tell you was not actually on the zebra crossing and in fact there was no one except said censorious grumpy pants crossing at the time, and I do have a rearview mirror and a small camera at the back so I could see him, and had I wanted to run him over, I of course could have and with a great deal of accuracy too.)

I was exceedingly proud of Son No 1. He was exceptionally cool about it all, really enjoyed the day and later when he tried on his new uniform in the pop-up shop at the end of the day I could have wept.

I find it hard to have ambitions in life.  Not sure why, I kind of just rumble on taking little steps in all directions, making strides and then finding myself sitting down for a brief or even a long whistle and possibly a little think before bothering to get up again. Probably because taking steps in all directions all the time is really quite tiring, not to mention disorientating.  But one of the ambitions I have held for a long while is to try and give my children some sense of stability.

That hasn’t always been easy, especially given a recent divorce and some house moves we’ve had to do.  But an ambition of mine that meant a great deal to me was to ensure that at least one of my children (if not all, although I do have high hopes) managed to stay at the same school for the duration. I guess because I went to quite a few schools in my time – and I actually mean a lot – and found it extraordinarily disruptive although I’m certain it needn’t be so if your children have moved about, please don’t feel I’m having a go.  This was just something that felt personally quite important.

And guess what?  We’ve achieved that.  For Son No 1 at any rate.  He’s been at the same school since nursery and is now really ready to move on. It’s just a small thing to some but to me it means a great deal and I’m pretty pleased with it, I have to say.

It doesn’t mean he’s without his problems. He’s been in trouble at school this week, had computer rights taken away and then earned back and then taken away again several times.  He’s rude as hell to me and drives me round the bloody bend. But we’re doing OK despite my road rage, current state of exhaustion and bad time keeping in the morning; along with my absolute inability to keep on top of the online food shopping! Have a great week.

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The children engrossed in playing and So No 1 showing the others how it’s done.

Image (c)Sarah-Jane Field 2015

South London Photographer: Editing photographs I took nearly a year ago!

I have just edited a bunch of photographs I took last year. I remember doing them. It was the second job in a single day and I’d just finished shooting my first christening. I’d been pretty nervous at the time and was tired. I went along to the subsequent job, got a little lost on the way and arrived feeling stressed. I managed to get through the job and got home later to edit two sets of photos.

I can be quite hard on myself and I was a bit worried about the photos I’d taken for job no 2, as I was in the very early days of all this photography stuff at the time. Well, I still am but not quite so very early now… The family were just about to move back to the States at the time and it has taken them quite a few months to come back to me with an order. Which, of course added to my concerns. However, not only have the family got back in touch and ordered their images but they have also ordered many more than were originally offered in the package, which is pleasing.

What’s interesting for me after all this time is to see that I had actually taken some photographs that were OK, despite my reservations. Yes, there are some that I’m not at all happy with but then there always are and I suspect there always will be. I hope however that by now, after 18 months or so of slowly building up my little business, I would have found different ways to solve some of the conundrums that come up when doing family portraiture. The images that work, work well (enough) and I needn’t have been quite so tough on myself at the time. Nevertheless, opening yourself up to the world with work that will be liked and disliked by people depending on their tastes is part of the job.

I recently read a very helpful blog by a successful and thriving photographer/blogging person, in which he wrote that he is sometimes told he takes horrible photographs, writes awful blogs and a whole bunch of other such negative stuff – all of which he helpfully advised to ignore if you were to find yourself in that situation.  Good advice!  And goodness knows, there is enough truly ridiculous crap in life to be getting on with without piling any more crap on myself by being overly harsh and negative about my own work! (I do wonder as I write this if I’ll ever take any real notice of my helpful realisations…)

So, that’s it for now – just some photographs I took nearly a year ago which have been helpful for me to revisit.  Interesting to see where I am now in relation to nearly a year ago, and I think was more than heading in the right direction. Anyway, I will have to write another blog pretty soon to chat about my very first foray into exhibiting my work to the general public, well, I say general public, I mean mostly my very supportive and lovely community… but it was a good start.  Does that mean I am going to step up to 2 blogs a week yet… it’s something I’ve been contemplating for a while… we’ll see. Certainly, I might make it to two posts this week.

Right, that’s it for now… off to get those kids to bed.  Have a great couple of days – back soon. All images (c)SarahJaneField 2014 untitled- untitled-9318 untitled-9320 untitled-9324 untitled-9359 untitled-9371 untitled-9390 untitled-9464 untitled-9520 untitled-9619

South London Photographer: End of half-term and a busy few days ahead

I am getting my blog for this week done sooner than usual as I am working tomorrow afternoon – a shoot with a family who have a young baby, yay!  And then I know I will have quite a lot to do for the following few days.  It’s called forward planning, I think. Always worth aiming for but not actually possible in every instance when you’re juggling lots of stuff at once.  No doubt I shall be quite pleased with myself if I manage to get everything done that needs doing over the next 48 hours or so, and that’s even without having made my bed this morning.  I mention this as I read some peculiar article on Twitter that said making your bed in the morning makes you a better version of yourself… really?  I guess I should give it a try and see how I go – If I manage it I’ll report back and let you know if I think I’ve become an improved model of SJF.

I am posting a photograph of Son No 2 today as it’s one of my favourites.  And I know some people might look at it and go, really? What?  But for me this photograph works. The light, the subject, the reality of it. It doesn’t look posed but I have to admit it actually is.  I saw him sitting there drinking his drink, well actually my drink and I said, hang on – let me grab my camera.  At which point he got out and ran around the house covered in bubbles laughing at me. He only got back in and let me take the photograph when I had promised to Photoshop something unspeakable on the can. Where this seven year old gets his humour… it’s a worry.  I took a few shots but the first one was the best in my view and then he jumped out and I told him I was going to break my promise and not Photoshop anything into it, so he now thinks it’s a rubbish photograph.  I don’t mind.  I love it.

I think I might have to do a series of photographs of the boys in the bathroom mainly because the light in there is simply beautiful. Is that a good enough reason?  Who knows?  My studies with art and photography have left me wondering what on earth art is and if there is indeed any reason behind any of it at all.  I chat about the teaching of art here in Michael Szpakowski’s Art Education discussion which I mentioned in my last post.  Actually, I can’t wait to finish the current module I’m doing at OCA and move on to the next which probably won’t answer the question but it will give me lots more to think about when considering it.

Some of my photographs will be displayed at Barmouth Kitchen on Barmouth Road in Wandsworth from next weekend over the summer.  Will they be considered art? I don’t know.  You’ll have to pop along and see, and make up your own mind.  Not sure BK will want pictures of my kids in the bath plastered all over their walls next time round… but who knows?  Perhaps they’d love it!  This time though the theme is Wandsworth and colour.  So if you’ve got a spare wall looking for an image, pop along and take a look or get in touch.  Mounted hand printed images will cost £55 or you could just grab yourself a set of postcards if you prefer.  I’ll pop the images online after the launch at BK next Friday. (If you’re local, do pop along – Friday 5th from 7pm)

In the meantime, enjoy what’s left of half term and bring on the last few weeks of the school year!  My little home needs a bit of a rest from the kids being here quite so many hours – they were actually decorating the walls this morning.  And I don’t mean in a helpful way.

Have fun!

Image (c)sarahjanefield 2015

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Son No 2