Cheese racers in steep challenge

Another tradition with its roots lost in history, I think one day I might research these old traditions and trace them back to their roots, that would be fascinating. One day.

This is a story that was in the news today about the famous cheese rolling race on Coopers Hill in Gloucestershire.

Apparently the race dates back to Roman times, I have had a quick scout round the web but I haven’t found much information about it other than it is a VERY steep hill and lots of people get injured every year. The winner wins the cheese, runners up win £10 or £5.


Jonathan Meads Magnetic North

Richard told me about this programme which had been shown on BBC4, I watched on iplayer the other day.
Joanathan Meads takes a comparative look at the art of the north compare to that of the south and concludes, to take a quote out from the programme:

” To be northern is to be for ever ill at ease with oneself.”

Brilliant programme, I will be looking out for others in the series.

Flowers and Fashion- Sandy Knapp and Nick Knight

I was looking for a link between fashion photography and nature and came across this:

It is a lecture with Nick Knight and Sandy Knapp about how Nick Knight took 9 months out of the fashion industry to photograph literally millions of archived plants in the natural history museum. He states in the lecture how he used 8.5 x11 in negs to photographs the backlit plants which have now been published in a book. There is also a short discussion about the ethics of fashion photography.

Fascinating lecture, well worth a look even if you aren’t into fashion or plants.

Flowers and Fashion
Sandy Knapp and Nick Knight, 06/03/2005

“Flowers are perhaps nature’s most flamboyant display; but it’s not only bees they attract. Humans have long been drawn to their colours, forms, and scents, and used them for our own decorations and advertisements. Join botanist Sandy Knapp and fashion photographer Nick Knight to find out about cross-pollination between the worlds of fashion and nature.”

To watch the video, you’ll need to have Windows Media Player or QuickTime installed on your computer.

Psychobabble Artists Statements

Woke up at stupid oc’clock this morning so after doing a bit of dawn chorus gardening I though I’d make a start on writing my artists statement. As I’m not terribly good at verbalising my thoughts I thought I would have a look on the internet for a few clues. There are a few really useful sites with hints and tips on how to write one.

Some statements just made me laugh with their pomposity.

This site was fun and it led me to…

this site which held my attention for a while.

Particularly the little word game at the bottom. Teehee.

Anyway, I now have the tools with which to write my statement so I’ll just pop off to join the campaign for plain English and then I’ll get it written

Pagan Wedding Photography – market research

Thinking about fulfilling the market research element of the brief. Hmm, paganism, wicca and photography, not obvious bed fellows.

I didn’t think a seach on google about Pagan wedding photographers was going to get me very far – how wrong can you be!!

Very interesting site, I learnt a lot from looking round it, Pagan weddings are obviously completely different to ‘normal’ ones. Fascinating, I want to photograph one!

I have also found the website of a Wiccan artist and photographer, Angela Barnett, her images are heavily photoshopped and have a very ethereal feel to them.

I also had a look for stock photography sites, this one was the first to pop up with anything relating to paganism.

There were 1079 results: not much there though and it was all very cliched.

I also looked at the Pagan Guild website as it has links to lots of other websites which may be of interest to Pagans, Celts and Wiccans. I didn’t find any more photographers though.

Lightroom traumas

I have been printing out all of my contact sheets. Having set the printer running I have come back to discover that all the images have printed out really dark although they look great on the screen. It isn’t the first time I have come across this problem with lightroom, it’s extrememly irritating. All the contact sheets will have to go through photoshop and be reprinted. What a waste of time, ink and paper – not to mention money!!

Health and Safety

During the reshoot for Imbolc, once I had got all the elements together, I suddenly realised that there was a real health and safety issue with this shoot.

Not only did I have dead, dry trees in small tubs likely to topple over, I also had a paper backdrop, candles, a model dressed in voile and a fan to waft the very light fabric over the candles. A recipe for disaster if ever I’ve seen one!

We were extrememly cautious about where the candles were placed, we shot the images with the candles in front of the model before the fan was turned on and we moved them to the back where there was no possiblity of any fabric touching them when we used the fan.

We also had two fire extinguishers at the ready and an assistant in case of emergency.

Better safe than sorry.


Imbolc (pronounced eemolc) is the depest, coldest, and most miserable part of winter. Just at the point when you lose the will to live, you suddenly notice that there are shoots on the trees and things are beginnin to grow again, nature is in the process of renewal. Imbolc is on the 2nd February, also known as Candlemass Day, Brigids Day or Brides Day after the Celtic goddess who later became a Christian saint.. It is one of the four Celtic fire festivals

When I originally shot the pictures for winter, I didn’t really include much element of symbolism other than the dead trees, the symbolism was more about winter itself rather than of Imbolc and the renewal of life from the apparently dead. It is traditional to light every light in the house to honour the rebirth of the sun.

“In most parts of the British Isles, February is a harsh and bitter month. In old Scotland, the month fell in the middle of the period known as Faoilleach, the Wolf-month; it was also known as a’ marbh mhiòs, the Dead-month. But although this season was so cold and drear, small but sturdy signs of new life began to appear: Lambs were born and soft rain brought new grass. Ravens begin to build their nests and larks were said to sing with a clearer voice. “

“As winter progressed, the spirits of the dead went back to their own world and the living went into a deep freeze. The farming cycle began anew with the end of winter, which was marked by the celebration of Imbolc. A rough translation of this word from the Celtic languages approximates the readying of ewes to give birth. The arrival of lambs means that winter is over and life can return, especially to the ground”

Having a rethink about it I decided to reshoot it using more symbolic elements: a white flower to symbolise The new growth and also the milk of the ewes. The candles to symbolise the return of the sun and also the dead trees to symbolise the fact that although spring was coming, life was still very harsh and cold, supplies were running low and life was extremely difficult.

Here are a couple of pics from that shoot.

Beltane, also revisited

The shoot I did with Sarah last week I have been having another look at the pics and found two or three that I really like, I have decided ( in the absence of any comments from you) to lose Brian from the images as he doesn’t really portray what I was after, I think more direction from me and a chunkier chap might have worked better. Still don’t know if it would have worked though, too much of an air of menace rather than joyful abandon.

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