Tea

Covid 19

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Coronavirus

So I thought I should write something about how Covid 19 has affected me and my business. I should probably start by saying I know how lucky I am. Only one person I know has ended up in hospital with Covonavirus, and they are back home now and all is good. I know that so many other people have not been so lucky. I am also fortunate that my job doesn’t expose me to the risk of catching Covid 19 on a daily basis like NHS staff, carers and other keyworkers. 

And now for something completely different

Now this is a story all about how
My life got flipped, turned upside down,
So won’t you take a minute, just sit right there,
I’ll tell you how I got stuck at home because of Covid-19
In West Wiltshire born and raise
Taking photos was how I spent most of my days
Checking apertures, exposures, and all
And shooting some photos that looked pretty cool
When this one bad virus that was up to no good,
Started making trouble in all our neighbourhoods
We got in one big fight and everybody was scared
And the WHO said stay inside and don’t go out there…

With apologies to DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. I just thought I would have a little fun with that to lighten the mood.

What has changed

When the lockdown in the UK started, I stopped selling prints of my work. I did this so I wouldn’t have to go to the post office to dispatch orders, as I felt it wasn’t worth the risk to anyone’s health, as I explained in a previous blog. I also stopped selling to countries outside the UK for the same reason. Obviously, I can’t go very far to take photos and I can’t take photos of people.

I decided that the best thing to do was to treat this as a unique opportunity. There was now time to do all the things I hadn’t done because I didn’t have the time. Also, I could use the time in a way which meant that when the lockdown was over, I wouldn’t have to spend anytime at home (unless I wanted too).

I tried to throw myself into work and carry on as though nothing had changed. I gave myself lots of tasks to keep myself busy. However, as time wore on, and the lockdown was extended I started to find it hard to get it all done. This seemed odd to me, I had the time to do it, so why couldn’t I just do it? I realised that it was because I was putting too much pressure on myself. This isn’t a time for getting stuff done, it is a time for looking after yourself and those you care about. Of course, keeping busy is a big help in dealing with these uncertain times, but there shouldn’t be any extra pressure to do more. And so I have taken a step back, and taken the pressure off myself, and by trying to do less, I am able to do more.

What I have been doing

I have planted potatoes and I’ve been clapping on a Thursday night with my neighbours. As you may have noticed, I have started blogging regularly (ish). There was a time when I had to fixed the toilet. I have re-designed my website. I have made a start on a project I’ve had in mind for about a year. I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking, probably too much, because thinking too much is something I am good at. But mostly I’ve been trying to look after myself and my other half, and those I care about, even if it’s only by checking that they are OK. Oh, and I’ve been drinking tea.A mug of tea, laptop and a DSLR camera

Hope going forward

It seems that things are getting better. All the Covid 19 numbers that we want to be seeing going down are. Of course it’s not over by a long way. However, things seem a little more hopeful and we can start to think about coming out on the other side. It might be a long way off, but we can still start thinking about it. I have started selling prints again. I am only selling relatively small unframed and unmounted prints. This is so I can just put them in a post box and not have to make a trip to the Post Office. I am still only selling to the UK. You can see what is available in my Etsy store. You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Please stay safe and I hope we will be able to play outside soon.

Photo shoot with The Lost Trades

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The Lost Trades

Back in January, you know, before the world went crazy and we were allowed to interact with other human beings, I was lucky enough to do a photo shoot with new band The Lost Trades. Although the band was new, the band members were not. I’m not saying they are old, just that I already knew them. I have shot photos with two of them before, Phil Cooper and Jamie R Hawkins. The third member, Tamsin Quin, I had met at gigs in the past. Now they have combined their musical talents to form The Lost Trades.

The plan – as much as there was one

The band were filming a live video session with Dug at Bentham Studios. I went along to take photos while they were recording, and then do a photo shoot once they were finished.

What I wanted to capture was the sense of fun and enjoyment that they get from playing together. That was something that really came across and I wanted to show that in the images I did for them.

It was here that I was going to write about how I approach doing a photo shoot with a band. And I did. However, I soon realised that I had a lot I wanted to write about the subject. So, rather than getting away from the original point of this blog, I’ll write another one about it.

How the day went

A camera recording the Lost TradesI travelled to the studio with Phil, so upon arrival I did some roadying from Phil’s car into the studio. This was interspersed, with hellos, introductions and re-introductions. The next thing to happen was that tea was made, which I found very pleasing. The band and Dug set up while I took some shots, to get exposure levels and the feel for the layout of the room. I did my best not to get in the way and soon they were sound checking, with another round of teas.

The Lost Trades playing at Bentham StudiosIn the end I only took photos of them while they were sound checking and not when they were actually recording. I would have got in the way of the video cameras, probably put them off, and the sound of my shutter would have picked up in the recording. So while they recorded, I sat in the control room with Dug, listening to the beautiful harmonies and drank tea.

The photo shoot

Once they had finished recording, we used the lovely wood clad studio as a background. Taking a variety of shots, some very posed and almost formal.3 piece folk group The Lost Trades

Other shots were much more relaxed and casual. They could be considered ‘outtakes’, but it is those candid, unguarded moments that give an insight into the sense of enjoyment the band have when together.The band The Lost Trades

We then took things outside to add a bit of variety, so we made use of the surrounding open fields.Photo shoot with the lost trades

Next we took the opportunity to make use of what else was available around the studio, mainly an old piano.

This is the moment the piano was spotted.The Lost Trades pointing

Although you can’t go and see The Lost Trades live at the moment, you can still check them out and catch one of their live streams. You can also check out Phil’s, Jamie’s and Tamsin’s solo work as well.

In conclusion…

…tea was drunk…
The Lost trades drinking tea

… recordings were made…

…fun was had…

…photos were taken…

…and don’t forget to check out The Lost Trades.

Photoshoot with Phil Cooper, Singer/Songwriter

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Back on the 25th October 2015 I did a photoshoot with singer/songwriter Phil Cooper. The shoot had been originally planned for the week before, but we had to postpone due to illness (Phil was ill and I was starting to come down with something too). Before the getting ill, we’d had a meeting to discuss ideas about what sort of images Phil wanted from the shoot as well as how they would be used; from social media profile pics and banners to gig posters and album art.

Having decided on an outdoor shoot, and it being October and in England, this didn’t give us a lot of scope when rearranging the photoshoot, so we ended up deciding to do it before Phil played a gig at the Seven Stars in Bristol, as the weather was forecast for that day was for it to be dry, if not bright.

We drove into Bristol Sunday lunch time, aiming to get there at about 12:30. Phil needed to be at the venue for his gig by about 3ish, so that gave us plenty of time. Well, it would have done if we didn’t hit horrendous traffic as we got to Bristol, which we hadn’t been expecting. As we finally got closer to the centre, some time after one o’clock, we noticed signs informing us that the Bristol to Bath Marathon had started in the centre of Bristol earlier that morning, and further signs told us that a lot of the roads had been closed until lunch time, so we at least had an explanation for the surprising numbers of cars on the road. This all meant that we had less time for doing the photoshoot, but first we needed a cup of tea, because we like tea.Phil Cooper drinking tea with his little finger sticking out

Despite the somewhat curtailed time frame for getting the shoot done, we had a relaxed wander along the Bristol Harbourside looking for suitable locations, which we duly found, shooting first at one, and then another. It was all quite straight forward really, we were going for fairly simple images, but with impact and connection. I thought I’d share some of the “outtakes” from the shoot.

Phil Cooper doubling over with laughter
I don’t know exactly what it was that made Phil have this reaction, but I’m  guessing it’s because I’m really funny…


At no point did Phil get bored…


I’m not sure what he was looking for, and he won’t tell me if he managed to find it.

Phil Cooper trying not to laugh
This is a photo of Phil stifling a laugh, because apparently me lying on the cold ground and taking photos of him is something that Phil finds amusing.

Anyway after the successful shoot we went to the Seven Stars for Phil’s gig. At the time I thought I was seeing double because of the cider, but this photo proves it was just a mirror.

Phil Cooper reflected in a mirror as he plays guitar and sings at The Seven Stars in Bristol

To see which photo from the shoot made it on to the front cover of Phil’s new album have a gander at his website here and if you want to see which photos made it into the sleeve notes, well you’ll just have to buy a copy, won’t you?