wellbeing

taking care...

When you breathe out… the planet breathes in.

Michael Townsend Williams co-founder of
BreatheSync and Author of Do Breathe

You can download Michael’s app here.

Hello lovely people,

Hope you are all well and full of creativity…

It’s a funny thing isn’t it, but how often are the obvious things right in from of you and you don’t even notice?

There is much talk on Instagram about algorithms and how fragile some people’s futures are as they are completely dependent on it for their income. Some have thousands and hundreds of thousands of followers and drop more followers that I have overnight! I personally find social media too noisy and hard work as you have to watch it all the time. I prefer to travel a path less trodden in that and most things in life. Are you the same? Recently I was brought to a halt when a highly successful (and quiet soul) online designer wrote about her tiny foot print on social media and her success from and care for her blog and newsletters.

This is me! I have always been precious over my both - both with content of posts but also the design side. Ditto my newsletters.

This made me consider the feedback I receive from my blog. I have had a lot of feedback about my look back on the last season as we start a new one. This has made me want to do more posts for you like this… Can I commit to one such post every month? I certainly want to give it a try. So, from the end of the month - maybe it will settle at every other month, I’m certainly going to give it a go… I should have lots to write about, living my seasonal life emerged in nature, as well as my photographic world existing in the same universe.

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A gift

In the meantime, can I leave you with this? A gift from me… if you would like to download this image to enjoy as wallpaper, then simply click on the image. It is 2400px wide. Please respect my © and do not use it elsewhere without my permission… simply contact me. A photograph from possibly my favourite woodland in the world. It is a twenty minute walk from the nearest road and if you stop and listen, there is absolutely no manmade sound at all. A place that I have visited regularly for over a decade. At certain times of the year, the sound of the birds can be deafening. I visit this special place frequently to just be… I will take my dogs and a flask of tea so that I can sit a while and take even more of it in.

If you are interested in reading more about the Japanese way- the practice of walking slowly through the woods, in no hurry, for a morning, an afternoon or a day, then pop here, published last March, you may find it interesting.

The image at the top of this post is from a shoot I did with Fiona Perry Flowers in an entirely different wood.

If you would like to receive more gifts from me - from wallpapers for your monitors to calendar pages and some discount codes in the future, then simply sign up to my New Shoots Magazine in the right hand margin here → I love to share.

Wishing you good health and relaxation,

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I know a place...

let me take you there…

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The London coffeehouses of the 17th & 18th centuries were the engines of creation that helped drive the Enlightenment - the European intellectual movement of the time that emphasised reason and individualism rather than tradition.

I love to play with language and with that comes my love of writing. Lately, in designing my new online world, I have been pushing words around in my head so that I can visualise the whole thing. How lovely to stand back and look at your own world once in a while.

In doing this I have realised that I have my virtual workplace firmly embedded in my head, so I thought I would introduce it to you and walk you round… I have obviously been influenced by In Praise of Shadows without realising it until now. Read the book club post here.

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Do come in

It’s like a little house - just as a child would draw. The whole place is very light and airy, painted in white to draw the light in for my photography. Let me start with the upstairs - first up is my studio - this has a dark end and a light end. Next to that is my darkroom, a place where I do all my online editing from digital files. It is in these two rooms that house my new eCourses - on photography, styling and editing and more…

Downstairs, there just HAS to be a library… lined with eBooks and zines and visuals. There is a comfy chair and a table to encourage you to stay a while. There is a section for my Inspiration Library - this is available only to the band of lovely people who subscribe to my New Shoots Magazine along with the Supplements that come along. When you sign up to my New Shoots Magazine you get a key to this space. The area is new and has empty shelves all ready for a collection of eBooks that I will publish and release especially for my subscribers. This is where the free inspirational desktop wallpapers live and you will find a monthly calendar to download too - all of these are for your desktop so that you computer will become a place of serenity and zen.

Next door to the library is the zen den and tea/coffee house. Two areas for calm and contemplation.

And there, my little tour has come to an end.

Sign up

Have you signed up to my Newshoots Magazine yet? If not, simply pop over to the margin on the right and pop in your email address.

Sending peace and light this January day,

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Well hello 2019

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A blank book is actually full of promise: the promise of becoming lively with your recorded experiences and emotions.
Gwen Diehn

Well hello 2019 - is it too late to wish you all a very happy, healthy and positive New Year? Never!

New Home

New Studio

New Year

There has never been so much neatly aligned for me. I hope that I can embrace the opportunities given to me through all this during 2019. I thought this time is a good opportunity to guide your through how my photographic world is already shaping up for this next year both in my real and online world …

Face to face

Already in 2019, I have a couple of guest workshops booked in and I’m looking forwards to some Question Time Sessions that are booked. I am now offering Product Photography via Courier covering the whole of the UK - from down the road to the furthest point! I am now accepting bookings for a few commissioned projects for the year. If this is you then please contact me in the usual way.

Listen…

Over time, I have discovered the art of listening to all the lovely feedback that my work gives - from clients and through the internet. Not only the thank you and direct compliments about a set of images, but, most of all I have learned to stop. Listen…. to the deeper comments that I would have otherwise not considered. To listen to how my work makes people feel.

Now I am here, at this stage, it is all very obvious.

In my new year, my new home and my new studio, full of all the inspiring comments, I am going to follow a path that needs looking at. One that will take me online and that will fuel my loves - of sharing, of design, of learning new skills and exploring photography through research through my love of reading around the subject - from my beloved Colour Psychology, through what I now know as Positive Psychology and through dipping my toes in to the world of Philosophy. All this will give me greater control of my time! A valuable commodity these days - I shall value this hugely - being able to go and meet friends, connect with my family more and being able to be spontaneous.

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Please world, what is another name for newsletter? I really don’t like that…

Anyhooooo, through all the lovely feedback from my complimentary 7 day mini course and my New Shoots Magazine, I have been really grateful and inspired to take all this further… I plan to add (in the true spirit of a Magazine) the occasional supplement to my Magazine that will be called Letters from the Studio. I just want to be able to reach all my subscribers between issues if needed. I won’t be bombarding your inbox, trust me :)

Here is what else I have in store for you during 2019…

First of all, I have designed a virtual library for you all to dip in to. I have called the collection of eBooks PhotoBites. Designed to be an easy read and full of wisdom - knowledge built from experience - they will be available as one offs or as series. The first is a series called Zero to Manual and will be available in three separate volumes or as a set. I am currently working on the first volume which I hope to have ready for publishing before our Spring here in the UK. The other two will follow on soon afterwards.

These are designed for the absolute beginner or intermediate photographer who is disappointed with regularly producing less than ordinary photographs. They are the foundations on which I intend to build through my eCourses later on in the year. If you are not yet signed up, then pop over to the right hand margin, sign up and keep up to date by receiving my New Shoots Magazine and the occasional Supplement.

Sending you light and health for the year…

 
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On following my own 'golden thread'

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Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.

Imogen Cunningham

I have always seen the path of my photography as a sort of golden thread that I follow… sometimes it’s path is straight and at other times, it may twist and turn. To follow this path allows me freedom, and not have to contort myself into a particular genre of say, portrait or still life, but simply follow my heart and work with what resonates with me at any one time. I am certain that doing this results in my very best work.

Listen.

Over the years I have had many comments about my photography - the most common being that people find my photographs calm, poetic, painterly, having a sense of calm.

I strive, not for perfection but for perpetual improvement and development.


My recent move has been full of thoughtful, intentional and considered decisions… My aim of my business is not to get rich quick, but to actually focus on the gift of my craft and grow my business in a way that is aligned with my values and my conscience - following that golden thread that feels completely honest and meaningful to both me and my customers/clients/students. I want to do this whilst continually striving for my own perpetual improvement and development. I don’t want to be at the forefront of social media, living my every breath out there. I want to be able to engage with the real world and share my love of process, the seasons and nature - to share all that it has to offer through my photography… I love the idea that we now live in a world where we no longer have to work 9 - 5 and are able to both connect and work with people on different sides of the world at a moment’s notice. I love the idea of the flexibility that all this brings - enabling us to spend our most important times how we want to whilst being able to schedule work releases ahead.

I have listened to your comments, I have listened to my creative heart and I have stood back and looked at my business and learned just how passionate I am about sharing the world of my photography. I want others to experience the deep happiness and contentment that I do, I want to build my business around that passion, whilst at the same time sustaining me with a good living. Only over Christmas I listened to a comment from someone about not being in control of his camera and therefore unable to think of the photograph that was before him. I want to fix that.

All that said, the time is now right for me to forge ahead with my eCourses and eBooks that have been on the back burner for quite some time now.

During 2019, I am going to closely follow my golden thread and fill the world with inspiring, accomplished photography - both film and digital - and share it with you all along the way. To spread the word. Why not subscribe to my New Shoots Magazine style newsletter to follow that golden thread with me?

Wishing you all the very best for 2019

love

 
 


Pastures old and new

We did it!

Quietly, beginning to unpack boxes and sorting my new studio and home in Cheshire. After well over a decade working and living in my beloved Cotswolds, the longing to be closer to my family took me back to the beautiful county where it all began.

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to the beautiful county where it all began.

 

I'm starting from a new baseline with a lot of my work, it's both scary and exiting at the same time, but I'm looking forwards to the new adventures ahead.  Firstly, exploring this local area and gradually radiating outwards. I feel privileged to be able to build a new garden and my new studio in a lovely old building and many friendships along the way.  Noting new light and shadows, seasonal colours and textures and oh those beautiful old buildings and spaces... Not to mention the distinctive bricks and windows of the older buildings that I remember from my childhood.. 

The photography community in Cheshire has been most welcoming and already I have things penned in my diary - and I've only just arrived.  From workshops and photography for creative businesses, through to new, long term projects with the RSA AND some online courses.  More of all this in due course...  Thank you for the welcome people, you know who you are.

I have been thinking a lot too about my like minded friends who are scattered across the globe… from the Cotswolds to Paris, tiny Scottish Islands and beyond. How lucky are we that we live in an age of Skype and Zoom and the rest so we can stay in touch at the touch of a button?

In the meantime, I'm carrying on with my work in lifestyle and fine art photography - there’s simply a shift in geography of my studio. I also have lots of plans for new offerings in the pipeline.

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Autumn Equinox and a bowl of soup.

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I’ve suddenly realised that today is the Autumn Equinox, so Autumn is well and truly with us (even though I adhere to the Meteorological calendar for my own work) there is a definite nip in the air today. Early morning mists and lovely sunsets are now happening.

I could say its all cleverly planned out, but it isn’t… over on instagram this week, I am chatting about balance and how we, as human beings need it.

And as Autumn really begins to do her thing and gracing us with the amazing colours, we naturally balance the cooler weather with heart warming foods.

I am showcasing images of some heartwarming Butternut squash. They’re from an old family recipe and a firm favourite in these parts. I’m suddenly inspired to share it with you as we have a distinct chill in the air and lots of leaves on the ground from the storms of the last couple of weeks.

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup - serves 4.

2 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil

small white onion, diced

a medium carrot, chopped

a medium sized butternut squash

a litre of home made chicken stock*

pink Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

half tsp ground cumin powder

half tsp mild curry powder

pumpkin seeds (the green ones to contrast) to garnish

Serve with crusty warm bread straight from the oven and lashings of butter.

First of all, thoroughly wash the butternut squash and take some of the peel to use later on. Use half the garlic infused oil and gently sweat the onions. Whilst they are doing, cut the butternut squash in slices across. Remove the seeds and skin and chop the flesh into chunks. Peel and chop the carrot. Pop all these into a pot along with the spices and some of the stock. Cook through slowly until the vegetables are soft. Blitz with a hand blender in the pot, adding the rest of the stock as needed.

When you are ready to serve your soup, put back on heat to bring to temperature and at the same time quickly pan fry or roast some of the butternut squash peel you saved for a garnish.

To serve in the same pot, sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds, drizzle the last of the garlic infused olive oil and top with the crisp roasted squash peel. Pop it on the table together with the salt,pepper and bread and butter and and let everybody serve themselves.

A perfect lunchtime snack for week ends if you are out in the garden or going on a long walk.

*my homemade stock is already seasoned so the soup may only need a little adjustment at the table.

I hope you enjoy it.

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Natural light photographer working across food, lifestyle and portraiture.

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Dahlia for Noah

As you know, Fine Art Photography is very much part of my work as a photographer.  You will probably have seen a body of work called Dahlia Days a collection of C type images in limited editions.  I generally give an artist's statement to give viewers an insight into the background of a body of work.  This is different and something very close to my heart, so I thought I would let Vicki write a few words instead.  A first for me.

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My husband, created my dahlia bed as a tribute to our beautiful son, Noah, who we lost when he was two days old. The dahlias are grown with love and a quiet dedication. 

And from May to October, we fill the house and Noah’s special place with beautiful dahlias. We also give them to friends, neighbours and strangers. 

Each year, the dahlia bed is extended because the love does not fade. It grows. 

A good friend told us that in the Victorian language of flowers, the dahlia is seen as a symbol of dignity, elegance and an everlasting bond. 

And we grow them as a way to celebrate our bond with Noah and for people to say his name. 

I feel privileged that Vicki and her husband have allowed me to  celebrate Noah’s short life through my art photography.  You will now know why I want to fill the world with this specially chosen C type print called Dahlia for Noah.  Do please repost on social media to spread the word.  All profits from this print will go to SANDS, a most worthy charity.

If you would like to see more of their world, then both Vicki and Keith are on instagram.  Do follow them...

Julie x

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more from the series of Limited Edition C type Fine Art prints from the Dahlia beds for Noah.

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On finding your true north...

Over time I’ve had lots of message and mentions about my style being calming, meditative, still, and so on. 

I didn’t set out to create this style.  It seems to have found me!  All I have ever done is shoot intuitively, following my instinct, my heart. I simply shoot what resonates with me.  Originally, there was no forethought – no grand (style) plan – no fancy hashtags or anything... I merely followed my heart, my instinct.  Just me, my camera and the subject before me.  Observing, noticing, watching...

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What I have always done is not to snap, but the opposite. To make time to be able to do justice to the subject or situation I’m in, whether shooting on commission or my Fine Art work. I feel this has come from my roots, my upbringing in film and darkroom practice, both of which I still do.

I have discovered through this that things have come to me. Sometimes without me noticing at first. At times, I just accept what I have captured and don’t overthink my results. Then the comments start to come in…

What I have always done is not to snap, but the opposite. To make time to be able to do justice to the subject or situation I’m in, whether shooting on commission or my Fine Art work.  I feel this has come from my roots, my upbringing in film and darkroom practice, both of which I still do.

I have discovered through this that things have come to me. Sometimes without me noticing at first. At times, I just accept what I have captured and don’t overthink my results. Then the comments start to come in…

Through working this way, I have come to realise that yes, my work is indeed meditative, quiet, calm… that I have opened my heart and yes, I truly feel that I have found my true north.

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PS In line with my love of sharing – if you look at my workshops list, you will see that there is a workshop called ‘Nurtured by Nature’which looks at exactly this. Any funnily enough, its creation came about as described here. I simply stood back and looked at what was before me, instead of trying to create some major fancy plan. (do contact me directly if there's a group of you that would like this workshop or sign up for me occasional newsletter for dates coming up.

Maybe I can point you in your true direction.

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