Twit twoo it's Miss Campbell


The lovely Miss Campbell came to my rescue when I put out a casting call for models to fulfil my college portraiture brief.  This time I needed to do a studio shoot and cross process an image.  So, the triptych set is examples of cross processing, with varying degrees using Photoshop.  In the old days of film photography, cross processing was a deliberate effect and you did it by processing the film in a chemical solution intended for a different type of film. The effect was most likely discovered by mistake in the days of mixing up C-22 and E-4 developer.

We started our morning fairly early sending children off to Aunties and Grannies and then the travelling was next!  We finally got ourselves together around lunchtime and headed into town for a spot of lunch.  I had a bagette with Chicken and Avacado and my friend showed me up by having a tiny little chocolate cake.  She soon confessed that she had stuffed her face in McDonalds with the kids earlier in the morning.  I was instantly jealous and thought,  I just wish I could get up early enough to make a McDonalds breakfast!

We chatted for about an hour, putting the world to rights and moaning about men, the usual girly chit chat.  I was quite excited about doing the photographs because I knew that we could work out between us what needed done.  Miss Campbell has previous experience of Photography having sucessfully ran a business herself, so it was a fun day together where we could discuss what we could do.  

Like any other client excited to get their hands on the pictures, she was saying to me at the station that I had to send them to her as soon as I got home.  They all do it, want the pictures NOW.  I understand, I've been there.  I've said before that many photographers would rather stick needles in their eyes than put out un-edited photographs.  But when it's someone who knows photography etiquette there isnt a problem.  


I sent her the pick of un-edited files later that night so she could edit them herself.  Photography like many other arts is down to personal taste as well as technique.  Everyone has their own way of editing and producing different effects.  Some of the images you see have been edited by Miss C and some have been edited by me.



Birthday in Paris

We had a bit of a crazy year with the old birthday celebrations.  Most winters I’m ill and I’m not really in the mood for organising anything.  Then others I’m full of beans and over the top.  This year we had an actual party and we invited all of Daisy’s school class.  Lisa Lollipop joined us to entertain the children.  We tucked into Hot dogs, Popcorn, Slush Puppy and enough sweets to stock a small shop.  One of the mums brought the biggest homemade cheesecake I’ve ever seen and it was all gone by the end of the party.  Truly Scrumptious – cakes by Joanna made the most incredible Birthday cake.  It was so beautiful I didn’t want to cut it up, again it was gone by the end.  People were loading up with boxes of the delicious cake.   My friends and family were as usual, all hands on deck and the party was a roaring success.  I'd like to say thank you to everyone who made the party special and for all gifts Daisy received.  

That would have been enough for one little girl to take in, but as I mentioned, I’m a bit crazy over the top at times.  I thought it would be an idea to go to Disneyland Paris, the very next day!  I only thought about it two or three weeks before the party.  When you are sick, it's not practical to book something miles in advance.  You have to go when you feel well.  The adverts sucked me in and before I knew it, it was booked.  I’ve priced it up before and thought it was a bit expensive, but there seemed to be adverts after adverts all over the TV saying “book now and get this that and the other free”.  You know sometimes these deals are not as great as the make out, but I swear this one was good.  We were staying in a top-notch Disney Hotel, having three course meals everyday, drinks and cakes everyday and practically spent nothing because we had a complimentary voucher for most things.  I couldn't believe our luck.

Daisy loved meeting all the characters, Spiderman, Merida, Woody and Jessie, Mickey, Minnie, the Disney Princesses and of course, no Disney visit would be complete without meeting Anna and Elsa!  There were a few hairy moments at the start, namely a scary roller coaster in disguise.  I've never been so glad to get off a ride.  I swear we though it was a child's train ride, you know quite tame, but Jesus!  It was a super fast roller coaster and believe me I'm no thrill seeker.  We got into our seats, I casually rested my arm behind Daisy and within seconds it became apparent to me that arm was going to move to pin Daisy in like a seat belt.  We saw the funny side of it, while mum and I were telepathically saying all our swear words.  Daisy was shouting at the top of her voice "this is fun", she had the best time. It was a very tiring holiday for the adults however. 

So if you ever forget where you were for your 5th Birthday Daisy  Well, you woke up in a Disney hotel in Paris and had breakfast with Mickey Mouse.  Then we took the train into the centre of Paris and went up the Eiffel Tower.  I even managed to take the photo I would use on our family Christmas card.  Looking forward to our next adventure, whatever it may be.

The little things


CF is really kicking my ass just now.  I've been on this earth for a long time and I wonder when I'm ever going to learn that I can't graze.  I mean grazing as in picking/snacking at food.  Just normal things for a lot of people and something you might take for granted.  I can't do that, well I shouldn't.  I've had a upset tummy recently as well as all the other things. People who suffer from Crohns disease, IBS, Coeliac disease and the countless other digestive disorders that's out there.  I feel your pain.

I've had a sore stomach, bloating, cramping, wind, constipation, diarrhoea, hot and cold sweats and I've been feeling lethargic.  As you know the human body is a finely tuned machine and the symptoms I've described is evidence that the digestive system is experiencing trauma. Something people with Cystic Fibrosis suffer with because another element of the disease is that the digestive system doesn't function properly.  Enzymes need to be taken orally at the same time as food to digest the food.  It's pretty much a manual system.  Let your concentration slip and you will pay.  Like everything else there are varying degrees of severity.  Some people will need to take 1-2 tablets with meals, some like me might take 11-12 with meals.  As the pancreas loses function you can also end up being diabetic, but that's another story.

Imagine going to a party.  Oh you're gonna be one party animal if you have a condition that relies on you being sober and alert!  Let's think of a scenario. Would you be able to relax knowing you had to make a mental calculation of each mouthful of food you had from a buffet or bowl of crisps that were on your table?   Then, make a quick calculation, type of food+volume of food=number of tablets. Did I mention you can't just swallow them all at the start or at the end? Gets trickier does it.  What I've learnt over the years is that I have to avoid the bowl of crisps on the table and wait until the buffet is served.  I then go get a full plate of food. Full plate of buffet food x what type of food = amount of tablets.  Eat the food and and take the tablets during the meal; job done.  You want some more food.  Well you just repeat the steps.

Yes it's not very social but that's life as I know it.  At times though I fall off the waggon.  Usually when I get sick, I am even more forgetful.  I forget I can't graze like everyone else.  The trade off is getting an upset tummy and farting lots, sometimes for days. What I have to do now in this position is fast, not eat, maybe for 2 days.  Clear my system out and start again.  Hoping I will learn from my mistakes and not do it again anytime soon.

There's lots of things in life we take for granted.  Sometimes it's a way of life.  Sometimes it's people.  Appreciate the little things.  


Another blog brought to you from the bath tub.

My Love My Life 10/12 - Conquer Fear


© Ian Pettigrew


College have been speaking about the importance of personal projects recently.  Personal projects can turn out to be your best and most fulfilling work, because for whatever reason, you have specifically chosen to do it.  I recently stumbled upon a Canadian photographer, later found out he's half Scottish!  Well, he is currently working his way through a personal project called Just Breathe, where he's photographing adults who are living with Cystic Fibrosis (CF).  

Media coverage surrounding CF is sparse.  Since the birth of social media, I'm connected to a lot of people who have CF.  There's always somebody who knows a person who has died recently.  It can get really upsetting reading things like that.  It's not high profile like Cancer, but it's equally devastating.  It will kill you; it just drags the process out a bit.  Adults living with CF can often feel like it's a battle to stay alive, that's why they are often referred to as Warriors within the CF community.  Treatment regimes are physically and mentally demanding for patients.  Like many other long term chronic conditions, it may not be widely understood that family members can also endure years of emotional trauma as a direct result of caring for and/or living with the sick person.  
After being diagnosed later in life himself, Ian wanted to spread the message that this is no longer a children's disease and the best way to do that as a Photographer, is by taking pictures.  Lots of pictures! 

Ian started his career in advertising and got the photography bug by working alongside photographers for many years.  He used to think photographers had a glamorous life.  He admits he was wrong.  Just like I used to think the ladies behind the make-up counters in department stores were glamorous, before I did my school work experience.  Someone once asked him why he would want to be in a job that made him poor, but money isn't everything.  

As well as Ian's standard portrait head shots for his Just Breathe Project,  I found another one called Salty Girls - The Women of Cystic Fibrosis  Here he photographs CF women.  But, what does the name mean?  Well, the salt in CF patients bodies travel differently through the tissues to that of non-CF people.  Patients secrete higher volumes of salt through their sweat.  There was an old saying around the 1700s which went like this, "woe is the child who tastes salty from a kiss on the brow, for he is cursed and soon must die".  They used to believe CF children were bewitched. In this project Ian captures how CF can ravage your physical appearance.  I'm well aware of how the effects of CF have changed my appearance and body image.  I've always been a little self conscious.  It's healthier for me to weigh more, but society wants you to be thin.  I think it's very brave of the ladies to expose themselves like this.  It takes real courage, which I'm sure they have truck loads of.  

Ian wants his images made into a photobook.  If he can get enough financial support or even better a sponsor, he could make this a reality sooner.  If you are in a position to be a sponsor of this book, great.  If not, well you could always join the organ donor register in your county instead.  I'll leave you with some of Ian's images and one of me, which is my contribution to Salty Girls - The Women of Cystic Fibrosis.  Photo credit to the lovely Nicola Grimshaw and her team at My Boudoir - Make-Over Boudoir Photography.
© Ian Pettigrew



© Ian Pettigrew


                                                           © Nicola Grimshaw

Urban Photoshoot - Portraiture Brief



In my blog post Mr Gray I told you all about hanging up my darkroom hat for a bit as I wanted to focus, (excuse the pun) more on other aspects of Photography. I applied for a more general photography course a few months earlier.  Putting myself though an interview and selection process was nerve-racking but I was successful in getting a place.  Friends warned it wasn't going to be what I expected it to be, but I thought I'll give it a go anyway.  What's the worst that can happen.  If I don't like it I can walk away.

I'm still trying to get to grips with what's expected.  The workload is challenging.  There's a list of things we need to do and completion dates for final submissions.  There have been a few moans and groans about teachers not actually teaching us anything.  I've recently come to the realisation that this is because college is for adults and adults have to figure things out for themselves.  They call it self-directed study.  When you look back at school, the teacher is pretty much holding your hand to get you through the learning process.  It's their job to teach you a particular subject.  So if you are just out of school, college can seem a harsh reality of the education system you are used to.  I'm not saying I completely agree with it, but this is how it is.

I'd say we're generally shown how to do something once or twice, and then you practise.  If like me you are a bit slow in picking things up, then it's going to be a struggle.  I was the same at school; the only difference now is I'm not scared to ask questions.

I was used to planning shoots for Daisy but they were usually all in my head.  It's out of my comfort zone trying to plan everything but I'll get there. I'm working on a few power point presentations at the moment and have just finished my second photo shoot today.  It doesn't actually take much time to turn up and take the photos.  The hardest part is planning what you want to do and pulling all the elements together.  

I put the war cry out on Facebook a few weeks ago to see if anyone fancied modelling for me.  I needed someone older than Daisy who would be happy to take some direction.  I have to do five Portrait shoots for this brief.  I have to show all my planning in a workbook, poses, lighting examples, styling choices.  I have to include research on photographs I have studied which brought me to my shoot idea.  Out of the shoot, I have to show my tutor around 20 different photographs and narrow my choice down to 15 possible final images.  Out of that 15, I choose 2 to edit further and give my reasons for picking that 2 and disregarding the remaining 13.

We got off to a shaky start as the location that was originally planned fell through, due to a lack of in-house communication.  You always need to have a back up plan, so we got in the car went to location spot B.  I think I'm happier with what I got and straight away a photographer friend said she wanted me to take photos of her in the same spot.  We had a really good time, model Sophie brought along her mum and little sister Sadie.  We almost needed to hold Sadie down as she was very excitable at the prospect of modelling like her big sister.  So, we all stepped aside and let Sadie show us how its done.
The photo on the right is the only one here that has been edited.  The rest of the photos are what photographers refer to as SOOC, which stands for straight out of camera.

Brighton Baby - The Hen Weekend


Our family had two weddings this year and like most weddings these days the bride and groom go away for weekends, usually with friends and/or family instead of just going out for the night.  There were lots of talks about where we might go and one day it was decided we were going to Brighton.  I was very pleased as Brighton is a place I've always wanted to go but had no reason to.

We travelled down to London Gatwick with easyjet at the end of June.  Once we landed it was a short distance on the Gatwick express to the train station that would take us through to Brighton.  It’s a really easy place to get to and as we travelled with cabin bags, there was no waiting about in the airport at baggage carousels.  Arriving around lunchtime, we headed straight to the beach and into a cafĂ© overlooking the sea.  The sun was shining, the sea breeze on your face, the location, the atmosphere; friends travelled from afar to celebrate.  I decided quite quickly that I would like to take Daisy one day.  


We ordered food, drinks and relaxed while chatting to one another.  It was so warm you could easily have worn a bikini and jumped into the water.  Some of the ladies were optimistic in that they packed shorts, the rest of us cursed that we should have.  I guess you get used to the Scottish climate where summer is literally days in the year rather than weeks.  With Team Gauld being a super organised bunch, our food shopping was being delivered to our rented house while we were sat there at the beach.  


Back at the house we cracked open the Prosecco and toasted the bride to be on her upcoming nuptials.  The house was then decorated with pictures of our Hen.  It's amazing the comedy gold your life long friends hold in the form of photographic evidence.

The next morning breakfast was cooked, we got on our glad rags and did our own thing before heading to the pier around lunchtime.  The plan was to have a fun and stress free weekend without the stereotypical hen activities in sight, well not in public anyway.  Eating marshmallows will never be the same again.

The Brighton Pier is a great place.  The rides are pretty scary, being right on the edge of the pier.  I went on the helter skelter and almost wished I never.  The pier had a Harry Ramsdens, ice-cream parlours, take away style counters selling noodles. I honestly could have stayed the entire week!  I know there's much more to see and do in Brighton and I was sad to leave.

On the Saturday night the girls organised a fabulous meal.  As you could imagine we could hardly contain our excitement when we found out that the brides boss had located us in Brighton and pre-ordered some bubbly for everyone!  How amazing is that!  What a cool boss.  The celebrations continued into the early hours and as you can imagine it was carnage in the morning.  Luckily myself and the brides sister, the non-drinkers, made breakfast.  



This was such a memorable weekend and I’d like to say a big thanks to all involved in the planning. 




Caledonia


You’d have to be on another planet for you not to know that the people of Scotland are on the verge of a life changing historical event.  Yesterday the streets of Aberdeen were buzzing.  It looked like a scene from Braveheart.  The atmosphere was electric, the young, the old, everyone was singing and dancing and having a good time.  My camera and I even got a wee dance. 

It made me wish I liked football.  Was this the feeling people had at football matches?  It also reminded me of Hogmanay, a time when everyone is happy.
For many, national pride is in your blood; you just feel it.  I certainly can’t listen to bagpipes without getting emotional.  Och it would bring a tear to a glass eye!

I know I'm probably not alone in saying that I don't fully understand the inns and outs of the whole referendum debate.  I've even heard people saying they are voting no because they don't like Alex Salmond, which is like not buying your dream home because you don't like the wall paper.  

What I do know is things are not great as they are.  We've already got different laws compared to England, some are better here some are better there.  So when they speak about breaking the union, there are a lot of things that's broken away already.  

It feels like we've got into a situation where we've threatened to leave just like you would maybe do in a bad relationship and if you threaten to leave, and don't, you just look stupid.  If we vote no, I've no doubt we'll suffer.  I guess there is always the Unicorns farting glitter chance, that maybe the threat will make them see sense and we’ll live happily ever after.

All we can do now is wait.

 
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