2020.. Annus horribilis or new creative challenges? The year so far..

For me 2020 unusually started with a bang! The weather was unusually mild, I moved into a dream apartment back on the Thames and I had nine urbex shoots booked to look forward to. What could possibly go wrong??? Especially when 2019 ended with work like this..

January 2020

So January 8th came and Stephen Edwards came up on a very cold morning to attempt a challenging urbex on the Wentworth estate not far from our previous explore there. We were travelling to the site around 10am when I received a phone call to say my partner had had a stroke and been taken to hospital.Knowing we were close by and tests etc were going to be a while we decided to re route our shoot to a site we'd visited before across the road from the hospital for a shortened shoot before heading there. Given the exceptional circumstances I think we still had an amazing shoot with some stunning light and very special as it was one of the last shoots at this stunning location!

At this point life became a bit hectic juggling a part time job, daily hospital visits and the shoots booked but despite everything I still managed to complete all my shoots and make the most of my local locations before they were re developed.

The last shoot at Silverlands was the wonderful Hodgie. We first worked together when I started out nearly seven years ago so it was good to catch up after so long in such a special location but dam this was a cold day!

Oscar Tornincasa and I payed my very last visit to my local greenhouses ever and a unicorn appeared! Sadly this iconic location has now gone the same way as it's neighbouring mortuary and it's the end of an era for me sadly.

I managed a second visit to a wonderful local location with a very famous owner with Alondonlens..

And Steve Trussler and I had a wonderful shoot at home..

There is still some work to re visit from January editing wise but things started to get a little crazy when Tony was transferred to the stroke unit, however continuing to shoot saved my sanity in a very difficult month and as always provided some much needed continuity and normality!

February 2020

Things started to become ominously quiet in February with Covid rumblings starting to surface, storms ripping through the country, and Tony coming home after only six weeks and huge amounts of physiotherapy at home to get him walking again.But in some ways it was actually the calm before the storm..

Defying the odds again however Stephen Edwards and I managed to venture out again to another awesome location involving a risky drive to Sussex. The first location wasn't what we hoped, but this one def made up for it!

And Jon Downs came to visit for the weekend and catch up, braving a rather hectic house. We sadly had a challenging weekend with what we were able to shoot as the storms hit and we either had to take cover in a basement or wrap up but we still managed a little flashing on the river causing the dog walkers some amusement..

By my birthday mid month everything had pretty much ground to a halt in an creepy silence, however Joe Bogar and I managed to squeeze a quick shoot in my loft, and he even brought birthday cake and chocolates..Thank you Joe!

April 2020

By the time April came I was pretty low with lock down already, and began to resurrect an idea I'd been thinking about before for derelict buildings. Remote shooting! Sadly the gods weren't on my side starting out as it required my laptop as the desktop was out of action. I learnt a painful lesson never to hand your laptops security over to anybody..Even computer companies and I'm hugely grateful to Pete Symes for the time he spent on the phone to help me break in!!!!

So I was pretty late to the table behind many other models.I also felt that Facebook needed a friendly group that allowed not only those already shooting but also others I've already worked with to have a go, with some wonderfully surprising results!

Before committing I wanted to try and make sure I could produce a similar standard of work to usual, with stable tech, and with a photographer I haven't worked with with their own strong style to produce something they would normally shoot. I've admired Gavin Prest's work forever with his strong black and white, and after a message he happily agreed to help out, producing this rather topical shot at the time.

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The first shoot after with Steve Trussler was def not conventional, and the light horribly harsh and trying.

So after a brief but productive session that morning to get our head around everything we had a break to re charge batteries on the camera and work some stuff out, pick up milk etc..I came home to realise the window shadow was literally bang in the middle of the sofa, and phoned Steve. We were logged in in ten minutes with the camera hooked up and just went for it while we had the light. So many awesome shots and the start of a cool, relaxed remote shooting relationship through lock down.

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Richard Parker and I tried the loft but sadly it got too hot after this to use..

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John Gould and I often pushed boundaries and angles, and even threw away the tripod..and the iconic portrait even got an FPI on Purpleport!

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I had the pleasure of shooting with Creativus Imago in France..

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And was published in this wonderful article with Jane Hardley.It was nice to see it finally being recognised!

May 2020

May was another awesome month for remote shooting and it was fantastic to have a distraction from the lock down.I even managed to head out onto the meads and river for a socially distanced shoot towards the end of the month which was a very surreal experience!

It started with this shoot with the wonderful Erik te Nijenhuis in Holland and Khudi decided to upstage her mum completely, something that's become part and parcel of several remote shoots since and she's proved very handy as a light test regularly ever since.

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Steve Trussler and I had another wonderful shoot playing with the cool mirror reflections in the bedroom.

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I had a wonderful time with Caledonian creating these and little did I know how applicable the equestrian theme would be!

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Towards the end of the month I even managed to venture out with a local photographer Paul Turney...how not to attract attention...not!

June 2020

June was chaos! I bought a horse and had her transported all the way from Lancashire, much of the month was a write off due to broken cameras and laptops, and then I was made redundant. Sadly Tony was also extremely unwell for much of the month with what we thought was a stomach bug. Unfortunately the month ended with an emergency trip back to hospital in an ambulance again seriously ill with a rare bacterial infection, cysts on and in his liver, clots, and sepsis! And then redundancy from my part time job..the final nail in the coffin!!

I am very grateful however to the photographer who wishes to remain anonymous, but kindly donated an almost new 5d2 they no longer use, and allowed me to work a bit again amongst the chaos.

The month started out with a shoot in a wonderful building and it was good to be back doing what I love, even if the first few minutes felt very strange until we got used to the distancing etc..We tethered to a laptop however to look at the back of the camera, a rare luxury for me. The photographer wishes to remain anonymous.

Then I had a busy weekend back up and running both outdoors and remotely..

I had a wonderful shoot with Pete Nick Costen well worth the early morning and the rain ended up making the whole concept of the shoot with a nifty addition of the famous black umbrella again, much to the amusement of the local fisherman.

I had a wonderful remote shot with Tesh Patel in the States..

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I had a wonderful remote shoot with John Patton in Wyoming despite the rain calling off our attempts for an outdoor shoot.

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And this little bundle of joy crashed into my life....a natural little super model she took to shooting straight away!

July 2020

July was a difficult month with Tony back in hospital but unable to visit other than to drop provisions off. I kept myself busy finally getting out and about for some urbex shoots again and I had some wonderful remote shoots with people distance has prevented me working with for years again, It was wonderful to catch up again and hopefully we'll get to shoot in person again soon!

I finally got to work with the awesome Gary Mciver again, albeit remotely and as always we had a wonderful creative shoot again..

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It was lovely to work remotely with another female photographer in Jennifer Strand all the way from Canada

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I had a wonderful last minute shoot with Robert Elvin Domondon in the States when my shoot failed to show..

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