Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Black and White

 Photograph taken by Mij Stephens

Everyone who knows me will be aware I  have a phobia about having my photo taken. Or at least I used to! Whenever a camera appeared I would normally duck, bow my head or avoid eye contact. I have absolutely no idea why this is so. But this year during workshops, exhibitions, meetings and fabulous projects I have found myself continually in locations and situations where avoiding a camera would be impossible.

For example the photograph of the "artist" needed to be arranged for the inside cover of my book and it's launch promotion. I owe Gavin a huge thank you for this shot. He helped me relax and laugh while it was taken.

The launch of " How to Paint Colour and Light in Watercolour" at the Mall Galleries in London  during the SWA, Society for Women Artists Annual Exhibition 2010

Then there have been workshops in UK and abroad where  I have been featured in magazines or agreed to pose with artists attending my sessions.

On a workshop in Norway 2010
Photograph taken by amazing Artist Aud Rye

And of course now there is a DVD to accompany my book which had  my many friends laughingly  point out to me beforehand that you can't actually create a DVD without actually being seen in one! Well I managed that feat but hoped everyone would focus on what my hands would be doing rather than me!

It's been a magical year. So many wonderful things have kept happening, one directly after the other. So when I recieved a phone call asking me if I would mind having my photograph taken for a book on women who work from home I willingly said yes. Maybe my camera phobia is now becoming a thing of the past.

Mij came to my studio for the photography shoot and I quickly realized this would be no ordinary session. Mij was working with  a very old camera on a tripod taking shots from under a large black cape. She was seeing her subject upside down and using plates to capture her images. For each shot I had to hold a pose and look at the camera.  How easy digital modern photography seems compared to  years ago. Now I understand why the old black and white photographs of people sometimes had them looking so serious and definitely rigid waiting for the moment when they can move! But Mij seemed to capture softness in her work that I am so impressed with. Emotion and personality also seem to come across strongly in her final results.

We are two artists both striving to get the best out of  what we do and love. Both choosing art forms to  portray what we feel and see. Telling a story to the viewer of what we have aimed to capture.

I have eagerly waited to see the images of the session. Mij has kindly forwarded this shot for me and agreed for me to share it. I was writing a feature at the time and working on a painting of Bailey,trying out ideas for colour and composition. Amazingly at times I happily forgot a photographer was even in the studio until I was told to look at the camera. I am seated  on this initial study before working at the easel where I would normally stand  and move freely with my larger brushstrokes.

To have this kind of experience makes me feel so happy in my chosen career. I meet so many interesting people  and consistently discover days that leave me feeling absolutely refreshed.
This was one.

And I think I have finally stopped being worried about a camera!

Thank you Mij!



Sandra said...

You should never be worried about a camera - You are beautiful both inside and out and you know what they say? The camera never lies!

Jean Haines SWA said...

Thank you so much Sandra,that is a really kind and very sweet reply.