Category Archives: Inspiration

Sometimes we look but don’t see.

I hadn’t really been aware of street photography as a thing until I went to theprintspace’s September First Tuesday. The evening was a presentation by the Street Photography London collective. A talented bunch of photographers with different experiences and careers, who all share a love of capturing frames of interest they see on the streets.

I think I like it because its people watching, something I love to do. Everybody has a story to tell but in most cases, you don’t know what it is, so you make up your own stories about them. That’s what street photographers do – tell stories. It doesn’t matter if they’re true or not (or even if they’ve got people in).

All seven of the collective that presented had a good eye. Being in the right place at the right time isn’t enough. You look at some of the shots and think ‘ooh, that was lucky’ and maybe it was, but they had to be ‘seeing’ and be camera ready to catch it. It was an interesting evening and some good questions were asked (about permissions, equipment, process and morality) and some wise advice given (“Would you like it if it was taken of you? If not, don’t use it”).

There’s plenty of information out there about street photography so I’m not going to repeat it. I’d just like to share my favourite image from each of the seven photographers and leave you with a link to Street Photography London so you can find out more.

Nicholas Goodden - Walk the line -

Nicholas Goodden – Walk the line  Walk the line

Alan Schaller

Alan Schaller –


Gagan Sadana –


Justin Cliffe –


Kin Chan –


Sam Burton –


Walter Rothwell –

Thank you, Nicholas Goodden
Alan Schaller
Gagan Sadana
Justin Cliffe
Kin Chan
Sam Burton and
Walter Rothwell

Savage Beauty

Duck feather dress by Alexander McQueen from The Horn of Plenty, A/W 2009-10 Model: Magdalena Frackowiak represented by dna model management New York, Image: firstVIEW

Duck feather dress by Alexander McQueen from The Horn of Plenty, A/W 2009-10
Model: Magdalena Frackowiak represented by dna model management New York Image: firstVIEW

For those who aren’t familiar with this image, it’s from the Alexander McQueen exhibition ‘Savage Beauty’ currently showing at the V&A museum in London. I’ve seen it twice already but am happy to be going a third time to one of the late night shows they’ve added before it finishes on the 2nd August.

I’m not much into fashion but he was a genius. In his own words “You’ve got to know the rules to break them. That’s what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition.” You can see his Saville Row training, particularly in his early work, but then you see his style and creativity flourish. I’d wear most of it – especially the early, formal pieces and most of the tartan collection. And his armadillo shoes (see below). Not for every day wear but I’d love to try walking in a pair. The models didn’t seem to have a problem (apart from one or two who reminded me of Bambi).

Anyway, I’m not going to write about him as it’s been said better on the V&A site (link below). Just that he is inspiring and if ‘Savage Beauty’ ever comes your way, don’t miss it. Enjoy these extra couple of images, thanks to the V&A:

Jellyfish ensemble and Armadillo shoes by Alexander McQueen from Plato’s Atlantis, S/S 2010 Model: Polina Kasina, © Lauren Greenfield/INSTITUTE

Jellyfish ensemble and Armadillo shoes by Alexander McQueen from Plato’s Atlantis, S/S 2010
Model: Polina Kasina, © Lauren Greenfield/INSTITUTE

'Platos Atlantis' gallery by Alexander McQueen from Savage Beauty at the V&A 2015 Credit: Victoria and Albert Museum, London

‘Platos Atlantis’ gallery by Alexander McQueen from Savage Beauty at the V&A 2015
Credit: Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Creative Characters

Creative Characters is another inspiring newsletter that regularly drops into my inbox. It’s from Myfonts and talks about the ‘faces behind the fonts’. Somebody needs to talk about these invisible geniuses so, well done, Myfonts!

Sadly, this month is about the death of Hermann Zapf. You may not have heard of him but you have definitely seen his work. I’m just going to let you read it from them:


Black. And white.

This has nothing to do with dresses! davidbatchelorsign

This is about an exhibition we happened upon at The Whitechapel Gallery this weekend. It wasn’t the main exhibition (called Adventures of the Black Square which also sounds interesting) but the free exhibition alongside, called ‘Monochrome Archive, 1997-2015’. It’s by scottish artist, David Batchelor and is a series of photographs he calls ‘Found Monochromes’ – white (and black) blank spaces found in Cities he’s in. Watch the video of him talking about how it started and why ( I love this project – it’s an area that interests me – what is art and what isn’t. As he says, “…Is there a boundary between art and non art, or is it always negotiable? Is it always moving and a grey area? I think that’s an interesting place to be.”

If you’re near Aldgate in East London before the 3rd May (2015), do nip in and see it but if you can’t, here’s a link to the Whitechapel Gallery site and to David’s other work:


Black is black, unless it’s gold

Yes, you probably know what I’m talking about – there has been a big fuss online about a photo of a dress ( The image in question is the one in the centre. Some people see a white and gold dress. Others, a black and blue one. I guess the reason this has been shared so many times is because the choices are so extreme and people are clearly in one camp or the other and can’t believe those that disagree. It’s not like we’re talking about one of those inbetween colours like an orangey red. I think it’s obviously white and gold but my partner insists it’s black and blue.


Colour has always been tricky which is probably why Pantone has been so successful. For those that don’t know, 50 years ago, a man called Lawrence Herbert, Pantone’s founder, created an innovative system for identifying, matching and communicating colour. They may be more commonly known for their ceramic mugs these days but don’t be fooled – it still is an important colour tool for designers across many industries.

While Pantone is a formula that ensures colours match, it doesn’t resolve how each of us sees colour. And we’ll never know. Isn’t that fascinating? Colour blindness and biology aside, there are so many variations in lighting conditions and now, monitor callibrations, we have even less control over what other people see. We can’t give up though. We’ll still spend hours choosing just the right shade of blue for that logo we’re working on. Well we wouldn’t want to live in a black and white world, would we.

Here’s a link to the article again:

and about Pantone:

and an image google search ‘pantone products’:

Portraits are old school!

I’m just kidding, portrait photography will always rock!

However, if you wanted a portrait for a gift and were looking for something a bit different (but not as scary as a commissioned original portrait painting from an artist of your choice), then think 3D!

This is my friend Rachel. She had this portrait made for her Grandma who lives too far away to visit often. It’s a brilliant idea. The company she used mostly do corporate events (also a great idea – what a lovely team building exercise – to get a set of mini-models for the office or as prizes) but they do personal portraits too. Apparently, the shoot is as fast as a normal shoot as you stand in the middle of a ring of cameras and they all fire at once. You get to approve it before they ‘print’ and are allowed a couple of tries.

Original portrait 3D model

Original portrait – 3D Rachel

They’ve been around for a while. My3Dtwin ( started back in summer 2011, then there appears to have been a publicity campaign in October 2013 with even Asda offering the service ( And this is a good article from the Guardian (also Oct’13 During this research, I found they’re quite popular for wedding cake toppers too – how perfect is that? Price and quality varies but with 3D printing technology improving all the time, I hope they’ll be the photobooth of the future. I’d have one!

An idea you never thought of but totally wish you had

It’s inspiring when you see creativity by others and think ‘wow, that’s good. I wish I’d thought of that’.
I love this video (if the link works)…

With thanks to:
Agency: DDB Group Asia Pacific
Motion Design: Tamara Haentjes

Let there be light.

Have you heard of CreativeLive? They do brilliant online training courses in photography, marketing, software and even blogging.

Based in Seattle, they livestream creative classes around the world. You can watch for free if you’re online when the class is live – that’s usually from about 5pm to midnight here in the UK. If you can’t watch live, you can buy the classes as video downloads from as little as $29. You can get three days worth of expertise from $79. Seriously, it’s a bargain. These guys really know what they’re talking about.

I remember one of the first classes I watched was on Adobe Illustrator. I thought I knew it pretty well but, like when I go and freelance in an office with other people, there’s always more to learn. They often have different ways of working or cheeky little keyboard shortcuts I didn’t know.

This time, I’m excited to watch Ben Willmore’s Light Painting class. He takes photographs in the dark with long exposures and paints the light in where he wants it. It’s a beautiful effect. I really want to try it and I’m not even a photographer. I’d love to see what my friends who know their way around a camera could do. I’m going to have a go though and will report back in a future post.


Created by Ben Willmore from

Get out and get inspired

That was a great Friday night. I met a friend at the closing event of ‘Intimate’ by Miss Led at ThePrintSpace in Shoreditch. (Links below)

The exhibition has been on since the beginning of December but for this event, she was doing a live demo, sharing how she works with mixed media and some top tips on working as an illustrator. She had a selection of beautiful portraits on display and an opportunity to buy limited edition prints. What you didn’t get from the prints, of course, was the wall art extending out from each canvas, but they’re still nice pieces to have. Sometimes you just have to be there.

I didn’t get to talk to her as she had quite a circle of fans but it inspired me to go online and find out more.

I really like her site and her work but I particularly liked one of the projects she’s been involved in – Ted Baker: Live Portraiture. In flagship stores around the world, customers had their photo taken wearing an outfit from the new Ted Baker collection (2012). Then, 11 artists sat in ‘Ted’s Drawing Room’ at London HQ and chose the photos they wanted to illustrate. The day was streamed live across the internet and in stores, resulting in great publicity for Ted Baker and the artists involved. Plus 100 lucky customers received a signed and framed portrait created by one of 11 top illustrators. What a great idea. And the greatest result for the lucky customers chosen by Miss Led who received one of her original portraits.