Very happy to announce my latest project, LetteraEtc.
In a nutshell, it’s about enhancing your photography (or indeed any creative project!) by overlaying gorgeous calligraphed quotes and words with a few doodles thrown in for good measure. After my calligraphy course with Melissa Esplin which I loved to bits, it seemed like the most natural thing to do to combine typography with photography, my two favourite things in the world.
It’s early days but so far, I’ve prepared a great selection of quotes that inspire adventure, some for those who find themselves drawn to the sea and an essential set of greetings in different languages and words that are often used with ‘hello’, for example ‘hello summer’. Plus I’ve done a series of mountain and tree trunk doodles that would work well with the adventure quotes or on their own.
Each theme is provided in hi-res PNG and ABR formats so you can easily stamp whatever you like wherever you like, change the colours and increase the size. I’ve been using them on my own photographs so far and uploading to my Instagram page but I’m excited to get some ‘hello’ cards or postcards printed and send them off to family and pals as a little surprise ‘ciao’ from Scotland! I’d love to know what you think and you can see more and buy from LetteraEtc’s Etsy shop!
Double exposures. I cannot get enough of them. So much so that I have my new Fuji XPro1 permanently on double exposure mode. The process of overlaying two images, one on top of the other, can be used to great artistic effect. It’s a great means of photographic storytelling and you don’t need to stop at two images, you can keep going to create one image from multiple exposures if your DSLR allows it.
In the case of a double exposure, I have found that I get a better outcome if the first image is quite dark. You can stop down the exposure or choose a subject in shadow. I then like to have a fairly bright second image and always work in live view mode so that I can see how best to align my two images.
I’m not too fussed about having a clutter-free background as I prefer my double and multiple exposures to be organic but that’s probably a plus for me in that I shoot mainly nature, trees and such like. If you are shooting portraits then you want that first image of the person to have as clean a background as possible so you have more focus on the silhouette of the subject.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to shoot a double exposure at the same time and you can simple keep one ‘on hold’ on the memory card and move to another location to shoot something else whenever you choose.
So much has been happening to me recently, it’s hard to keep up and I mean that in a head-spinning, happy way.
One of the most exciting things is I got approached by a company called VIDA asking me if I would be interested in creating a signature collection of scarves and silk t-shirts printed with my photography.
The company is much more than a partnership for artists and manufacturers, it uses part of the proceeds from sales to support literacy programs for the makers in Pakistan, providing them with opportunities they otherwise would not have.
Beautiful products produced in a sustainable way… you can see why I signed up on the spot!
There are now four of my photographs up for grabs on my VIDA page, three available as scarves and one as a silk t-shirt which I’ve shown here for you to see how fab they are (even if I do say so myself)!
So exciting for me! And now I want to pass part of that on to you, 25% of it to be exact. If you pre-order any item in the next 10 days, you will get 25% off the marked price, that’s around US$30 for a modal scarf and US$49 for a pure silk t-shirt. It’s an unbelievable offer. Plus, international shipping will cost you just US$5.
Trees in Winter are so poetic. So exposed that you can clearly see how delicate they become toward the tips of their branches. It seems natural to highlight this and since I’ve become slightly hooked on making these kaleidoscopic abstracts, I couldn’t think of a better way to do it. So here is ‘Circle of Trees’.
THE memory of my first Christmas in Dubai way back in (ahem) 1996 popped into mind when I’d finished putting these images together.
I remembered buying bags and bags of frankincense and myrrh (plus a little gold trinket) to give as gifts to everyone. It was the first time that I had seen these stunning orange/gold balls of resin and let me tell you, the scent they emit when tossed onto an open fire or onto an oil burner is unbelievably beautiful. To me, they smell of a souk, dusty and musty and heady. Gorgeous.
I got taken back there with these shots, even though they’re images of colourful stones in rock pools, taken on a wonderful beach walk with my family last weekend. I think they’re amongst my favourites. :)
I happily type this with inky fingers. Thought you might like to see my very first calligraphy alphabet! It’s not as easy as it looks, the consistency being the absolute hardest thing ever, but it’s tremendously fulfilling and addictive.
I’m moving onto words in the next lesson … exciting!
A little time offline can do strange things to a person.
In the two weeks I’ve been away, I’ve reignited a passion that I had all but lost and all because my mum had found a bag of my sketchbooks while she was clearing out her cellar. It felt truly bizarre to be looking through those books, I remembered them vividly yet, at the same time, I felt so disconnected to who that person was. I had forgotten her.
Generally, people say that what you loved doing as a child should act as a guide to your future career or calling and those books reminded me of what I loved most of all in my youth – words. Page after page of those sketchbooks are filled with my very amateurish attempts at calligraphy (so many fonts, so little time!) and fragments of first paragraphs for the book I dreamt of writing. Now, with 47 years of hindsight, I can hear echoes of my love of letters and words throughout my life but, despite so many reminders, I have just let them go.
So, to begin, I’m feeding that need to add a flourish to everything I write and have signed up for an online calligraphy course. I start today!