Hippies, Dippies, Druids and Dancing…….December 2016

HIPPIES, DIPPIES, DRUIDS AND DANCING…….DECEMBER 2016

The Winter Solstice at Stonehenge last year was a real treat, so I thought why not go again this year!

The weather forecast wasn’t great, but my son was keen to go, the others were not so keen! The opinion was, that if we didn’t see the sunrise it wouldn’t matter, as it was more about the experience.

I couldn’t have agreed more……. so at 4am on a cold wet morning we set off for Wiltshire. Arriving at the new visitor centre at about 6am we joined a few thousand people for the mile walk down to the stones. 

The atmosphere was certainly different this year. Last year there was lots of banging of drums and various druids vying for attention in the circle, whereas this year the ladies in red (?) managed to take over and occupy the centre of the circle. It was a lot calmer. ‘My’ druid from last year, Kevin, was here again. He wasn’t on great form unfortunately and was on his phone for a lot of the time! Apparently he was a bit tired from being at Avebury the previous evening and couldn’t compete with the ladies in red. Shame as we would have joined in with him!

The strange but wonderful accordion playing, dancing, whirligig was there again. I do love him!

During the Winter and Summer Solstice everyone is allowed to walk among the stones. Knowing their history and how ancient they are really does imbue them with a certain energy and so it is quite a treat to be able to touch them.

A cynical mystic, that’s me!

Stonehenge_WInter Solstice_2016_02Winter Solstice, Stonehenge 2016

Stonehenge_WInter Solstice_2016_03Winter Solstice, Stonehenge 2016

Stonehenge_WInter Solstice_2016_04Winter Solstice, Stonehenge 2016

Stonehenge_WInter Solstice_2016_01Winter Solstice, Stonehenge 2016


Flooding and Gold Awards…….November 2016

FLOODING AND GOLD AWARDS…….NOVEMBER 2016

It was  a pretty mild start to the Winter season, but no doubt the rain will come, so a shoot for the Environment Agency  was called upon.  #floodwarning!

A nice studio in the hinterlands of Park Royal and a visit to the amazing SuperHire, where you can get ANYTHING you can imagine as a prop.

Oh, and if you still have your Greenpeace calendar hanging on the wall, I won a Gold Award in the PX3 Photographic competition. Which was nice!

The calendar was designed by Fons Hickman

German Greenpeace Magazine Calendar 2016


‘I Don’t Care’…….October 2016

‘I DON’T CARE’…….OCTOBER 2016

Playing catch up again….as it is now the end of March 2017…….oops!

A couple of years ago our good friend Carolina Giammetta wrote and directed a short film called ‘I Don’t Care’.

The film was conceived after she had visited one of our Shifting Perspectives exhibitions and was particularly taken by a couple of the photographers work, including Fiona’s images of Billie-Jo titled, ‘I Don’t Care’.

The film isn’t about us, but more about how she has come to see Down’s syndrome through her relationship with us and other people she knows who have children with Down’s syndrome. Our daughter Billie-Jo was one of the actors and it is a VERY moving, beautifully shot (by the brilliant Alfie Biddle) and directed film, with wonderful acting by Andrea Lowe, Jo Hartley and Cavan Clerkin.

She has since shown it at many festivals and it has won LOTS of awards.

A little while ago she called up on a Thursday evening to see if we were available to travel to Belguim on the Saturday to pick up an award for her from The Extraordinary Film Festival…….

So, of course we jumped on the Eurostar and had a lovely time at the film festival.

Here are a few shots of Billie-Jo on stage giving a small speech.

You can now see the film here: https://vimeo.com/70405408

(It is about 15 minutes.)

And here is a behind the scenes trailer with me, the Director, Producer and actors: https://vimeo.com/79597184

Photographs courtesy of Julian ‘Hools’ Hills


Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis…….September 2016

 

SNOWDON, SCAFELL PIKE AND BEN NEVIS…….SEPTEMBER 2016

Well, not quite. The plan was to climb the three peaks this year with family and friends and although we did Snowdon earlier in the year, I had hoped to have already done Scafell pike and climb Ben Nevis in September. But, time has a habit of running away, so it was Scafell Pike before it got too close to winter proper and Ben Nevis will have to wait til next year!

After someone filling the car with the wrong kind of fuel(!), we eventually left London at 7pm and arrived in the lakes at 12.30am. The next morning we set off into a very blustery day and with part of the party blowing as much as the wind and another part of the party looking at me as if to say ‘are you sure the kids aren’t going to be blown off the mountain’, I wasn’t sure if we would all make it to the summit. We did all make it, though with visibility at about 15 feet and gale force winds we didn’t stop long!

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Hadrian’s wall, Festivals and Schnoodle Puppies …….August 2016

 

HADRIAN’S WALL, FESTIVALS AND SCHNOODLE PUPPIES…….2016

 

Who doesn’t want to walk 86 miles coast-to-coast In 7 days…….

As soon as the school holidays end we all head up to Newcastle and start an adventure, walking from Tynemouth in the East to Barrow in Furness in the West, coast-to-coast along the route of Hadrian’s wall.

Through rain and shine, towns and bullock filled fields, beautiful English meadows and ancient woods, up hills and past Roman forts, spectacular countryside and history at every step, we finish up in Barrow seven days later and can tick off a quite wonderful adventure.

Something an 11 and 13 year old will remember fondly and a 17 year old who has Down’s syndrome can be extremely proud of. (I cannot even explain how proud I am of Billie-Jo completing the walk and with blisters!)

I would recommend it to everyone, especially the middle section where the wall is visible.

A few days after returning from Hadrian’s Wall, we pack up and head off to the Wilderness Festival. We had such a good time last year we are joined by some old school friends and their families. Great music, swimming in the lake, great food and most of all great company, made it a wonderful long weekend.

And if that wasn’t enough at the end of August we went off to the Welsh House in WalesNear Cardigan and ended up coming back with a little black welsh Schnoodle puppy! A long story that involved telling the kids that if they could find a breeder of Schnoodles then we might, sometime in the future, possibly, think about getting a dog. The Welsh house is supposed to have NO INTERNET, but clearly there was a chink in the sky, because the middle child finds the internet and a breeder of Schnoodles, who just happens to live a few miles from the cottage AND who just happens to have three puppies, who just happen to have had their injections are ready to go.

Well, it was going to happen and as you can see below, who could possibly resist………..

 

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I Can Dance…….July 2016

I CAN DANCE…….JULY 2016

The month starts off with a trip up to the Arts Depot in Finchley, to help Fiona hang her exhibition. Our daughter Billie-Jo, who has Down’s syndrome, attends a group called ‘I can Dance’ every Saturday morning and has done so for many years now.

It is a wonderful group that allows young people with a variety of disabilities, some quite profound, to express themselves through dance. More than that, it allows them to be comfortable around their peers.

Fiona is a trustee of the charity that runs the programme and has recently been taking photographs of the dancers with their mothers. The images are accompanied by quotes that have been taken from interviews that Tamara Pollack, Fiona’s friend and mother of one of the other dancers has conducted.The exhibition coincided with the annual ‘I can dance’ show, which is very emotional and has us all reaching for the hankies!

At the moment the working title for the series is: ‘…….and then came I can dance’, and I think that the images are simply quite beautiful. They will be featured on ShutterHub soon and I have posted below images from four of the stories.

And Fiona’s website is here: Fiona Bailey 

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Funny little Owls and My Perspectives…….June 2016

 

FUNNY LITTLE OWLS AND MY PERSPECTIVES…….JUNE 2016

So, I have mostly been photographing some little owls and some big owls and even a fat tailed Gerbil called Janet!!!

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MY PERSPECTIVES

A few years ago I curated a touring exhibition that was concerned with all aspects of Down’s syndrome called Shifting Perspectives.

One of the spin offs from this was the My Perspective photographic competition, which is still going strong thanks once again to Katie Pinnock and her team at GlaxoSmithKline for their continued support of this competition and the ceremony.

Of the 250 entries entered into the competition I am tasked to ‘whittle’ it down to 25 images which are then sent off to a panel of judges to select their favourites. The annual competition is open to anyone with Down’s syndrome and the only rules are that:

1. You must have Down’s syndrome.

2. You must have taken the photograph yourself.

This years entries were again outstanding and it was very difficult to edit them down. The eventual winner was Emily Buck and two photographers shared second place – Steven Padmore’s “Raindrops on my Window” and Carlos Biggemann’s “Colours of Fire”

Carlos’ picture also won a new award for international photographers and he flew all the way from New Zealand to attend the awards ceremony!

David Kenward, who won My Perspective in 2015, was there to present the awards alongside Dame Judi Dench, patron of the DSA.

The My Perspectives awards ceremony, held each year at the Orangery in Kew gardens and is possibly my favourite night of the year.

Buck, Emily - 1Emily Buck – Winner of the My Perspective 2016 photography competition.

Biggemann, Carlos - 2Carlos Biggemann – Runner-up of the My Perspective 2016 photography competition.

Padmore, Steven - 2Steven Padmore – Runner-up of the My Perspective 2016 photography competition.

Davies, Rory - 1Rory Davies – Finalist of the My Perspective 2016 photography competition.

Chamalidou, Konstantina - 2Konstantina Chamilodou- Finalist of the My Perspective 2016 photography competition.

Phippen, Ed - 3

Ed Phippen- Finalist of the My Perspective 2016 photography competition.