01 Story: What’s the best story you heard this month?
I got into a conversation about what the most memorable meal my parents had eaten was. My dad told me two stories — polar opposites of each other:
One was a 13 course meal at some extravagant Swiss restaurant and the other (more appealing to me) was the first time he had ever tried corn on the cob. He said he could remember it so clearly...he lived in Kenya as a child and said they were on Mombasa Beach and a man was selling barbecued corn, cooked in foil and then taken out and charred around the edges. He said it couldn’t have cost more than 10p and that it was probably the best thing he has ever had.
02 Nature: An encounter with the natural world
I had a shoot in Spain in a place called Fuengirola. During the summer months it is a busy place full of ‘Brits abroad’ but when we were there it was like a retirement town. On the last day we had some spare time so went down to the beach...I can’t say it was an intimate experience with nature, but I felt like I witnessed an intimate experience. Just down the beach from us an older couple (in their 70s) were getting ready to go for a swim. They took turns swimming around the bay. There was something so nice about them letting each other have their time. I like to imagine they do it every day.
We also saw a cormorant diving and collected nice colored stones. We fell asleep on the beach and had sand in our scalps for the rest of the week.
03 Art Experience: An encounter with art (in any form)
We went to see a small show at The Brighton Museum about the artist Gluck with a friend of ours. I had not not really known about them until this show. More than just the art, the show was about the artist, and how their appearance and persona was almost a part of their work. The show displayed a lot of photographs, ephemera, and clothing from Gluck’s life. Every part of their life was directed by them: their wardrobe, their haircut, their relationships, and even the frames they chose to display their work in. In fact, they had patented their own frame, the ‘Gluck frame,’ creating a stepped stage for their paintings.
04 Change: a meaningful change that impacts the way you live (either that you initiated or that entered from outside)
I’ve always been a bit adverse to routine...but I realized when I don’t have it, I go a bit nuts.
I’m trying to create a bit more structure in my everyday life so that if I can’t be in the same place every day, then I can at least do some things at the same time. I’ve made attempts to start meditating using the Head Space app, which is actually really good and I found very helpful. Just 10 minutes a day really makes a difference. I find these things hard to establish and easy to fall out of! However, I aim to continue.
05 New Idea: a new way of looking at things or something to attempt in the future
Most of last year I worked on more commercial shoots. I learned a lot and met lots of nice people. However, this year I really want to do some self-initiated projects. I am self-taught, but feel limited by my technical skills. So, this month I signed up to some courses in lighting and printing. I’m looking forward to taking time to slow down a bit, and see how these new skills develop my work.
06 Object (new): a new object that held significance
A new hairbrush. It’s disgusting but I had my hairbrush for 20 years! My uncle gifted me a Mason Pearson one for my 8th birthday and I used it ever since. I shaved my head about five years ago and it’s only really grown out in the last two. Now it’s long enough to warrant a new hairbrush, so I finally replaced it.
07 Object (old): an old object that took on new/different kind of meaning
I went through some research folders and found a project I started a few years ago, but didn’t take much further. My Granddad kept these diaries when he was a teenager (16-17): really simple things that had happened each day. I took a few of the entries and made some letterpress prints of them. I like how they seem like short poems. They are simple, but give an insight into him and what he thought of as noteworthy.
08 Gratitude: something you have been specifically thankful for this month:
This month I have been really grateful for the feeling of coming ‘home.' I used to get frustrated at the idea and felt trapped. Maybe I’m getting older and starting to appreciate it more: coming back to a space that I’m comfortable in, with the people I love. I guess it’s more that the sense of home is the idea of Family. I’m really grateful that I get to spend time with my parents as an adult, and that I have had a chance to establish new relationships with them.
10 Proportion: A specific moment that reminded you of the scale of the universe. That you are part of a greater whole.
Abel has really gotten into ancient history recently, so I bought him ‘A Little History of the World’ by E. H. Gombrich. I started reading it and realized: a) how little I know and, b) how little we have changed really, when you consider everything. We really are nothing but a tiny, insignificant, blip in the Universe. For that moment, when you realise these things, all stress disappears and means almost nothing.