Documentary Family Photography: London Walking Tour | Artefact Motherhood Project | Cambridge and London Family Photographer

Ever since the both of you were little, I would take you into London to explore the city during our weekends and holidays. I loved taking you to the different museums and attractions, which you would always find fascinating. Although I was sure at times you found the journey of getting there by train and then hopping on the London Underground was more fun than spending the day in some museum. We would play “I spy” to keep you entertained on the long journeys, but thankfully you have discovered the joy of reading and like to bring a book nowadays with you too.

London Walking Tour

During the first half of autumn term, you were learning about the Great Fire of London in school. Your class teachers had organised a history day for all the infants and you had a school visitor come in to re-enact the event. One of you went into school dressed up as a person from the medieval era for the day too. All of which really caught your imagination and I could tell you enjoyed learning about the history of this big event, as you shared many of the facts and dates with us at home.

Two children reading a book on the train

I am always interested and delighted to hear about your days at school and the lessons you have done that day, even the school friends you were playing with. As your parent, it is reassuring to know that you don’t have many struggles and you are both enthusiastic about learning and making friendships within school.

Learning is more than just about sitting at a desk and poring yourself into books or making sure you completed your homework. I also wanted to be able to foster your sense of curiosity and learning in some way outside of the school environment. I know that structured lessons are invaluable for your learning, but real-life experiences and observations has great benefits too. Even something as learning the facts about the past history of a place or time can be brought to life or build a sense of connection through seeing and comparing it to present-day changes. 

Boy taking a photo of The Monument outside Monument tube station

As half-term approached, I wanted to take you to visit some of the famous landmarks and wander around London where the Great Fire had taken place. I used a book about the Great Fire that we had borrowed from our local library as a guide. I also found this brilliant map online and came up with a route that took in the key sites of Monument (located near Pudding Lane where the Great Fire started) to St Paul’s Cathedral and the Museum of London. 

Queuing to go up the Monument in London during a family day trip
Black and white photographer of two people sitting on the concre
A father and son stands at the top of The Monument looking down
Black and white photograph of St Paul's cathedral poking out of
Black and white photographer of a boy walking down the spiral st
Family looking at a street map sign by the River Thames in Londo
A photo of a boy leaning over the side by the river Thames with
Black and white photograph of a father and son walking by the ri
Family walks on the pavement near the Monument station during a
A plaque to commerate the Great Fire of London in the City of Lo
St Paul's cathedral at street level with a London red bus in the
Boy running down the steps of St Paul's cathedral black and whit

You said at the end of our walking tour that your favourite part of the day was when you climbed to the top of Monument and could look down onto the streets of London. I enjoyed that part too. Although, if you had asked, I would say I enjoyed the most the special time we spent together that day and being able to discover this part of the city through your eyes. 

We ended the walk by looking at the artefacts inside the Museum of London which documented this time in history and London itself.

Black and white photograph of children outside the Museum of Lon
Two children looking at the painting of the Great Fire of London

This is part of ARTEFACT MOTHERHOOD - a project shared with other female artists who are documenting our journeys as mothers and creating memories for our children through our photographs and words.

Go to my friend Hollie Stokes to see the next blog post in this series.

Free 52 Project: October | Freelensing and Creative Photography |  Diana Hagues, Cambridgeshire Family Photographer 

I have to admit that lately I hardly picked up my camera for my personal work. With client photography sessions and also working on behind-the-scenes stuff on my website (more to come soon!), I haven’t felt the urge to take my camera out for anything else. 

Don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining. I find in life that it is all about making a balance. When one side of life is rushing full-speed ahead to get jobs done or manage urgent deadlines, the other side calls for slowing down and making quiet reflection. 

So that is what I have done. I took a step back from making my own photographs to quietly observe and reflect on the surrounding scenes around me. 

As one of the great masters of photography, Elliott Erwitt, said:    

“Photography is an art of observation. It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”

What wisdom lies in those words. It makes that connection between curiosity and wonder and letting yourself experience fully what you are seeing.

Some freelensed images of autumnal goodness taken last month. When you have finished looking through my images, go to the talented Gwendolyn Athman’s blog to see her beautiful freelensing images. Follow our blog circle around until you come back to here.

children walking in the woods and sunlight through leaves
Two brothers making a little boat with wood and feather
Little boat made of feather and bark
Boy floating his little boat on the river
swans on the river
Autumn grass leaves yellow colour
Autumn light through the plant seed
Self-portait by the red autumn leaves
Children in the pumpkin field
Orange pumpkin
pumpkins lined up by the pumpkin field
Boy wheeling his pumpkins from the pumpkin field
People picking their pumpkins in the pumpkin field

FREELENSING: A retrospective of my freelensing journey | Personal Work | Cambridgeshire Photographer

I was looking at the calendar the other day and it suddenly occurred to me that it was a little more than a year ago since I had begun seriously doing freelensing (yay!). 

A Year of Freelensing

If you haven’t been following my freelensing journey or you are wondering what freelensing is about, then you should read this entry I wrote on my blog last summer HERE. It showcases some of the first freelensed images I took during a month-long photography project delving into freelensing. I also detailed what camera I used and how I adapted my lens, and mindset, in order to enable me to freelens.

What got me seriously hooked onto freelensing though was joining a group of photography friends to challenge ourselves for a month to spend every day doing freelensing. I had talked about the value of doing a personal photography project before, in terms of experimenting new techniques and creativity. But finding a partner-in-crime or your own tribe, who could share the same interest or goals as you, is so invaluable for keeping each other motivated and accountable when it comes to doing a photography project or learning a new skill, such as freelensing.  

Freelensing is not the easiest camera technique to get right. If there is a right or wrong at all. 

In my Freelensing / Freelensing 31 article, I had said at the beginning that one thing I learnt with freelensing is the object of letting go. A year on, I would also add perseverance too. 

The Point of Letting Go

I have had a few photography friends who have dabbled in freelensing (with the lens un-attached from the body of the camera) ask me how I create my freelensed photographs. Or what I imagine they really want to know is how they can get it right every time. 

You cannot get it right every time or indeed even straight away, like some magic you can create as soon as you pick up the camera. So many times I had looked through my camera viewfinder thinking I had got the slice of focus where I wanted and captured the vision in my image, only to see on the back of the screen or back at home on the computer that it hadn’t landed right where I had intended. 

That’s ok. I’ve learnt the point of freelensing is about letting go of perfection and persevering until the little adjustments I make with the lens becomes more intuitive.  

Freelensing is not about creating a sharp image or even a blurry photograph. It’s about taking a very literal image and elevating the image into something else; creating moods and feel to a photograph. During freelensing, I find I slow down more which helps me to observe my environment and feel the moment.

I realise the above description could be applied to a lot of photographic techniques. I am concentrating on just freelensing here, because I know it can be frustrating to see if you are doing it right when you first discover this wonderful camera technique. I am not into fad or photography trends that could quickly make photographs look out-dated one day. On the other hand, freelensing is gaining popularity in the photography world and I love the painted quality it adds to my photographs, like that of the Impressionist painters.

Freelensing Life

Below is a slideshow of images I have selected from some themed freelensing challenges (#freelensinglife) I have been doing throughout the course of this year over on my Instagram account with some other photographers. I have not previously shared these images to my blog, as they did not fit within the narrative-theme that I normally contribute for the Free 52 project. However, doing the Free 52 project and #freelensinglife together, has given me the confidence to explore freelensing further. It has spilled over into other photography work I undertake, which includes using freelensing in my self-portraiture.

To follow this month’s blog circle to our Free 52 project group, go now to my beautiful friend Julie Godbolt and follow along to see what some of these talented freelensing artists have been creating in September.