Saturday, 28 May 2011

Penny and Rose, sisters

It was a very busy Swing 'n' Sing today and I was surprised just how much more complicated it made the shoot.  The hall was jam packed and so moving around was tricky, choice of angles limited. Forced into a corner I think this is a new angle for me.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Pandora wears her wares

Itchy feet this morning - no shoots scheduled and so headed to the Country Market near Pitlochry in Highland Perthshire.

Pandora here spins her own wool and then uses natural dyes to create incredible colours. You can see her wool in the hat she is wearing.  Here she is describing how she recently went to the market in Edinburgh and was photographed by visitors from Beijing.

Thundery overcast skies laid down some nice light.

Great person and who says it isn't the people that make the picture..............

For those interested taken using the bargain of the century as tipped by British Journal of Photography (credit where credit is due).  The Samyang 85mm f1.4 at just £240 for a 1.4............................ the secrets out!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Lesson learned update

Good news - Community Care magazine came back and due to the popularity of the internet slideshow have decided to run the magazine article and want to discuss this and more of my work this week.  If you read the email from Claire I went back to her and asked that she write to the magazine. This is what she wrote which I really appreciate sharing with the group and its this type of response which really encourages me to keep working in this field.

Hello Ruth

As a qualified children's social worker, I am a subscriber to the Community Care magazine but also enjoy the benefits of the publication through the daily emails which I find enormously informative.  The publication clearly has its 'finger on the pulse' and this gives me confidence when reading articles in the knowledge they are not only succinct and focussed on the issues but current and leading the way in the complexity of issues facing the profession as a whole.

If I may, I wished to share with you my humble thoughts on a particular article featured on the Community Care website, that I read recently.  The article in question was entitled, 'Recovering from mental health illnesses in Scotland'.  

I firstly wanted to congratulate Community Care on featuring such a powerful and incredibly discerning collection of photographs and thoughts by Graham Miller.

I felt Graham Miller demonstrated a very rare skill in the way that he was able to reach out to the reader through his photographs but just as crucially, his accompanying personal thoughts for each of the individuals he photographed were very evocative.  I felt this photographer demonstrated so articulately through the power of the photographs, the human spirit in its strongest and weakest moments.  He was able to 'do justice' to those experiencing mental health issues through the respect, compassion and empathy that he showed through this work.

My privileged position of working so intimately with families through my role has, over the years, served to demonstrate to me the truly invasive, impactive and deep rooted complex issues that parents and their children must navigate their way through when mental ill health is present within a family dynamic.  This illness does not always have a tangible presence but again, I feel the skill and articulation of Graham Miller's work has very competently served to cross this boundary and bring to life the reality of mental health issues for the reader to better understand, from the perspective of the individual; truly illuminating work.

I wonder whether as readers, we have had the opportunity to view Graham Miller's project in its entirety or whether elements of the project were not included due to your editing limitations?  Should this be the case, I feel that it would be of enormous benefit for your readers if they were able to enjoy further work by this photographer, or indeed, this particular project in its entirety, should this be at all possible.

I would applaud Community Care for providing further cover space for a photographer who clearly has so much to offer my profession by informing in the most unique style, the intimate relationship individuals experience with their mental health.

Thank you for finding the time to read this email.

With kind regards.

Independent Social Worker

Friday, 6 May 2011

Lessons learned - keeping control

Sorry for the rambling blogpost but its therapeutic to me to write this down and perhaps a story worth telling.

Last night I went from a feeling of excitement and anticipation to being sick, gutted and fed up.  A few weeks back Community Care magazine contacted me about showing some of the images from the Walled Garden project on their website and in their magazine which is circulated to community health professionals (30,000 per week).  You can imagine my excitement and are probably already anticipating at least part of what I'm going to say. The images were a mixture of portrait and landscape and over the course of a few days I got messages from the magazine saying that it would be necessary to crop some of the images. My excuse was that I was very busy, as they at least consulted me, but in reality I was so excited by the exposure I went with it and didn't ask to review what they were planning.  As I saw the images after they were published yesterday my heart sank as the cropping had been brutal in some cases and whole spirit of the original photographs lost.

Today I went back to the Walled Garden to run the monthly photography class and told the story to Debbie  who manages the project.  Her reaction was typical in that she said 'Don't worry the people who see the photographs haven't seen them before and so they won't know they've been cropped, they will still have the same effect.  Just at that point my blackberry pinged and I received the email below.

Hello Graham

I felt compelled to email you today.  A link to your work within the Walled Garden appeared on the Community Care web article I was reading earlier. 

I stopped and spent time looking through each of the photographs of the individuals involved in your project.  I was moved to tears.  The photographs but also your discerning and compassionate words beneath each photograph, found a deep connection with me.  My father passed away three years ago having spent a life time enduring mental health problems.  Sadly, and with the deepest regret, it is only now that I am beginning to understand the torment he experienced.  He was an alcoholic but had not drunk for twenty years when he passed away but continued to describe himself as an alcoholic.  I have the deepest respect and love for him. 

I just wanted to thank you for such powerful and meaningful work.  The compassion and empathy you show for your fellow humans shines through your work in the most illuminating way. 

With kind regards. 


This email sums up exactly what I am trying to achieve through my work.

I'm including the link here should anyone want to see the work and most importantly copies of the two images affected for comparison purposes.

I've certainly learnt a valuable lesson regarding controlling how my work is seen and rather than complaining I've decided to call the magazine so that I can have more involvement in the paper edition.  At least formatting shouldn't be an issue.

All images copyright Graham Miller 2011