Time out with Helen Harper, our Artist of the Week…

Helen Harper

Helen Harper

We took some time out in the Shed with a cup of tea and a chat with photographer Helen Harper to talk about her work.

What first drew you to photography?

I am fortunate enough to have done a little travelling and I particularly like architecture and buildings.  I think that inspired me to start taking more photos. One or two people I know said they liked some pieces and it went from there.

What is your favourite photographic memory, and why?

Not sure I have a favourite photographic memory, I see stuff I like and I take a picture, my work is not complicated, its pretty pictures (I hope!).

Kwai Sleepers - Bridge on the river Kwai, Bangkok

Kwai Sleepers - Bridge on the river Kwai, Bangkok

Who is your favourite photographer, and why?

I don’t have a favourite photographer!!

What would be your ideal camera, and where would you take it?

I don’t have an ideal camera, currently I use a Fujifilm Finepix HS20EXR and then I have a small basic digital camera, usually depends on the size of my handbag which one I take.

Houses and boats and the Baltic Sea

Houses and boats and the Baltic Sea

Tell us what you enjoy most about your own work, and what has inspired you recently.

I just like taking pictures, I know that sounds too simplistic but its true. I have my blog http://helenharperphotography.blogspot.co.uk/ which I update with new stuff, I enjoyed a recent trip to Kirkstall Abbey.

A bumble bee on a dandelion in the grass

A bumble bee on a dandelion in the grass

Do you have bursts of creativity – and when/where are you most creative?

Yes, probably to do with the weather! I love crisp blue skies, shame I live in England!

What are the most important elements of a successful photo?

Who knows?! I just like to have the horizon in the centre of the picture, or whatever is the main object of the picture. My work is very simple, I rarely use the flash, I prefer simple pictures that are hopefully as you would see them if you were there.

Tell us about your favourite photograph, either your own or someone else’s, and please send us a copy if you have one!

I don’t think I have one, though with pictures of people say I love unposed pictures, the type where the people in them don’t realise they are being photographed.

Thanks Helen you can view more of Helen’s work by visiting her Shed profile.

The last month at The Shed Photography…

What a busy month we’ve had getting to know our most recent sign ups Rachael Talibart, Daren Griffin, Steve Dodd and most recently Christine Santostefano. They each bring a unique view of the world and there are many images among their portfolios that I wish I had taken.  Daren’s lanterns make me think of the Romanovs banqueting and dancing beneath the gently swaying lights, to Rachael’s stunning landscapes of which I wish I could emulate.

Steve Dodd - Poppy Seedhead

Steve Dodd - Poppy Seedhead

Then Steve’s macro Poppy Seedhead would provide me with ample inspiration for a painting and Christine’s ‘Ice-cream anyone’ could be a David Lynch film set, just wonderful!  Remember you can leave comments on other photographer’s walls and also share on Facebook and tweet their work with just a click. When your image has been mentioned it will appear in the community tab, so don’t forget to look every now and then.  Please take some time to view the other profiles and begin conversations – it is enormously encouraging and helps to build our community spirit.  A special thank you to Rachael for all her contributions.

Christine Santostefano - Ice cream anyone? Maybe not....

Christine Santostefano - Ice cream anyone? Maybe not....

We are also gradually introducing new features that will improve the site.  You may have noticed you can now view your own statistics when you log on.  It provides interesting viewing and is only seen by yourself, although the public can now see how many times your profile has been viewed and also the individual images themselves.  Please remember our sister website, the Shed Photography shop site, has the ability to sell any ORIGINAL pieces you may have be they old prints, framed prints, jewellery, ceramics, sculpture, drawings, prints, paintings – in fact anything you make!  So please give some thought to adding those things and in plenty of time before Christmas when we will promote them for people to come to the site to buy original work, as well as work printed by us, as gifts.

Rachael Talibart - Last light at Kimmeridge

Rachael Talibart - Last light at Kimmeridge

Emma has written a lovely piece for the blog about her inspiration as Artist of the Week (AOTW) – I know many of you have read it, as you often tell me, but also please let the artist themselves know what you think too.  In the coming weeks Caroline Collet is going to write a piece for the blog about some fabulous images she found in a book from the 70’s, Paula Youens is writing a piece about drawing and the workshops she’s recently taken part in, I’m currently thinking about censorship in photography, Michelle Frederick about her cameras made from reclaimed materials, Lottie Heffer about her jewellery making which she learnt from her mother the renowned jeweller Julia Richmond and Rachael would like to contribute a piece about her current work on her own blog.  If any of you would like to promote or write a piece no matter how small just drop me a line and I will put it in for you.

We are an inspiring, diverse, passionate community.  Keep creating and remember we’ll do all the boring stuff for you!

 

The Affordable Arts Fair, Battersea.

My calendar revolves around the Affordable Art Fair http://affordableartfair.com/battersea/ every year.

The Fair began in London over 14 years ago and attracts close to 22,000 people to the London event. There are now fairs all over the world and I’m delighted to be showing through Villa Del Arte in Amsterdam on the same weekend!

To quote from the website;

‘Our concept is simple, yet unique: an inspiring and friendly atmosphere in which you can find thousands of original paintings, prints, sculpture and photography all under one roof. The work of young, emerging artists hangs alongside some of the biggest household names, while our Recent Graduates’ Exhibition provides a chance to snap up a future masterpiece’.

 Just one of the many talks at the fair

Just one of the many talks at the fair

Every year I’ve shown there I’ve been blown away by the diversity and energy of the fair. There is a fine line between hanging the work well in a thoughtful and accessible way to creating a ‘selling’ environment that allows you to walk around seeing everything. Arco in Madrid can be overwhelming and the work somehow inaccessible, mainly on price, where you don’t even dare fall in love with any of the thousands of pieces on show. Whereas at the AAF in Battersea there is a price limit and many, many pieces that are so covetable and you can take it home there and then!

One of the classes given for big adults and children alike!

One of the classes given for big adults and children alike!

Here in the Shed Gallery and our sister website the Shed Photography shop our philosophy is the same; provide a friendly, informed environment to buy original artwork and prints online by artists and photographers that may not have shown their work anywhere else or help established practitioners a way of accessing new markets and clients. We passionately believe in giving undiscovered talent a chance and my admiration for the Affordable Art Fair concept is a huge inspiration for the way we work. I believe we wish to invest and own something beautiful, original and that has meaning to us be it a small ceramic or large painting or a print of the landscape around us. So if you can’t get to London but want inspiration, take a look at our gallery or make a date for next year, it’s a wonderful day out for everyone, families especially, even the if you don’t buy anything you’ll get the bug and look forward to next year!

Below are some examples of my work entered this year:

Emma Burton, our Artist of the Week…

Emma Burton

Emma Burton

We took a few moments in the Shed to ask Emma Burton, our artist of the week, about photography and her inspirations…

What first drew you to photography?

I used to take lots of photographs when I was younger, my parents purchased me a practika camera with various filters when I was 12, I loved it but at the time it was quite expensive as I had to process the films, far more fun and inexpensive now with digital.  I lost interest in photography for a while but when I turned 40 my partner Noah purchased me a camera for my birthday and I was hooked again!  Since then I have rediscovered how much I enjoy it.

What is your favourite photographic memory, and why?

Its a recent memory, I have 5 wonderful nieces & nephews and I love capturing photographs of them, the youngest Jude is particularly fun to photograph, he has a very cheeky.

Jude

Jude

Who is your favourite photographer, and why?

I don’t have a favourite photographer, I enjoy so many photographer’s work, I particularly like seeing new photographer’s work, I love the newness and vibrancy that comes through, then again I love it when you see street photographs taken years ago and they tell a story of life back then.

What would be your ideal camera, and where would you take it?

Sunrise on the Ship

Sunrise on the Ship

Nikon D800, I would take it everywhere, which is what I currently do with my D3100, I think the most important thing for me is to try to have my camera with me all the time as its usually the most unexpected time, place that you catch a really unusual or fantastic shot.

 

Tell us what you enjoy most about your own work, and what has inspired you recently.

Lavender

People telling me they like my work and them getting enjoyment from seeing photo’s I have shot, also how people value a shot that captures a special moment between them and loved ones, or them doing something that they love.  I have recently started doing a few boudoir shoots for friends and its wonderful when they see the pictures and how much they love them, especially when they first arrive they are quite shy and unsure and then they see the results, its such a nice feeling.

Lavender

Lavender

Do you have bursts of creativity – and when/where are you most creative?

I do have burst of creativity, its usually governed by the light, if the light is amazing I will zip off down the beach and just capture the sky, I particularly like early mornings, sunrises, dew, misty mornings all that kind of thing, I think it gives a calmness that comes through in the shots.  I am lucky to live near the sea and I love the changing colours and mood of the sea, the reflections the sky creates on the sea and how within an hour the sea can be choppy and wild.

Beach Hut

Beach Hut

What are the most important elements of a successful photo?

For me it is light when I am shooting outside, and for when I shoot inside its capturing the mood of he person I am shooting, its all in the eyes for me.  Its such a personal thing, I hide behind my camera as I can be quite shy, I dislike my photo being taken but I get such pleasure when I manage to capture a perfect shot of someone and they love it, I am a bit of a freak!

Tell us about your favourite photograph, either your own or someone else’s, and please send us a copy if you have one!

Afghan Girl – National Geographic – again, its the eyes!

Eat Dorset!

Coast Road - Lyme Regis to Bridport

Coast Road - Lyme Regis to Bridport

If you ever want to get lost in Hardy’s beautiful countryside then head towards Beaminster from Lyme Regis. You can take the coast road which climbs and dips all the way to Portland past Colmer’s hill, that Hilary Buckley depicts so evocatively in her paintings or take the back roads towards Crewkerne and Pilsdon Pen. Stop and climb the iron age hill fort and you’ll be blessed with views across Dorset that will take your breath away whether you are blessed with glorious sunshine or the clouds go skidding by carrying rain from the West.

Last weekend I took some friends en route to the Eat Dorset Food Fair http://www.eatdorsetfoodfair.co.uk/, past Shaves Cross rolling down into Broadwindsor.

Eat Dorset

Eat Dorset

Every twist and turn revealing another view of Dorset in all its splendour; gnarled trees, ancient woodlands, hedgerows dividing the farmland into patchwork shapes, dotted with cattle. The fair celebrated the produce from all the hidden corners of the county, Black Cow vodka made from milk (!) the sweetest scallops, surf ‘n’ turf sandwiches made from lobster and local beef, smoked prawns, oysters, glorious honey, jams, chutneys to accompany the myriad cheeses (that I can’t even remember their names of after all the Kir Royals made from local blackberries), the cider, the cakes, Purbeck ice-cream…Dorset is brimming with talented, committed people, doing their own thing, be it painting, gardening, keeping bees, drawing or taking photographs. The ethos of the fair is to promote and sell the produce of the inspirationally talented folk that live and work here and around. Here in the Shed we applaud this and through our website and shows hope to do the same for all those who find inspiration in the countryside, the people and the places in this extraordinary county and beyond. Make a date for next year’s fair and buy as much as your pocket will allow, go home and EAT DORSET!

The fruits of our labour...

The fruits of our labour...