I still haven’t worked out who I want to be or what I want to do when I grow up, so on this blog please join me while I try and work it out while keeping child-like creativity alive!  Find home and fashion inspiration; travel and days out; photography, writing and more. Have fun looking around 🙂



Hastings Pier – The story of the photograph (and photographer!)

Welcome to the first of a new regular feature I’m starting on this blog! I began a keen interest in photography about twenty years ago, and when I was seventeen I spent a stupid amount of money in credit interest buying my first SLR from a catalogue! I practiced a lot and took five GNVQ courses in photography at college in the evenings when my babies were little. I thought I’d go over some of my favourite photographs from back then and more recently, and tell you a little about how, when and where they were taken. The first is this one of Hastings Pier, which was in my very first exhibition….

The best thing about this exhibition was the mayor was there; the local press were there and wine and nibbles were handed round and everyone was dressed up. The worst thing was, I knew absolutely nothing about it because for some reason my phone number wasn’t in the college records. So my tutor framed my photos and hung them for me, but I never got to see them in the exhibition. I was so gutted when I found out!

The class had had a weekend day trip to Hastings to take photographs, and luckily the weather was ok – a little meh – not much in the way of sky interest, but at least it didn’t rain. I wondered around with a friend; accidentally got caught up in a funeral on the beach; and of course ate fish and chips for lunch.

The camera that took me two years to pay for, was a Minolta Dynax 500si with a 35-70mm kit lens. That camera meant a lot to me – as did the 75-300mm lens my parents bought me for my eighteenth birthday. Ahh, those were the days! Unfortunately, those were the days that unless you wrote down the settings in a notebook, you have no way of knowing what f-stop or speed you set the camera at. I’m afraid I don’t even know what brand of black and white film it was shot on – probably whatever was the cheapest at the time, but I’m pretty sure it was iso 1200.

So this post might appeal to all you film-toting hipsters out there, but future blog posts of this variety are likely to include digital settings easily got at from a right-click of a mouse. So these two black and white photos were then processed and printed by me at college the good old-fashioned way with chemicals, a dark-room and silver paper and I’ve scanned them to show you. I really enjoyed it and we even set up a dark-room in the corner of our bedroom using a cupboard the school we worked at were chucking away. I still have an enlarger and all the equipment in the roof as I can’t bring myself to get rid of it!

Back to Hastings. For this second picture I set up the tripod on the pier and waited for the crowds to thin a little, and took this where I thought the curve of the buildings at the entrance to pier would be interesting. I have several prints where I was trying to get the exposure correct – I remember waving two pieces of card under the enlarger to reduce the light on the sky to bring out the detail. The college kept the only one I managed to do just right. This is the next best; though you can see where the sky is still too light at the sides.

Hastings Pier

Hastings Pier

The following photos are from scanning negatives; so I processed the film manually, but either never printed them or they’ve got lost. I’ve tweaked a few in Lightroom. My goodness it’s a hell of a lot easier (and cheaper) nowadays!

Do you know Hastings Pier? Do you remember it like this? Sadly it suffered to fire a few years ago, but is being re-built and is due to open this summer.

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Other posts you may like:

Oshun dress
Cultural Appropriation in Fashion. Should it really matter?
September 7, 2017
  If you know me, then you’ll know I am a person who happily trundles on in life, getting on with things as pleasantly as I can, doing as much as possible to avoid drama or confrontation. However, I think someone linked to a blog post I wrote over year ago, as I’ve come back from holiday to a flurry of angry comments on the post called OSHUN – THE STORY OF MY CLOTHING BRAND, AND THE YELLOW DRESS INSPIRED BY BEYONCE’S IN LEMONADE. I thought I would respond to those comments in a blog post, rather than reply to them individually, as hopefully I will explain myself and my opinions in a more complete and thought-through way. So to understand what I’m about to talk about, you might want to have a look at that post first and have a read of the recent comments below it. In summary though, it was written at a time when Beyonce appeared to be channeling the ancient African deity, Oshun, so I wrote a bit about her for those who hadn’t heard of her before, and explained how I came to choose her to name my clothing business and a dress after. I wrote a brief message a couple of days ago addressing this on my Threads of a Fairytale website, and if you don’t mind, I’ll quote it now as an introduction: “Hello! I’m back from holiday and had a wonderful time exploring the Acropolis and other ancient remains and ruins around Greece and Albania and have come home full of inspiration. Three new goddess dresses influenced in design by ancient Greek attire will be appearing in the Threads of a Fairytale shop very soon – one in pink, one gold, and one in a mottled green and grey – all pure silk chiffon. I will continue to be inspired by religions and cultures from all around the world; ancient and modern, because that’s the way art grows, develops and nourishes one’s soul and interest. The term “cultural appropriation” seems to be more in fashion than fashion itself at the moment….If you’re a regular visitor to this page, you’ll know that I changed my clothing business name from Oshun to Threads of a Fairytale a couple of months ago and explained my reasons here. And no, the change had nothing to do with cultural appropriation because I’m sorry, I simply don’t agree that it’s a problem here. We have been influenced by our neighbours of all colours and heritage since time began and I think that’s a wonderful thing. Segregating oneself and not allowing this to happen comes from a place of ego, not from a place of good”. If you are going to comment here or on facebook (or anywhere), I would appreciate it if you take the time to read this whole piece to fully understand where I’m coming from, and hopefully even take a minute to think about some of my points. I haven’t written this to try to get anyone to change their opinions – of course we’re not all going to agree, but I want to say at the beginning that I have listened to your comments; looked into them further, and really given it some thought from all points of view before writing this……

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