Posted by: Admin | April 27, 2013

The Saturday Interview 39 – Carole

Portrait Photography London Carole got in touch because she saw a comment I wrote on a blog by an Evening Standard journalist who was turning 50.

“I was going to contact her,” she wrote, “but then saw your comment and realised it was you I needed to contact as on my ‘life board’ I have the words I want a picture of myself that I love.”

Carole came to me initially as a client, but after reading her letter, I knew I wanted her to be part of this project. You see, Carole is someone who believes in making things happen. She says it’s down to discovering The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, which, she explains, “tells you not to think about things will happen, just believe they will.” Personally, I believe that when someone truly believes in the “bounty of the Universe”, they naturally become more receptive to opportunity and take action that creates change. But that’s my personal opinion, and however it “works”, it has certainly worked for Carole!

“I think that maybe there’s a positive side to a mid-life crisis, or whatever happens to you when you hit the “age wall”, but I have become compelled to act like a human sponge and soak up as much of life’s experiences as I can before I take my last breath.”

A self employed IT consultant, Carole is happy in her career and with her friends, but has been less “lucky” in love. But whilst she admits she’d like to meet someone special, she’s certainly not sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring!

“I have ballroom dancing lessons, I sing in a choir (and would like to sing professionally), am learning to play piano, I go to the gym, see my mother in Portugal regularly, go out with my girlfriends…” she also travels extensively and is interested in so many things, we spent a wonderful day together.

I’m glad to say that Carole was happy with the images we made together and I am so proud to have helped her to tick another item off her list. And I look forward to seeing her again as she works her way through her ‘life board’!

Portrait Photographer Northampton

Portrait Photography London

Friends in the City

Posted by: Admin | April 25, 2013

50 Facing 50

50 interviews and portraits of 50 inspiring people. Some have struggled with the concept of turning 50. Most have taken life by the horns and given it a good shake! Be inspired…

“…I love the book!  I have ordered 2 but will get more – great birthday presents for my friends on their 50th!” Caroline

So – what did YOU see when you looked in the mirror this morning? Could your perception be affected by your gender? Many of you will have seen Dove’s new campaign “You are more beautiful than you think you are”. It is moving, thought-provoking and well worth another watch:

Now see the one that’s been made with men in the chair. Some are saying this is anti-man, or that it makes fun of the Dove campaign. I say: lighten up – it’s called satire. And it made me laugh. I hope it gets your Saturday off to a good start!

Posted by: Admin | April 13, 2013

Words of Wisdom – George Carlin

Comedian, George Carlin, recently published the following “Words of Wisdom”
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways ,but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete…

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Remember, to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER:

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

If you don’t share this with anyone….Who cares?

George Carlin

Posted by: Admin | April 6, 2013

Being 50

Today I am proud to announce that the book of 50 portraits and interviews with 50 project50 readers is available to buy. Eighteen months in the making, it has been a personal and professional journey that I will never forget. Click on the link below to see a preview. If you want to be inspired, or know someone who is dreading turning 50, it’s a good buy 😉 I’d love to know what you think.

Celebrating Life’s …
By Jo Blackwell

Posted by: Admin | March 30, 2013

The Saturday Interview 38 – Jill

Portrait Photography Northamptonshire

An American Abroad

Visiting her sister in London, American, Jill, booked me for a photo shoot and came to stay overnight (customer service, you see!) I “met” Jill online when she started to follow project50 and began to comment regularly on my posts. I loved the fact that, having been inspired to start my blog by The Wartime Housewife, Jill was in turn inspired to document her “year of Jubilee” as she approached her 50th birthday with a blog of her own.

A mother of five, Jill’s Christian faith is a mainstay in a life that has been both rich in experience and fraught with difficulty. Shortly after her husband won his fight against cancer, they lost their teenage son, James. Such unendurable heartache triggered a reassessment of their priorities and a complete life change.

Jill's tattoo

“We bought an RV and took the younger children on the road for nine months,” Jill tells me. In her blog, she describes their odyssey thus: “it was a time of physical journeys, even while we were taking an internal journey from grieving and loss toward hope.”

Jill celebrated James’ life recently with a tattoo – “Heaven’s Gift” was the name James gave to an online video game prize he received four days before his accident, and the phrase aptly describes the way Jill feels about the short time she had him with her.

How does she feel about turning 50? “I know I want this Year of Jubilee to be a turning point for me—a place to pause while I look over my past and look toward my future. I want this year to be something I can look back to and remind myself, this is when I chose to follow Christ more fully, allowing Him to bring healing to broken places inside me and helping me walk into a more abundant life.I want this to be the time when I begin to dance my way through life.”

At the time of our meeting, the family were working with “at risk” Navajo youngsters, though funding for that project was shortly to come to an end. Jill meets uncertainty with a calmness born of experience. Every change is seen as a challenge, whether she is training to become a National Ski Patroller in Ohio, flying to Germany for three months to help out a friend, scrap booking with her daughter or taking on the authorities as an advocate for her young students. I guess that when the very worst has happened and you have survived, there is little left to fear.

I look forward to watching you dance through your fifties, Jill, and I hope we meet again before too long.

You can read about Jill’s explanation of the concept of “Jubilee” on her blog here

Jill’s blogpost about our meeting

and more images can be seen on my Celebrate Life! blog here

UK Portrait Photographer

Posted by: Admin | March 23, 2013

In Praise of Sloth

I’m writing this from the comfort of my bed. Propped up on all sides by feather-filled pillows, snuggled beneath the duvet, the rain and the wind performing a symphony outside the window, I am cocooned in my own little world.

I guess I should feel guilty. After all, it’s 10am and the whole world, it seems, is at work, or in school or otherwise usefully employed, and here I am, still in bed. Well, I don’t. Not a bit. Fact is, I rose at 4am because my manic brain woke me up. I went downstairs, switched on my laptop and started work. Once Husband of my Heart had left for work, I retreated to my bed – and carried on working. But at least I’m semi-horizontal: that counts as “resting”, right?

Truth is, I get a heck of a lot done on my occasional “duvet days”. There’s something about deciding that you’re going to let the daily chores go hang, switching on your voicemail and retreating that gives one a sense of perfect calm. It re-sets me: quietens my racing thoughts and allows my mind to wander freely. And we all know how creative a wandering mind can be, don’t we?

So no, I don’t feel guilty, or in the least bit sinful. And if you feel in the slightest bit shocked by my confession, then I recommend you try it, at least once. Take a packet of biscuits with you (that’s all that’s missing for this to be a perfect morning!)  It doesn’t matter what you do. Read, watch TV, catch up with friends on Facebook, sleep – even work. I guarantee that a bit of sloth-ing will do you good!

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—

No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Leisure by WH Davies

Posted by: Admin | March 16, 2013

“I am exactly where I need to be…”

Thanks to project50 reader, Jill, for sharing this beautiful video and song. There is beauty in maturity, right? And just look at the light – I so want that studio!

Exactly by Amy Steinberg

i am exactly where i need to be
i need to be exactly where i am
i am a blessing manifest
i can undress the moment
naked time unwinds beneath my mind
and from within i find the kind of beauty
only i can find
i am exactly where i need to be
i need to be exactly where i am
i am surrendering so willingly
to be the perfect me inside this now
and truly how else could it be
destiny she blesses me
when i try to fight or run
i only wind up back at square one
when i think i know what’s best for me
fate she takes me back
to exactly where i need to be
i am exactly where i need to be
i need to be exactly where i am
i am divinely timed and shining brightly
yes i believe that there’s a purpose just for me
yes i believe that we are light
and we shine infinitely
i am exactly where i need to be
i need to be exactly where i am
i am not aimlessly existing see
i am in perfect harmony with universal energy
and i am truly free when i accept my own divinity
look at me look at me closely
what exactly do you see
if you are paying attention you will now begin ascension of the mind
why, because if you look at me just right you will see a kiss
for it took a kiss to make this breath exist
the intersection of my mother’s and father’s lips
to touch twist and perfect what came next to produce me
look at me and you will see the breeze
the breeze it took to shake the leaves to make
my mother’s hair move, my father dare touch it and say
please may i have a kiss
yes the breeze made me exist
and if you want to get even deeper into this
when you look at me you will see a cloud
the cloud it took to form the storm to shake the leaves to
inspire the liplock – yes a raindrop will pop up out these words
you heard me right
if you look at me close enough you will see a dark stormy night
and what is night without it’s polar opposite of sunlight
so if you watch the way my hands sway
you’ll see the light of day
and everyday is a testament to the sediment of the earth’s core
it’s ever spinning enormous force so if you look at me just right
you will see a spark of the source
but the most fascinating thing about this, and it’s true
is that if you look at me close enough, you see you
it’s only what you perceive how you believe the space between
you and me
that creates reality
so when i sing you can feel it
when i cry you can heal it
when i speak words you can be the words i speak by singing with me
peace love free
peace love free
peace love free
and when i am alone and full of fear
i just remember the rising sun always appears
everyday miracles that i see
well they take me back to exactly where i need to be

Posted by: Admin | March 9, 2013

The Saturday Interview 37 – Emelie

Emelie greets me at her lovingly restored village home with the kettle on and sunshine streaming through the floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto the garden. I’m not surprised to hear that she runs her own interiors business and is a skilled curtain maker for her house is so beautifully appointed, yet comfortable and welcoming.

Family and Portrait Photographer Northamptonshire

What attracted her to the project? I ask her.

“The feeling that I want to show that I’m in a good place in my fifties,” is her response. “I have more energy.”

Emelie has worked hard on her fitness and, following a bout of serious illness in her forties, feels that she is fitter and stronger than she has ever been. We meet the week before her eldest daughter is due to get married and Emelie is working hard to get the garden straight in time for the marquee reception that will take place at home.

“I love my garden,” she confesses, almost sheepishly as she is aware that becoming a gardener after 50 is one of those cliches we all try to avoid, and we laugh. I know instantly that this is where she should be pictured. We all have places or pastimes that make us glow, and as Emelie potters about the garden and in the greenhouse we make some beautiful pictures that illustrate the project50 premise that the fifties are a time for growth and personal fulfilment.

Family and Portrait Photographer Northamptonshire

Family and Portrait Photographer Northamptonshire

I leave with a more than images though, as Emelie stocks me up with tomato plants and a feeling that we will stay in touch.

More images of Emelie in her garden can be seen on my Celebrate Life! Photography Blog (click on the link and it will open in a separate page)

I’d like to know what it is about me that always wants to know everything about everything and can’t do a job half-arsed. I mean, seriously? I couldn’t just learn to take photographs for this blog, oh no – I had to become a professional photographer (not complaining about that, by the way, since my now not-quite-so-new career is a big part of my happiness) Likewise, I couldn’t just chuck my 50 Facing 50 project images into a book, I had to produce something beautiful. And how was I going to do that? By learning about book design and typography and semiotics and paper types… it goes on and on!

Portrait Photographer Northamptonshire

It’s tricky, getting the balance right between images and text, weighing up the desire for the best quality with cost, choosing which interviews to feature, which images to showcase. Colour or black and white? Full bleed on the page or bordered? Builder’s tea or Chamomile… oh that’s another story – sorry!

I don’t want to let anyone down. Everyone looks beautiful, stunning – but the chosen images of two gorgeous ladies show the backs of their heads: how will they feel about that? Not everyone’s interview has been featured, not everyone can be included. Only so many words can fit on the page – will everyone be happy with the edits? Will anybody want to buy it? Will ANYONE read it?

Anyway, I have, finally, got to the stage where the book has been set out and is almost…ALMOST ready to go to press for the first proof. I say almost because I can’t quite seem to finish it. Knowing when to let go is a trick I haven’t quite mastered. It would be possible, of course, to go on tweaking to infinity and beyond. But the time has come to wrap up the project and move on. So, I WILL write that introduction, take a deep breath and let it go to print.

One thing I’ve learned over the past few years is that waiting (or striving) for something to be perfect is not the best way to get things done. I’ve realised that sometimes you have to be happy with good enough or you’ll always be what my dear old dad used to call a “talker” not a “do-er”. And I can’t be doing with that! Wish me luck!

Wedding and Portrait Photographer Northampton Uk

A project that has, quite literally, taken over!

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