portraits

Helen and Rob - 100 Strangers project

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So  the 100 strangers project started in 2014 it was about time I met and photographed someone new in 2015. It turned out to be two strangers in Helen and Rob. We met when I quickly nipped out to take Tilly for a short walk, which never happens if I pick up the camera on the way out of the door! It was a dark and misty day on Sunday and the last day before returning to some work after the festive period. There is something about the mist that makes everything ethereal and mysterious that always works great for landscapes shots and I wasn't expecting to come back with anything more than landscapes.

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On the way down the lane that leads to the local woods and open fields I noticed a old country LandRover pull up beside the church but I didn't really pay it much attention. I walk along the field boundaries and onto the woods where on the other side I had stopped to try and get some shots of Tilly. As usual trying to photograph a Springer has its own unique problems (she is not a patient Model) and trying to get her to stop running around for more than a second proved difficult.

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I had just walked into the open field when Helen and Rob appeared from the woods behind me. So at this point it will become obvious that Rob is not Rob the boyfriend husband etc but Rob the dog.  

Helen had warned me that he was friendly but was a rescue dog who had a tendency to be a bit nervous. She told me that she was not confident enough to let him off his long training lead just yet as he could be a little temperamental with other dogs. He had been rescued from a shelter recently and Helen was working hard to settle him into his new home and do some training with him. It was then it occurred to me that this was an opportunity to get some portraits of them both and I have to say Helen wrapped up against the cold arriving in a classic green LandRover looked like the your archetypal English farmers daughter with sheep dog in tow. She was happy to have her portrait done with Rob and I hope she gets in touch so I can send her the images (once again I had forgot business cards). In terms of things learnt our conversation was brief and I suppose it may often be the case with such a project. I know she lives nearby but that's about it. In hindsight it would have been good to have had a phone or notebook to take some details from her to flesh out the story but hey lesson learnt for next time. It was lovely to meet them both and I suppose that's the one great thing about having a dog is that it's so easy to strike up a conversation with other dog owners. You know you already share one interest and it's surprising when you are talking to people how much you often have in common. So Helen if you are reading this, get in touch and I will send you the high res files. These images have been edited for the blog the way I like them. If you go on the people's page of the web site you will see the more classic digital look which you may prefer. So there it is stranger No 2 of the project and 1 of 2015.

"There are no strangers only friends you haven't met yet" 

Rob the sheep dog

Rob the sheep dog

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The Extraordinary ordinary moments

That’s what life is - this collection of extraordinarily ordinary moments. We just need to pay attention to them all. Wake up and pay attention to how beautiful it all is.
— Alexander Payne

The chance to pay a flying visit to stay with Jack and Rhianna meant that we could spend some time with them and with their son Harry. We would never leave home for the weekend without a camera however the intention was not to do any photography as such but just enjoy the weekend.  With all the adults still a little fragile from the night before (especially me) Sunday morning was warm and sunny. Jack and Rhi had spent weeks working on the back garden so it seemed as good a place as anywhere to recover.  As the morning unfolded I grabbed the camera out of the bag to capture some candid moments of Harry and his play mates, he was the only child but not the biggest kid! It was only when I got home and reviewed the images on my computer I realised that what I had captured was those extraordinary ordinary moments. Carmen is currently reading Ruby Wax new book on "Mindfulness". Although no expert my interpretation of this is being in the moment, of appreciating the here and now. So often we only get the camera out for a birthday or on holiday but its these times that will always remain in the memory.  Its the ordinary moments we forget the time we take for granted with family or friends is what we need to appreciate and document.. "So wake up, pay attention or you might miss it how beautiful it all is."