Our Polaroid book will be more pictures than words while my Unravelling book will be more words than pictures, but either way, I have a lot of Polaroids to shoot and scan this year. It’s not a great hardship, as I take my camera with me wherever I go, but here’s a secret: sometimes this compulsion to take photographs, to capture what I see as I walk around the world, drives me insane; I know it drives my friends and family insane when I ask them, for the millionth time to stop the car/wait for me while I take a photo. Again. And again. And again. I feel anxious if i’ve seen an image and want to catch it, like a crazed lepidopterist chasing rare butterflies. This is why, given the choice, I prefer to visit a new place on my own*.
I thought a city like Marrakesh, with all its detail and colour and bohemian splendour, would make my head explode but, interestingly, I took it all in my stride, knowing it’s impossible to miss a shot when everything you see is a shot. I had a mental checklist of the Polaroids I wanted to get – spices, doorways, faded walls and the ubiquitous tea sets – and I scored all of them and so much more.
Shooting for the books is no different from shooting for myself – i’m not letting myself be too precious about it, as I know that’s the fastest way to manifest a creative block. But I know I’m shooting with half an eye on the final usage, so I’m looking forward to playing with my iPhone in August and just snapping for the pleasure of it.
The August break has no rules, so you can shoot whatever, whenever and however you like, but I thought I’d share my best photography tip in case you wanted to use the month for some creative muscle flexing. My best tip is this: As you look through the viewfinder, or compose in the LCD screen, look for colours, shapes and diagonals. Actually, if you only look for one compositional element, look for the diagonals as they will immediately give your shot a sense of movement and interest.
Okay, here’s a bonus tip: don’t worry about composition too much in August! Be free with your camera and use it to dive deeper into the moment you’re in. If you want to give your month some discipline, how about shooting your daily shot around the same time each day? See what a month of mornings looks like…
* I also prefer to shop on my own and go to the cinema on my own. Both heavenly.
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I’ve had a few emails from people asking when the Blogging Beautifully workshop will be ready – to be honest I am shamefully behind in so many of my projects, and a few have had to be delayed while I focus on the books… and the BB workshop is one of them. But it will be here by the autumn, i swear! I was thinking I might combine it with my plans for the Writing Beautifully workshop, as both are blog-focused. As soon as I make some progress, I’ll let you know. Pinky swear.
So I came back from Marrakesh with “tummy troubles” (understatement of the century) that lasted over two weeks. NOT fun. After a really fantastic few days rummaging through the souks, we endured the plane-ride-from-hell to get us back to England. The plan had been to look for – and hopefully secure – a new flat in London before returning to Bath, but I felt so bad I decided to come home early.
However, what started as disappointment soon turned into understanding – when looking for a new home in Bath back in 2008 I was looking for confirmation that I was making the right move; the signs came, I found a home easily and the move happened. This time I was hoping for the same – I was so sure of the rightness of this move. And of course the signs came, and they said, in no uncertain terms: this isn’t the right time.
The first clue was the Moroccan detox. Then a few days after returning home I received two phone calls that confirmed I’d made the right decision: the first was from the only estate agent I’d been able to visit. He told me that the renting market is in a bad way right now and that I’d need at least a month and a half to find somewhere decent, maybe more. Oh, and rents had gone up 20% from last year.
The second call was from my current landlord offering to re-carpet my entire flat, something I’d been asking him to do since the day I moved in; 18 months later I got my wish. So it looks like I will be getting a new space after all, just not in the city I’d imagined….not yet, anyway. The move is on hold until all my book deadlines have been met in the new year (I’ve promised myself a few weekends in London to tide me over till then.)
It’s all good.
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Calling all August breakers! I’ve added a fancy blog roll gadget that allows you to upload photos with your blog links, so if you haven’t already please head over and add your pic! We still have the master list of blogs, but the addition of the photos is making our summer blogcamp feel like a true community :)
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And apologies if you subscribe to my blog and got the half-cooked post earlier – I suffer from a condition: it’s spelled p-r-e-m-e-n-s-t-r-o-s-i-t-y.