From Then ’til now

by charistalbotphotography

I said earlier I would elaborate slightly on my ‘photographic journey’ even though saying such a thing makes me cringe a little. So here goes nothing…

I first picked up a camera in university as I gave up painting as my main focus simply because my traditionalist art school wanted me to be less exact and meticulous and more painterly. Unfortunately this control freak can’t do that. “Perfection or death” is something I’ve been known to mutter when a painting has gone astray or not to my liking. Regardless I still paint for fun and because I love creating beauty through whatever art form I can. Luckily now I also have huge back up of stock photos from my own shoots. My training in painting though has taught me some very important lessons about portraiture, lighting, composition and colour and these fundamentals are something I have tried to put into my teaching as often as I can.

Please enjoy a painting of mine from those heady days


Where was I? Oh yes university. So I was taught how to use a film camera (this is almost pre digital darling), a darkroom and how to research artists and left to it. Perhaps not the best thing when faced with such a wide ranged subject as photography but luckily my tutor’s own photography work was very inspiring and he also taught history of photography modules which really ignited in me a burning passion for my subject. But I left uni with a one mega-pixel camera, a film camera and not much inspiration. I then went on to work in finance for a couple of years until I left to do my PGCE. During my PGCE I started teaching photography and suddenly there it was again. I leapt around my classroom bubbling over with enthusiasm for my subject and encouraged my pupils to find that same love also. But I wasn’t taking any photographs other than examples in class.

I was though, working as a model and experimenting with photoshop because my perfectionist nature couldn’t cope with getting photos back where say, my contact lens shadow hadn’t been edited out. Perhaps that was slightly sly but no matter. I kept pegging away at learning to retouch and execute composites and eventually got quite good. It wasn’t until I left teaching and start managing a camera shop that I decided to stop doubting my artistic ability. Thus I turned over a new leaf and thought “I know I’ve got more creative talent in my little finger than many of these braying, pretentious folks who call me ‘gal’ and marvel at a girl knowing anything about such a technical subject as photography! I’ll show them”. Which admittedly has been the reason for my successes in many of the things I excel at- I always maintain that determination and drive are as important as creative aptitude.

So I bought my Pentax K-R in January 2011 and had my first shoot with a model in April 2011 which you can see here

Sooo, rocking the photoshop effects but perhaps not the technical side of things. I strode onwards and asked advice, studied, practised by taking pictures on the cat, gathered my various equipment and tried to improve by doing location and studio shoots.

A pic from my first studio shoot


Even when I worked full time I put my spare hours into Photography, getting up at ungodly hours on weekends and spending my evening organising shoots and learning everything I could or studying art and keeping up with my drawing. I was very kindly loaned some studio lights by a friend which enabled me to shoot at home.  I took a holiday from photography post break up for a month or so but painted constantly before going back to my work with a refreshed vigour. It has been said my camera can’t hug me and maybe I ought to get a boyfriend but frankly in my experience I have never received support for my artistic endeavours just an unceremonious pat on the head for enjoying my little ‘hobby’ and when will I get a real job? Luckily for me my parents and my friends are my constant champions and give great constructive criticism and encourage equally.

No matter because as you can see now I’m really ‘getting there’ Here are a few of my latest pictures from location and studio.

Model: Elizabeth Tate

MUA: Viki Lloyd


Model: Holly Allison

MUA: Ak Fx Make Up

Both pictures taken at my house in Gateshead. I think the decision to move here was the correct one. A fresh new start and direction is what I needed and I feel the images I am producing are showing how much I’ve improved. The standard of creatives in the North East is very high and the atmosphere is so encouraging and friendly. I have already met some truly wonderful people and I’m excited for what the future holds.



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