I recently had a much overdue visit to Bristol, a city which is stealing my heart more each time I venture there. Although it only lasted two days, I made sure that they were full to the brim. I am already making plans to return again.
One of the absolute highlights was getting to hang out with my old friend Maisie . We caught up in a cafe and then wandered about as we always do, taking a meandering route through central Bristol.
This was my last week living in Bath. For two and a bit years I have created a life, which centred on studies at the university. All at once, I would be saying goodbye to one of my best friends Madi (who is on a long winding journey back home to the States), graduating and moving out of the place I had made into a home.
Although there was a thousand things to do, I would be damned if I didn’t get to spend time with friends in the city. What started out as one simple plan, grew into day after day of great memories, including a pool party in our back yard.
In brief moments of quiet there was an intangible melancholy of things coming to an end. On the final eve, I was captivated by the most breathtaking sunset. I paused my desperate packing for a while and was drawn outside for a final walk.
I just returned from spending a week in the French city of Nantes. I visited once before, right when I first started writing on this blog. When I was there three years ago, I vowed to return and spend more time.
During the course of this last week we became increasingly familiar with the streets of Nantes, and were more and more relaxed as a result. Figuring out how to use the trams played a great part in this.
The architecture of Nantes is fascinating, at once ancient and bright. With its pale stone walls, sunlight bounces off the buildings and lights up the streets below.
There is something amazing about the city, beyond it’s immediately tangible beauty. We saw, tasted and heard a different way of living. It is a place where whole families will happily sit in open restaurants on the street, at ten o’clock at night. Nothing is overtly alien, and yet a thousand small quirks add up to a unique place which needs to be experienced first hand.
Certainly, it is one of the most textured and culturally rich places I have been.
I know a place where you can feel completely away from the world. In the middle of the woods, and far off the beaten track is a thicket of lush Rhododendron leaves.
Completely surrounded by vegetation, no-one knew I was there. The trees above were swaying gently in the breeze, but that was the only sound. The fresh scent of damp wood and earth permeated through the place. I had wanted for a long time to explore here; to carefully step right into the centre.
As our respective terms at university reach completion, a close group of friends and I celebrated by having a picnic in the fields.
All of us lived together in our first year in hall’s, and this place in a field was our secret gathering spot then, so it seemed fitting to come here once more. We were blessed with such a sunny, clear afternoon. Laughing with Nat, Phyl, Axl and Madi (who you may remember from a previous blog post) was such a pleasure. We had a blast telling stories, filling in the gaps since we were last together.
We brought Axl’s head dressed Penguin along too, which is… a long story. You should really ask Axl about that!
I had the incredible opportunity to shoot pictures at Bath Spa University’s Fashion Design Course graduate show. It was held at the Assembly Rooms in Bath.
I’ve never done anything of this kind before, and though I prepared beforehand, I knew this would be a unique and challenging experience. As someone with a ‘low key’ sartorial passion, I found out about this and immediately knew I wanted to go.
I love shooting portraits with people, but taking pictures here would be on a whole different level. It was one of the most intense and exhilarating things I’ve done yet; a total cacophony of sounds and lights. Once the fashion show started, everything moved seamlessly and relentlessly forward and I loved every moment of it.
I wish to extend particular thanks to Louise Pickles (head of BSU Fashion Design course) who graciously allowed me to be there, as well as to Simon Armstrong (the commissioned fashion photographer) who let me work right alongside him. The show was a spectacle to behold.
London is many things, light and dark. Perhaps nowhere else in England embodies the intersection between chaotic creation and destruction like this monolithic metropolis, that 8.6 million people call home.
There is something foreboding about London; to feel a little intimidated by ‘The Big Smoke’ is a sign of wisdom. The idea of London as the epicentre of historic dominion and oppression remains. You can very much feel the ghost of the terror and darkness that once inhabited the streets; lasting darkness of the kind immortalised in the poetry of William Blake. And everywhere little reminders lay, like the hopeless inequality which hangs heavy and leaden over this place. I have resisted London, although I cannot deny the cultural weight which is here.
In a city of such enormous contrast and energy, it felt right to take photos in black and white. My close friend William and I packed our bags, and set off into the mass.