New Column: The Norwich Resident

For the last couple of months I've been writing a column in the local glossy style bible The Norwich Resident.  The Column is called My Norwich which is perfect for me as it means I can chat about anything and everything really. There's still a week left to read the May issue which is available FREE online. If you're in Norwich you can grab a copy from lots of places including U and Your Skin, Jane Richards and Hairsmiths

The May issue is The Art issue and so I'm chatting about some of the amazing art we have in Norwich plus events coming up including British Art Show 8 and the Norwich University of the Arts  (NUA) Degree Shows.  I'm VERY excited about both of these, perhaps more so the degree shows just because I'll get to see the final work of some of the people who have been really helpful and nice to me during uni and also because next year it will be my turn to be part of the degree show.  O.M.G 

The cover is shot by recent NUA grad Anna, an incredibly creative visual artist who creates scenes in Photoshop like a painter creates them on a canvas. Her work is fine art and so for The Art issue of the magazine she's sharing pieces she's been producing during her final year. Anna will be showing her work at the NUA degree show and I can wait to see them up close. 

The NUA photography grads are also showing at Free Range in London. All this inspiration plus Graduate Fashion Week coming up too means my diary is chocca with stuff to do. So no lazy summer for me. I'm rubbish at being bored anyway...
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Cameras and Inspo

I've been asked a few questions following last week's blog post about going to uni to study photography. Mainly about what cameras I work with and some recommendation for things to read.

So I'll start with what I shoot with. These aren't reviews or recommendations, these is simply a list of what I work with.

I shoot with digital and film. I learned on film, well actually I grew up using film because digital wasn't invented then! From what I see from my fellow students there is a huge interest in learning film now. I'm glad to see it's experiencing a new wave of users and if you're on Instagram or Twitter a quick search of #filmsnotdead  #shootfilmstaybroke  #shootfilmstaypoor will bring up thousands of images from film shooters.

I no longer worry that I don't have this camera or that camera. Digital changes so fast now and new cameras are brought out all the time. So I'm pretty relaxed and experimental about what I shoot with.  That said, my main camera is a digital SLR - I use a Nikon D610. My main lens is a Nikon 70-120 which I absolutely love and it serves me well on fashion and gig shoots. My camera before that was a Nikon D3100 which I still have, it's a handy back up and depending on the shoot, it can be handy to work with two cameras. 


Reading - I read/look at all sorts. Books, blogs, websites, digital magazines and I've been working with magazine.co.uk on their Hub area - which means I've have a Magazine subscription to Black and White Photohgraphy mag. This is always an interesting source to look through as you can not only see what other people are shooting but often there will be artist features which are great not just for the inspiration but to make you think about your own work too. 

I'm quite lucky that over the years I've bought loads of photography and art books in charity shops too. I try and browse the book shelves of my local chaz boutiques when ever I can and I look beyond the 'hobby' section and have a mooch through the art section too.

SHOWstudio, Hunger, Dazed and Confused Jute  and Feature Shoot (just to name a few) are always full of interviews, galleries and artists to discover.

In terms of film, I will literally shoot with any rolls of film I can get my hands on including expired stuff on Ebay and film from Poundland. Often my film work looks at the fragility of the film itself, I'm interested in the results achieved from damaging the film and camera wise I will shoot with anything and I mean anything. I've a lot of cameras from charity shops and I love the plastic 80s point and shoot cameras and disposable cameras too. 

35mm film 

 Going to uni has really helped push me away from the feeling that you have to have the best of the best equipment. You don't. It's what you make, not what you make it with. I'm still using a Nikon camera I bought in 2004 and I bought a couple more Nikons on Ebay. So I shoot with quite few different ones. 

I'm playing with Polaroids, I have a couple of cameras I've picked up from Ebay but I wouldn't say I've created anything that's amazed be so far, it's not easy to do the practice make perfect thing work when the film is so expensive... if anyone has tips on shooting with old Polaroid cameras feel free to send them my way. 

I suppose no post would be complete without mentioning phones and tablets, and yep I use those too, not just for social media updates of what's for dinner or in my glass but for my actual photography work too. 

This was on my old phone and I loved the rough, textural quality the camera on the phone gave me. I'm not really about curating the world in perfectly polished way. I've learned that I don't really roll like that.

I shot behind the scenes at The Dipple and Conway Hair Show at Norwich Fashion Week 2016 with my iPad. 

One of my submissions pieces during year two at uni was something I'd taken on my phone and edited on my ipad and I never ever would have thought I'd be doing that when I started uni but we're encouraged to experiment and these are tools I want to use as a creative. I'll never be 100% digital or 100% film - each has qualities I want to harness so I don't feel I need to choose a 'side' to be on really.
A video posted by Kerry Curl (@kerrycurl) on

I haven't done a give away for ages, I think I'll get some disposable cameras as prizes and we'll have a couple of winners maybe.... Watch this space! 

I have separate social media accounts for my photography work. You can find me on twitter - @KerryCurl_and instagram - kerrycurl if you fancy saying hello. 

A video posted by Kerry Curl (@kerrycurl) on
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Being a 30 something at uni

This is in no way going to be a 'how to guide' - people's circumstances and situations can vary and there is no one size fits all guide to survival.

I'm now at the end of my second year at university and so begins the gap before I start the final year of my degree. The final year. I won't lie, I'm scared and sad that it's coming to an end and amazed that (touch wood) it looks like I'm going to make it. 

It's been a very tough few years, tough but in a life changing sort of amazing way.  So here's my thoughts about going to uni from my own perspective as a 30 something on an arts course. 

If you're not sure about applying get in touch with a uni for a chat

I have to credit my husband for making me believe that going to university was something I could even consider doing. His belief in my work helped me take those first baby steps in to even thinking this was something I could do. We attended an open day to have a look round. Most potential  students had parents with them and I'd taken my husband! But it was good to have that support. 

University's will have open days where you can have a tour around the facilities, talk to students and listen to talks by tutors. It's an excellent way to get a taste of what university could offer you. 

I will probably remember this day for the rest of my life because as I sat in the lecture hall listening to a talk I got that achingly heavy feeling behind my eyes and I had to try not cry. I just felt so overwhelmed at the thought that I might be able to do it but also the realisation that I might not. It was such a beautiful day in Norwich and afterwards we sat on some steps eating huge slices of pizza whilst pondering what I'd just experienced. 

I contacted the university and arranged an informal chat with them. This was before I'd even begun the application process. This gave me an opportunity to see if it was even worth me applying.

Don't be put off if you don't have A levels 

I haven't. I have three City and Guilds qualifications in Photography which I've achieved through adult education courses but that's a bonus not an essential. My interview was about the potential my portfolio showed.

Applying is no-ones business but yours...

If you go public with the fact you are applying it's up to you. In the social media driven world of 'share your dinner, share your soul and whilst your at it share today's choice of knickers' it can feel like you have to share your every waking moment, every life choice, every success and every fail. 

New flash you don't.

If you're scared to apply in case you don't make it (this time) and you're worried about telling people you're going to have another run at it then just don't go public with it until you feel you have something you want to to announce.

By the time I started uni I'd still only told about 6 people. 

Prepare for envy

Envy towards what you're doing won't always be to sent your way to make you feel bad. The education system as it stands at the moment means that if you already have a degree (which you probably decided to do at 18, because at that age you know EXACTLY where the rest of your life is going, right?) cost implications means people often can't do another degree. 

I've had people say to me they are so envious because they'd love to go to uni and do a different degree from the one they did (or barely did) when they had the opportunity. This makes me sad. 
It also make me want to make the most of every minute. At 18 I probably wouldn't have done so. That's NOT saying that it's only mature students who realise there's potentially only one bite of this cherry. I'm just saying that older students might sometimes have a higher 'tick, tick, tick' perspective on life. 

I'm almost twice the age of the younger students who are in uni straight from A levels. That alone is a very scary reminder in how fast time goes. 

Not everyone may be supportive

Envy is sometimes just envy. It's highly likely that you haven't gone to uni to piss someone else off. The fact that they appear pissed off, threatened or dismissive says more about them than you. Had they have taken another approach, it's likely you'd share learnings and experiences with them. But if they act like an arse, then my advice is to move on and move past it.

Yes the debt is a bit scary but...

I try and think of it more as a tax which I will slowly repay through my earnings. In an ideal world education would be free like it was for the many who have passed through the education system before us. But it isn't and realistically now we're on this tuition fee machine I can't see fees ever being abolished. I do think the system needs to change, I don't know what the answer is. I will begin paying my £30K plus debt back once I begin earning over £21K (under the current rules...)  

The best person to explain this is Money Saving Expert Guru Martin Lewis. If you click this link he'll explain it all in full. 

It's Hard

It's REALLY hard. It's also bloody stressful. Some people think an arts degree is wishy washy, not as important as maths, law, medicine etc. An easy choice and a way to bum a few years away. 

I no longer even bother to argue with these people. If that's what they think then so be it. ANY degree is consuming. If you want to get great things out of it you have to put a lot of yourself in to it. As part of my degree I have to record my work, the research, the theory, the successes, the failures, my hopes and my fears. Making images has been just one part of my degree so far. My work in all it's formats helps me build up a bigger picture and a better understanding of what kind of artist I am and what kind of artist I hope to become. 

You question everything, you question yourself which also means you doubt yourself and worry if you're good enough and even capable. I've realised this is normal. Whatever your age. 

 I once sobbed in the bath until the water went cold, I was full of doubts and frustrations about an essay I was finding it hard to write and I've had nights where I can't switch my brain off to go to sleep because I'm so excited about the results of a shoot, or a piece or research that's sparked an idea. I guess you have to experience the lows to allow yourself the wonderful feeling of the highs. 

So, uni life isn't about sitting around in PJ's drinking cheap cider. Who knew? 


Oh my god. It's REALLY amazing. In many ways I'm so glad I didn't do it sooner, now feels the right time. And yes learning as much as I can is bloody hard going at times but mainly it's exciting, challenging and excellent. It's joyous and I feel very very lucky. 

 As I type this post I am 39. I am pushing myself to be the best me I can be. I'm not going to university because there's any pressure to do it because it's the next step in education or because of family pressures and expectations. I'm doing for me. 

This all for me and deciding to do this is one of the best decisions I have ever made. (Remind me I said this when I'm crying about the stress of writing my dissertation!)  

Edited to highlight an interesting comment left by Pixieanna on this post. Obviously I'm chatting about an arts degree but Pixieanna is studying nursing and says

"I am the same age as you are and I'm on course to finish my 1st year at uni (nursing, if you're interested). I agree with this post but I would like to add that it is always worth asking about finances. I did a degree (Creative Arts) at 18 and I wondered about getting finance but I had no problem getting a student loan. Even though I declared it they didn't seem bothered. The NHS pay my fees and provide a miniscule bursary but I get a loan to top it up"

In case it helps, student finance info can be found here (UK) https://www.gov.uk/student-finance/who-qualifies

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Hello, it's me...........

This does feel like a 'hello from the other side....' 

So I had a slight Withnail and I episode and I appear to have gone on holiday by mistake...

In five years of blogging I've had busy periods where I've had mini breaks but this one turned in to an epic one... I think maybe I needed it, not just because I needed to focus my energies on other things I'm working on but because I was definitely falling out of love with blogging and the whole commercialness of it. So although my step back was accidental in many ways perhaps there was something in my brain that was telling me to go off on other adventures and leave the blog behind at least for a little while. 

So what have I been up to? Well it's been a frenzied few months of trying to be the best mature student I can be - and that means I'm having to really push myself and let the course basically  consume me. Which I'm loving. 

I may be interested in vintage style but that stems from my interest in fashion and personal style. I'm not a 'vintage' photographer. I've been working a lot with fashion and music photography and I'm working on a personal style project which will span beyond 'vintage' in what I consider to be a stereotypical way. 

People's interest in wearing vintage has massively evolved and I find myself wearing it but not fitting in to a box of being vintage - so do I even need to change the name of my persona I ask myself?

I don't use Missy Vintage for my photography work - I use my real name. Missy Vintage is something I do and I feel perhaps I'm growing more in to myself now (it's only taken me 39 years) and so I want my own name put to my photography work, not one of a persona. But then on the other hand maybe that degree of separation is a handy thing to have. Questions, questions, questions...

Some of the images from recent work, I'll write up full blog posts on the shoots ASAP 

I'm tending to use my Missy Vintage instagram account as a more personal one really and I mainly share my photography and photographic musings over on my Kerry Curl account if you want to see my work pop up in your instagram feed give me a follow. 

Norwich Fashion Week has just passed, which probably needs to be a separate post all on it's own so for now I will say what an AMAZING week. I'm so happy I get to work with such a pool of talented people and we recently announced that NFW has become a Community Interest Company . As a board we bring experience from a broad range of areas including (but not just) heritage, education, creative arts and retail and this year was the biggest NFW ever with two of the shows including the vintage one move to a new venue so all the official NFW shows were under one roof in OPEN, which was an incredible building to set up office in for the week. 

 At the end of NFW 2016 I was exhausted but I think it might have been the best kind of exhausted I have ever felt in my entire life!

I'm already looking forward to NFW 2017 and this will also be the year I graduate from uni with my first degree and the year I will turn 40. Exciting times!

The NFW Board
Photo by Andi Sapey

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#2015BestNine on Instagram

So here we are, just about at the end of another year. Social media is fast filling up with posts of the best/popular/most liked/fave images of the year so I thought I'd take a look at mine and share the website I used to find them! 

So on Missy Vintage the most popular 9 unsurprisingly include hair, shoes, the new house and pictures about charity shop fashion finds. 

Over on my other account @kerrycurl, which is my photographer account and so isn't about my own hair, shoes or fashion it's a little different

If you'd like to find out your best nine instagram images of 2015 you can visit producthunt.com. Just enter your instagram name, it will do some crunching and then produce your grid of 9 images which you can share/save. There are probably other websites and this one is a little a slow but it worked and so I thought I'd share it with you. 

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The Weekend

So it's Tuesday and this is the post I was supposed to write up yesterday. Sometimes I feel consumed by the fact that since starting uni I have become a terrible blogger, not terrible perhaps but guilty of going AWOL. Then I have to remind myself that there are 'no rules' to blogging. Each blog (should be) a unique space - that's why I began blogging 5 years ago but like anything that becomes mass produced or main stream it transforms and blogging in my opinion has become less about sharing and embracing individuality and can sometimes feel somewhat cookie-cutter in the sense that if you don't blog x amount of times a week, or you don't wear xyz or go shopping and call it a haul then are you a 'real blogger'? 

The truth is of course I have changed so much in the last five years, uni has 100% enriched my love for art - the underlying reason for me to go to uni was to develop as an artist. If I'd been using a paint brush for years instead of a camera I may well have decided to pursue fine art with that medium. 

I've been working on lots of new work and spent the weekend (amongst other things) pondering how this fits in to the Missy Vintage side of things only to conclude that of course it does because it is me, this is my blog, my little space to use a diary to record not everything that happens in life but to curate this little part of the internet in my own way. 

So before this post becomes all deep and meaningful here's a little bit of what I got up to this weekend when not drinking wine and feeling curious about what the next 5 years with bring....

Saturday started out with plans to sort out Christmas Gifts, we got as far as Clutter City, a local craft fair which is packed with lots of creative wares followed by Jane Richards (an AMAZING interior design store in Norwich) purchased a few bits for the new house and also a a Nov & Dec Copy of The Norwich Resident magazine then we went to the pub! So not the most successful shopping adventure! ummmmmm..... 

One dinner later we were at a gig to watch No Holy Men. Only their second gig but so good! Keep an eye on their FB page. I photographed their debut gig and have realised that I still haven't posted about it sol here's a belated pic! 

No Holy Men - The debut gig
and here's us after Saturdays gig in the bar. Note how I am almost pouring beer over Alex. I'm just so cool.......... fortunately I know Alex and I also know that she would have been very understanding. The basic rule me is that if you are near me and I spill a drink on you, please be understanding, I have the clumsy gene......

photo courtesy of Alex via Ant (taking the picture) - I think....
And so Sunday got off to a slow start.........
Clashing it up just because you can. Who said leopard print & cowboys boots don't together? The boots are from Ebay and the coat is Biba at House of Fraser

We bought a Christmas tree. This is the first Christmas tree I've had in about 6 years. Christmas is an odd time of year for me and so getting a tree up is a big part of moving forward. I haven't had a real tree for absolutely years. I'm sure shops which sell them and have cameras in the car parks must have so much comedy footage as people load the tree in! 

Of course no tree for several years also meant not baubles so we had to stock up on those. The charity shops have lots at the moment and I'm on the lookout for a barbie who will then be strapped to the top. Much better than a star. 

Despite the fact we were all loaded up and my seat was as far forward as it could possible go, we made a spontaneous decision to hit the coast instead of going home so we hit the road and went to Sheringham for some fish and chips (of which there are no pictures of because we ate the evidence before even putting it on instagram. I know right? We're crazy kids)

But I did instagram a rainy night picture from Sheringham. Hopefully we'll go back a gain over Christmas for more fish and chips and a long walk on the beach (of course!)

So that was the weekend and the good news is it's now only 3 more days until the next one. Hurrah.
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Bath Time Reading & Resolutions

I don’t know about you but I constantly find managing my time a real struggle. Between doing a full time degree, working on our new house and basically juggling blogging, styling, non uni photography work and working on Norwich Fashion Week I feel like I am constantly on the go.

But I'm realising that sometimes you just have to stop for the day and try and grab some time for yourself.  Even if it’s just an hour in the evening where you can flop in a chair or a bath WITHOUT technology and just read for fun or listen to music etc.

I can’t be the only one who normally takes their phone (and often my iPad!) in the bath? Firstly it is obviously a disaster waiting to happen (if you’re clumsy like me…) and secondly do you actually relax? I know I don’t.

So this is my new mission – I’ve promised myself that if I’m home in the evenings I’ll schedule an hour (at least) to take a nice long bath armed with some delicious smelling products such as bath oils, face packs and hair treatments along with a scented candle and  magazine or a book. I love bath bombs from Lush and am hoping for the gift of a couple of bath bombs for Christmas.

This new ‘me time’ master plan was partly driven by a copy of Vogue, kindly sent to me by  magazine.co.uk, which I'd left totally and utterly neglected on my desk for well over a week, despite all my good intentions to read it.

In this busy world I think it’s easy to put yourself at the bottom of a long list of priorities but I think we can all benefit from taking a little bit of ‘me time’.  Although I do read digital articles, for me there’s nothing like wallowing in nice hot bubble bath and taking time out with a printed issue of a magazine.  In fact I can almost feel myself relaxing just at the thought!  

Perhaps if you’re pondering gift ideas then a magazine subscription and a few pampering treats could be just the thing to encourage someone to relax and indulge in some reading time, that a good bottle of vino! Are you starting any resolutions before the New Year arrives? 
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Hello Sunday

I'm sorry the blog's been a bit quite the last week or so. It's not because I haven't been up to much, in fact it's the total opposite! 

There's been several photoshoots, uni work and a few adventures in between and I've made a long list to blog about these things. 

I hope you have a restful Sunday and this is really just a quick post to share a documentary on Studio 54 I watched recently.

 I'm really loving seventies style at the moment and Studio 54 despite its short existence (77-81) has iconic status - of course for more than the fashion and style but it's notoriety and hedonistic outrageousness makes this documentary an interesting watch.


***WARNING this does video does contain references to sex which at at times quite graphic so be aware!***

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Eighties Style

Eighties style, good or bad?

Fashion is a just a cycle and new styles and designs are often based on those that have gone before them in some shape or form. Many decades remain highly influential, 'the seventies is back’ seems to be declared in fashion headlines twice a year, every year. Has the seventies ever gone away long enough to allow it to even make a comeback I wonder? 

One decade that perhaps hasn’t had its full revival, rework is perhaps the eighties. However is this about to change?

magazine.co.uk have gifted me with a subscription to Vogue so I can share what's inspiring me from the mag with their readers over on The Hub.  I mentioned in a recent post about how the September issue of Vogue had a INCREDIBLE 80s fashion editorial which was shot by Alasdair McLellan and styled by Kate Phelan which was full on eighties style. 

I used to wear huge earrings in the 80s and 90s. HUGE. I have vivid memories of wearing a massive pair shaped like huge shields to school and having to take them out when the deputy head (a terrifying lady) spotted them from a distance of at least 30 feet! Oh how I wish I'd kept them all, I had such a collection and would change them at least once a day. 

But it's a good excuse to go shopping

eighties inspired handmade earrings £55 plus shipping. Etsy shop Lou Taylor Studio. You have GOT to see more of this designers work - it's incredible! 
£20.25 plus postage - Etsy shop Hippie Gypsy Boutique 
If you feel glitz and sparkle is only for Christmas then vintage eighties foil prints and Dynasty worthy glamour could be your friend! 

Vintage shops will be bringing out all their party outfits now and so will the charity shops so there's a lot of choice about right now of you fancy looking beyond the highstreet or want to do some mixing and matching. A vintage sequinned top with your Topshop jeans maybe? 

Prim Vintage (size 10) £45 
So maybe the mismatched neon towelling socks and the meringue like, oh so voluminous rah-rah skirts won't make it back in to my wardrobe...I've just realised I basically described my favourite outfit in middle school when I wrote that outfit combo. What a shame no pictures exist! Nor of my permed hair and train track braces. if you're thinking 'sounds like Ugly Betty' you'd be right!

TV and Film can be be a great source of fashion and style inspiration, the eighties opened our eyes to American teen culture (well certainly my eyes) with the visual feast that is Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club and there are a couple of gorgeous frocks not to mention some amazing hair action in Weird Science (1985)

 The first time I saw this film I was totally smitten with Kelly Lebrock. I thought she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen in my life (a thought shared with many boys at that time too I'm sure) 

Yes. I still love her and I've just realised it's 30 years since this film was released. 30 YEARS!!!

I've also written a post for the magazine.co.uk Hub about the 80s influence in Vogue and I'll link you up once that's live but in the mean time if you're not searching Ebay for a VHS player to relive those 80s teen movies at their very best then you could pop over to The Hub and read how I'm using magazine photoshoots as wallpaper

and if you haven't seen it already my thoughts on socks and sandals. 

Sorry I'm going to have to say it again.... 30 years???!!!

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