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Thursday, 8 October 2015

Norwich Fashion Week at The Norfolk Arts Awards

A couple of weeks ago I was behind the scenes at the Norfolk Arts Awards with my Norwich Fashion Week board member head on organising a fashion showcase of local designers as part of the awards ceremony. 

I arrived feeling a bit odd because I wasn't doing photography, hair or makeup (so I only had to lug two bags along with me instead of the usual half a dozen!) 

The fashion showcase wasn't vintage but a celebration of art and fashion heritage and designs were very kindly loaned to us from  Siofra Connor Millinery, April Lunch, Jessica Clarke, Toby Neave, Jo Randall and Gemma Hyde alongside items from The Costumes and Textile Association collection and William Wilde lingerie from London Street boutique Proudlock and Harry.

Photo by Gemma Lock

 This meant we were working with lots of amazing items including a dress made of paper and another made of dried glue. Fashion meets art indeed. It's a glitzy affair held in The Maddermarket theatre, a beautiful old building nestled away in the heart Norwich city centre. (It has a pretty interesting history section on the website which you can find here if you'd like to read it) 

Photo by Gemma Lock

 Taking behind the scenes shots, we had photographer Gemma Lock (thanks Gemma) and thanks also to my fellow NFW board members Emma Harrowing for sourcing such amazing designs to work with and Debs Dominic who was in full hairstylist frenzy creating and building hair which was unique to each model. 

Photo by Gemma Lock
On makeup was the lovely Mirriam and Cintia of Jackie Hamilton School of Beauty and of course thanks and well done to all the models who have this amazing ability to walk with ourt falling over - a skill I continue to be in awe of (news of my epic 'I fell over AGAIN' moment during London Fashion weekend in another post...) 

Photo by Gemma Lock
Here I am in my £5 Frank Usher sparkly number

Music is such an important choice for a fashion show, it shouldn't take away from the clothes but it does help set the scene. Knowing I was choosing a song for a theatre of art fans and with the room like any old theatre, being very atmospheric (don't you just love old theatres?!) I thought what better man to assist me me create a showcase which would open the second half of the show with a creative pow on the ears than Nick Cave. 

So on that note, I shall indeed leave you with the glorious track which we played as NFW turned the theatre in to a runway. If you want to see more images from the show head over to the NFW Facebook page or go have a look at them on our amazing new website (thank you Four Agency & Grit Digital


Thursday, 24 September 2015

Reading material - Vogue

I can remember getting magazines like Smash Hits and Just Seventeen delivered by the paper boy. There was always something really exciting about knowing the next issue was out that day and would  hopefully be delivered by the time you got home from school....We were very slow cyclists due to chatting...my husband has said he would watch us and wonder why we even bothered with bikes when we could probably walk faster. I don't remember him commenting on this at the time but feel sure he would have. This is possibly why we didn't start going out until our thirties....

Flash forward to being a 'grown up' and I've had several subscriptions to various magazines over the years, mainly covering photography and fashion (surprise!) I wrote a while a go about magazine.co.uk inviting me to join their blogger team and so got the chance to pick some magazine subscriptions courtesy of them.

So I'm now three issues in to Vogue and actually asking myself the question 'okay so what about this magazine grabbed me, didn't grab me?' has been a really useful exercise and I have to say that I still think Vogue is one of the best glossy magazines for fashion. 

Would I like slightly more written content? Yes possibly but maybe there are other magazines for that and lets face it there are so many titles to choose from it's sometimes hard to pick which is why at least a subscription service allows you to get the magazines you want at a lower cost so you can either save money on your favourite magazine or maximise your budget to get more magazine titles for your money. 

From the August edition I was inspired by a Mario Testino photoshoot with Lara Stone to chat about why I think socks and sandals is good look which you can read over on The Hub

I've also been looking at eighties style and how it seems set for a revival and if Septembers Vogue was anything to go by they think so to. There was an incredible photoshoot which looked like stills from Human League's Don't You Want Me

I'll link you up once my blog post is up over on The Hub but here's an extract of what's to come!

Before you recoil in horror, let us consider that the eighties actually gave us some very influential style icons. I hear so many people dismiss the eighties as the decade style forgot but we shouldn't be blinded by the dazzle of the foil prints, the mismatched neon towelling socks and the meringue like, oh so voluminous rah-rah skirts. Think beyond the costume like shoulder pads which power walked their way through the palatial homes of Dynasty and remember that this was a decade of many looks.

There are numerous women of the eighties who I believe helped make this era much more eclectic than you might at first think. Debbie Harry is the epitome of effortless cool, with her messy blonde hair and biker jacket, her colour blocking and that too cool for school attitude means her style is still incredibly current. Then there’s Chrissie Hynde and Madonna just to name a few. To this day I still wish I owned a jacket like the one Madonna wore in Desperately Seeking Susan

And finally a recent house move had me eyeing up a huge pile of glossy mags taking up bookcase space whilst deciding if they go into the 'keep' or the 'charity shop' pile and I decided that there were sooo many articles and photoshoots that I actually did want to keep I've begun decorating the down stairs loo walls with torn out pages. 

What magazines are you loving right now?

If you're interested in browsing the subscriptions magazine.co.uk have then pop on over for a visit. 

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Going to university as a thirty something

I haven't blogged loads and loads about my decision to go to university to do a BA (Hons) Photography degree at the age of thirty seven because well frankly it was only last Sunday night (the day before starting my second year) that it has actually begun to feel real! I know, I know I'm about to go in to the second year and it's only finally starting to feel like a reality although I expect I will still keep pinching myself occasionally and get ridiculously overwhelmed in the lecture theatre because I just can't believe I'm *actually* there. I'm not even joking when I say I have actually had tears trickle down my face as I've been sat in total awe at the fact that these people actually let me in! 
I only told a handful of people that I was going to apply, by today's standards I think I'm quite private for a blogger, my blog was always more about things I love and wanted to waffle on about and not  what flavour squash I'm drinking or a document of every second of my day. But of course five years ago when I started writing this blog there wasn't Instagram so it was a very different time!

Uni was so far off my radar of things I thought I could aspire to. I left school with only GSCEs , I stayed at sixth form for about a couple of weeks but stuff at home and school meant I didn't feel settled and in hindsight I just felt a bit lost and lacking direction and was sure I wasn't going to be 'good enough' to be there. I don't think that's at all unique to me but at that age (especially) you can tend to feel slightly alone with it all.
one of the images from my interview portfolio from a portrait session with artist Simon Pritchard
I owe so much to the adult education system, I can hand on heart say that if it wasn't for the fact I was able to do courses of an evening or a morning one day a week, there is absolutely no way I would even have considered going to university never mind got in to one.
It was a City & Guilds in photography course which helped me discover self portraiture which has gone on to develop in to a long term (probably life time)  project
My first course was a City & Guilds in photography in my early twenties which actually took place at my old high school (that was weird I can tell you) I can clearly remember then that the variety of courses on offer was huge and we're talking being able to go and do GCSEs in all sorts of subjects not just English and Maths like it is today and A Levels, again in a wide choice of subjects. Some people were doing courses as a step to another part of education and others just because they were simply interested. I was the latter. I'd never thought I'd be a full time student, ever, never mind 12 or so years on from then.

The cuts to adult education constantly leave me dismayed. Before I started uni in 2014 I spent another two years doing different City & Guilds Photography courses - which massively helped me create a portfolio for my interview as well as teaching me so many skills. Just one morning a week and quite a bit of course work in my own time but it was a fairly manageable way to learn and still work. By the time I left, the course had dramatically increased in price to be in excess of £1000 - people are being priced out of adult education and it's not just higher education like degrees and masters that's an issue.

This makes me so sad and angry too. Yes you can get a student loan for further education but then you're restricted on what other courses you can and can't do next time if you already have that loan unless you can pay the full fee.
Flower lady in Birmingham market which formed part of my City & Guilds coursework 
So there are courses which would probably be full that can't run because there aren't enough numbers. There are people who want to learn in a classroom environment that just won't get that opportunity. I feel incredibly lucky to have been in the adult education system when I was, but it shouldn't be down to luck.

But here I am, two days in to my second year which I'm really excited about. Considering I thought my interview went pretty terrible (lovely tutor I just thought I was going to get told to go away for a year, work some more on my portfolio and then come back again) but no, they bloody only went and gave me an unconditional offer. That was a tough secret to keep I can tell you!

But why keep it secret? Basically I was convinced they'd made a mistake and I would turn up on day one and they'd say 'ooops! wrong person!' and even over the first few days I was sure they were going to pull me aside and explain they'd made a mistake. But they kept letting me back in and I really loved my first year.

I used images from this editorial shoot for Wake Up Little Susie as part of my course work for year one at uni
A photo posted by Kerry (@missyvintage) on There were highs and lows, juggling time was and I expect always will be an issue in some shape of from, I lost some work at a really bad time (just before I was due to hand it in! I cried. A lot but I learned a lot from that to) but all was okay and I flew through the pass mark for year one but all was okay and I flew through the pass mark for year one and I feel really ready for year two although I'm still all kinds of nervous about juggling life with uni and will my work be okay etc etc
One of my final pieces for the first year at uni which was exhibited as part of my final project (thanks if you came along by the way!)  Model: Nakita Harden
I've also been wanting to start finding my visual voice and that's not necessarily a vintage one. I didn't want to get pigeon holed as someone who is a 'vintage' photographer and there's nothing wrong with having that specialism but I knew it wasn't me. Will it be at some point? I don't know.

There's an obvious influence in some of my work, I love fashion photography of the seventies, I have and probably always will love the Warhol silk screen prints but so do a million other artists. I'm inspired by history and what's gone before and that feeds in to my work but for me, my photography needed a separate identity from Missy Vintage which is why I set up a different instagram account for that side of my life.

Will there be more highs and lows during year two? Absolutely, uni (despite the numerous jokes I've had about sitting round in PJs watching daytime TV drinking cider) is really hard work (and anyone who follows me on instagram will know I'm nearly always a vino girl anyway and who DOESN'T like drinking wine whilst in night attire?!)

If you do want to see more of my photography work then you can visit my online portfolio or come and say hello on instagram . Sorry this post ended up being so long guys, I didn't realise I'd have a rant mid way, but I'm so passionate about our adult education system, and feel it's an important and very precious resource.

If you're wondering what courses are happening near you by the way, then google is your friend so go have a search!

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