The iconic poppy sculpture Weeping Window by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper opened on Wednesday, 14 March 2018, at Hereford Cathedral. The work was on site until 29 April 2018 as part of the final year of 14-18 NOW's UK-wide tour of the poppies. The presentations by 14-18 NOW, the UK's arts programme for the First World War centenary, gave people across the UK the chance to experience the impact of the ceramic poppy sculptures in a range of places of particular First World War resonance. The men and women of Herefordshire made a huge contribution to the war effort, from the brave young men recruited into the Herefordshire Regiment - among them Allan Leonard Lewis who was awarded the Victoria Cross, to the Canary Girls who filled munition shells at the Rotherwas Munitions Factory. Local farmers provided food for the country and the Front, as well as horses for the movement of soldiers and supplies. Weeping Window is from the installation 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' and was originally at HM Tower of London from August to November 2014, where 888,246 poppies were displayed, one for every British or Colonial life lost at the Front during the First World War. My above photo of the installation proved popular with people in and outside of the county and were used in various publications.
We had an exciting morning when Prince William visited Hereford back in October 2017. He was greeted by hundreds of well-wishers and SAS soldiers as he attended Hereford Cathedral. The Duke of Cambridge caused a stir in the city as he arrived for a private service attended by 600 people, including members of the SAS and local dignitaries. The event was organised to put the seal on a 1 million window dedicated to the military regiment, which officially opened in April. I was lucky enough to be able to catch a glimpse of him - and of course snap a few shots - as he was welcomed by The Countess of Darnley. The above photographs I took have since been used in many publications by Hereford Cathedral School.
I am not a great fan of having my photo taken. If I'm with family, friends or actually doing something, then that's not so bad, but having to 'pose' for a photograph does something most unusual to me. I almost forget how my face works and I either gurn like a 90's raver or simply keep my eyes closed in the hope that it will all be over very soon... Suffice to say, when I was recently asked to provide a head-shot to accompany an article I had written, my metaphorical 'portrait photographs' cupboard was somewhat bare... I succumbed to a selfie, the result of which was no Testino, I can tell you. The sun bleaching out half of my face and causing a slight squint was one thing - the look of confusion as I try to press the button without wobbling the camera was... well... quite another. Thankfully, help came in the form of fantastic photographer Gabriella Karney, who offered me a great package of portrait photos and a promise that she would capture my character and not the gurning chipmunk that normally appears at the sight of a lens. She was right - we had such a fun session in her studio and then out and about in Hereford. As we chatted and laughed our way through the shoot, Gabi made me feel completely at ease - to the point that I became totally unaware of her camera. The resulting photos are fab and now I have my own stock to supply as and when the call comes in! Gabi moved from London to Herefordshire 2 years ago and now runs her Photography business from her Hereford-based studio. We asked Gabi for 5 top tips on capturing a great portrait photo:
1) For me, a great portrait is 'all about the eyes'. It always has been and always will be. My keen interest in photography started with taking photos of my children trying to capture the twinkle in their eyes. Today my aim is still the same: I believe that eyes provide a window into a person's character; my aim is to capture that captivating look.
2) One photo does not fit all; think about who is going to be looking at your profile picture and tailor that image to best fit your target audience. I like to create a portfolio of different images for my clients that can be used for different audiences and in different situations.
3) Try to convey approachability in your photo. Combine this with...
4) Confidence! Approachability and confidence are a winning combination in a portrait photograph.
5) As a photographer I try get to know my clients and to reflect their character via the photos. I like to spend a bit of time with my clients pre-shoot exchanging anecdotes not just about work but family, food, places they've visited - not only will this put them at ease but I will develop a 'fuller picture' of their personality to create and design that perfect image.
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