For my second year at university, our final project was to create a photo book. My project was focused on my mother and her daily life, so I handmade my book to fit the personal idea of my project, titled ‘Settle’. I used such an easy, simple binding method – I didn’t need any sewing skills!

All of the photographs were taken on Kodak Portra 400 film on my 35mm Canon camera, and I hand printed them in the dark room.

Here is the link to where I found the binding method: Homemade Gifts Made Easy










My Second Year Exhibition

Part of my second year at Nottingham Trent University involves us curating our own Photography exhibition in Nottingham city centre. I’ve continued my project of exploring space and place in a kind of ‘spontaneous observation’, inspired by colour film photographers like William Eggleston and Simon Roberts. Our group had a wide variety of photography including fashion and portrait, documentary and architecture. Here are some of my photographs of our private viewing, in Broadmarsh Gallery.

The entrance to 'Lux' exhibition
The entrance to ‘Lux’ exhibition

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Showing off my work!
Showing off my work!

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Emma Morgan's work
Emma Morgan’s work


Judy LJ's work
Judy LJ’s work

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Photography is Easy, Photography is Difficult.

Access Paul Graham’s essay here (the second one on the page).

After reading Robert Adams’ book, ‘Why People Photograph’, my tutor recommended I read Graham’s short essay on photography. Adams’ book touched upon many reasons about why people take pictures. His sentimental approach appealed to me, as I also see photography as a personal outlet for my creativity.


I highly recommend Paul Graham’s short essay as well as Robert Adams’ book to anybody that photographs because they absolutely love it. To take pictures, amateur or professional, is to love and want to record what you see. Why else would we deliberate over framing and focus and composition and all of the elements that come together to make a great photograph, whether we show the world or keep it to ourselves, a secret?

One of my favourite moments of Graham’s essay is when he touches upon the idea of making sense. Whatever you photograph, to some people, it will be questioned and critiqued to no end. “I could do that with my smart phone, what’s the big deal?” they ask. It isn’t going to be a big deal to everybody, but if it’s a big deal to you, it counts. Photographing the little moments in your life that are really the big things; the way your father’s hand rests on your mother’s shoulders as they watch their son’s first dance with his new wife,

Quayside, Cambridge
Quayside, Cambridge

the sunlight on the shoulders of the house you walked past every day to school, the blue peeling paint on the grocer’s; those are the extraordinary moments we are gifted in this life, and to record them, whether for ourselves or for the world to see, is a keepsake, a souvenir of that memory. The smiles never fade and the flowers do not wilt and the soft orange light from your grandmother’s lamp keeps the room alive. The sublime in the everyday, indeed.

…Maybe I need to roll freeform around this world, unfettered, able to photograph whatever and whenever: the sky, my feet, the coffee in my cup, the flowers I just noticed, my friends and lovers, and, because it’s all my life, surely it will make sense?  Perhaps.

As Graham continues, he declares that we are free to “not make sense”.

It was worth it, because it is something real, that didn’t exist before you made it exist: a sentient work of art and power and sensitivity, that speaks of this world and your fellow human beings place within it.  Isn’t that beautiful?

Soho Wedding
Soho Wedding

It certainly is, Paul, it certainly is.






All quotes from Paul Graham’s essay, link at the beginning of this post. All photographs copyright Alannah Messett.

Paris on Film

I absolutely loved photographing Paris on my film camera, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. All of the little streets and cafes are so photogenic, I wish I could visit all the time!
Here are some of my photographs, taken on Kodak Portra ISO 400 film.

We stayed in Montmartre and our hotel was a five minute walk from the Sacré Cœur, one of the best views of Paris. The uphill walk was well worth it, through the cobbled lanes and the squares filled with local artists.







Paris Paris

Most of my photographs I took while we wandered around the city. The metro was amazing in terms of getting from one side of the city to the other, and at a great price (I recommend buying a pass for the length of your stay – we got a five day pass for around €30). But exploring Paris on foot is wonderful and lets you discover your own Paris.

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All photographs copyright Alannah Messett.

Lamp Posts and Flower Baskets

Oh, London. If you can’t tell yet, it’s one of my favourite places.

Joined by my fellow London-devotee, Emily, we ventured to Bethnal Green on a sunny Sunday morning, to visit Judy’s Vintage ‘Kilo’ Fair held in York Hall on Old York Road. I must say it was the best vintage fair I’d ever been to; grab a bag, fill it with vintage goodies, and pay according to how much your bag weighs! They say a kilo is £15 – an average of 4-5 items! Then we rested our feet with a lovely sausage roll, cake and Ribena (of course) from the small ‘Pear of Peas’ cafe.

Feeling suitably refreshed, we wandered over to the lovely Brick Lane, where the Sunday market was in full flow; food, fresh juices, antiques, vintage clothes, sunglasses, books, and more food stalls!

And then on to one of my most cherished secrets of London – St Christopher’s Place, just off Oxford Street. We enjoyed a stroll around the small shops, and then had a delicious meal at an Italian called Osteria Ambrosia. Their £9.50 lunch menu was until 6pm so we just made it for the best garlic bread I’ve had in a long time, as well as a gorgeous pizza. We crossed the road to Kula for dessert – a delightful Oreo milkshake for Emily, and a chocolate ice cream for myself (my weakness!).

Enjoy the photographs, again taken on Kodak Porta 400 35mm Film!

C, B.

My final project of the first year at university was quite a personal project. I photographed Cambridge, my hometown, and Wales, where my mother’s side of the family are from, as well as my family and places and objects that were personal to me. It was my first time of trying a documentary style approach to a project, and it has fast become one of my favourite genres.

These photographs were taken on Kodak Portra 400 35mm film, hence the vibrant colours and clarity. I highly recommend this film if you are into colour! William Eggleston was my main inspiration, the ‘father’ of colour photography. I find colour so important in a photograph – it is the way we see the world, the way we can document it, as I have done in this project.

The title ‘C, B.’ is the beginning of the Cambridge post code, as well as being a play on words, “See, be.” (I know, too witty for my own good…) This is the way I see the world, and how I feel I’m a part of it.

As John Szarkowski (former director of photography at MOMA, New York) said about William Eggleston’s photography:

To me it seems that the pictures reproduced here are about the photographer’s home, about his place, in both important meanings of that word…they seem concerned simply with describing life.

I looked at Paul Graham’s essay, ‘Photography is Easy, Photography is Difficult’, which I will do another blog post on as I could write a whole other essay on that guy’s work. But his writings made me realise that I was over-thinking my work – trying to find a coherent theme in all of the photographs I was taking, trying to make some kind of sense of them. And then I finally caught onto this thought and ran after it…the realisation that this IS my sense – capturing these moments, my moments, my sentimental thoughts as I walk around in my shoes, the shoes I briefly let the viewer into. Not for a mile, but for a moment or two as they try to make their own sense of my photographs.

…because it’s all my life, surely it will make sense?  Perhaps.  Sometimes that works, sometimes it’s indulgent, but really it’s your choice, because you are also free to not make ‘sense’.

– Paul Graham

Please let me know what you think and if you have any recommendations on photographers/artists to look at!


(All of these photographs were taken using Kodak Portra 400 35mm film, except for the Wales photographs, where I used Kodak Colorplus film).