Settle

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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

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Sweet Treat

Cambridge in the sun is one of my favourite places in the world. I love exploring new cafes and shops that pop up, but Benets Cafe is an old favourite of mine. Situated on the gorgeous King’s Parade, home to the famous King’s College, Benets is the loveliest place to sit and have a break between sight seeing or shopping.

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My favourite spot is the small ice cream corner to the left of the cafe, where I sat and people watched to my heart’s content! I chose the chocolate chip ice cream, but there’s tonnes of flavours to choose from to satisfy even the sweetest tooth. The actual cafe does many other sweet treats like pancakes, or you can have a spot of lunch, while overlooking the gorgeous entrance of King’s College. Can you tell I love this place?

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Easter Treat: Wimpole Hall

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On Easter Monday, Emily and I ventured to Wimpole Hall, a National Trust estate just outside of Cambridge.

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We wanted to do something a bit different as an Easter treat. Wimpole was really easy to get to, and was £15.90 for standard entry to the house, home farm and beautiful gardens.

Elsie Bambridge, Rudyard Kipling’s daughter, transformed Wimpole into the gorgeous mansion it is today. The rooms of the house were spectacular, and the tour guides in each room were so helpful, sharing little anecdotes with us as we walked around.

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My favourite room was the dining hall. The most amazing chocolate scent hit you as soon as you walked in thanks to the dozens of Easter eggs on the table, including one of the biggest I’ve ever seen as the centrepiece!

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We were too early in the season to see the gardens in full bloom, but hundreds of bright yellow daffodils filled the grounds and the house. We stopped for a tea (and chocolate cake) break in the Old Rectory Restaurant.

The home farm was also adorable, with newborn calves and lambs. Lambing season started on Tuesday, so it’s definitely worth a visit just to see the cute lambs! I’ll definitely be visiting again in the next couple of months to see the gardens in their full glory.

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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.

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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,

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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?

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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.

God’s Own Junkyard

 

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On Sunday I ventured to one of my favourite cities again, London. Lights of Soho, an adorable gallery round the corner from Piccadilly, is showing ‘God’s Own Junkyard’, celebrating Chris Bracey and 40 years of neon. Bracey salvaged neon lights and signs from films, fairgrounds and circuses that would have otherwise dumped them.

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Two floors filled with magical, neon delight = heaven! God’s Own Junkyard is on until Sunday 18th January, so hurry before you miss it! If you want more, there is also a selection of neon treasures in Selfridges Oxford St.

Visit http://www.godsownjunkyard.co.uk for more details.

All photographs copyright Alannah Messett.

December Date with Emily

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On a frosty Sunday, Emily and I set off into Cambridge for an afternoon of photographs and cake. Winter is my favourite time of year – wrapping up in woolly jumpers, hot chocolates in front of fires, sparkling cobwebs. We wandered around King’s Parade and through the little side streets towards Afternoon Tease, an adorable cafe on King Street.

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Tucked away down King Street, a lovely street filled with vintage shops and amazing places to eat (including this one!), Afternoon Tease definitely stood out, with a full house. We enjoyed the most delicious brownies and hot chocolates before carrying on our winter walk.

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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.

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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.

Paris is always a good idea

 

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In November, I hit the big 2-1 and, along with my best friend Tara, escaped to Paris to celebrate!

We stayed in the gorgeous Hotel Des Arts in Montmartre, and spent our four days wandering the city. We visited the classic sights – the Eiffel Tower, the Sacré-Cœur and the Arc De Triomphe, to name a few – as well as discovering smaller streets lined with little cafes and vintage stores. Having dinner al fresco in November was a novelty, too!

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On our last day we visited the beautiful Jardin de Tuileries, and had the best burger I’ve ever had in one of the restaurants. If you visit Paris, this is a must!

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And what would a visit to Paris be without a day trip to Disneyland?! The park was filled with Christmas decorations, and the evening show was a mesmerising display of fireworks and Frozen. We obviously chose the right day to go, as the queues were virtually non-existent (riding Space Mountain over and over again with no wait was a dream!).

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All photographs copyright Alannah Messett.

Street Style: London #1

Last month I ventured into the big wide world of photographing street style. Something I’ve been planning to do for a long time, street style is fast taking over blogging and social media. I really loved approaching new people, talking about their outfits and photographing their style. Capturing people’s individuality is my favourite thing about photography.
My friends and I wandered around Covent Garden, Southbank and Camden, where most of these photographs were taken. Please let me know what you think, and any advice would be much appreciated!

Click on an image to enlarge it and look through the gallery.

Photographs copyright Alannah Messett.