Through a Photographer’s Eyes – part 1

Some of you know that I’m writing a book on traditional craftsmen and artisans in the UK, and its taking me all over the country, while I can’t reveal the photos just yet, I thought I would share my journey with you and show some of the places I am getting to visit in the course of creating this book, so this is the first instalment. Do subscribe to the blog if you want to see how it progresses. I’ll probably run a competition for a free copy in due course too.

Love finding stuff like this: sheep wander all over the Fells, and this wee bit of wool caught on a branch looked so beautiful

Love finding stuff like this: sheep wander all over the Fells, and this wee bit of wool caught on a branch looked so beautiful

I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but I really REALLY love my job, as a photojournalist, I get to travel all over the world and meet those who have insightful and compelling stories to tell. I’m so lucky, and this book has already enabled me to meet some astonishingly skilled individuals and such warm, honest and passionate people, who really live and love their job too.

It was snowing over Easter this year, and my eye caught this skeletal fern low down in the snow

It was snowing over Easter this year, and my eye caught this skeletal fern low down in the snow

Anyway so where did I go? I photographed Owen Jones, the last Oak Swill basket maker in Britain. He is based close to Coniston, and I was totally in awe of the speed he worked, the skill and swiftness of his dexterity with knives and his ease of being in his workshop, which he kindly shares with his goat (he lives in a fabulously gorgeous and honest house too by the way, with his lovely creative wife). I’ve taken some intriguing shots and in his pages of the book, hopefully you will feel the fresh air, the smell of the oak and the ease of the barn where he works…. can’t wait for the book to be published so you can see.

The original and spotlessly clean, Haweswater Hotel in the Lake District. The perfect retreat for creatives, photographers, writers and those who LOVE good food and wine.

The original and spotlessly clean, Haweswater Hotel in the Lake District. The perfect retreat for creatives, photographers, writers and those who LOVE good food and wine.

LOWRESVCS_1346 copy

The original and spotlessly clean, Haweswater Hotel in the Lake District. The perfect retreat for creatives, photographers, writers and those who LOVE good food and wine.

Haweswater Hotel vanessa champion

The original and spotlessly clean, Haweswater Hotel in the Lake District. The perfect retreat for creatives, photographers, writers and those who LOVE good food and wine.

Haweswater Hotel Lake District, Vanessa Champion

The original and spotlessly clean, Haweswater Hotel in the Lake District. The perfect retreat for creatives, photographers, writers and those who LOVE good food and wine.

While in the Lakes, I stayed in a stunningly faithful art deco hotel right bang wallop on the shores of Haweswater, it was a perfect retreat and temporary “home” to unwind and to write. It’s also perfectly located for photography, and if you’re a photographer, book it! I have no qualms whatsoever in recommending it, locally sourced food, lots of comfy chairs, cushion, a very comfortable bar, open fires, lounge, original wood art deco flooring, tactful lighting, plush carpets and I have to say this, it’s the CLEANEST hotel I’ve EVER been in! Seriously!!! (book one of the suites for a balcony overlooking the Water and you get a jacuzzi too). Also a BIG plus, you can walk from the hotel right into the Fells. The RSPB reserve is also just at the end of the road. It’s part of the Lakes I hadn’t done before (I’ve walked most of the south and central parts) and so the chance of staying and experiencing somewhere to rest up and get away from it all over Easter, to totally unwind was such an attraction! The Haweswater Hotel, looks like a large manor home, it faces Haweswater and is surrounded by red squirrels, woodpeckers, and more species of birds than I have knowledge to identify.

The view from my balcony in one of the Suites at the Haweswater Hotel

The view from my balcony in one of the Suites at the Haweswater Hotel

The Fells seem stare you out and they appear to grow in size as they rise like the bodies of sleeping leviathans as the mists rise, snow-clad cragginess promising solitude and impulsive inspiration.

Ghostly white silences like soft winding sheets lay gently around me

Ghostly white silences like soft winding sheets lay gently around me

I’d forgotten just how much I totally adore being on my own and walking, just walking. Camera slung over my shoulder, at peace in the solitude and geological munificence, experiencing the season envelope me with clothes of delirious sensation.

Waterfall frozen solid

Waterfall frozen solid

The Lake District is just that a collection of Lakes, bodies of water which run off the Fells through the earth’s natural carbon filters, and all around me were waterfalls, brooks and streams, ghylls and gullies. As one night the temperature fell to -19C (yep, pretty chilly) some of the waterfalls on the north side were frozen solid and gave me the opportunity to get up close and capture their chilly glazed fingers.

Bubbling eddy

Bubbling eddy

Such is the nature of the British Lake District, if you just walk another thirty minutes you’ll find water flowing fast, eddies that bubble with ardour like ethereal transparent frogspawn.

Melting snow, on an unknown and hidden jetty on Coniston Water

Melting snow, on an unknown and hidden jetty on Coniston Water

I’d taken my car with me on this trip, and on my return from Owen I stumbled across this long wooden jetty. I pulled over, leapt from the car and wandered onto the Lake shore. I was totally alone, well apart from a woodpecker I could hear dangerously close in the wood above me and the water softly lapping on the stones at my feet. The air so incredibly fresh, the Fells facing me on the other side of the Lake were seeming more and more like anthropomorphic patriarchs than snow-covered mountains.

Reflections of the Haweswater Hotel dining room

Reflections of the Haweswater Hotel dining room

Haweswater Hotel - yep, I'm definitely going back there

It felt more like Christmas than Easter (Britain, Spring 2013!)

Haweswater Hotel by Vanessa Champion

The view from the fireplace in the lounge at the Haweswater Hotel

Haweswater Hotel by Vanessa Champion

Haweswater Hotel – yep, I’m definitely going back there

Written by Vanessa Champion

Haweswater hotel & to make a booking: www.haweswaterhotel.com

To book a course with Owen Jones: www.oakswills.co.uk

One of over Red Squirrels at Haweswater, Lake District

One of over Red Squirrels at Haweswater, Lake District

Owen Jones, Oak Swill basket maker Copyright vanessachampion.co.uk
Owen Jones, Oak Swill basket maker Copyright vanessachampion.co.uk

 

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This entry was published on April 7, 2013 at 9:39 pm. It’s filed under arts, Artwork, Britain, Comment, designer, Food, people, Photography, Poetry, The Arts, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

6 thoughts on “Through a Photographer’s Eyes – part 1

  1. Sounds like an amazing adventure. I can’t wait to see how it develops.

  2. Simon on said:

    Lovely, well written and some great photos!

  3. Pingback: Through a Photographer’s Eyes – part 2 | The Dragonfly

  4. Pingback: Through a Photographer’s Eyes – Part 3 | The Dragonfly

  5. Pingback: Through a Photographer’s Eyes – Part 5 | The Dragonfly

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