dog photographer Northamptonshire

Creativity takes courage

Mar 2, 2022 | Artistry, Musings

To say that we’ve all experienced some change over the past two years is probably the understatement of the century. Our world has been turned upside down and inside out, and then thrown in a blender for good measure.

Nobody likes change. It can be hard. It can be scary. It can even be painful. But it can also be good (when it doesn’t involve a global pandemic). Change can be exciting. It can be liberating!

I’ve struggled a lot with the idea of change because it’s always felt a bit like ‘failure’ – I mean, if it ain’t broke, why fix it? But I’ve come to appreciate that it’s actually the complete opposite. Change isn’t a sign of defeat – it’s an opportunity to succeed and make things even better!

It’s that realisation that brought me to a big decision. As of today I’ll hanging up my camera (for the most part), and diving into a new realm of pet portraiture!

So why the change? Why now?

If you’ve followed me for a while then you’ll know that artistry & craftsmanship are at the heart of everything I do. I’ve been photographing dogs for over 7 years, and I’ve always tried my best to inject my passion for the arts into my work. But it’s never felt like enough. No matter what I did, there was always something missing. I’ve always felt like I’m pursuing a missing puzzle piece that’s just out of reach.

Being stuck at home throughout the pandemic, with no dogs to photograph and not much else going on, I set about exploring other creative projects.

Without the constraints of a camera or the pressure to capture the ‘perfect photograph’, I realised that I’d trapped myself in the medium of photography over the years. I’d been limiting myself to creating work that wasn’t fulfilling me as much as it could.

While others spent lockdown baking bread and hoarding house plants, I decided to take the plunge and invest in my very own printing press. I’d been lucky enough to try my hand at etching when I was at school, and as soon as I set it up on the kitchen table (my new studio) everything came flooding back to me.

an etching of a jack russell terrier lying on a printing press
a portrait of a german shepherd dog next to a palette and paintbrush
an etching of a cat portrait lying on a printing press bed

Walking myself through the process again, step by step, I felt at home.

The texture of the paper, the grooves of the etching plate, my hands turning the wheel of the press after all those years. I felt revitalised. There was no pressure anymore. Everything just felt right.

It’s hard to describe the feeling, really. Creating something completely by hand from start to finish, having precise artistic control over every step. I love the tactility and the closeness, feeling physically immersed in every stage of creation. I love being able to make something truly unique and ‘real’ – something I can see and touch and say “I made that!”.

I’ve finally found something that makes me feel creatively whole.

If I hadn’t been honest with myself and taken the chance to explore something new, I never would’ve rediscovered this passion. I never would’ve rekindled my love of traditional portraiture. I could’ve been left chasing that elusive, creative puzzle piece for years. I just needed to be brave and trust my gut, and I’m so glad that I did.

So yes, change can be scary. But it is definitely, undeniably good.

three black and white portraits of dogs on fine art paper

PS. While I may not be focussing on private photography commissions anymore, I’ll still be exploring personal photography projects from time to time, and using my experience to support portrait clients. I’ll also continue to support charities, like Animals In Need, through event photography and volunteer photo days.

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

I really hope that you’ll continue to join me on my creative journey –  there are lots of exciting things to come!



Fine art pet portrait artist | Northamptonshire, East Midlands, UK