Going back to my roots, and the Guildford Arts Festival

Posted on 25th July, 2016

​I’m never quite sure what to say when people ask where I’m from. Yorkshire has been my home now for 17 years - I’ve never lived anywhere else for longer, but I know better than to say I’m ‘from’ Yorkshire! The rest of my adult life was spent in Scotland; my parents lived just outside Bath for many years, but I never considered myself as coming from Bath. Perhaps I should look to the first 11 years of my life, where I spent a very happy childhood in the South East of England.

My panel of photographs for display at the Guildford Arts Festival
My panel of photographs for display at the Guildford Arts Festival

With that in mind, it was lovely to have an excuse to revisit the countryside of my childhood and to catch up with some old friends when I found myself the lucky recipient of an invitation to display my photographs at the Guidford Arts Festival. I had a surprise phone call from Sue Roche early this year and had little hesitation accepting the invitation to be the sole photographer on display at the Mill Studio in Guildford for the Arts Festival, which ran for 3 weeks this month. I had plenty of time to consider the work I wanted to show and to come up with a panel of images that I hoped would sit comfortably together as well as allowing me to include my more personal work. I also gave consideration to things that had either sold in the past or that I had a hunch might sell.

I travelled down a few days early, with Rob, so we could visit some old friends living a few miles from Guildford. Aside from being wonderful to catch up with dear friends, it was equally lovely to be reminded just what stunning scenery can be found in Surrey and Sussex - in particular the mass of woodland is a real attraction for me! My excitement levels went up markedly when I saw mist was forecast for our second morning there and we enjoyed a fabulous few hours wandering along an old section of the Wey and Arun Canal (currently being restored) - in my case, taking advantage of the perfect conditions for photography.

Later that day I went to the Mill Studio in Guidford to hang my pictures and then it was a case of turning up for the private view the following evening. I was hugely impressed by the set up - really good stands and hanging system with excellent lighting - so important and so often lacking in my experience. The quality of art and sculpture on display was excellent. It was a buzzing event and I was delighted to get my first red dot that evening and to meet the lovely purchasers. My only regret was that my commitments and deadlines back here meant I couldn’t spend more time at the exhibition - particularly for the Meet the Artist days the following two weekends. However, I was beyond thrilled with how well things went and to hear such positive feedback about photography as an art. Sales far exceeded my expectations and it was particularly pleasing to sell prints of all but one of the images I had on display (either as framed prints, mounted prints or plain prints made to order).

We returned down south at the end of the exhibition, catching up with more old friends and enjoying a lovely walk in the Surrey hills and then the majestic Petworth Park. I’m going to have to find time to go back down for an Autumn photo session at some point! A really enjoyable and successful return to my roots and I’d like to say a huge thanks to the organisers of the Arts Festival for the incredible work they put in, as well as to Sue and Amy Robinson for putting me forward for the exhibition and for coming to see me there! It was a huge honour to be invited!