Bee Photography: Blog en-us (C)Bee Photography (Bee Photography) Fri, 22 May 2015 17:56:00 GMT Fri, 22 May 2015 17:56:00 GMT Bee Photography: Blog 120 84 Cherry's Journey - Part three (Post Mastectomy) It's been a while since I last updated this blog and I've had two photoshoots with Cherry in the meantime.  Cherry is my close friend that was diagnosed last summer with Breast Cancer.   I am documenting her journey.   If you missed the previous two blogs here's the link http://cherrys-journey---the-beginning and http://cherrys-journey---part-two-during-treatment.  

 Just before Christmas 2014 we had our annual girls Christmas meal which, this time, was held in the private dining rooms at The Gun, London Docklands.  The room had the most stunning view of the Thames and the 02.   We all had a sumptuous meal and a good ol' laugh, complete with fascinators, selfie sticks, santa hats and deely boppers!     

Cherry looked resplendent in her red bob wig.   


Out with the old year and in with the new and January 2015 brought the news that Cherry was to have her single mastectomy and removal of her lymph nodes on the 8th January which was sooner than expected but considered safer due to the aggressive nature of her cancer.   Cherry remained remarkably upbeat, "less time to dwell", was her attitude.    The operation went well and on seeing her oncologist a couple of weeks later she was told that the surgery had got all of the cancer but just to make sure she embarked on a course of radiotherapy sessions and some physiotherapy to gain some movement back in her arm.  Her radiotherapy took place every week day until 10th March.   By this time her hair had grown back and her two wigs were now redundant.


Cherry was due to start a phased return back to work at the end of March so we took the opportunity before then to do the first of the post operation photoshoots at her house.


And of course,  I couldn't do a photoshoot of Cherry at her house without a shot of her with her infamous shoe collection!   


Cherry has been given some exercises to do to strengthen movement in her arm which has been weakened by the removal of the lymph nodes.   The surgeons have done a superb job on her scar although at the time of the photoshoot it was still quite red from the radiotherapy but despite it all she is very positive and happy as these photos are testament to.    She's also put this positivity into helping fundraising for McMillan and is due to be a catwalk model at a fashion show on 11th June raising money for Breast Cancer Care






Cherry has since been coping well with her phased return to work and spending time with her colleagues again.   At the end of April, she called me again keen for another photoshoot as she had had her first haircut since her hair had grown back and had had it coloured too. She has also lost 171b of the weight that she'd put on as a result of the chemotherapy so I think you'll agree that she was looking really good.   


The next big thing that Cherry has to face is genetic testing for the BRAC cancer gene.  This is the same gene that Angelina Jolie has.  Cherry has been deemed to be at medium risk but has still been given the go ahead to get the test done.    If the test proves positive it is likely that she will have the other breast removed at the same time as the other one is reconstructed and they will be able to reconstruct both at the same time.   It will also mean that she has a high chance of Ovarian Cancer so a hysterectomy may also be on the cards.  Here's hoping it won't come to that.  

In the meantime I'm looking forward to seeing her debut as a catwalk model!  





]]> (Bee Photography) BRAC gene Breast Cancer Breast Cancer Care McMillan charity chemotherapy mastectomy wigs. Thu, 21 May 2015 20:30:30 GMT
Cherry's Journey - Part two (During treatment) This is part two of my blog following the treatment of my close friend Cherry who was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in July 2014.   If you haven't read part one - the beginning, here is the link

Part One was very much about making Cherry feel and look good as we indulged in a mini fashion shoot not long after she had had her first dose of chemotherapy.   We did a few costume changes and showcased a new wig that she'd just had made.   She looked amazing both with and without the wig as she sported her trendy close crop too.     I ended my last blog with the news that her cancer lump had reduced in size by a massive 50% by volume which was such good news.   

Shortly after this news our group of friends were meeting for a picnic in Epping Forest to celebrate some birthdays all occurring around the middle of September and now we had something else to celebrate too.    We bought our families along, the weather was superb and we all had a great time dancing to music, eating, drinking and  playing a few games of rounders.  Before we all headed for home I made it my mission to get everybody together in a group photo, so  after instructing them to grab their Mulberry bags (yes, there are a few handbag addicts amoungst us!)  I dragged them, not quite kicking and screaming, but there were a few groans, the short distance to a fallen tree where I had already envisaged the shot.    I took the shot and because we all looked so fabulous we did another one for Pink Pout Selfie, Kiss Goodbye to to Cancer, a Facebook page set up by a fellow breast cancer sufferer, Jill Padayachee known to our friend Koli. , do take a look at the page as the aim is to raise awareness and funds.   Also if you haven't already got your Body Confidence Calendar mentioned in my first blog here's the link for that too also raising money for Breast Cancer.    Now back to our group shot,  here's the photo of our motley crew doing the pout, along with one of Cherry doing her own individual pout! 

Fast forward a couple of months and Cherry and I are chatting after her fourth or fifth dose of chemo and she mentions that she'd like to have an album depicting her journey through treatment so as to have something to look back on.   I suggested to her that we really need some fly on the wall documentary style photography of her receiving her treatment to contrast with the fashion photoshoots so as to get some gritty reality in there too and she even joked that otherwise some people might not believe she's ill given that she looks so well!    

I should mention that whilst she has been responding really well to treatment,  because of the change of chemo drugs she was receiving from her fourth dose onwards she had needed to take her anti-sickness tablets which hadn't been necessary up until this point.  But all in all, she seems to be taking it in her stride.   She's being sensible and knows when to rest (with the aid of a box set or two) and when to play.   I did feel for her on one night out when she was wearing her newest wig (more on that later),  it was quite warm and the wig was getting a big itchy and she really wanted to take it off but, being the trooper she is, she persevered.    Our group of friends are still maintaining the rota of overnight care and on hearing that she has been advised to eat plenty of ginger, she has been inundated with supplies of the stuff in all its different guises, so much so I don't think she will need to buy any more for another decade!    

Anyway, I digress,  back to the documentary photography idea,  she agreed, and last week I was that fly on the wall at the hospital for her sixth dose of chemo.   I met her lovely nurse Hilary and her friend Annette who has been both taxi driver and moral support to Cherry on a number of her chemo sessions.        I also witnessed her new wig no 2, (affectionately called Jill by Cherry!) being trimmed by the lovely Norman as she hadn't had it long and wanted the fringe trimmed,  Norman had originally left it a bit longer as once it's cut it doesn't grow back!     There were quite a few of us in that small room!   Anyway without further ado, here are the photos.  

The first photo shows Cherry 'au naturale' without her wig but I think she rocks the Sinead O'Connor look pretty well.   


And in this next photo we see the lovely Hilary who has been Cherry's nurse through most of her chemo sessions.  Note the amount of sweets Cherry has to keep her going!   When I arrived Cherry said that Hilary had had trouble finding her veins at first so she was a bit late starting her chemo.    At one point we were chatting and Cherry forgot her words and Hilary explained that this was one of the side effects of chemo,  not sure what my excuse is then!   

And in the next one we see Annette feeding Cherry her omlette as it's a little difficult to use a knife and fork when you are hooked up intravenously.  Sorry Cherry,  I know this one is a little ungainly but it's the reality I was talking about!   

And lastly,  here is Cherry with her own personal wig stylist, Norman trimming the fringe of 'Jill'.   


If you would like to follow Cherry's journey in her own words she is writing her own blog and here is the link  As per the last blog there is yet more good news, the day before these photos were taken Cherry had seen her doctor and on examination he feels that the lump has shrunk again and hopefully this will be confirmed when she has her next scan on 13th November.  So fingers crossed he's right.    

Finally I'll leave you with a seasonal photograph that I took on my way back from the hospital, just because I love Autumn and I guess Cherry is in the Autumn of her chemo sessions (tenuous link I know!), only another two to go and then at least the first stage of her treatment is complete.   





]]> (Bee Photography) Breast Cancer Calendar" Confidence chemotherapy documentary style photography photography photoshoot portrait wig"Body Tue, 04 Nov 2014 09:44:23 GMT
Cherry's Journey - The beginning On 17th July this year I received an email from my dear friend, Cherry, addressed to me and other members of our close knit group of friends.  It was headed, simply, 'News'.    As I opened the email, bleary eyed, at about 6 o'clock in the morning, I expected it to be one of her usual upbeat newsletters of her travels around the world with her job, but it wasn't.   This was different.   She was writing to inform us that she had been diagnosed with Breast Cancer.   As the tears rolled down my face, and as I read on, I could tell that Cherry was going to fight this head on with her positive attitude and with the help of her friends and family.    As this news began to sink in amongst our group of friends,  we began to think about what we could do to help.   Some want to do the Moon Walk next May to raise funds for Breast Cancer and a rota has been drawn up for her overnight care on the days that she has treatment.  As I am unable to look after her on weekday nights because of having two children to get to school the following morning , I began to think about what I could do to help her directly.   I hit upon the idea of a photoshoot to document her journey. I put it to her and she jumped at the opportunity.   The idea is to undertake some photoshoots of her during the various stages of her treatment, a sort of before, during and after.  We didn't quite get a before shot, although we do have a shot of her at our girly trip to Whitstable Oyster fair a few days before she started treatment.    Below are some photos taken from our first photoshoot, which was taken after one dose of chemotherapy, hence the trendy close crop haircut but she had also had a new wig made for her which was a real departure from her natural curls we'd all been so used to but it seemed to suit her.    Apparently she has always wanted straight hair and now was her chance.  

 We had such a great time, in our rather salubrious location, under a railway bridge!  We chatted and laughed as we indulged Cherry's love of fashion and sorted through the wardrobe of clothes she'd bought along to see which best suited all her new looks.  Check out the many guises of Cherry, who has officially been told she has a very versatile face!      What do you think?  


Cherry has written a blog herself and if you are interested in following her journey here is the link She writes very eloquently (much more so than me!)  and always injects humour,  so do have a look.

The good news is that as I was writing this blog,  a  Whatsap message pinged on my phone,  and lo and behold it was Cherry saying that she's just had news that after three doses of Chemo her lump has reduced 50% in volume.  Such a wonderful note to end this blog on.

 If Breast Cancer has impacted on your life, or one of your loved ones, or even if you just want to support a Breast Cancer charity ,you may be interested to know that one of my local to St. Albans business associates,  Polly Harris Gorf, is promoting the sale of a 2015 Body Confidence Calendar (retailing at £10 each) to raise money for Breakthrough Cancer which launches on 19th September.  They aim to raise £50,000 for the charity.    Here is a link to the website if you would like further information

Many thanks for taking the time to read this.     












]]> (Bee Photography) "Breast Cancer", "Breakthrough Cancer", "Body Confidence Calendar", photoshoot, Bee Photography St. Albans charity photography portrait Thu, 11 Sep 2014 17:44:09 GMT
The British Wildlife Photography Awards 2013 Exhibition If you get the chance, pop along to Stockwood Discovery Centre in Luton to see The British Wildlife Photograher of the Year 2013 exhibition.  It's on until 18th March and well worth a visit.    If you have never been to Stockwood Discovery Centre before it's a great place to go with little ones and it's completely free with an excellent outdoor play area, beautiful gardens, a  museum for those rainy days and an excellent cafe.  

Back to the photography.  There are some truly stunning images among the many different categories.    My favourite categories were the Animal Behaviour and Animal Portraits.     In the Animal Behaviour category, one stood out for me and that was by acclaimed Wildlife Photographer Ben Hall who got highly commended for his image of a Gull alighting on water.   It's such a beautiful, simple and  serene composition.   The reflection of the gull in the water and the shape it forms just takes your breath away.  You can imagine being in that place and marvelling at the sight before you, so atmospheric!     All this and captured the with such precision.     

Being a Portrait photographer, I was very interested in the Animal Portraits category and my favourite has to be that of  'A Little Owl Walking' by Austin Thomas  It has such character and almost takes on a human persona.  It reminds of a military leader marching his troops especially the way the wings are tucked in.  He could be a Sergeant Major with his arms tucked behind his back and the bright eyes look like somebody with a steely determination and a job to do.

Also on display are the  Wildpix/BWPA Young Peoples Awards which will astound you.  One such image is that of the 'Shocked Hare' by Liam Constantine aged 8 in the under 12's category.  It's backlit composition reveals perfectly the texture of the hare's fur and the shallow depth of field means your eyes are drawn to the hare with it's wide eyes turned towards camera.  It's brilliant for somebody so young.    In the older category of age 12-18, there's another characterful image by Mairi Eyres (age 15) entitled 'Sweet Scents' of a fox sniffing the air.  The fox looks as though its taken on a slightly aloof air as if to say "yes, but I'm so much better than you!".

There are many many more I could write about, but I don't want to spoil it for you as you really should go and see for yourself.   

Whilst walking around the exhibition and reading all the notes under each entry I was struck by how many of them have painstakingly waited for hours for these magical moments to happen.   It takes dedication, passion and so much expertise to produce this images and they are an inspiration.  

]]> (Bee Photography) Austin Thomas Ben Hall British British Wildlife Photography Awards 2013 Eyres Liam Constantine Luton Mairi Stockwood Discovery Centre Wildpix/BWPA Young Peoples Awards exhibition photography wildlife Wed, 22 Jan 2014 11:18:47 GMT
The Glitterbox Face Painting  

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of photographing the amazing work of a very talented Face Painter,  Hannah Padden of  Hannah's point of difference is her unique mobile kit.  The children were superb and posed for me brilliantly.  Thanks also goes to their parents for bringing them along.   I think you will agree Hannah did sterling work.  I'll let the 

photographs speak for themselves.








]]> (Bee Photography) Hannah Padden St. Albans The Glitterbox Face Painting children face painting portraits Sat, 22 Jun 2013 00:04:44 GMT
My Photograph in the Local Paper! Following on from my blog about last Friday's Cake Break for the MS Society, of which Bee Photography was a part,  one of my images is in the local paper.  The photograph is of Sarah Guilfoyle of Beaus and Belles Music who provided the toddler entertainment.




]]> (Bee Photography) Beaus and Belles Music Bee Photography MS Society Newspaper St Albans and Harpenden Review Thu, 09 May 2013 16:52:52 GMT
Fundraising for the MS Society  

Friday 3rd May 2013


Last Friday I had the pleasure of taking part in the MS Society Cake Break which was a shopping morning and fundraiser organised by Iona Baird for The MS Society.   This was a table top sale consisting of  local mum's in St. Albans selling their products, of which I was one and a percentage of our sales were donated to the MS Society,   Those present included:-


Heather Coleman, Neal's Yard Remedies,  

Akiko Redshaw from Akiko Jewellery,

Rachel Brown from My Secret Kitchen,,

Fiona Dagenais of Dagenais Designs

and Lisa Nichols of TheBookMums


The event was held at The Bakehouse in St. Albans close to the Cathedral.  We couldn't have asked for better weather,  the sun shone the whole time which meant that the toddlers could be entertained outside in the courtyard by the lovely Sarah Guilfoyle from


A few photographs from the event are below.   A great event for a very worthwhile cause.  




]]> (Bee Photography) MS Society St. Albans cakes charity fundraising photography Wed, 08 May 2013 19:54:23 GMT
St. Julian's Church Community Cafe Launch  

On 22nd November 2012 , I had the pleasure of photographing the launch of a much needed Community Cafe at St Julian's Church in St. Albans.  The Mayor, Eileen Harris and Archdeacon Jonathan Smith cut the ribbon to declare the cafe officially open.  The cafe has free wi-fi  and very reasonably priced food.  Here are a selection of the photos.










]]> (Bee Photography) Archdeacon Eileen Harris Hertfordshire Jonathan Smith Mayor of St. Albans St Albans St Julian's Church church community cafe event photography photography Wed, 08 May 2013 19:46:40 GMT
The Ethics of Photo Manipulation

As photographers we all see the artistic advantage of using such a tool such as Photoshop; however, where do we draw the line and when does such a tool become misleading?
Manipulation of images is nothing new, it’s been going on since the invention of photography.  One of the oldest cases in point are the images that became known as the,  “Cottingley Fairies.”

Around 1917 a set of five images were taken by 16 year old Elsie Wright and her 10 year old cousin, Frances Griffith in order to prove the existence of fairies at Cottingley Beck where they had been banned from playing.   The photographs caused much debate and Elsie eventually admitted that they had been faked using cardboard cutouts from a book.  Frances, however, insisted that the final of the five images was genuine.
Personally, I think a photograph becomes misleading when the intention of the photographer is to make you think something fake is real, therefore, I would say the Cottingley Fairies images were misleading.  At that time photography was fairly new and many believed if there was a photograph, then it must be genuine, and I’m sure the girls were clever enough to exploit this.   However, having read a bit more about the young photographers, I learnt that Elsie was quite an artist, and once implied that she had photographed her thoughts.  Perhaps, in her mind, she was creating a piece of art and if it also got her out of trouble at the same time, then so be it.   
So how about photo manipulation in today’s digital world?   I recently read an article about a manipulated image of Lady Gaga on the front cover of Vogue, which immediately reminded me of the cartoon character,  “Jessica Rabbit” from the film, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.   Let’s put the three photos together, the front cover, the actual Lady Gaga and Jessica Rabbit. 

The similarities are striking.  Of course, nowadays, we are more sceptical of photographs, and it could have been an artistic decision by Vogue to manipulate the image, but my worry is how many self-critical teenagers believe this body shape is real? How many of them go on to have low self-esteem, eating disorders and/or an obsession with cosmetic surgery.  I’m not the only one to be concerned about this.   An All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image was established in 2011 and on the point of digital manipulation the Royal College of Physicians said it was, “damaging “ and that,  “retouching is part of the unrealistic nature of images which has become a malignant process”.
To me, changing someone’s body shape seems wrong and I think the magazines should have a duty of care to its’ readers. Why not be more creative with the camera instead?  If the manipulation makes the person unrecognisable, it may just as well be a cartoon character, which would be more obvious to the viewer. 
To end on a humorous note, the photo below was manipulated, not by me though! 

]]> (Bee Photography) Cottingley Fairies Ethics Photoshop lady gaga photo manipulation photography Tue, 09 Oct 2012 16:31:00 GMT
Dorothea Lange - The People's Photographer
Dorothea Lange was one one of the great documentary photographers of all time; She said of herself that she lived a very, “visual life.”
She was born Dorothea Margaretta Nutzhorn in 1895 in Hoboken, New Jersey.   Two pivotal events in her life were to provide her with a deep understanding of suffering which she was later able to turn to her advantage.   At age seven she contracted polio, leaving her with a limp and at age twelve her father left home never to return.  She took on her mother’s maiden name and refused to speak of him again.  Her decision to take up photography first surfaced during the long walks after school to meet her mother from her job as a librarian in Manhatten.  
She studied photography at Columbia University, New York, and was taught by Clarence H White, one of the pioneers of Fine Art Photography.   She became informally apprenticed to, famous portrait photographer, Arnold Genthe under whom she learnt how to understand and connect with her subject, believing this to be the artistic part of photography.     In 1918 she moved to San Francisco to set up a successful portrait studio and soon after married a well-known painter, Maynard Dixon, with whom she had two sons.  
In 1930, as the Great Depression began, Dorothea took her camera to the street and turned her attention to the unemployed and homeless.  This got her noticed by The Farm Security Administration (a government relief agency) who offered her a job.   In 1935 she divorced Dixon and married the Economist Paul Schuster Taylor who educated her in social and political matters.  Together, they made a great team, documenting the plight of the desperate; Taylor gathered the data and Dorothea took the photos.  The result was a report called, “An American Exodus” which they subtitled, “A Record of Human Erosion”, and in it they wrote, “We have let them speak to you face to face”.
Her most iconic image is that of the “Migrant Mother”, a portrait of Florence Owens Thompson, a desperate mother of seven, living in a pea picker’s camp in Nipomo, California.   Within days of the image being published the camp received 20,000 pounds worth of food from the federal government.    The photograph came to symbolize that entire era of American history.
In 1941 she gave up her Guggenheim Fellowship award for excellence in photography to highlight the treatment of American Japanese families being evacuated from their homes to prison camps after the attack on Pearl Harbour, a procedure she deeply opposed. 

In 1944 she worked with, famous landscape photographer,  Ansel Adams on a feature for Fortune Magazine documenting the Kaiser shipyard in Richmond.
In 1952 she co founded the photographic magazine, Aperture. 
Dorothea believed her eye to be the camera lens.  In the last few years of her life she suffered ill health and as a friend sat beside her bed one day, she said, “I’ve just photographed you”.   She died of Esophageal Cancer in 1965 aged 70.   
]]> (Bee Photography) Ansel Adams Arnold Genthe Dorothea Lange Farm Security Administration Florence Owens Thompson Maynard Dixon Migrant Mother Nipomo Pea Pickers The Great Depression biography photography Tue, 09 Oct 2012 12:35:00 GMT
Macro Photography Here is a photograph taken using the Kenco Extension tubes which I borrowed from Phil Richardson at Melen Courses.  These are an alternative way to achieve Macro photography without paying out for a Macro lens.  


]]> (Bee Photography) Kenko extension tubes Melen Courses Phil Richardson flowers macro photography Fri, 04 May 2012 02:08:00 GMT
Stowe Landscape Gardens If anybody is looking for a place to take some shots of beautiful scenery, I thoroughly recommend
Stowe Landscape Gardens in Buckingham owned by the National Trust.  which has undergone a big refurbishment recently.   It has lakes, temples, woodland to name but a few highlights.   It is a really enjoyable walk and a wonderful place to have a picnic if the weather is nice and the children have their own trail they can follow which can include playing pooh sticks on one of the bridges.     I believe they even run some photography courses for National Trust members.

I took some photographs there recently.  Here are some examples




]]> (Bee Photography) Bee Photography National Trust Stowe Landscape Gardens photography photography courses Tue, 27 Mar 2012 15:48:00 GMT
Beautiful Children's Photography As my interest is in Children's photography I was looking for some inspiration and came across
His baby portraits are beautiful in their simplicity.   It's all in the eyes.   Also take a look at his family portraiture.  They are wonderfully heart warming, a mother kissing her daughter, a father crouching down to look at whatever it is his toddler son has in his hand.   There's some fun ones too,   I particularly like the one of the mother and her three daughters during a family baking session with all of them licking the spoon!    He seems to capture all that is good about family life and the characters of his subjects shine through in every image.    He is certainly someone to aspire to.  
]]> (Bee Photography) Matt Pereira children's photography family photography Mon, 26 Mar 2012 17:59:00 GMT