Posts

Whenever we have youngsters doing work experience with us, or people looking to learn a little bit more about photography in general, we always say the same thing: this is a people job.  You can have the greatest portfolio in the world with dark, brooding images – sweeping landscapes, and portraits lit by Rembrandt himself; but if you can’t communicate and don’t enjoy meeting new people, you will really struggle in the photography game.

And to be honest, that’s the best part of it for me.

All us photographers have similar gear – the latest bodies with the sharpest lenses, a bit of light in the bag and a reflector; but what I enjoy most is meeting new people.  I love hearing what makes them tick, making them laugh, helping them relax, and getting pictures of them looking their best.  It’s always such an honour to record a couples’ big day, or to meet a family’s newest member, and help them create images they will treasure for years to come.  And the shoot I had organised by The Emily Ash Trust a few months back was no different.

I was greeted at the door by Evie’s gorgeous mum, Nicki.  A huge smile and warm welcome awaited me, and I was ushered into the kitchen to meet Nicki’s parents and Evie’s dad, and then Evie herself.  I knew this shoot was going to be a bit harder than normal, and upon meeting Evie, I felt myself choke up.

Evie has cancer.  For the second time in her life.

After a miracle stem cell transplant when she was just 8,  Evie was preparing to get herself to hospital that afternoon to undergo another horrendous round of chemotherapy.  But despite what the rest of the day / week / months hold for her, Evie is a joy to behold.  Like any other 11 year old girl,  she is mischievous and fun; has oodles of confidence and the whole shoot was just full of life and smiles.  She had come prepared for the shoot with tonnes of ideas that she had canvassed from Instagram – which made things even more interesting.

We talked a bit about the weather, and the gorgeous garden Nicki’s parents had; how she had grown up here and that the view may be spoiled by the 42 bajillion houses they have planned for the field behind..and we took some beautiful photographs.

And I loved every second of it.

It is moments like this that make me realise just how special my job as a photographer is.  Whether it is a wedding, a newborn, a Christening or – well, Evie, we are so lucky to share these precious moments with people and families day after day, and help them create memories and images that they will treasure for years to come.

Evie it was fabulous to work with you, and I look forward to doing so again once you have kicked cancer’s arse once and for all.

x

 

To read more about Evie’s story, please click here.

And to find out how the Emily Ash Trust helps families like Nicki and Evie, with amazing support and events, you can see their website here.

Really quick post, but had to share the big news.

My little brother Thad (short for Thaddaeus Jake Ford. Best. Name. Ever) ‘passed out’ today.  This means that he is now a fully fledged member of her Majesty’s Metropolitan Police force, and we are all mighty proud of him.  Apparently it was crazy hot in Hendon in London today, and a lot of people were literally passing out.  But not my little bro.  Not Teggy.  He is made of much sterner stuff.  Look – even when he is playing his trombone at a family wedding he can flash a charming smile and bash out some raspy low E’s without even breaking a sweat.

Totally gutted that we are over 4000 miles away and couldn’t be with you, but we were thinking of you Tegs and are very, very proud.

I can’t even begin to imagine how hard the job is, and you have worked even harder to get there.

 

Much like the great Keith Chegwin did himself…

 

But not even he can blow a bone like this:

 

 

Loads to post over the weekend.

x

So, as promised, I have loads and loads and loads to share with you all and have got a bit side tracked with work. (surprised?)  But I think it is fitting to write this blog today, because it is even the more relevant.

Oliver has come home.

Now, to most of you, that won’t mean a thing, but to Sarah, Den and Ryan who I have written about many times in this blog, it means the world.  It means the world because Oliver, or Ollie and Den and Ryan have now come to call him, is a genuine miracle.

I got a missed call from Den about nineteen weeks ago, which was bizarre – living out here in Barbados, we usually rely on Skype and the emailage to talk to each other to save the pennies.  So when I noticed it, I got the pit in my stomache…it’s never good news to get a missed call from the UK.

I called Den as soon as I could, and he told me that Sarah had been admitted to hospital.  There had been some complications with things.  He assured me that everything would be fine and not to worry.  But of course we did.  Massively.

It took me a few hours to work out how to tell Sian.

Sarah was at 21 weeks with Oliver, and was on bed rest in the hospital.

We rang and we rang and we Skyped and we called.

And after three weeks of the phoning and the emailing and the worrying and the sending of our love, I got another missed call at about 2 in the morning.

And it’s never good news to get a missed call from the UK.

But this call was.  Oliver was born at 24 weeks weighing in at just over a pound.  Den and Sarah sounded relieved, but there was still a very, very long way to go.  The little guy had massively under developed lungs, his eyes were not yet formed and he was just so small.

And so for the next few weeks, Sarah and Den and Ryan lived at the hospital.  They waited, and they nursed and they ground and they ground.  Den commuted and worked ridiculous hours,  Sarah was mum and nurse and everything in between and Ryan was, well, Ryan.  Amazing.  He never played up or got bored or kicked up a fuss.  Ollie was in hospital, so if he had to be there too, then so be it.  He really is an amazing little guy.

And all the while Ollie, as stubborn as his dad, as strong as his mum, as beautiful as his brother, just soldiered on.

And in the last six weeks, he has slowly grown.  He has been putting on weight, and he has been breathing on his own.  He is yet to reach his full term, but has proved to be strong enough and healthy enough to come home today.

And when you see him, and you see Sarah, and you see Ryan and Den;  no one talks about how tired they are – how they’re pissed off about work or about how expensive the parking is at the hospital.  And no one sees the tubes or the machines or the charts or the wires that have helped him along on his way.  All you can see, from ear to ear, are smiles of relief and genuine, genuine happiness.

Through Sarah, Den and Ryan’s tireless efforts, the world has been blessed with another little Ashworth…and although I did not think it possible, I love them even more for it.

And I just can’t wait to play the grabber game with him…

Thanks for reading guys – I will let the pictures do the rest xxx

It has been a mental few weeks (months?!) in Barbados, and I am glad to say that we have finally come home for a few days to enjoy some much needed R & R.  Since arriving home on Friday, we have been to-ing and fro-ing between London, Chichester and Croydon, and as I write this we are preparing for a jaunt up North to see our good friends Josh and Lyds who live in Manchester, then on to see Jenny and Tom in Sheffield, then up to Wetherby with even more marvellous chums for the wedding of the very fabulous Jo and Jonny…phew!

It has – and will be crazy hectic, but we are loving being back.

A few days before coming home, I rang my big brother Ed and asked if he would mind hosting a wee get together for Easter in his beautiful house in Chichester.  A wee get together quickly snowballed into thirteen, and true to form, Ed and his fiance Mel put on a wonderful spread and did a spectacular job of looking after us.  It was wonderful to be with the whole family again – everyone laughing, joking, shouting over each other, and all that good stuff that an old fashioned family reunion commands.

After dinner, my big sister Felicity (who I have written about before) asked Ed if he would mind her playing the piano, and for the next twenty minutes I was taken back to my childhood.

Image

When I was growing up, I was spoiled rotten for music.  My mum and dad are massively into brass, and from a very young age the slightest whiff of interest in anything relating to a treble or bass cleff lead to a trip to the music shop and instruments being hired.  We were so lucky.  So as I grew up and ran around our then massive house, the rooms echoed with Chopin and Rachmaninoff and Mozart and Strauss…and all really quite well.  It turns out that my brother and sister were quite gifted when it came to the piano, or flute, or trombone, or whatever they turned their hands to, but the piano was the soundtrack of our house.

That, along with the raucous laughter and ever present squeals of agony as we fought with one another…but that’s for another blog.

ImageImage

And I genuinely lament when Flick moved out…the house fell a little quieter as our piano duo halved.  Ed stoically carried the baton for a few more years, but the day that he packed his little Fiesta to move to Reading was the day the music died.  Thad (my little brother) is an immense musician, but alas never took to the piano – and my biggest regret in life is giving up on the lessons that my mum and dad had organised for me all those years ago.

So, imagine my joy when Flick asked that question.  Judging by the looks on my mum and dad’s faces, I think they couldn’t have asked for anything better this year for Easter.

Image

Image

As always, thanks for reading guys, and happy Easter 🙂

xxx

It feels like forever since my last post…I haven’t written anything this year…so let’s get down to the nitty gritty of it – Happy New Year one and all.  I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and all the other shenanigans that year’s end brings. We, as ever, have been completely rammed at work – millions and millions of exciting twists and turns in the wonderful world of Barbados, and we were also lucky enough to have my family-in-law (well, some of them anyway) come and stay with us over the festive period.

From left to right, that’s my mum-in-law, Sue, my step-dad-in-law, Dave, and little Lou, who is nearly thirteen now…I have known Louis since he was a bump in Sue’s tummy, and he is all kinds of awesome.  But, like most teenagers, he hates having his picture taken.

So it’s not the best place for him to come really…what with snap-happy Ferg so close by.

But we had a great time – the guys enjoyed the beach whilst we (enjoyed?!) the office.  We had a few weddings over Christmas, and the staff parties (working and playing) and New Year’s eve (working) and everything in between.  Hence why the blog has suffered somewhat these last few weeks.

And whilst we played with some of our family, our resident monkeys started to build their own.  We have a dominant male on the resort that Sian has affectionately come to name “Morris.” We have seen him for the last two years or so – he once tried to break into the office on the off chance of finding some bananas, although he would be more likely to find coffee and muffins on my desk.   Anyway, he recently hooked up with a lady monkey on resort called “Mummy”, and the two have had a baby Sian has dubbed “Monkini.”  (This is the abridged version – but you get the gist.)

Anyway, baby has been growing at an alarming rate, and it is very, very cute to see them all playing together on the resort.  Being a nipper, “Monkini” has a wonderful curiosity with everything and Morris usually lets her entertain this curiosity as he wanders around in a circle, snarling at anything that gets too close.

But on my birthday (Christmas Eve) during the slowest game of golf ever, we pulled out of a hole to let some people who actually knew what they were doing go by, and we saw Mummy and Monkini in a tree with no sign of Morris.  He had obviously wandered off to find something for his girls, and we were able to get closer than ever before to the pair.  I felt really bad because the sound of my shutter grabbed Monkini’s attention no end – and she kept trying to jump out of the tree to investigate the noise.  Mummy gave me some horrible looks as she kept playing catch with her new baby, but it did make for some amazing photos:

This is just after Monkini jumped down towards me to see what all the noise was about coming from my camera…Mummy was NOT impressed.

We got the hint and left the monkeys to it, failed a bit more at golf, and then went home.  I haven’t yet seen the monkeys in the new year, but when I do I shall post up some more pictures as baby grows up…it really is such a treat to have such a spectacle on your front door step.

So our birthdays and Christmas came and went, we partied and played and worked hard, and now look forward to another busy and sccessful year.  I have LOADS of stuff to share with you over the following weeks, and I promise the blogs will start coming regularly again 🙂

Hit the subscribe – hit the share, tell your friends nd as always, keep on snapping.

Thanks for reading guys x

With Christmas around the corner, and being lucky enough to have our family here with us,  the warm fuzzy feeling really is in full swing!  I have been sitting on these photos since our trip home in October, and thought that now would be the perfect time to share them 🙂

As readers of this blog will know, I am a BIG family man.  Families rule.  I am always a little bewildered when, especially at this time of year, people I know are looking forward to a bit of time to themselves.  I am the complete opposite.  I am definitely my mother’s child.  My idea of the Perfect Christmas is having all my nearest and dearest under one roof, getting merry and sharing the good times – if there is the possibility of a few dogs knocking around as well then that’s an even bigger bonus.

And I am even more lucky that we have so many generations in the family.  You all know about this little guy, Ryan.  He is my 5 year old nephew who is growing up at a rate of knots, and I hear the uncles and aunties of my childhood whenever I see him: “haven’t you grown,” “you’re SO big!”…but then that’s just part of getting old I guess.

And we love coming home and playing with him…especially on the trampoline.

But as well as the young, we are blessed with the old, and when we went home last Sian and I made a point of heading over to my wonderful Granny and Grandad’s house in Clacton, Essex.  We always love seeing them, but in recent years time has started to take its toll on them.  Grandad, who was so sharp and witty, is slowly losing his short term memory, and Granny, who is a soldier and bastion of survival is getting weak in the knees and a little less mobile.  But they are still here. Still smiling. Still happy. And we love them ever so much.

This is my little brother, Thaddaeus, or Teggy, showing G and G our wedding pictures.  Unfortunately, they were not able to join us last year for big bash, and this was the first chance we had to share the day with them.

With Grandad’s memory fading, he is always looking at the photos on the mantel to keep track of who’s who.  I love the expression on his face in this shot – he had just told Teggy that he recognised our sister, Felicity, in one of the photos, and was so pleased that he could remember her name.

And who couldn’t love this shot of my granny?  When I was growing up, Granny told us quite a bit about the war, Grandad not so much…but the hardships they endured and the sacrifices they made are things that I thankfully have never had to and hopefully never will.  It was a ghastly time, and the country pulled together in a way that seems alien now…yet they are both still able to laugh and joke, and that just makes me love them more.

And they have some differences at times, but my dear old mum loves them too.

Of course, being old, Granny thinks she has the license to come out with some outrageous comments and ideas…the most recent being that she thought the new wind farm off the coast was a terrible eye sore and that it had spoiled the view…I got a brief snap of it from the car window and have to disagree…

But then with everything they have been through, and everything they have seen, I only hope this is the only ‘atrocity’ our little nephew Ryan has to see throughout his life.  In the grand scheme of things, a field of graceful wind turbines ten miles off the coast are surely a lot prettier than a squadron of bombers…

Thanks for reading guys – the Christmas blog to come next! 😉

x

Hey guys, nearly on top of everything now, so business will resume as normal in the next few weeks.  As some of you know, one of the reasons we came back to the UK was to celebrate our first year wedding anniversary.  After Andy and Emily’s wedding (film to come – promise we haven’t forgotten about you guys!) Sian and I headed over to Hartington Hall, where we got married on the 10th October, 2010. (10/10/10 – so no excuses for me to forget!)  It was lovely to see the place, and we were really spoiled because a lot of friends and family came to see us, and share a wee mini reunion.

Amongst these wonderful travellers were Lucy and Duncan, and their gorgeous baby girl Edith.  When we saw her last, at the wedding, she was a few months young and tiny tiny – the youngest of our guests.  Now she is a lot bigger, and getting a wonderful smiley – sometimes a bit bulshy, but all round amazing attitude.

This is the happy family at the wedding last year...look how tiny she is!

As always, a million things on today, so I can’t stay long – but I wanted to get the pictures up now to share with you all, as I finally begin to conclude our trip home, and can get back to exploring Barbados with you all – armed with a new book and loads of info, I am really excited about the months to come – so stay tuned!

Until then, I give you Edith, Duncan, Lucy and the horse…and a guest appearance from Jenny – keen eyed spotters will remember her from previous posts such as these.

 

Enjoy – and hope you are all having a great weekend 🙂