Fifty Portraits

at 50mm, of 50 people like me


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Portrait No 14 – Debra, mosaic artist

I had a lovely return visit to Bollington last week for the project, I met three wonderful ladies and had a fantastic day which included a bit of mosaic making, delicious home made scones fresh from the oven and an amazingly relaxing neck and shoulder massage !

The first of the three ladies on the blog is Debra and although I describe her as a mosaic artist her creative talents seem to be endless, when I met her she was still on a high from the premiere of a feature length film she had written for Bollington Festival.

Debra isn’t only passionate about creating her own work she is also very passionate about inclusion and shares her skills and passion with the local community, I made my first ever mosaic (albeit small and simple) under her guidance and was also honoured to be the 826th person (but not the last) to place a tile into a mosaic she was making for a local church, various schools and community groups had been involved in the creation of the mosaic.

Having seen the display of Debra’s work in the corridor’s outside her studio I find it amazing that she actually stumbled into mosaic making accidentally. She was teaching various crafts to adults and was often asked to teach mosaic making but initially resisted, eventually she agreed to teach a class which was so successful that the mosaic making spiralled and eventually became the wonderful business that she now has.

Debra’s website is www.thecreativespacestudio.com. You can find her Facebook page here and she is on Twitter as @CreatvSpcStudio.

(All images ©J Broughton Photography www.jbroughton.co.uk.)

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Two questions, no real answers

Last Friday I photographed and blogged Suzanne who is number 13 and on Saturday I was randomly struck by the thought that this means I’m actually a quarter of the way into this project ! I’m quite amazed to have progressed so quickly to this point.
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There are two questions that I’m often asked when I talk about the project and one of them is how long it will take. The reality is that I really don’t know, I haven’t set a target because for me that would take some of the pleasure away. When I was planning to start the project in January timescale was obviously something that I thought about, I expected to have some difficulties recruiting volunteers and maybe I’d shoot one and then have a quite a wait before I managed to find another. Worst case scenario I thought would be to average one a month and then the project would take around four years, I could live with that, after all its only for pleasure and there’s no rush, right ?

Turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong about struggling to find people ! My first shout out for volunteers received a great response and I keep getting more all the time. There are 13 people live on the blog, three more to be photographed on Thursday and lots lined up – and by the way if you’ve volunteered and I haven’t yet arranged a date, don’t worry I will get around to you ! So how long will it take ? Well definitely not four years !! Possibly around 18 months, maybe more, maybe less – I’m happy to just take things as they come for now.

The other question I’m often asked is what I’m going to do with the project at the end. Its another question that I don’t really have the answer for at the moment. In a way I don’t need to do anything at the end, I’m sharing as I go and the blogs building quite a following. I’ve been quite surprised and more than just a little flattered to have been unexpectedly told by a number of people over the last few weeks how much they are enjoying following the project, seeing the pictures and reading the stories.

It would be a shame though not to mark the end in some way. It would be rather lovely to have an exhibition and see all fifty of these wonderful people displayed together. A book would be amazing too ! But who knows, I’ve never had an exhibition or a book and have no idea how to go about either of them but we just never know what the future has in store…


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Portrait No 13 – Suzanne, artist

I feel a little guilty that anyone needs to be number 13 but I don’t think its unlucky though, in fact it’s quite the opposite, I think the first image has to be one of my favourites so far from the project.

Suzanne told me a fascinating story of how she had researched her family tree and found out that her Great, Great Granddad Edwin Ellis was a very successful marine landscape artist and I love how this image ties Suzanne and her work back to her ancestor (that’s his work on the wall).

Even more interesting is the fact that Edwin Ellis was born into a lace making family, much Suzanne’s work revolves around textiles often with the use of words and text and she’s inspired by the sea.

Once you hear the family history you realise that it was inevitable that Suzanne would become an artist, she has a business that’s evolved from making pieces for friends and family to having work for sale on Etsy and Not On The High Street and has clients worldwide that regularly commission her.

And as if that isn’t enough she also works in schools and produces her own artwork that one day she WILL have a solo exhibition !

You can see more of Suzanne’s work at www.skybluesea.co.uk and the links to her shops are on the website. Her Fine Art work can be found here.

(All images ©J Broughton Photography www.jbroughton.co.uk.)