Fifty Portraits

at 50mm, of 50 people like me


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Portrait No 36 – Robin, Blacksmith & Anvil Dealer

This week I had the pleasure of meeting and spending a fascinating few hours with Robin at his smithy in the Rossendale hills. I never realised that something so apparently unassuming as an anvil could have such a rich and interesting history, I also had no idea that there is a thriving international trade in anvils!

Robin’s love for all things blacksmith related started at age 10 when he was inspired by a TV programme but unfortunately his plans for an apprenticeship after school were dashed when he suffered kidney failure.

Many years and three kidney transplants later Robin is certainly following his passion, he trades anvils internationally as well has having a small forge. He also runs workshops in blacksmithing and plans are underway for a local museum.
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Robin also has another claim to fame, last year he was a category winner in George Clarke’s Shed of The Year. I can’t say I’m surprised though, his shed is a photographers dream, it’s crammed full of interesting old things that are great to photograph.

You can find Robin on Instagram here or visit his website here.

(All images ©Janet Broughton  www.definitelydreaming.com.)

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Portrait Number 35 – Chris, The Blind Woodturner

I actually photographed Chris way back in December, at the time I was a little unsure whether I was going to move this site to a different platform so I shared a post about Chris on my main site Definitely Dreaming while I decided what was happening with this one.

A very busy first half of the year followed so not only did I not get around to photographing anyone else I also didn’t move Chris to the right website. But better late than never!

When someone starts a conversation with “I couldn’t find a really well made vampire stake so I decided to teach myself wood turning” you know they are going to be interesting, and when that person is also blind they become incredibly inspiring.

Chris has been blind for over eight years and around four years ago he decided he needed to learn woodturning (to make that vampire stake!). He listened to hours and hours of YouTube videos until he was convinced he knew what he was doing and then bought himself a lathe and started turning wood.

He’s had a number of practical challenges to overcome but he has become an exceptionally skilled wood turner and with the help of his partner Nicola he now has a website and sells his products at craft fairs and in the local tea rooms.

Chris also has his own YouTube channel with a growing following, which is no surprise since he’s a natural in front of the camera and an engaging speaker.

You can find Chris online and see his work on his website here and on YouTube here.

Make sure you checkout his work, I’m sure you will as inspired as I am!!

(All images ©Janet Broughton  www.definitelydreaming.com.)


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Portrait No 34 – Jane, Pottery Artist

I can’t believe how long I’ve been away! I’ve been so busy with the launch of a new blog and a website for online photography courses that time has run away with me, I got such a shock to log on and see that it’s almost a year since my last post!

Last week I went to visit Jane at her studio, Fired 4U, near Preston. Jane left a career in hotel management 10 years ago to launch a pottery studio and offer adult and children’s pottery decorating parties and workshops.

I just love the walls that are decorated with the handprints of all the children that have had their birthday parties at Fired 4 U, such a great idea.

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Even though I already knew that Jane takes commissions for decorated and personalised pottery I was amazed to see how effortless she makes painting look, this beautifully decorated tile took no time at all and she was even chatting away whilst she painted!

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You can visit the website and find out more about Fired 4 U here and you can follow Jane on Twitter as @Fired4U.

(All images ©Janet Broughton  www.definitelydreaming.com.)


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Portrait No 33 – Rainy, Smallholder and Designer/Maker

Well it’s not everyday I go to meet and photograph someone and end up bottle feeding an orphaned lamb but that’s what happened when I met Rainy this week at her Little Lancashire Smallholding !

Rainy has a wonderful eclectic business that started out as cake making using the eggs from her own chickens. It was a business that allowed her to fit work around her children and be around when they were at home. Over the years the business has evolved into all things craft and smallholding related. Rainy keeps her own chickens, geese and sheep, she gives lessons in chicken keeping and even has chickens boarding with her whilst their owners go away ! She also makes beautiful chunky knitted and crochet items, personalised aluminium jewellery and keyrings and runs various craft based workshops, basically she is woman of many talents !

You can find Rainy’s Little Lancashire Smallholding website here and her jewellery and other items are sold on Not On The High Street.

And just in case you wondered, this is Colonel, the orphaned lamb who is currently thriving !

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


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Portrait No 32 – Jacqueline, Holistic Healer and Spiritual Artist

As you will already know this project is all about people that have turned a hobby or passion into a career. For Jacqueline her business is much more than a passion, its a spiritual journey that she feels is only at the beginning. She’s very open to where that journey may lead her and she brims with passion and enthusiasm when she talks about the varied but interlinked strands of her business.

As well being a recently qualified Reiki Master Jacqueline offers various forms of holistic therapy, including aromatherapy and crystal healing, from her studio in a lovely old building in Rossendale and is soon to be offering meditation classes. As if all that doesn’t keep her busy enough she is also a talented spiritual artist. As well as paintings she showed me some beautiful works in textile.

Although Jacqueline’s business seems to consist of quite diverse strands they are all underpinned and connected by her strong spiritual beliefs and I can’t wait to see where her journey will take her !

Jacqueline’s business is Semple Angelic – her website can be found here and she can be found on Twitter as @Sempleangelic.

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


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Portrait No 31- Alexis, Artisan Glass Engraver

Other than having a vague idea of someone’s business to know that they fit the bill for the project I don’t look too deeply into what they actually do, not out of laziness or ignorance but because I much prefer to talk to people and hear about their business first hand and the passion always shines through !

So when I went to meet Alexis I knew that he was a glass engraver but nothing more. In my ignorance I assumed that his work would involve engraving messages on commemorative glassware, Happy 21st etc. but its so much more than that ! His engravings are often miniature works of art, such incredibly detailed images engraved freehand into glass and often purely from his own imagination.

Alexis was made redundant from his career as a dental technician in 2013 and he combined the skills from that career with his passion for art and all things creative and his love of walking to launch his own business “Walking On Glass”. He can often be found at craft fairs around the North West and if you ever see him make sure you have a look at his work, you will definitely be impressed !

You can follow Alexis on Twitter as @GlassForWalkers and his website can be found here.

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


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Portrait No 30 – Ben, Film Maker

I was really quite amazed when I went to meet Ben at the studio of Sitcom Soldiers, Ben is part of a team of six who make up Sitcom Soldiers and they work from a fantastic studio in Bolton. The studio is within a large industrial unit and when they moved in last year they taught themselves all sorts of new skills and made it a really great space. What really amazed me though what happens at the Sitcom Soldiers studios, from the outside of the building it looks like any other industrial unit and yet bands come from all over the world to film music videos here !

Ben is also in a band, The Arcadia Verses, and it was his love of music that lead him to film making. He was inspired after meeting a Hollywood film maker when he was travelling in America with a group of friends in a band and when he returned started making videos for friends. The film making grew and eventually led to the formation of Sitcom Soldiers in 2002.

You can find the Sitcom Soldiers website here and they are on Twitter as @sitcomsoldiers.

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