Lemurs & Lee Durrell at Whipsnade Zoo

Posted on April 3, 2016 by Admin under Uncategorized
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Tonight sees the start of ‘The Durrells’,  ITV’s new six part series based on the conservationist Gerald Durrell’s famous book ‘ My Family & Other Animals’, which was first published sixty years ago. The story is set in Corfu where a young Gerald, his mum, sister and two brothers moved to in 1935 and stayed until the outbreak of World War Two. From a very young age Durrell had been obsessed with animals and the book tells us of his adventures with the local wildlife and the exploits of his rather eccentric family too!

Back in 1987 I watched the BBC’s adaptation of the book and loved it so much I rushed out to buy myself a copy. I was particularly interested in Gerald Durrell as he had worked as a student zoo keeper for two years at Whipsnade Zoo after the war, which brings me to the point of why I’m writing this blog post! https://www.zsl.org/zsl-whipsnade-zoo

My photo is of Gerald’s second wife, Dr Lee Durrell opening the new Lemur Island at Whipsnade Zoo back in 1998, sadly Gerald had died three years earlier and the Island was dedicated to his memory. Lee is a famous zoologist in her own right and they had married in 1979 and worked together in animal conservation. Gerald had earlier founded Jersey Zoo and Lee today carries on Gerald’s legacy through her work with the zoo and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust https://www.durrell.org/wildlife/conservation/

I remember being really excited about going to the opening to photograph Lee and the Lemurs and I was not disappointed as she was lovely, waiting very patiently until the Lemurs kindly obliged to give me a front page photo for the Dunstable Gazette!

Over the years I’ve since been back to Whipsnade to photograph the Lemurs many times and always think of the day when Lee opened their new home! I’ll be watching tonight for sure when it starts at 8pm!

 

Lee-Durrell-Whipsnade-Zoo-Joanna-Cross

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Business Women Awards

Posted on November 2, 2015 by Admin under Uncategorized
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I’ve always enjoyed the excitement of photographing an awards night, so was delighted to be booked by Debbie Gilbert to cover her first ‘Best Business Women Awards’. Debbie also founded the very successful Mums UnLtd and Viva Business Networking and set up the national awards competition to recognise and reward women who run a business around family commitments.

There were 17 categories to enter, covering a wide range of industries including – ‘Best Business, Best New Business and Most Inspiring Businesswoman’. The awards received over 260 entries and the setting of Club Batchwood in St Albans was the venue for the evenings 180 guests.

The grand chandelier at Club Batchwood made a stunning backdrop to the winners presentation pictures, taken at the top of the impressive sweeping staircase and all of the ladies looked really fabulous.

It was difficult to pick out only a few photos to use in my collage (see below) as there were so many pictures of talented business women to choose from.  The award winners are the ladies in the top photo and all of the finalists are featured in the larger group shot.

Pictured also are Kate Marston from KM Design in Tring, winner of  Best Business Services.

The overall Best Business winner was Julianne Hadden, founder of Jepeca, who also won the Best Business Working with Children and Families award.

Ravneet Bermi of Puddleducks, West Herts, Luton & Dunstable, winner of Best New Business and Best Business Woman in Franchising.

The owner of Stevenage based ASK Physio, Sarah Kinsella, was the winner of Best Business Woman in Health & Wellness.

For the full list of winners, more photos and to find out how to register for next years awards, please go to http://www.bestbusinesswomenawards.com

Selection of photos from the Best Business Women Awards 2015

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo photography

Posted on April 1, 2015 by Admin under Uncategorized
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If you’re planning a trip to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo over the Easter holidays – be sure to check out the breath-taking animal photography exhibition that’s on show http://www.zsl.org/zsl-whipsnade-zoo

The 2014 ZSL Animal Photography Prize winning entries are currently on display and were judged by ZSL Honorary Conservation Fellow and television presenter Kate Humble and ornithologist Bill Oddie amongst others. Entries to the competition came from all over the world.

Images on display include photographer Simone Sbaraglia’s top prize of a Panther Chameleon and other winning entries include a lovely black and white close up of an Orangutan and a delightful photograph of a Gentoo penguin leaping over the waves.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo have also opened a very nice new Visitor Centre with a gift shop and cosy cafe, just in time for Easter!

Vivian Maier street photographer

Posted on March 6, 2015 by Admin under Uncategorized
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Vivian's self-portrait photo - the cover of  Vivian Maier Street Photographer, edited by John Maloof

Vivian’s self-portrait photo – the cover of Vivian Maier Street Photographer, edited by John Maloof

The recent Oscar’s were a reminder for me to write this blog about the American street photographer Vivian Maier as ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ directed by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel was nominated for best documentary feature.

www.findingvivianmaier.com

I went to see the documentary back in the summer and also have a book of her work ‘Street Photographer’ (edited by John Maloof) and I wanted to write a little about this very talented lady and her work.

Vivian Maier (1926- 2009) was born in New York City to a French mother and Austrian father, she spent many of her younger years in France, returning to America in 1951 to work as a children’s nanny, for families in Chicago.

The nanny’s young charges would often be taken along on her photo expeditions through the cities streets. Nothing seemed to escape Vivian’s camera, ‘Street Photographer’ is packed full of glossy, beautifully printed images – my favourites are portraits of a lady sitting on a bench and a shot of a street newspaper seller asleep, framed by all his papers. There are just so many images to choose a favourite from.

Her work is amazing and even more incredible is the fact that not many seemed to know about her immense photo collection, and that her talents were not discovered until after her death. The eccentric and elusive character was very secretive about her work, but she left behind a legacy that is an extraordinary record of social history from that era.

Fortunately, John Maloof came across about 30,000 of Vivian’s negatives at an auction of contents of unpaid storage lockups in Chicago. The documentary tells the story of John’s discovery of the negatives and subsequent work to archive the immense collection. Vivian’s former charges and employers are interviewed and fascinating glimpses of her character are revealed.

To find out more about Vivian and her work check out: www.vivianmaier.com

‘Drawn By Light’ & ‘Make Life Worth Living’ photo exhibitions at the Science Museum

Posted on February 8, 2015 by Admin under Uncategorized
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The Royal Photographic Society Collection’s ‘Drawn By Light’ exhibition was as good an excuse as any for a trip to South Kensington at the weekend. On at the Science Museum until the 1st March it showcases over 200 wonderful images from the world’s oldest photographic society that was founded in 1853.

Tickets can be booked online at:

http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/visitmuseum/Plan_your_visit/exhibitions/drawn_by_light.aspx

The exhibition features plenty of photographs from the 19th Century pioneers of photography including, Roger Fenton, Francis Frith and Julia Margaret Cameron – who I was surprised to learn didn’t take up photography until she was forty eight.

I couldn’t help but smile at the photo of the rather stern looking, top hat wearing ‘camera club outing’ of its day – ‘Members of the Photographic Society Club on an outing to Hampton Court’, 1856.

Fast forward through time to 1930 and I found Frederick William Bond’s (the London Zoo photographer) picture of ‘Contents of an Ostrich’s Stomach’ really intriguing. The contents included, a lace handkerchief, assorted copper coins, a length of rope and a four inch nail!

Other great images by Ansel Adams, Don McCullin, Terry O’Neill and Martin Parr to name a few famous photographers are featured.

It seemed only right that Steve McCurry’s 1985 iconic print of Sharbat Gula, Afghan Girl was placed next to another famous classic, Yousuf Karsh’s 1943 portrait of Winston Churchill. (I was fortunate enough to go on one of Mr McCurry’s photo workshops back in 2006, but I’ll save that story for another blog post!)

It was a real bonus to find that on the same floor as ‘Drawn By Light’, the documentary photographer Nick Hedges’ ‘Make Life Worth Living’ (a photo project carried out between 1968-1972 for the charity, Shelter) was on display in a separate free entry exhibition. They are skilfully taken ‘gritty’ black and white images of the poor housing conditions and poverty, endured by people in Britain back then. The hundred featured images are on show for the first time, following a 40 year restriction to protect the anonymity of those featured.

http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/visitmuseum/Plan_your_visit/exhibitions/make_life_worth_living.aspx?keywords=shelter

There’s still a couple of weeks left to see the exhibitions in London, they both close at the Science Museum on the 1st March. ‘Drawn By Light’ will then re-open on the 20th March – but this will mean a trip up north to Bradford if you want to see it, to the National Media Museum http://www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk – the home of the National Photography Collection.

British Wildlife Photography Awards exhibition

Posted on January 28, 2015 by Admin under Uncategorized
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Hello and welcome to my very first blog post! Although the internet has revolutionised the way we view photographs, I still love going to see an actual exhibition. It usually involves a trip to London, but this weekend I didn’t have to go too far as Luton’s Stockwood Discovery Centre is currently hosting the British Wildlife Photography Awards exhibition BWPA  www.bwpawards.org

The featured images are truly stunning and it does make you appreciate the rich habitat that we have at home here in Britain. The overall winning photo ‘The Tourist’ by Lee Acaster is of a Greylag Goose photographed against a dark and broody London backdrop.

I loved the Animal Portraits section, Keith Thorburn’s photo of a Wild Stag at Glencoe is really majestic and look out for the Common Shore Crab by Ian Wade, a great pic with Clevedon Pier in the background that’s featured in the Coast and Maritime section.

All the details about the lens/shutter speed/aperture used are detailed too, which if you’re into all the techy stuff will probably be of interest to you.

My overall favourite photo was by Jill Barrow, ‘Going Home’ a beautifully lit winter snowy photo of a fox in the distance returning to his den. The light and composition are so lovely in this pic.

The free entry exhibition is on until 15 March at the Discovery Centre – www.stockwooddiscoverycentre.com if you want inspiration on how to take photos of wildlife, you can’t afford to miss it.

 

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