Special moments

Two photographers doing what we love. Image: Su Leslie 2018

The history of photography was, until the digital age, entirely the history of special moments. Early photography was both expensive and extremely time consuming. Cameras — large, often bespoke contraptions that worked by exposing chemical-coated plates to light over relatively long periods of time — were the preserve of a few wealthy enthusiasts.

Even after new technologies made cameras accessible to the mass market (thanks Kodak), the cost of buying and developing film meant that many (most) people still saved photography for recording the events and moments of most importance to them. Five selfies with that cheeseburger — no way!

Now that most phones have (perfectly decent) digital cameras and are internet-connected, the way we think about — and use — photography has utterly changed. One of the most intelligent writers about photography (in my opinion) was the late John Berger. Writing in 1972, he said:

Photographs bear witness to a human choice being exercised in a given situation. A photograph is a result of the photographer’s decision that it is worth recording that this particular event or this particular object has been seen. If everything that existed were continually being photographed, every photograph would become meaningless.

John Berger

Recording the experience of art; a project I consider worthwhile. Image: Su Leslie

With the ubiquity of photography in our lives, how do we choose special moments? Not just those we capture — but those we share with the increasingly wide audience available through social media. How different bloggers respond to that question, posed in this week’s Lens Artists Photo Challenge, is fascinating in itself.

My lens for this project is creativity. My special moments are those in which creative activities are being practiced, or their products enjoyed.

Exploring creativity with a compassionate and talented teacher. Image: Su Leslie

There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.

Sophia Loren

Image: Su Leslie

Image: Su Leslie

Image: Su Leslie

Exploring the boundaries of art. Image: Su Leslie

” … I feel that what we should get from art is a sense of wonder, of something beyond ourselves, that celebrates our ‘being’ here.” — Trevor Bell. Images: Su Leslie

Before and after. Recording process matters. Images: Su Leslie

Lens Artists Photo Challenge | Special Moments

What served in the place of the photograph, before the camera’s invention? The expected answer is the engraving, the drawing, the painting. The more revealing answer might be: memory.

John Berger



If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. — Henry David Thoreau. Image: Su Leslie

I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be. — Douglas Adams

Ok, lots of words. But I’m still posting this to Debbie’s One Word Sunday | where — because when I started thinking about it, this is where I ended up.

Getting creative with an old desk


Refurbished; old writing desk bought from a charity shop. Image: Su Leslie 2019

My student son lives in a shared flat, which means he has to keep most of his belongings in his bedroom, and work there too when the shared spaces get too busy or noisy.

So when I saw an old drop-front writing desk, it seemed a perfect solution to his need for both a workspace and storage.

In its original state, the desk was a bit dull and sad-looking, but it’s amazing what a few coats of white paint can do!


As bought. The wooden finish was a bit shabby, and too dark for a small bedroom. Image: Su Leslie 2019

I remember from my flatting days that rented houses never have enough lights or power points, they’re always in the wrong place, and there’s generally nothing you can do about it. So with the Big T’s help, I’ve fitted power and lighting to the desk itself, with a four-outlet power board (with USB ports) and a LED light above the desk area.


Integrated power-board makes it easy to use/charge laptop, phone, etc. Image: Su Leslie 2019


LED light attached to the desk should make the work area usable in any room. Image: Su Leslie 2019


Imagining how the desk would look as my workspace. Image: Su Leslie 2019


Image: Su Leslie 2019

Having brought the desk indoors to photograph it, I’m realising how useful I’d find something like this. And it does look good with the black & white chair.

Posted to the Lens-Artists’ Photo Challenge — creativity

Just what the doctor ordered

There is quite a lot of evidence that engaging in creative activities improves health — mental and physical. Writing, drawing, painting, making crafts or music, even doodling and colouring in — they can all help to focus our thoughts, increase our happiness, boost our immune systems and even help treat dementia.

I’ve experienced periods of depression for most of my adult life. Of all the treatments I’ve tried, what seems to work best is making stuff; focusing my mind and hands and energy on some creative project, however small. At the moment, it’s Christmas cards.

I’m always a bit reluctant to recommend anything, especially for something as serious as mental health, but there is a significant body of research behind this — and it works for me.

Posted to Ragtag Daily Prompt | recommendation

Time to brush up my printing skills

The problem with having a tidy-up is finding evidence of past enthusiasms and becoming side-tracked.

Once upon a time, an art teacher friend kindly showed me how to do lino block printing.

(My lack of talent is no reflection on her teaching abilities btw).

At that time I obviously acquired some blocks, carving tools, roller and ink. Today I found them again.

Cutting turns out to be easier than I remember, but I really need to work on the printing side of things.

But as my work-table graffiti tells me; it really is worth it.

DP Photo Challenge: ambience, take 3

Interior shot of art studio. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Studio interior. Inspirations, materials, colour and a space to create. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

I mentioned in yesterday’s post about spending time in my friend Claire‘s art studio. It was an interesting experience for me, sharing a creative space with others, but working on my own project.

Studio interior with finished works. Claire Delaney, artist. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Finished work by Claire Delaney, artist. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

I’m sure the space itself — well-lit, colourful and joyous — helps the creative process.

Daily Post Photo Challenge ¦ Ambience

100 days of word fun


I am going to have FUN!

I am going to have FUN!

I’ve just signed up for the 100 Days Project – ‘cos I’m not busy enough at the moment, right?

So for 100 days – between 11 July and 18 October – I’ve undertaken to do one creative exercise every day and share the result on my project page and probably my social media channels.

I’m not going to bombard you all with every little doodle, but I am going to use this blog to reflect on the journey and share some of the cool things my fellow 100-day-ers are doing.

I’ve been pondering for a couple of weeks just what my creative exercise would be but somehow at about 5.30 yesterday morning, it all became clear.

Su on 100 Days

I work with words; as a copywriter, blogger, researcher. And over the years I’ve realised that I write better when I have a visual context for the words. That’s a fancy way of saying I’m crap at writing drafts!

I write better headlines if I’m typing straight into the ad; better website or blog copy when I’m on the page, and better reports and articles when I use a tool like Publisher that shows me how readers will see my words.

So for my project, I’m going to take a word a day and visualise it. Maybe take a photo or draw something; maybe put it with other words in some form. Maybe I’ll turn the word itself into an image. I’m not sure quite how it will work. I just know I’m going to have fun.

Su on 100 Days