Two months to two!

A very quick happy weekend from me, and a picture of the Bee enjoying the sun yesterday as she turns 22 months.  I’ve got a busy weekend ahead of me, with three shoots – perfect, considering this fantastic weather!  Here’s hoping for an Indian summer this September.  If you’ve ever fancied getting a portrait session booked, I seriously recommend the golden hour that this beautiful weather offers – at the moment, the timing of that is 7-8pmish, getting earlier as we head into Autumn.  It offers beautifully soft light and some great opportunities for lens flare – yummy.

Happy weekend!

Photographer Oxford

In May this year, I spent two days shooting with 80 members of University College Oxford (staff and fellows), for their exciting new website, which will be appearing in August.  The shoot took a whopping 9 hours (we allocated 10 minutes per person), I took *a lot* of images, and the several thousand I edited were very well received.  ‘Several thousand?!’, I hear you say?  Yes, several thousand.  Headshots are a deeply personal thing.  What you or I might think is a beautiful picture of someone, they might look at and only see that their chin looks funny, or they’re smiling too much.  So when I take headshots of anyone, I like to offer each individual a good choice of image, so they can chose the one they feel works best.  I want every client to feel great about photos of themselves, and this is one of the ways I help that happen.

The dynamic and ambitious Anne-Marie Canning, Communications Project Manager at the College (and City Councillor for Carfax, as it happens – busy woman!) and her colleagues seem to have really understood the power of good photography, film and social networking in creating a buzz about a place.  They have brought in talented multimedia artists, like Kerry Harrison, to create beautiful images for their alternative prospectus.  He also created a series of short films, of which my favourite is this one, simply entitled ‘At Univ…’.  You can also find a good one about the Master, Sir Ivor Crewe.  I was flattered and chuffed when Anne-Marie contacted me to do the headshots for the college, and it was great working with her.

For the shoot, we wanted a background which had a slightly different feel about it – not just the dark wood and sandstone often associated with Oxbridge Colleges.  I visited the college a couple of weeks pre-shoot and found the perfect location – a modern, glass corridor extension, with great natural light at all times of day, and built onto part of the original building.  The headshots were taken against a background of the meeting place between the old and new buildings, a metaphor for the new life the college breathes into the great traditions of learning.

On the day, armed with my portrait lens of choice, the trusty Nikon 50mm f/1.8, I worked with each individual in private for the 10 minutes allocated, to help them relax and feel good about what can be a daunting process for many.  I think everyone had fun, and I do know that everyone was happy with the results of the shoot, which is great.  See some favourites, including a shot of Univ Master, Sir Ivor Crewe, below.

“Mim is a great photographer and a delight to work with. She gets people to relax in front of the lens and captures them in a moment of genuine expression. Her portraits really helped us to show Oxford staff and academics in another light. The photos are professional, good quality and we had plenty of choice. The photos have been well received by the college community I would highly recommend working with Mim!” - Anne-Marie Canning, Communications Project Manager, University College, Oxford

headshot photographer Oxford
Oxford university photographer

Wow, this year’s Buddhafield Festival was electric.  In fact, I was a little disturbed by the effect it had on me.  I was in a field, with mud, a tent and a toddler; it rained pretty much incessantly from the Wednesday to Saturday (yay for the sunny Sunday – but sun, a bit late, non?); and I was working the whole time, as festie photographer, in a team of two, so I felt a bit stressed (internal monologue: ‘must catch every moment of beauty and significance’.  ‘must catch every moment of beauty and significance’. ‘must catch every moment of beauty and significance.’).  And yet, as I was leaving, I dragged my feet with a familiar reluctance to rejoin the outside world of central heating, TV and service stations; I was grinning from ear to ear at everyone around me, and from the heart each time; and I had the feeling I had been lying on a hot beach listening to the waves for a week – I felt rested.  At this point, it’s worth mentioning that this is a dry festival – not the weather, evidently, but it is a drink- and drug-free space.  So nope, it wasn’t that.  And I have managed to function more or less as before since my return (possibly with a few more smiles and a bit more lurve), so it is not that something snapped, cracked or popped.

The team behind Buddhafield Festival know what they are doing.  For five days each year, they create an event that stimulates minds, opens hearts and tickles the occasional bare backside – it’s magical, and this year, rain and all, was to be no different.  They simply wouldn’t allow it – no-one there would.  So, sandwiched between two wonderful ceremonies (think: lots of dress-up; flight attendants; stilt walkers; brass band; drums; gratitude and snippets of profound Buddhist teaching over loud speakers) was a deliciously tasty treat.  Key ingredients: workshops; ecstatic dance; juggling; Small World hot choc with cream; music; fires; saunas, hot tubs and solar showers in the woods; fresh pancakes, pizzas, curries, waffles; falafel; brilliant kids’ area; two slightly lost looking ponies; the fabulous and amazing ear gong; drums; massages; yoga; permaculture; and lots of very lovely people.  Thanks to all for joining me on the ride, and thank you to all that make it happen, especially to those behind the ceremonies – they get me every time.  And remember dudes, freedom is not elsewhere.

I have thousands of images to work through, but I’ve whacked 60 unedited favourites in a gallery (you can also find links to last year’s Buddhafield and Green Gathering galleries there too), and below are a few of my favourites.

Right, back to editing la France…

My favourite
Juggling workshop

Experimenting with how to photograph a juggling workshop – and that’s mud on my hand – do I remove it and remove the authenticity?

Wet Buddha

Stunning face paint by Susu Mama


View from the loo

The Bee and her bunches

The best kind of security

Beautiful face in the rain

mmm! freshly baked in a clay oven
There were some of these about

festival photographer

Back in April, I joined Ali and her three kids on her mother’s farm, to create some portraits for her husband’s birthday.  We spent a great hour climbing trees and running around, and I got introduced to their pet chickens.  I love working with little ones, they’re often so open and eager to share their interests and joy at the world; showing a keen and genuine interest in what they have to say comes naturally to me, and helps develop great rapport for some lovely photos.  I created a range of images in the time we had together – of all three; more posed individual shots; shots of each with some thing they love (in this case, a tree, a trampoline and a chicken!); and group shots with other family members.

For the last ten minutes, we were joined by Ali’s mother and grandmother, and I had the honour of photographing four generations of women together.  I hope one day I get to do the same with my mum and the Bee…  

Below are a couple of favourites.  Thanks Ali, and a huge thanks to the kids for showing me your chickens, woods and tractors!

Oxford portrait photographer 

What happens when you day ‘no funny faces!’ – works every time:)

Love the expression on the left

Four generations of women


The highlight of June was a ridiculously exciting trip to the Dordogne, where I was to photograph a chateau over a week-long holiday with my peeps.  I’m still trawling through the hundreds (*thousands*) of photos I took in that enchanted place (, and building up to (a probably long and gushing) blog post about how I left part of my soul there.  In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few pics from the journey. 

We drove, and our journey began with getting stuck for a number of hours on the M25; the Bee managed to coordinate a poo explosion with a serious traffic incident, so nobody in the car was particularly happy and we missed our channel crossing.  We then proceeded to get lost in central Paris sans map.  Be warned, the ring road has a habit of spitting drivers out in the middle of the night due to roadworks.  The Bee slept on peacefully as her father and I tried to work out whose fault it was we were in a major city with no map – creating a nice atmosphere we decided to maintain for the rest of the ride.  We arrived in Orleans, an hour south of Paris, at 2am, only to find that all the hotel rooms were booked… except one.  The concierge apologised repeatedly as he gave me the key – normally Hotel Formule 1 consider the room too horrible to rent out.

Happy days (that bed on the left was a bit small for me and Bee, but I guess it was, still, a bed)

The reluctant journey homeward was more successful, though a little self-conscious with our by-then poxy progeny (sorry to anyone who caught it from us) (and sorry I’m over-using the brackets).

We avoided Paris completely and headed for Monet’s garden, Giverny, near Vernon.  I have always wanted to go there, being a bit of a Monet fan and all, and it was worth the little detour.  I couldn’t help feeling a bit disappointed by the concrete paths, the railings, the high volume of tourists and massive compulsory shop at the entrance (Monet toilet seat, anyone?).  I felt the place had lost some of its soul, and I wondered what Monet would make of it now.  But if you paused to absorb the space, and shut out the babbling, umbrella-led groups, it was special.  The flowers were absolutely stunning, and we hit rose and poppy season big time.  The water lillies were flowering for us, and as we filed past in what felt like a long queue for the photo spots, some frogs cheered me up by making some really weird noises.

On to some photos – yay if you’re still reading!  Being a long-time Monet appreciator, I had this groovy idea that I’d experiment with imitating his impressionistic style, by taking some deliberately out-of-focus poppy shots.  Below, in amongst some of their more focused companions, you can see some of the results.  Some of the shots have worked well, and I feel the lack of focus and form draws attention to the interplay between the colours of the garden, which were fantastic.  Hope you enjoy them too.  If anyone has feedbacl, any thoughts or knowledge of similar attempts to combine Impressionistic style and the photographic genre, I’d love to hear from you:)
 - add comments below.

A bientot!

My Impressionistic attempt #1

mmm poppies

random beauty shut away

love this one, got the focus exactly as I wanted it

lucky bee

the Monet shot – gave me a bit of a buzz even with random Dutch tourists on the bridge


busy times

bit more blurriness

Monet’s path

To find out more about me, check me out here: Oxford photographer.

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