100 Found Items

A study conducted by an insurance company shows that on average we lose up to 9 objects every day. This adds up to around 200,000 items each year! Some of the most common lost items include our phones, car keys and bank cards. I decided that I was going to look at the more personal objects that we lose such as a child’s special teddy or an engagement ring. 

While several photographers influenced this project some stood out more than others. Taryn Simon, Sian Bonnell, and Mark Dion were the artists I took the most inspiration from. Taryn Simon’s project, Contraband, started it all. Contraband is a series of documentary-style photographs cataloguing objects that have been taken from passengers at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City by the United States Customs and Border Protection agency. The collection of items ranges from things that seem insignificant such as vegetables and baseball caps to illegal products that could cause people a lot of harm such as gamma-hydroxybutyrate, a date rape drug. I was drawn to her work because of the vast array of objects that she had found. I also became interested in the way she documented the items and used them to make the audience think about the bigger picture.

The images made by Simon are completely clinical, it is left up to the audience to determine the context in which they lie. The only context that we are given is the title of the project, Contraband, which implies that these objects are illegal and therefore could be harmful to the citizens of America. The way that Simon has chosen to photograph these objects shows a certain degree of detachment from the items, it is clear that the objects do not belong to her and she is simply photographing them to catalogue and archive them. 

During the development of this project, I experimented with images both in and outside of the studio. I started to photograph the items I found in a studio setting. I liked this at first because it was an easy starting point and allowed the objects to speak for themselves without a noisy background to take away from their importance.

However, as the project developed. I started to photograph the objects in the location I found them. I found that I preferred this method of cataloguing the objects I found because it gave them some context and allowed the audience to see what I was seeing when I was looking for the lost items.

From this point forwards, it was a matter of finding more lost items! I ventured out almost every day in search of more objects. I found a few here and there but it wasn’t enough. I started to take my camera and “found item collecting bag” everywhere I went, to work, to see friends, even to do my weekly shopping!

Eventually, I found 100 items and I had taken photographs of every single one. I arranged them into a photobook. I then bound the photobook with pieces of paper that I had found while searching for objects. My work was then displayed at the Solent University end-of-year show entitled ‘Bokeh’.

Below is a selection of the images I took for this project as well as photos of the gallery space I am displaying my work.

Chelsea x

Stephanie and Florent’s Wedding

Stephanie and Florent had been together for a long time before they decided to get married. Their wedding was small and full of only their closest friends and family. Their reception was held in a local pub that meant a lot to all of them. 

One of the biggest challenges during this wedding was that the lighting was very dim in both the registry office and the pub. After changing my settings a few times I found a combination that worked well. During the time between the wedding and the reception, it was planned that I would take photos of the couple and their kids in the park. Unfortunately, we were not able to do this because it was snowing. Because of this, I made sure to take some extra candid shots of the couple interacting with their children and as a family. In the end, this worked out well as both the bride and groom were very happy. 

This wedding and reception enabled me to learn a lot about photographing really small weddings and making the most out of a more intimate setting. I found that while it was easier to make sure I had photographed everyone at the wedding it was also difficult to come up with new poses or significant events that I could photograph. Overall this wedding was an amazing learning opportunity and I am so grateful to the couple for allowing me to join them on their big day.

Chelsea x

The bride made her own bouquet over lockdown.

Wendy and Trevor’s Wedding

As this was the first wedding that I have been the photographer at, I was super nervous. I did a lot of research before the wedding and also spoke with the clients a number of times to make sure I knew what they wanted and the style of photos that they liked. The couple had differing opinions on the images they wanted so I had to work hard to produce something they would both like on their special day. 

While the bride wanted the photos to be more posed to make sure everyone important to the couple had a photo with them, the groom wanted the images to be more candid because he didn’t like standing around and forcing a smile for a photo. This made it difficult to find a balance between a few staged/ group photos and the more playful candid shots. 

Eventually, the bride won and we spent half an hour after the ceremony taking posed group photos. Once we had finished this everyone stood chatting and having a few drinks while I took a few more natural photographs. 

Overall I was really happy with my first wedding as a photographer and it is something I would like to explore more in the future. 

Chelsea x

Horndean Half Marathon

When I was given the job as the photographer for the Horndean half marathon in the Queen Elizabeth Country Park I was excited because although I had photographed similar events for college projects before I had never been the sole photographer. 

I was tasked with shooting the warm-up, the start of the race, during the race, and the end of the race when everyone received a medal. During the shoot, I wanted to get a few images of people who you would typically think do marathons. However, I wanted the main focus of my shoot to be on the people that you wouldn’t necessarily think of as marathon runners. In doing this I wanted to show that you don’t have to be super fit and healthy to run a marathon, anyone can do it when they try hard. 

My favourite part of the shoot was the end of the race because everyone had their medals and were so proud of themselves and their friends for completing the marathon. I also really enjoyed taking photographs during the race because a lot of people were becoming tired and worn down but would smile once they saw me with my camera. 

Overall I was really pleased with the shoot and would love to take photos at more marathons or other sporting events. 

Chelsea x

A group of very colourful participants and their four-legged friend.
Everyone got a nice shiny medal at the end of the race.

30th Birthday Photos

In this shoot, I worked with a lovely lady called Mary Isaac. She had asked me to photograph her in the studio for her upcoming 30th birthday. She wanted to have one last spontaneous memory of her 20’s before she settled down a bit more in her 30’s. 

For this shoot, Mary showed me a few photos that she liked and wanted to do something similar. Once I had looked at these photos I knew exactly what she wanted and made a mental note of the sort of poses I wanted to capture. 

She wore a yellow outfit complete with a tutu and heels. I wanted the focus of the images to be on her and her outfit so we decided on a plain white background so that there wouldn’t be too many distractions behind her.

After a few popped balloons and heel stumbles we were both so happy with the shots that we had produced. I really enjoyed this shoot because it was the first time I had taken a client into the studio with me. It was great to learn new things such as knowing what poses will look best on the model and how best to light the space that I was shooting in.

Chelsea x

Celebrating the birthday girl!


Fresh Therapies Product Photography

I worked with the company Fresh Therapies to produce several shoots. In the brief, I was told that they are an all-natural nail and body care company. As such I wanted to incorporate nature into my images as much as I could. I also wanted to keep the photos clean and simple to show that they are an organic brand. 

This was the first time that I would be taking photographs of products for a client. So I took the time to research product photography and find out how to make the products look their best. I learned how to set up flat lays and the importance of sticking with the aesthetic of the company. 

I used a variety of backgrounds and took the products to the studio, the park, and even the beach. I found that using natural light worked best for this project because of its soft warmth. The artificial light of the studio made the photos look too cold and harsh. 

Overall I enjoyed working on this project because I got to try something new that I had been wanting to do for a while. I also feel like it taught me a lot about how genres of photography should be treated differently as they require very different sets of skills.

You can see the use of my photographs here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CRTqYMsNx3H/

Chelsea x

Hound Parish Council Remembrance Day Parade

In November 2020, the Coronavirus was at its peak and with uncertainty surrounding large gatherings, it was decided that the annual remembrance day parade hosted by Hound Parish Council would take place online. At this decision, I was hired as a freelance photographer to capture the proceedings of the day. I worked closely with the videography team to help create the best promotional images that worked well with the recording. 

The shoot was carried out over a number of days to make sure that everyone participating had enough space to stay safe. I took photos of several sites including Netley Abbey, the Cenotaph, and a local church where the service was held. One of the biggest challenges, besides the awful weather, was to control several groups of people at a time. Making everyone listen to me so I could get them organized and out of the rain as soon as possible was definitely difficult, especially when working with the younger children. 

Nevertheless, I was able to photograph everything that the client had requested within the allocated time. I was then able to take these images away with me and get them edited as soon as possible so that they could be used for the promotion of the video service. All in all, the day went amazingly. Everyone really captured the meaning of remembrance day and those who wanted to were still able to pay their respects to people we lost during both World Wars.

You can see the use of my photographs here: https://www.facebook.com/houndpc

Chelsea x

Bluebell Woods Walk

During the spring I decided to go for a walk through a woodland area full of bluebells. I took my camera with me (of course) and decided to experiment with different apertures. I had so much fun and the flowers were so beautiful and smelled amazing!

The first photograph that I chose from this shoot was taken from the base of a tall tree. I was experimenting with aperture with this image because I wanted to see the effect a high or low aperture would have on the overall look of the picture. I decided to use a small aperture because I wanted to show contrast with half of the tree being in focus while the other half was blurred. For this photograph, I used a shutter speed of 1/160, an ISO of 100, and an aperture of f/3.5.

The second photograph that I chose from this shoot is a close-up shot of a single bluebell among the long grass. I like this image because it is simple and has only one main focus. I also like the contrast between the bright green grass and deep purple flower. For this image, I used a shutter speed of 1/60, an ISO of 3200 and, an aperture of f/22.

The third image that I took from this shoot shows a row of bluebells lining up against a fallen tree trunk. I liked this photograph because of the opposition between the thick, ridged tree trunk and the small, delicate flowers in front of it. For this photograph, I used a shutter speed of 1/80, an ISO of 2000 and an aperture of f/13.

I loved walking through the bluebell woods, getting to see and smell all of the beautiful flowers. Even if it was a bit cold!

Chelsea x

Plants in my Back Garden

These three photographs were mostly taken in my back garden and along a few neighbouring streets. I took them as reference photos for a fine art project whilst I was in college.

The first photograph I selected from this shoot was of a dried up leaf hanging from a thin tree branch. I took this photograph because I thought that the texture on the leaf would be perfect to draw from and I would be able to add a lot of detail in the drawing. For this photograph, I used a shutter speed of 1/320, an ISO of 1600 and, an aperture of f/5.6. I wanted to keep the image sharp while the background remained out of focus to give the leaf more clarity and really define the detail of the veins of the leaf.

The second photograph that I picked as a reference for my project shows some small blossom flowers climbing up a tree branch. I took this because I was attracted to the way that the bright white flowers stood out against the dark foliage. I also liked how detailed the small stamen that comes out from the centre of each flower. For this photograph, I used a shutter speed of 1/4000, an ISO of 1600 and, an aperture of f/5.6. I did this because I wanted the flowers to be brighter than the rest of the image.

The third photograph that I selected from this shoot was a long thin dried up plant that appeared to have some kind of seed pods on it. This image, as well as the others in the series, were inspired by a photographer called Karl Blossfeldt. He photographed dead plants against a white background. I felt this image was especially comparable to his work. For this photo, I used a shutter speed of 1/4000, an ISO of 6400 and, an aperture of f/5.

I am pleased with my series of photographs and feel that each of them represents work similar to that of Karl Blossfeldt. I was also pleased with the outcome of some of the drawings I did for the project. (Even if I did complete most of them at home due to the lockdown).

Chelsea x

Duke of Edinburgh Award

For my final year at secondary school I decided to complete my bronze Duke of Edinburgh award. For this we had had to complete 3 months of volunteering work, physical work and learning a new skill. As well as this, we would have to do one of those things for an extra 3 months.

For my volunteering work, I helped out with after school clubs as well as using my photography skills at a charity golf day. For the physical part of the award, I completed a self-made work out programme and worked as a sports mentor for children in primary school that we would hold events for regularly. I chose to work on the skill portion of the award for the longest time, 6 months in total. For this, I worked on my art skills and completed two canvas paintings, a pencil drawing and painting a mural on the wall of a cafe I used to work at.

While on the expedition section of the Duke of Edinburgh Award, we were dropped off in a random location and had to find our own way to the camp site by using a map and compass. As we were walking, we were told to take photographs for the presentation we would do at the end of the trip.

The first photograph I selected from the trip was of a tunnel of trees that we had to walk down. I liked this photograph because of the light the is shining at the end of the canopy. For this photograph I used a shutter speed of 1/200 seconds, an ISO of 800 and, an aperture of f/4.5.

The second photograph I selected for the end of trip presentation was a close up shot of a lavender flower. I liked this photograph because of the bright purple and green that fills the entire frame. I also like that you are able to see the texture of the flower and the stems. The settings I used for this photo were a shutter speed of 1/2500 seconds, an ISO of 800 an, an aperture of f/5.6.

The third and final image that I selected was of two poppies that had grown from the middle of some dried up grass. I liked this photograph because of the way that the bright red stands out against the brown background. As well as this, I like that you are able to see two different angles of the flower (from the side and from above). The small buds around the flowers add a nice extra detail. For this photo I used a shutter speed of 1/4000 seconds, an ISO of 800 and, an aperture of f/5.6.

Chelsea x