Sunday, 27 November 2011

The Farm

As you are probably aware I have run  little photography get togethers for the past year or so and love looking for new locations for you all to play. In January last year , when snow was all around, I spent the day with Chris, a very good friend of mine who is also a photographer....although he needs to get his camera out more than he does! He told me about the ruins of Lydiate abbey, which are next to Farm not far from home and we spent the afternoon exploring them - it was like Narnia, cold, snowy and quite beautiful, and so later in the year when I was thinking of a new location for a Walkabout I remembered the farm and popped along to meet the now famous Farmer Brian who agreed to let a crazy bunch of photographers and scantily clad models wander around the Farm!

Brian was amazing, he opened up all the barns for us to use, and let us wander pretty much anywhere we wanted to. I ran a few Walkabouts there and always had my eye on one of the little outbuildings and dreamed of being based there but was still working full time and this remained a dream....until the chance of voluntary redundancy came up and I took the leap. On Christmas Eve that year, Mike and I popped down to the Farm for lunch and a walk and on the gift shop was a sign - 'Closing Down' cut a very long story short - I pretty much nagged Brian for the next month to let me lease the gift shop - he was reluctant at first as he did have plans of his own for it and was not going to consider renting it again but I promised to bring more gorgeous models and he finally agreed to leasing it to me for the summer so we could both see how it went and this was perfect - it gave me the chance to see whether I wanted a permanent base or not. So after some frantic painting and spider removing I opened on my birthday - (March the 12th - cards and presents always welcome) and had a fantastic time with lots of friends and family popping in to say hi

So over the last few months I had had an iterating time at the Farm, I have organised Walkabouts, hosted a course by John Denton and Andrew Schofield, and done numerous photoshoots, from frosty ones, to the bluebells and daffodils in the spring, through to the summer with the wheat and corn in the fields....but don't tell Brian it was me that flattened the wheat, I am bring to convince him its the work of visiting aliens!

Towards the end of the summer I had to make a decision - I knew that it was going to be quiet at the Farm and very cold over the Winter and so I made the decision to close up over the Winter months with an option to re opening again in the Spring - and so this is where I am at the moment - my lovely new home office has arrived and photoshoots are taking me out and about all over the Northwest. I am probably going to wait and see what Spring bring and then decide whether to go back to having a base at the Farm - Brian has made it very clear that he is very happy for me to continue using the Farm for photoshoots and Walkabouts and so I will not be leaving completely

I really want to say a huge thank you to everyone at Lydiate Hall Farm for just being the most supportive bunch of people I could have wished for - and I will be back for the scones!
I also want to say thank you to all of you who have come to love the Farm - and Farmer Brian, and the peacocks as much as I do. I feel  have grown as a photographer this year and a lot of that is due to being around all of you and being inspired by what you do.

My absolute highlights of the year are
  • the opening of the studio - and having Laurel and Hardy come along!
  • being welcomed by the amazing peacocks very day
  • watching the seasons change, the crops grow and shouting at Brian when he has plowed a field I planned to use!
  • hosting John Dentons art nude course and noticing that the farmers were plowing some very wonky lines as they were trying to see what we were doing
  • throwing buckets of water at the lovely Jamie - all in the name of photography!
  • trying to jump onto a haystack with Casey....... and having Claire Penn photographing me falling off the other side - I am just so graceful its untrue
  • meeting an awesome bunch of very talented photographers, make up artists and models who worked their socks off this year - all in the aid of fun and learning
So - the end of the year is nearly here and I feel that there are new places to explore, new challenges to accept, and lots of new people to meet......keep in touch, pop round for a brew if you are in the area and keep an eye out for some events being planned for next year and if you have some great memories from this year feel free to leave a message on here......I will leave you will the video from Johns workshop - see you all soon xxxxx

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Jason said...

Awesome little blog Joe. Just watched the video again with great memories of your amazing location. x

Claire Penn Photography said...

Aaah that's one of my highlights too... now if only I could post the evidence here... :) Wherever you are Jo, you'll be a success. And I have plenty of peacock feathers you can put in your new office! xxx

Claire Penn Photography said...

Can I just add that the 'captcha' code I had to enter to post that last comment was 'peicoc' - SPOOKY!

Sally Edgar said...

Ow, felt quite emotional reading that Jo, what a lovely blog - memories captured wonderfully. Good luck in your new home - I wonder how much you're missing those peacocks already? :-)

Tracy Edwards said...

Love this blog Jo, it embodies all that is good about photography. Put simply Jo, you rock! As a result of meeting you my photography has improved - and I have a wider network of photographic chums to call upon either just for a chat or for advice when needed -and none of that would have happened if I hadn't visited The Farm. Keep doing what you do Jo, you bring so much fun into our lives. Thank you! xx

Jo Hastings said...

Great post Jo, loved seeing what you'd been up to on the farm. Your photography is fantastic and will continue to be so, wherever you're based. Would love to come along to one of your organised walkabouts/workshops in the future.Loved the video.

Tracey Barrow said...

So lovely to read about the beginnings of the Farm :) I feel truly blessed to have met you and had the chance to experience a walkabout with you. I can't wait to do another one - be it here, there or anywhere. As long as you are involved it's sure to be fan-dabby-dosy :) xx

Lesley said...

Hi there - what a lovely post! If you do go for it next year, I SO want to come and see! Looks a really wonderful place - and what great moments you've so very clearly had - the images are just fabulous. x

Pete Smith said...

Hi Jo. Love the post! Whether it is at the farm next year or on one of your other planned walkabouts (of which I hope that there will be many more), I am very much looking forward to visiting "up north" again for more photography with you. Your images and ideas are wonderful and you have been inspirational in helping kick start another area of photography in me that I didn't even know I was interested in a year ago! ;-)

Katrin said...

The Farm is just wonderful as was meeting you and Claire and Sue there. To witness how you do a model shoot was very interesting and the location there is stunning. (And the food at the café as well.) I had the chance to do some gorgeous peacock pictures and even found some stairs. ;)

Good luck to you, where ever you will be next year! :)

Alexandra Andrews said...

Jo you are such an inspiration to me and you have a wonderful way of encouraging and supporting me and many photographers you make my world so much easier to be in. Thank you for all you have done, I have taken part in a few of your walkabouts and look forward to doing more. I have met almost all of my photographer friends through you and those who didn't know you then do now. You are my photography cornerstone x

Anonymous said...

hi jo i was just enquiring if you know of any students who would like to have the opportunity to photograph my wedding i dont mean free of charge

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