Welcome Home, Be The Artist & What Really Makes Me Tick

Oooh, gosh, a blog. Hello.

I’ve never really blogged before. Maybe because I have a short attention span. Maybe because I know I can whitter on a bit. Maybe because Twitter gets the job done in soundbites & links, and therefore I don’t have to sit still for too long, and can write posts between two stops on the 253 bus. Whatever the reason, I suddenly feel compelled to change it. And it’s all because of the most amazing month I’ve just had. Nope, I’m not going to regale you with exciting round-the-world travel stories, or promotions at work, or winning the lottery…I’m just going to tell you about a little, no, a HUGE realisation about myself as an artist, and how my life is going to change for the better because of it…

My desk is covered in negatives, old prints & battered old cameras from other people’s attics. I can’t move for celluloid & fibre-based photographic paper. I spent my entire time on the Professional Photography Diploma at London College of Communication in the darkroom, while everyone else was shooting digital and going to the pub. And when we all graduated, everyone donated their unused paper and film to me. It’s an obsession. And yet, the pressure to use digital has made me ignore it all, push it aside, and only ever go back to it when I need a break from life. The truth of who I am as a creative has become a guilty pleasure hidden in the clutter…

But several weeks ago, I had a gorgeously exciting & life-changing experience. One that not only brought new friends into my life, and a whole host of stunning photographs of me & my girlfriend Alice, but also asked me to look a little deeper…past all the expectations of the commercial photography industry…past all my self-expectations based on what all the amazing contemporary wedding photographers are already doing…and past all my fear of failure…it said ‘WELCOME HOME’.

Emma Case and Pete Smyth of Emma Case Photography are simply beautiful people. You don’t need to look far to see just how amazing they are. Their wedding photography is stunning, their openness to strangers is heart-warming, and frankly…unavoidable (cue massive hug as you walk in the room), and they aren’t afraid to get emotional about what makes them tick. They make genuine friendships as they go, and continue to nurture them. And I’m so bloomin’ grateful that our paths crossed at the beginning of April. As well as photographing people getting married, Emma & Pete run wedding photography workshops to help teach and encourage other wedding photographers - whether they’re just starting out, or they just need a boost. ‘Welcome Home’ does what it says on the tin…it welcomes you home; not only to a supportive, safe network of like-minded people, but to your own home…YOURSELF. I had been following their work for a while, but never thought I’d ever meet them. Until…they put a call out for couples to be part of Welcome Home 2014. Couples who didn’t mind standing and being coupley in front of about 15 photographers whilst Emma taught everyone how to capture them. Alice and I aren’t shy. We love meeting new people. And, WE LOVE PHOTOGRAPHY. So we emailed Emma a bit about ourselves, and waited. When Emma’s response popped up, we nearly squealed the house down with excitement. They wanted us!

A couple of weeks later, we were standing under a huge blossom tree in Battersea Park, London, having our pictures taken. I remember laughing SO hard. I remember feeling so incredibly in love with Alice. And I remember the excitement and joy Emma oozed as she photographed us. We felt utterly accepted (which isn’t something that comes easily to a lot of gay couples canoodling in public parks). And after the photo shoot, we were invited to spend the rest of the afternoon (and evening), listening to Emma speak, listening to the other Homies share their experiences, and then to give our own feedback on how the day had changed us. At the time, I remember the biggest change in me had been confidence. Like for a lot of us in that room, confidence was an issue. Confidence to put our own stamp on things. And confidence to make a go of wedding photography as a business. I remember realising that it doesn’t matter what other people are doing and how quickly they’re doing it…I’ve got to do things in my own time - whether that’s 10 years or 2.

A month has almost passed, and we’ve all gone back to our own corners of the UK. But I haven’t stopped processing what I learnt that day, and I haven’t stopped searching for what it is that welcomes me home…

This morning, whilst idly sifting through prints, negatives, cameras and more negatives, my chest swelled, my eyes filled up, and I knew. I JUST KNEW. I was home. This mess of traditional photography has my heart in a box, and when I delve into it, the box opens and I am truly me. So that is where I want to take Georgie Rose Photos. Back to the very essence of photography - light and chemicals…and that beautiful grain no digital preset can truly replicate for me. Watch this developing tray-shaped space!

A massive thank you goes to Emma & Pete for our serendipitous meeting, which has truly changed my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You are legends, and I hope we’ll get to go dancing again soon!


Ps. As I write this, I keep glancing at the print I bought for Alice from Emma & Pete’s fundraiser “Be The Artist”. A limited edition of 100 were sold to raise money for The Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, who treated their friends’ little boy for meningitis. I bought it because I knew it would be a daily reminder for both of us to be ourselves. And it’s working. Yay!!!

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