About – AlisonBartonPhotography.co.uk

This copy was written for the ‘About’ page of AlisonBartonPhotography.co.uk. This is the official business website for Alison Barton, a female photographer, based in the West Midlands. Alison specialises in wedding photography, family portraiture, promotional business photography, and equine & canine photography.

In the interests of full disclosure, Alison is my sister, and this allowed me to provide copy which I believe gave a highly personal insight into Alison as a photographer.

You can read the copy below, click on the image of the webpage to enlarge, or click the link below to go to the ‘About’ page on Alison’s website.

Alison Barton Photography – About

Passion is at the heart of everything that I do. My passion and enthusiasm for photography as an art form, combines with my commitment to capturing beautiful memories for my clients that will last a lifetime and beyond.Alison BartonPhotography-About

My dad was a fantastic amateur photographer, who captured my childhood in images that I will cherish for the rest of my life. As a result, I grew up surrounded by photographs, whether in my family’s numerous photo albums, in frames on my Gran’s sideboard, or on the walls of my family home.

My dad passed on to me his love of photography, and nurtured my interest in the craft. This interest was further developed by my art lessons at school. I knew that photography was something that I wanted to be part of my future, and I went on to hone my skills and foster my passion firstly at art college, and then at the nationally renowned University College Falmouth, where I received a Bachelor of Arts Degree with Honours in Photography.

I adore working with both people and animals, building up a special working relationship to allow me to capture their unique qualities and the nuances of their personalities. I aim to build a mutually respectful and trusting working relationship with my clients, putting them at ease in front of the camera, so that I can capture genuine natural emotions. There really is no other art form quite like photography, and its capacity for capturing truth, beauty and emotion still astound me.

I wish for everyone to have what I have had throughout my life; to be surrounded by images of special moments and cherished memories. I feel privileged to be able to provide clients with the opportunity to capture these special moments, and it is a pleasure to witness them.

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“Through the Round Window” – The Guardian

This piece was published in the ‘Life & Style’ section of The Guardian newspaper on 1st December 2012. It explains the story behind one of my favourite family photographs.

The original text can be read below, or click on the image of the piece in print to enlarge. Alternatively you can read the piece on The Guardian’s website, by clicking the link below:

“Through the Round Window” – The Guardian (Life & Style)

My parents’ house is packed with family photographs, either standing in frames, hung on the walls, or in countless albums. What is unusual about this photograph is that it has for years sat loose on a shelf on the dresser in the living room, propped up against an ornament. The photograph is of my mother, the second youngest of seven siblings, and her parents, taken in 1955. They are stood on the veranda of my grandparent’s top floor flat in Eastwood, Glasgow. My grandparents were the first residents in this newly built council flat, moving in just a week before Christmas in 1951, after passing the rigorous screening process the council employed to make sure that the right calibre of people were living there.

 My mother, who was born in this flat, is thrThrough the Round Windowee years old in this photo, flanked by my grandmother, who would have been forty one, and my grandfather who was fifty nine, dressed in dungarees, no doubt having just arrived home from his job as a foreman at the local foundry.

 The porthole kitchen window behind them was extremely interesting as a young child with a vivid imagination. It could be the porthole of a submarine or a portal to another world like the round window from Playschool. The entire history of my immediate family seems to have been documented in photographs in front of this window. It somehow became the de facto photographic backdrop for all family photos.

 The long veranda, with one residence at each end, acted as long, safe, enclosed play area for my mother to push her smart dolls pram up and down, or my uncles and aunties to ride their bicycles and scooters along; a tradition that my sister and I continued with gusto. In bad weather we moved indoors, utilising the long corridor that ran the length of the flat, much to the chagrin of the neighbours below.

 The west-facing veranda would be bathed in sunlight in the afternoons, and with uninterrupted views over the school playing fields opposite, we would often arrive to find my grandmother sat out on the veranda in a deckchair, enjoying the sunshine with front row seats to a game of schoolboy rugby.

 I visited my family in Glasgow two or three times a year when I was a child, usually with my parents and sister, although occasionally I would take the train from the West Midlands with my Gran, who would travel down to collect me, and spend a week with her on my own – what an adventure! We would visit the excellent Transport Museum, the diverse and ever-changing Burrell Collection, and the living time capsule that is the Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed Scotland Street School.

 I will always consider Glasgow my second home, and always felt particularly at home in my Gran’s flat. When my Gran passed away, we helped clear the flat, shortly after her funeral. It was so strange seeing the large, three-bedroomed flat empty. It didn’t seem like the same place, for somewhere that was always so full of life and held so many happy memories for my family and me. I wonder whether the new tenants had to undergo such rigorous screening by the council, before being allowed access to their new home, and if they would call it home for as long as my Gran did.

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“An Englishman in Croke Park” – Amen

This feature was published in the May 2012 issue of AMEN magazine, a monthly men’s glossy supplement of the Irish Daily Star. It chronicles my introduction to, and increasing interest in Gaelic Football. The full original text is reproduced below, along with an image of the the edited version in print, which you can click to enlarge.

As an Englishman, I did not grow up with Gaelic games. My introduction to all things GAA began nearly three years ago, courtesy of my Dublin-born girlfriend. The first night we met, Gaelic football, specifically the Dubs, was one of the main topics of conversation. Sport has played a significant part in our relationship ever since, as I have helped her to understand the finer points of rugby union, so she has immersed me in the rich culture of Gaelic football.An Englishman at Croke Park

At first we may have feigned enthusiasm for each other’s favourite sports; they were a topic of conversation, and a shared social activity. However, I think we now both share a genuine passion for the games.

On a trip to Dublin, in 2010, early in our relationship, I attended my first live match, a league game against Derry, in Parnell Park.

I enjoyed the novelty of watching a match from the stands for the first time, rather than the relative comfort of a plastic pull-down seat. I liked the informality at half time when spectators were allowed onto the pitch to kick a ball about, or how we were allowed to trudge across the pitch to the exit, at the end of the game, rather than being kept off by a fluorescent yellow wall of stewards. I attempted to hide my apprehension at the gangs of hooded teenagers lurking around, brandishing hurls. Finally I wondered why the GAA insisted on playing games so late in the evening during winter.

I felt truly accepted as an honorary “Dub” when I received a Dublin GAA polo shirt from my girlfriend’s sister for Christmas. I proudly wore my new shirt on my first visit to Croke Park, albeit under a heavy jacket, as it was February. The result was well worth braving the cold for, with a three-goal victory over Kerry. Dublin seemed to be scoring goals for fun that year, and finished top of the league.

My first championship game at Croker was the 2011 semi-final between Dublin and Donegal, and even the rain on the way to the ground, and the un-entertaining defensive football played by Jim McGuinness’ men couldn’t dampen my spirits. The game might not have been a classic, but the experience was unforgettable. We spent the rest of the evening in Meaghers, toasting the win, serenaded by endless renditions of “We’re going to win the Sam!”

I did not attend the championship final, as tickets were extremely hard to come by, my girlfriend only managed to secure her match ticket on the day of the game. I thought it was appalling that loyal Dublin supporters who had waited sixteen years for their team to reach an All-Ireland final, struggled to get tickets, and even if I could have got a ticket, I wasn’t going to deny a die-hard Dubs fan a seat. My girlfriend watched the game sat between uninterested supporters from the North, and I watched it sat on my own in an O’Neill’s pub in London. I wished I could have been in Dublin that day.

My short time as an honorary Dublin supporter has been a relatively successful era for the team, and I have yet to attend a match that the Dubs have lost. Perhaps I am a lucky charm? Though as I have become more interested and passionate about the game, I find myself in an odd situation; will I ever be truly accepted? It seems to be acceptable for people to support English soccer teams from areas that they are not from, or do not have family connections to. In fact I was surprised to find that most Irishmen I encountered supported English soccer teams, and I have yet to encounter a Shamrock Rovers or Bohemians fan. However, I am unsure of the acceptability of an Englishman supporting a Gaelic football team, as Irish people usually support the county that they were born and raised in, or have family connections to, rather than arbitrarily picking a team. However, all of the Dublin supporters I have met have been extremely welcoming towards me, and in reality, it is probably the reaction of the opposition fans to an English accent deriding their county that I am more worried about.

Rugby is still my first love – I thoroughly enjoyed England’s demolition of Ireland in the 2012 Six Nations – but I have enjoyed learning about this ancient and exciting game, and now when I say “football”, I mean Gaelic football, and the other game is called “soccer”.

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“My ICT Favourites” – The Teacher

This short filler piece was published in the July-August issue of The Teacher magazine; the award-winning magazine for members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT).

My ICT Favourites is a recurring feature where teachers can recommend useful software, gadgets and websites to their colleagues. You can click on the image of the piece, on the right-hand side to enlarge, or I have reproduced the copy below, so it is easier to read.

 

Favourite SoftwareThe Teacher Jul-Aug '12

Comic Life is a brilliantly simple piece of software which allows students to create comic books by importing their own photos. There are templates, speech bubbles, and the software is intuitive. Most features are ‘drag and drop’. It is great for creating visual narratives with SEN students, as it is so easy to use.

Favourite gadget

My favourite gadget has to be my scanner.It is extremely useful to be able to take a magazine or newspaper, scan it and put a full colour copy in your lesson resources. i also scan students’ original drawings. They can then manipulate them using Photoshop software, and combine hand drawn and digitally produced artwork.

Favourite websites

www.dafont.com is a great resource allowing students to download custom fonts for use in most programs. There’s a huge range, categorised by theme. Fonts are simple to download and install, and can make any type of design coursework look more professional.

www.filmeducation.org is a charity promoting the use of film in the curriculum. It provides excellent resources on its website, and will post you lesson ideas and resources if you register. It organises the excellent National Schools Film Week, where hundreds of free cinema screenings are available for students.

www.teachit.co.uk has a fantastic bank of free, high quality resources for English and media studies. The resources are relevent to current national curriculum and GCSE specifications and range from primary to A-Level, categorised by subject and content.

 

You can read the July-August issue of The Teacher, containing my piece online by clicking the link below:

The Teacher – July-Aug

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Pigs Ears – GreatLittlePlace.com

This short piece of copy was written for the website GreatLittlePlace.com, an online “guide to planet earth’s most charming spots.” The website features reviews of the best independent bars, pubs, restaurants, cinemas, music & comedy venues, museums, shops, markets and green spaces in the UK. The emphasis is on small, unique, unconventional places, which are less well-known, in unusual locations, and away from crowds of tourists.

This copy was for a page on the website for Pigs Ears, a bar & restaurant in Richmond, Greater London. This is one of my personal favourite local bars & restaurants, and if it weren’t for some serious self-control on my part, it could easily have a negative impact on my waistline, and bank balance.

You can see an image of the webpage below (click the image to zoom), or simply follow the link below, to visit the page. The copy is also below to make it easier to read.

www.greatlittleplace.com/place/pigs-ears-richmond

GLP Website

Down some unassuming stairs, behind a heavy, solid, uninviting door is Pig’s Ears Beer Cellar; Richmond’s best kept secret. Formerly called ‘Brouge’, although looking much the same and serving similar food & drink, this is the definition of a great little place. The bar area is small and dimly lit, with mismatched dark wood & comfy leather furniture and the low vaulted brick ceilings give a feeling of antiquated intimacy. The real reason to visit Pig’s Ears though is for the beer; the beer menu is roughly twice the size of the food menu and is categorised by type (wheat, porter, lager etc). The staff are friendly and knowledgeable, and are usually happy to recommend a beer based on your preferences, describe the beers to you, and suggest beers to compliment food if you are eating. There is also a lower level with dining tables, and the food is different to your usual pub fare, very tasty, and not overly expensive.

You can visit the Pigs Ears website and the Great Little Place website by clicking the links below:

www.pigs-ears.co.uk/

www.greatlittleplace.com/

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