Dealing with the Trauma of Domestic Violence

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Every once in a while we get invited to photographically collaborate in a cause and Charity work that we feel warrants our time and attention. Recently, we have done, and will continue to support and help to highlight the difficult and often ignored subject of domestic violence.

We had the pleasure of meeting Jane Evans a good few months ago who we began to chat with as she was (and still is) very knowledgeable about social media, particularly Twitter. As we got to know Jane, we realised that she had a commitment, passion and a drive to improve the wellbeing of those unfortunate enough to find themselves in abusive and often violent relationships. Particularly the aftermath and parenting aspects of these terrible situations.

Jane has a background in working with families with a range of complex needs. She is a children’s author, has created and delivers training on how parenting and children are affected by exposure to trauma, such as domestic violence and abuse and has devised a bespoke trauma focused parenting programme. We approached Jane and offered our services to develop a series of photographs that would assist her in her work and to also help to raise awareness generally around the impact of domestic violence and abuse and to send the message that there is a way forward and that others do understand and can help.

After a discussion we decided that as Jane already produces some very powerful and important poetry about the effects and aftermath of domestic violence and abuse, we should try to capture specific phrases and words from these poems pictorially (see http://janeevansparenting.blogspot.co.uk/). I decided that the images should try to portray the words, sometimes literally and sometimes in a more conceptual manner. The approach would need to be sympathetic but we shouldn’t shirk the responsibility of making them grim and unpleasant to view if that were necessary.

We have now completed the first two images and we hope that we are starting to achieve our aims. The photographs viewed alone will spark no reaction in some and deep thought in others. Together with the poetic quotation it should at least encourage the viewer to think about what they are seeing and also realise the massive damage these relationships can do to adults and children connected to them.

It should also be pointed out that all images are heavily supervised by Jane and that all models (and/or parents) are aware of the use and understand the context within which the images are being made.

1 in 4 women in the UK will suffer some form of Domestic Violence in their lifetime. One incident of Domestic Violence is reported to the Police in the UK every minute of every day. Two women a week are killed by a former or current male partner (Stats from Womens Aid UK). 

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Wedding Accessories

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Recently we have mostly been taking photographs of Wedding Accessories! Accessories for the wonderfully talented Vivien J Wedding Accessories business and their new website. This sounds like a nice easy job that requires us sitting in a nice and cosy studio, cup of tea warming on the side,  snapping away with a table top set-up. However this has not been the case!

Anyone that has ever tried shooting largely white objects on a white background will no doubt confirm, it ain’t easy! We ended up concocting various clever ways of supporting said jewellery and gorgeous items (made out of crystals and pearls) in order to photograph them properly. The main issue in shooting these items is that they have curved surfaces (pearls) and in order to ‘blow out’ any background to white, you risk also blowing out the pieces as well.

Photographing them on a black background and cutting out is not an option because the curved surfaces reflect the black from underneath. Firing strobes directly underneath caused problems of highlight detail being lost in the jewellery pieces themselves so the solution was to create some separation between the item and the white base. This was achieved by a piece of glass supported a couple of inches (5cm) above the white table top.

We used a white tent cube with diffused lights from the rear and left of camera. These were dialled up enough to blow the highlights on the glass/background but not enough to lose detail in the pieces themselves. Yes there were a few reflections that needed to be lost in post processing but this was a fairly easy job compared to cutting out around these intricate pieces individually.

Anyway, all is well that ends well and we look forward to the next collection of items that arrive Monday for the next instalment of the Wedding Accessories shoot!

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Lighting set-up with rear light and soft-box hidden

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A stunning Hand-Made Tiara by Vivien-J

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Detail of a Hand-Made Tiara by Vivien-J