Home » BLOG » portraiture

Category: portraiture

Happy Nowruz!

Today at 4:15pm GMT Iranian all over the world celebrated Nowruz, better known in the Western world as the Spring Equinox. Nowruz, meaning new day is the start of the Persian year and signifies new life and fresh starts.

Celebrations start on the eve of the Wednesday before New Year, better know as Chaharshanbe Suri. Adults and children alike light bonfires and carry on the age-old tradition of jumping over them. With music playing and families singing and dancing, the celebrations go on into the night.

Haft Seen

The Noruz table is a significant part of the ancient celebrations. Called Haft Seen, the table consists of seven items beginning with the letter S, all of which symbolise different aspects of life.

1. Somagh (sumac) : symbolises the color of sunrise
2. Serkeh (vinegar): symbolises age and patience
3. Senjed (dried fruit from lotus tree): symbolises love
4. Samanoo (sweet pudding): symbolises affluence
5. Sabzeh (sprouts): symbolises rebirth
6. Sib (apple): symbolises health and beauty
7. Sir (garlic): symbolises medicine

Haft Seen tables often also include painted eggs and a goldfish!

Little boy peers over a counter behind the Iranian Haft Seen table at New Year
Haft Seen table at my mother-in-law’s home.

 

Haft Seen at the Tower Building Museum, Tabriz
Haft Seen at the Tower Building Museum, Tabriz
Iranian women stands behind her haft seen table for Nowruz
Latifa shows off her Haft Seen table.

 

The exact moment of Nowruz differs every year. This year Iran celebrated at 7:45pm local time. The day would have been spent preparing the delicious traditional dish of dolmeh (grape leaves stuffed with rice and minced meat) which is often left cooking as the new year passes. Last year I had great delight in preparing this traditional dish with my Iranian family in Tabriz.

Two ladies prepare dolmeh for Nowruz
My sister-in-law shows me how to prepare dolmeh the Iranian way.

 

plate of dolmeh cooked for the Iranian New Year, Nowruz
Dolmeh

After Nowruz, days are spent visiting family, eating great food and sharing stories. During my visit to Iran we spent many hours at our relatives houses and each time I was offered a vast array of sweets, nuts, chocolates and fruits. Every household wanted to display the best hospitality and it was a real treat to see how welcoming the Iranian culture really is.

Little boy sits cross-legged waiting for lunch
Elman waits patiently for his Nowruz lunch.
Hannah prepares a bowl of sweets for guests at her home.
Hannah prepares a bowl of sweets for guests at her home.
vibrant selection of treats available for Nowruz
Food offered at my partner’s Nana’s house.

If you ever get the chance to celebrate the Iranian New Year, please, don’t turn it down, you definitely won’t regret it!

The start of a travel sensation?

Travel is always something I have loved. The thought of exploring foreign lands, immersing myself in ancient cultures and experiencing incredible natural wonders, follows me every day and every night.

I recently had the opportunity to visit somewhere not many people would consider for their first adventure. Iran. The ancient Persian country has a lot of bad press but what people don’t understand is the media probably wants us to hate every country that isn’t England or America. To be fair they probably don’t want us to like ourselves either.

Anyhow, I decided a trip to Iran would be the best way to immerse myself in a culture unknown in the western world. They are a first world country with third world values. Family comes first, no matter what. Technology is great, but it doesn’t rule their lives as it does here. Boys and girls still play outside, teenagers enjoy studying for a better future and adults do everything they can to make sure their family, brothers, sisters, children and parents, have everything they need to be successful in life.

Responsibility of their children doesn’t disappear when they hit 18 and leave for university. Parents will provide for their children for as long as they can, regardless of their age, marriage status or job.

Similarly, children spend more time with their parents. Family doesn’t just mean your siblings. It means cousins, aunts, uncles, your parents cousins, their cousins and even their cousins. If you are introduced to someone, there is a line of relation connecting your friend and the person in front of you, even if you are in a different town, city or village.

Ok, so lets relate this back to my trip to Iran. I stayed with my partners family. While I was there I must have greeted over 100 family members, all of which my partner knew by name and easily gave me a brief outline of his connection to them. (This is my cousins, uncles, grandmothers, daughter). It was incredible to be amongst such a large and loving family.

Ross and Ali cooking BBQ in the Garden

The scenery in Iran, especially in Tabriz, is absolutely, incredibly out-of-this-world, amazingly, beautiful. I was in Iran for a little over three weeks and I cannot wait to go back! Keep checking back for my next few posts which will highlight even more beautiful areas in Iran such as Sahand, Dik Darak and The Colourful Mountains.

Apologies…

I understand it has been over 2 months since my last post but sometimes life just gets in the way, right? 

In October 2016 I was asked to capture beauty of newborn Ella. At just 1 week old she was already interested in the camera and kept looking around to see what was going on.

Ella, newborn, 1 week oldElla, newborn, 1 week old
This week I was asked to photograph her again. Celebrating just 6 months of life and she is already picking up so many skills! This gorgeous little girl sat so well while I photographed away making precious memories for the whole family.

I really look forward to watching her flourish! Photograph of baby sitting Photograph of baby close of up eyes and face

Time flies

Yesterday marked the 6 month anniversary of the birth of my little nephew. The thing I love most about babies growing up is the crazy amount of special moments you can get away with celebrating. As an adult you have a birthday every year, you might get a new job every couple of years, buying your first house, having your first child. 


As a baby everything deserves a celebration. We celebrate when you are a week old, a month, six months, a year. It definitely doesn’t stop there. We have smiles, laughs, rolling, sitting, crawling, grabbing, eating, walking and the list goes on. All of which happens in the space of one very quick year. In fact more seems to happen in that one little year than it will in the 80 to follow. Isn’t that something to think about? 

Happy Saturday!

Saturday’s are supposed to be the regular persons day off. Nothing makes me more excited than having the chance to get out with my camera, especially when it is to photograph the greatest love between two people or the sheer joy that can radiate from a child playing. This year I can only wish for more opportunities to use my Saturday’s off to do the things I love most. Work isn’t work when you love it, right?! 


Blogging from my phone. Yay!

So I just realised by downloading an app I can now blog from my phone! This is exciting for me as it means all those phone shots I take now have a chance of getting online 🙂 It also means I will post alot more often as I don’t have to sit down and plan blog time. It can happen whenever and wherever 😁 Enjoy my new found freedom…

New Life

Isn’t new life wonderful? So sweet, innocent and pure. To think that when a baby is born, 9 months before it did not exist. It grew from two single cells, into a living, breathing human being. A very dependant human being but a human nevertheless. To think that something so complex can simply just grow in a matter of just 40 weeks. It still amazes me how life works and if I get too distracted I will probably start writing an essay right here about it rather than showing you these beautiful photographs…

 

sophie50

sophie43 copy

sophie47

Innocence is a Child

Have you ever wandered what keeps humanity from tearing itself apart? Could it be the innocence of a child, that stops us in our feat to destroy the world. Children have the most beautiful souls. Their eyes remind us of a simpler life, when all that mattered was what colour shoes would look best with that dress, or if your friend had finished dinner yet so you could go out to play. Children stop us from being vultures. We ensure that we behave civilisied whilst in their company. We play their games, read them fantasies, believe in their dreams. Without children, humanity would cease to imagine, cease to believe.

 

keeley08

keeley04

 

keeley29

keeley23

keeley19