A Belgian Tour – March 2014

Tour!! I have been in to Urban Exploration for what 4/5 years now? …. and i had never been fortunate enough before to sample what Le European Continent had to offer, In fact, i hadn’t been fortunate enough to even … Continue reading


So if i am going to start a blog that is mainly to be  about my photography work i was thinking maybe a good thing to do would be to show some of the photography i have produced so far and tell you why i do what i do!

(Bare with me …see i may  have just convinced myself right there that i’m writer)

The thing that probably first fuelled my interest in taking photos wasn’t even the actual cameras or the cat of going out and taking the photos, but more what the actual photo represented, and that being a physical representation of something that had happened.  As long as i can remember one of my favourite things to do was to remember.  I fell in love at an early age with being able to recall memories, of places, events, people… the smells, the sounds, the feeling, basically all the things that pulled together to make a moment. (sounds lame and airy fairy but  it’s actually very genuine.)  I always kept diaries, i always kept journals…. i didn’t need to because i have been somewhat blessed (and trust me CURSED) with a photographic memory. (Handy when your job requires you to remember strings of number codes, not so handy when you can’t forget that time you walked out of the school toilets at 15, with your already rolled up so it was shorter skirt, tucked into your pants, and half the school is queuing outside, as its lunch break, and its right next to the canteen, but back to photography)… For me, in my childhood years, i think remembering was on a par with imagining, and i would spend as much time, daydreaming and recalling, as i would daydreaming and pretending i was April O’Neill in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the world had a shortage of ginger heroines)

I think i mentioned in the previous post that photography was something that people in my family already had an interest in, so i think that with my penchant for memory, it was only natural that as i grew to understand the physical function of what a camera was and produced, my mind would race away with the possibilities of what i could use that for!

It started really simply with just  disposable cameras. I’d take photos of school friends, family, holidays, reams and reams of poorly framed, badly angled shots. (of which all the negatives still sit proudly in a box in my grandparents attic, and are even now routinely brought down, by me for examination! and every single one i loved) Being able to catch something, and know that it would then be in a sense immortalised, never to be replicated in an exact same moment again, fascinated…. then being able to share that with other people, to use it as an aid to explain something, include someone… was like my childhood memory recalling magnified x1000000.

I went on to own all sorts of cheap 35mm point and shoots, even a panoramic one… then various different digital point and shoots, and finally onto film and then digital SLR’s.

Today i currently own, 7 x 35mm film cameras, 1 x 120 film camera and a digital SLR…. AND a back catalog of negatives, and 6×4 prints that probably span the last 15 years…..  (scouts honour i have never thrown a print away, they are stacked up in storage boxes… of course with scanning to cd, then digitalisation and even iphoneography less and less photos are physically printed…which makes me sad BUT HEY that s a whoooole other blog post right there!)

I think this basic idea of being able to recall and remember and share is what keeps my love for taking photos going.  I have obviously grown to be conscious of quality, and composition. And what equipment i own and use, and knowing how to get the best results, are things that play on my mind of course.  They are however by products of moving to paid photography jobs, and not drivers for why i continue to use a camera.  Basically what i think i’m trying to say is i am a “Size doesn’t matter”  kinda girl (steady!!) and that i never ever will be a equipment snob (in fact it has put me off of forming friendships with many other photographers i have met along the way).  I am often get more personal joy from something i snapped on my iphone, than my considered and composed shots, produced on my digital SLR.

Keeping true to this feeling, has also made taking photos massively central to other big loves in my life, for example, Urban Exploration, Instagram (i LOVE Instagram i find it absolutely fascinating, but again, probably another Blog post to come….) …and eventually Wedding Photography (however please be reassured that i take the quality and integrity of both my equipment and resulting photographs extremely serious at weddings, i would however love more people to want a bit of 35mm unpredictability thrown in there)

So i am getting self-conscious that i have talked a lot there, super romantically (i know get a room right?) about why i love photography (don’t want to go and use all my possible blog topics up in the first week)  Below is a gallery of some of my work! Some on digital, some film….(see if you can distinguish which is which)  I’d be really interested to know if ….anyone reads this (haha)but also if thy do if it provokes some thought into how they started out, and what those reasons are! ( i like talking i would love to enter into some dialogue on this topic)

I’m off to go Instagram that i made a blog post!!! Joke…. (ok i probably will)

Me x

Hi! I’m Jemma.. I’m a photographer based in Derby.  I’ve been meaning to keep something like a blog about all my photographical ongoings,  but i’ll be honest I’ve ben more sidetracked with actual photograph taking and editing of late (oh and ok then I admit, Breaking Bad did take over my life for a while)

Maybe I should start with a little bit about myself, and what i’m about….

I live with my extra beautiful daughter Isabella, in our vintage china and chintz cluttered house.   I love the coast and the countryside, (being city and midlands based these always feel like a treat).  I like to whitewash wood, and drink cups of tea with way to many sugars. I REALLY love music and i’m a big fan of cinema,(with salted popcorn), and anything that is mildy sentimental or melancholic.

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(This is Us)

Photography has always been a big part of my life, My grandpa and uncle were both keen photographers,and right from my days as a 5 year old i was always a big fan of the disposable camera, (of which i am still a fan now). I would insist on spending hours looking through the boxes and boxes of family photographs and negatives kept in our attic. I am still very much a fan of film based photography.


(Me at an EARLY age)

In all aspects of life i would say i enjoy being a watcher, a past time that has had a big effect on my style of photography.  I’ve never been a formal kind of photographer, but would be confident in saying that this has given me an excellent eye for details and for noticing the quieter moments, and making something creative from them.

In the more recent years, i have also developed an interest in photographing architecture and spaces, with a particular liking to derelict buildings.  This has taken me all over the country, and recently even Abroad.


I also photograph weddings, something I never thought I could get into, but have grown to love in a massive way.


Hopefully over the coming weeks, I can update this blog with a bit of what I have been up to so far, and a lot of what I am doing right now.

I would love to hear from you whether you are planning a wedding, have seen one of my pictures that is of interest or have any kind of enquiry, or even want to debate politics!  i am available on email at  birdinanaviary@gmail.com, OR you can use the contact form below!

J x