Manchester on Film…

 

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Funny how a city can host a personality before you’ve even visited. Alive in a picture of people who’ve existed there, bands rooted there, a history learnt though documentaries on times long passed.

Manchester begins in dribs and drabs of estate housing and graffiti-ed red brick, a lineage of its industrial past. But there’s a certain warmth in the grottiness, maybe it’s the familiarity to me, that I can relate it to the streets I grew up in back in Newcastle.

I meet Amy and we play a game of musical chairs: alternative bars and cafe eats, vegan diners and dive bars, catching up on the year that’s passed like no time passed at all. A friend like a sister, a soul piece, a revelation. We’re well and tipsy and happy to be in the city discussing the deepest things in life: love, ambition, purpose and growing up. It’s been six years since we were let loose on the world, finding a grounding companionship on that first night of university. We haven’t changed much but then we’re completely different people, it’s a weird place your twenties.

Film camera tour stops, another cheeky brew at Jimmy’s, spontaneous tattoo’s and canal side goodbyes. It’s short and sweet and nothing spectacular at all yet I leave a piece of me there in the heart of Manchester and watch as those same red brick factories and terrace houses pass me by.

There’s something very humble about being back in England. An appreciation I failed to have before but I’m proud of where I’m from, not for the politics, for the societal decay but for the people up in these Northern towns, of the grafters, the artists, the people who paint the streets with their wild. We’ve got a riotous little core and theirs pride to be had in that.

Love & Light, N x

Glasgow on Film…

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The nostalgia of the train journey from Newcastle to Edinburgh. Memories planted with the wildflowers in the country. The incomparable sweetness of reuniting with a friend who beams, always, like sunshine. The magic of childish giddiness that keeps you from sleep.

The calm of belonging walking through Glasgow, that liveliness that exalted you on your last trip four years ago. The music: buskers around every corner, vinyl stores, advertisements for bands big and small, venues aplenty. From the uniform Britishness of the city center, to dilapidated store fronts, businesses too poor to prosper, to quaint hipster cafe’s and picturesque town houses. The levels of a city baring the trail of time.

Drunk in the sunshine. A parade of decorated bodies, slurred lyrics and mosh pits. The unity of strangers in the sunset light screaming lyrics to a song you know so well, but which takes on whole new meaning in the moment. The heart surge when the intro to your favourite song starts.  Jumping and losing your mind like you’re fourteen again at your first ever concert, of your most favourite band. That naive certainty that your whole world exists in this songs course. The frantic debrief afterward. Weary and strolling through the city streets, your mate squatting for a piss on the side of the road, chip shop chips, zonking out as soon as your fuzzy head hits the pillow.

More reunions with friends who seem fictional now, existing somewhere that isn’t the world you created together on the other side of the world. The simple contentment of eating good food and chatting good chats. The gratitude that consumes you, being surrounded by inspirational humans that make you believe the world might just be wonderful.

The rarity of a full heart rather than a heavy one as you say “See you later”, because you don’t really believe in the definiteness of goodbye anymore, and hop on the train home, excited to be back in a city that filled you with nothing but dread for so many years.

These shots were taken on a disposable with Ilford black and white film, and whilst the disposable was fun I’d prefer the freedom and the skill involved in an actual film camera, so if you have any advice for beginners I am so very super keen to hear it!  Annnnnd on another note if you ever get the chance to see Catfish and the Bottlemen live, run with it, even if you have to sneak into the venue. One of the best live bands I think I’ve ever seen.

Love and Light. N x

Friends with faces…

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Feast your eyes on this babe!

Friends have faces and that’s all well and good but I want to be good enough to capture something a little bit ethereal, a strand of their aura, a visual vibration of their energy. These shots of my lovely mate Eloise are beautiful because she’s beautiful but they sort of just fall flat. I don’t know if it’s working with my kit lens that I find limitating or if it’s just lack of skill. Give me a couple months, I’m determined to ace my quest for the impossible.

Light and Love, N x

15/08/2018…

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My blog these past few weeks has been a little quiet. There have been shifts in my life, both place and state of mind, that have dominated my time. But I’m back at it and feeling a little reflective. My favourite posts have been the Mount Moments series for a while now, a very raw and honest look at life and travel. Now I’m back “Home” in Newcastle, England, and I want to keep that same uncut, artistic, feel to this space. Of course there will be more journeys and certainly more coffee’s but I want to embrace every element as a means to create.

In saying that, here are some very standard, amateur, shots of some pretty wildflowers found on a hike in the Cumbrian countryside.

Light and Love. N x

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05.05.18

How do people make time to settle? Months clip by like meagre days and there’s no second-guessing when your life is passing you by, no settling for a job you hate, a place you can’t grow, people who don’t inspire you. How can you even begin to feel contentment if you don’t give yourself the fundamentals? Surely a basis to bloom, create, go mad with passion and love for all elements of your day to day life, that is the most important ingredient to self-love?

‘If we were meant to stay in one place, we would have roots instead of feet.’

08.05.18

Deep chats with empathetic souls. El feels trapped too, wants more than whatever the present has to give. We grab drinks up the road and I chat her ear off, it’s all about idea’s and feelings, the topics that make me think and leave me feeling renewed: politics, feminism, youth, travel, work, philosophy. El is a refreshing change. She’s intelligent, self-aware and she just gets it. I don’t feel pessimistic when we discuss things, more contemplative. It’s the same for all the ladies surrounding me right now. At work, they’re all a force to be reckoned with.

12.05.18

Barred, enclosed in this paracosm,

grey world ignited in rose illusion,

tinted scenes from a novel land

embraced in a fairer story.

14.05.18

You are HERE, in THIS place, with THESE people and THESE opportunities. You have THIS face and THIS body. THESE are your words and your thoughts. NOW is where life is and I hope so ardently that you won’t waste too much more of your life away in that hopeless yearning for another self, time and place.

18.05.18

They approved my second-year work visa, I met the news with no such excitement. Everyone around me is overjoyed, they know how much effort and money went into the application, how daunting the six week wait was to find out the result. But it obviously isn’t what I want. This proves that. But where to next? Home? What’s there?

 

Light and love, N x

 

Pieces of: Lake Tekapo…

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Lake Tekapo was always just a stopover place when I was planning the South Island, a moment to gather myself between the lively scene of Queenstown and the end of the route in Christchurch. In fact, it ended up being, like many of the smaller stops on the way, one of the most memorable. I suppose it has to do with limiting your expectations. As a daydreamer and a romanticist I tend to put too much hype in the way of future plans. Lake Tekapo didn’t strike me as spectacular so all it could really do was surpass that and surpass it indeed it did.

I make friends with another solo female traveller on the bus between Queenstown and Tekapo. An intimidating look sets on her face and I’m apprehensive to start up conversation on the drive. She speaks first though and she’s bloody hilarious, a girl from Finland roaming around a couple countries before she devotes herself to the army back home. We clamber up Mount John, a small forty five minute hike, and chat like we’ve known each other for years. We even scout out vegan food in the village together and are reluctant in our farewells in Christchurch, just the next day.

The scene of it all is something magical all on its own and you’d think that by this stage I’d be over the remarkable natural treasures of the South but nope, each stop has something that sets it apart from the others. Here it’s the sprays of Russell Lupine’s, a wildflower that has quick become my favourite and one I’ve only spotted here in New Zealand, blooming around the still glassy surface of the Lake. Up on Mount John’s peak we take in the full view of Tekapo, tones of purple, pink and turquoise, accented in that lush evergreen that trademarks these lands for me. There’s an observatory up top which we both skipped out on. As with most activities here, it’s pretty pricey and we fancy a free, mellow, star show by the lake later anyways.

On the drive in, our tour guide gets us all stoked for clear skies filled with constellations. For most of the night we aren’t at all fortunate and everything is instead blotted out by thick clouds. Luckily after a restless couple hours trying to sleep on a squeaky bunk, I get up and go for a walk in the early morning hours, I’ve never been so grateful for a sleepless night. Of course I didn’t have my camera with me and it’s not like it would have captured the site all to well anyways. But the sky was filled with stars. I grew up in a city and other than a couple camping trips where the light pollution was left behind, I’ve not had such an opportunity to really see them. It frustrates me some, that such a simple sight, should be so rare but simultaneously renders me speechless that such a small moment could leave such an imprint on me.

Light and love, N x

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