I’ve long been a supporter of personal projects for growth and the opportunities they hold…  They allow you to build a portfolio that reflects the work you want to be hired to do – which is good if you are just starting out in your business.  They also give space for learning, growth and expanding your creativity or whatever else you may need to nourish you at any one time.  You can use this work to open the doors of opportunities too.  This last couple of weeks, I’ve been sharing some insights and secrets of some personal work that I started recently.  I have had much interest in it so thought I would share the posts all together, here…

HELD 1/6

Welcome to my playground – this has absolutely nothing to do with the words in my profile – or does it…

A lot of my work lies somewhere between fine art photography and graphic design, so you’ll understand my need to experiment.  To explore. To fuse those worlds… Enter the backstage world of personal projects – I see them more as a playground or a laboratory. A space to experiment, learn, develop ideas, but, above all – to have a lot of fun. A place where curiosity is central. 

Then there are Fine Art concepts of time and space –  as a result of Covid and regular walks down my favourite lane with my dogs, I’ve started to think about time and space differently.  We have all been caught in a state of suspended animation for the last year.  I felt I needed to make some work to reflect – not the Covid days, but the solitary time and space we were given as its result. How it actually felt. Wanted or not.  A precious and rare commodity…

The following few photographs are stills gathered for what will become an experimental multi media house art style film…

HELD 2/6

To carry on from Monday’s post, the sole purpose of the HELD project is to allow me to experiment with the cinematic side of art house video – films that are artistic or experimental rather than merely entertaining.

Along the way there are stills… There is painting – acrylic on board and watercolour on paper and more. It’s all part of the play, the experimentation…

Here, some source material taken on one of my daily wanders with my hounds on a VERY foggy morning. But somehow the fog was a warm grey rather than a dank cold grey. It actually made me feel uplifted and I found it hugely inspiring, being there at that time – alone in the stark silence of the early morning. The birds had stayed in bed – as had the rest of the world it seems. No signs of life on the hedgerows. Just this satisfyingly warm looking fog. Heightened senses. I wanted to bottle that. For me bottling things takes the shape of the playground that is multi media work. Experiential over documentary.

sight | touch | smell | taste | sound 

HELD 3/6

That day in the fog was a Saturday.  I knew that I was going to remember that evocative sense that the wander down that country lane threw out.  Later that day, it was still in my head so I made some sketches and notes of the colours – warm pantone greys were noted.  I eventually put my water colour paintbrush on to some lovely deeply textured paper.  I needed to make overlays for my eventual photographs.  I made an abstract painting too, this time acrylic on board… all in the same warm tone greys of the day…  I think I may have my painting framed as it houses the feeling of that fog for me beautifully.  But for now, it is part of my HELD project being a backdrop for still life photographs.

Wishing you a cosy, dry and safe week end. I’m looking forwards to continuing this story next week…

HELD 4/6

My visual sketches are naturally deliberately sparse in number.  Why? Because my approach to my work is slow, considered, thoughtful, intentional. 

For me, not the scattergun approach.  

Look both ways – not just through your viewfinder but with your heart and soul.

Whilst collecting source material for a project with through a series of visual sketches, I work intuitively and not by photographic rules and guidelines.  Exploring, experimenting.  As Mr Picasso mentioned, learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.  

No rules of thirds here, but an intuitive framing of square format.  That wasn’t in my head.  What was, was trying to capture to feel of that fog…

By coincidence, the past week I have been writing for the big course that I am making, FALP… I have been writing about just this – by intuitive way of working built on intention and ritual…  it is the only way I know how to work after all the years spent behind the lens, seeing the world through that tiny piece of glass.

HELD 5/6


You may scroll through here and not read the words… you may like or just carry on scrolling.  You may read the captions.  

Thank you for taking the time to linger here and read my words.  This is the other side of slow photography, viewing an image in that considered and intentional way.  This photograph is where all the components of the initial work for HELD come together… 

The initial sketches were taken on a day where we were waiting for Spring – in a liminal space – not yet Spring but on that day no longer winter.  Warmer, brighter yet that warm coloured fog.  As mentioned before I painted water colour on textured paper and acrylic on board as a result of that walk.  Here both were used as background and textural overlay.  The tulips had faded and were drying but there was still a glimpse of that yellow of the stamen amongst the papery petals.

My hope is that you stayed a while, paused, breathed in the calm of the inspiration.

Thank you 🙂

HELD 6/6

Out of all the visual sketches I made from that day, this is THE one that resonated with me most.  The colour, the shape, the feel…

This personal project is only just beginning and by sharing my initial thoughts and visual sketches with you, I hope you have enjoyed the insight.  My exploration and experimentation will carry on through early Spring and possibly more.  I have deliberately set no time limit on this project but I do know that I am learning from it.  Learning more about painting, learning more about making short films and more about putting those paintings and ideas into my film.

I hope you have gained something from this too…

Slow photography

sight | touch | smell | taste | sound 

As a PS – not mentioned on instagram, the above image on the left is the perfect illustration of where I am going with this project – looking at time and space with considered applications of textures and filters over the video that I make purposely for the project. Here the painted background can be seen and there is a watercolour layer applied over the final image.

I do hope that you have gained much from this post and that you feel inspired or empowered to go off and make you own personal project.

About Julie Davenport

JULIE DAVENPORT is a Fine Art Lifestyle Photographer, a Creative and generous in sharing tips and hints for Photography, Creativity and a Creative Lifestyle. She has one goal – to inspire and empower creatives and aspiring photographers with heart centred education, support and encouragement to guide them to achieve their vision. Known for her signature style painterly touch and love of light and elegant composition, she draws much of her inspiration from Scandinavian painters and the seasonal rhythms of country life in her beloved Cotswold countryside in the UK. After a lifetime spent in photography, her work has now grown into a full time photography and education business - specialising in professional online training and inspiring other creatives, designers, makers and photographers. Through her depth of knowledge of her subject and unwavering passion, she has become THE authority for creative souls looking for heart centred education, support and encouragement to guide them through to achieve their vision.