My new charity photo book to raise funds for the Bomber Command Memorial upkeep

Its been a while since I’ve been able to update my blog, due to pressure of work.

As you may know through reading my previous posts, I’ve very passionate about how badly the Bomber Command veterans have been treated by successive governments and how finally there is now a fantastic new Memorial to them sited in London’s Green Park. This was funded totally by private donations, with no input from government funds. The RAF Benevolent Fund is now responsible for the upkeep of the Memorial and they now face a £1.5 million bill to maintain it, particularly after the unfortunate instances of vandalism earlier this summer.

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveiling 28 June 2012

Many people are coming up with varied ideas to try and help raise money towards this, including get veterans to sign specialist prints which will then be auctioned off.

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Since the opening of the Memorial I’ve taken hundreds of photos of it and decided I would use these to create a personal photographic tribute to my uncle and his crew, who were lost on a raid to Hamburg in April 1942. They have no known grave. He was aged just 20.

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The book is in a small square format, available in 3 finishing options: a soft back cover, a hardback image wrap and a hardback with a paper cover. Personally I think it looks fabulous and I’ve had many positive comments about it already and many purchases.

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The book can be viewed and purchased here: http://blur.by/14RyqVY. All monies will go to the RAF Benevolent Fund to help with the upkeep of the Memorial. I am taking no money from this at all. I would also greatly appreciate it, if you could post the link on your pages too. The more money we can raise, the better  to honour our amazing heroes :-)

BCM cover 2013_s

Many thanks

 

Bomber Command Memorial Unveiling 28 June 2012

Its been such a busy couple of months that I haven’t had a chance to update my blog. The most important day for me was the long overdue Unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park on June 28.

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

As you may remember in my previous post here, a Memorial was being constructed in Green Park to commemorate the 55,573 young men of Bomber Command who were lost during World War 2 and who, until now, had not been recognised or officially remembered or thanked by the country and the government in any form, be it campaign medal or monument or even in Churchill’s victory speech, a betrayal that stills rankles with many. 28 June was the day that they, the veterans and their families had been waiting for, for over 67 years, when finally they were given the recognition they had been denied for so long. It proved to be a day that most would remember for the rest of their lives.

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Having been one of the wettest Junes on record, everyone was praying that it would at least be dry. As it turned out, it was a day of non stop sunshine and really high temperatures. I think words were had with the weather gods by those that never came home :-) .

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Arriving at Green Park about 10am with my brother and boyfriend, I met up with a friend to hand over his tickets and then we made our way to the Salute Area, along with thousands of other families who were remembering their relatives. Although I had applied for tickets in the main Memorial Area directly in front of the Memorial and the area where HM the Queen would unveil the bronze statue of the Lancaster bomber crew, erected in the middle of the Memorial, I hadn’t been successful in the draw and had tickets in the larger Salute Area instead, where we were able to watch everything unfold on a large screen. Entertainment was laid on as well. Singers such as Jane MacDonald, childrens’ choirs, male choirs and so on, compared by Carol Vordemann. There was also the opportunity to have a dedication to your relatives displayed on the large screen, by sending a text & making a donation.

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

I met up with my cousins who had also come to remember our uncle and I also met, for the first time, the nephew of the rear gunner of my uncle’s plane whom I’d managed to trace only a couple of months previously. As you can imagine, it was a very emotional time all round. My cousins gave me a gift that their mother had given them to give to me, something that belonged to my uncle and that she had kept for all these years. I was in tears as you can imagine.

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Then the event began. Her Majesty the Queen and other members of the Royal Family arrived and she unveiled the Memorial. It was amazing to finally get a glimpse of the Bronze. The speculation amongst interested parties had been great over the previous few months and now we could finally see it. It was magnificent! A fitting tribute to ‘our boys’. Then there was a service of remembrance which also included mention of Robin Gibb of the Bees Gees who’d been a great supported of the campaign to erect a Memorial, and then the moment many of us were looking forward to avidly, the Flypast. Firstly came a group of Tornadoes, the current RAF paying its respect to its lost comrades and then the sound that everyone had been waiting for, the roar of 4 Merlin engines, the Lancaster from the Battle of Britian Memorial Flight Phantom of the Rhur (aka City of Lincoln). All heads turned skyward & a huge cheer erupted from thousands of throats. A magnificent sight that never fails to bring tears to many eyes. Suddenly the bomb doors opened and ‎820,000 poppies, released by a Veteran who had been allowed to fly on the Lancaster for the event, streamed out to represent the 1000s lost. They fluttered and drifted with the breeze, bright red against an azure blue sky, over those gathered below and many came to rest in the park, to be collected by the RAF & police to be hand out to people later to keep for posterity. I collected several.

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Once the ceremony was over the Queen left and went to the RAF club nearby for lunch with various high brow RAF dignitaries. Then it was announced that Prince Charles and Camilla would be coming to the Salute Area to meet some of the Veterans and if anyone would like to meet them to go over to the path area connecting the Salute Area to the Memorial Area, so I wandered over and managed to get a place in the front row. We waited for a while while the vets were organised and then we saw the Royal Car approach and then stop nearby. It then drove off and everyone started to take photos as it passed, only to see no one in it. However we could tell that Prince Charles was still nearby, by the number of photographers crowding around. Just as he was getting close a veteran made his way in front of me to join the line up, so I lost my front row spot :-( . I was juggling taking video and stills but still managed to get both video and pics. I heard Prince Charles saw to some vets, ‘I’m sorry its taken 70 years’, then as he approached me, he commented to those around that ‘if it hadn’t been for you all, we wouldn’t be here’. then he started chatting to the vet in front of me and asked him what type of tie he was wearing. I also saw Camilla speak to a veteran, ‘its a great pleasure, lovely to meet you’ I heard her comment. I think it was really appreciated that they took the time to meet people.

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

The way was open between the 2 areas now and people were streaming up there to take their first close up view of the Memorial. I decided that living in London anyway I would be able to visit at my leisure, so decided not to queue and went straight to the Intercontinental Hotel across the road where my family were due to meet with the family of the rear gunner for afternoon tea.

 

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

It was lovely to come in from the sun and relax, and lovely to meet another family who was in the same position as our family, who had lost one of their relatives for whom there was no known grave. They had brought along photos of their uncle and we thought we could see our uncle in the photo as well. My cousins had also brought along letters written by my uncle, that I had never seen before. For us at least we had known about our uncle and had been able to obtain his service records. For the family of the rear gunner, the RAF had been unable to trace any records for their uncle, in fact the RAF thought he didn’t exist, despite the family having a photo of him in RAF uniform. It turned out that, like many of the young men at the time, their uncle had lied about his age when he volunteered, not only his age, but also his name. This had made it extremely difficult for me to trace the family as I was looking for the name he gave the RAF and the family were looking under his real name. By pure chance I had found someone on the internet who was looking for for a young man whose name was very similar to the person I was looking for and who’d been lost on the same day. After making contact we realised my ‘man’ and hers were the same person and she was able to give me the address of the person with whom I was now drinking tea, and they were extremely grateful and thanked me profusely. Something I was proud and honoured to have done and achieved, it made all the long hours tied to my computer scouring the internet, worth while.

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

My cousins told me that my uncle had never had a proper funeral or memorial service as the family had always hoped he would come home at some point, so the Unveiling was, in one way, his funeral, a little late perhaps, but a very fitting tribute in the end. Its not everyday that the Queen comes to your funeral.

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

After the tea I met up briefly with some of my Facebook friends from the Support the Bomber Command Memorial group and it was lovely to put faces to names and drink a toast to those we’d lost.

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Just last week I finally got a chance to visit the Memorial close up for the first time. The weather again smiled on me and it was brilliantly sunny. I found the cross that I had given to be laid at the Memorial was till there a month later :-) . Respect! It seems at least this monument was still sacred. Loads of people were there paying their respects, wandering round quietly, examining the wreaths and messages that had been left. The statue itself was far larger than I had realised and the more I looked at them the more the bronze figures seemed to come to life and become ‘real’ people, each man with his own character. Although they are a Lancaster crew, they represent all the crews that were lost and I tried to imagine which one was my uncle. I took some photos, including one of the cross to my uncle. As someone from the Bomber Command fraternity commented ‘Its great to finally have somewhere where we can go, and just remember’. Another trip is definitely in order.

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

 

omber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

 

They shall grow not old,
as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun,
and in the morning
We will remember them

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

Bomber Command Memorial Unveling 28 June 2012

 

All images are © Nicola Gaughan Iconic Creative 2012. Images may not be reproduced without permission. Other photos can be viewed on my website www.iconiccreative.co.uk.

 

 

Comedy came to the Cartoon Museum in April

Comedy came to the Cartoon Museum this April in the form of two famous and very funny comedians Tony Hawks (@thefridgeman) and Rowland Rivron.

Tony’s Chattoon took place in a side room in the lower part of the museum, so the lighting was not too good for photography, but this had no effect on the humour, so we learnt all about Tony’s escapades, including him taking a fridge around Ireland and playing the whole Moldavian football team at tennis. The video for this Chattoon has just been launched and can be viewed here. Our interviewer this time was Alan Stevens and the cartoonist was Simon Cassini.

Tony Hawks Chattoon, Cartoon Museum

Tony Hawks Chattoon, Cartoon Museum

Tony Hawks Chattoon, Cartoon Museum

Tony Hawks Chattoon, Cartoon Museum

Tony Hawks Chattoon, Cartoon Museum

Tony Hawks Chattoon, Cartoon Museum

On the same day as the London siege the Chattoon took over the Cartoon Museum again, this time interviewing and cartooning Rowland Rivron. Rowland is a very funny guy and had us all in stitches through most of the interview, regaling us with stories of his time as a drummer for a West End musical and working with Ade Edmondson, Neil Innes and Phil Jupitus in their band the Idiot Bastard Band. The interviewer this time was Jeremy Nicholas and the cartoonist was Simon Cartoono Ellinas.

Rowland Rivron Chattoon, Carttoon Museum

Rowland Rivron Chattoon, Cartoon Museum

Rowland Rivron Chattoon, Carttoon Museum

Rowland Rivron Chattoon, Cartoon Museum

Rowland Rivron Chattoon, Carttoon Museum

Rowland Rivron Chattoon, Cartoon Museum

Rowland Rivron Chattoon, Carttoon Museum

Rowland Rivron Chattoon, Cartoon Museum

All photos © Nicola Gaughan Iconic Creative 2012. Other work can be viewed at www.iconiccreative.co.uk. To book me for your professional portrait or event, please email info [at] iconiccreative [dot] co [dot] uk.

And the weather for March Chattoons will be stormy and sunny

March was another exciting month for the Chattoon team, involving two Chattoons, one at the beginning and one at the end of the month.

 

Christine and Neil Hamilton Chattoon

Christine and Neil Hamilton Chattoon

Early March saw me sat hiding under an awning in Battersea hiding from the cold, persistent drizzle, waiting for the rest of the Chattoon team to arrive. (Why does it always rain on shoots?). Once all the team had arrived, we made our way to the London flat of Christine and Neil Hamilton, an interesting venue as it had been redesigned by Justine and Colin of How Not to Decorate fame. Do red leather easy chairs, really look right on a magenta (ish) carpet and with pink leather dining table chairs, library chairs and black wood shelving? Answers in the comment section please :-)

Christine and Neil Hamilton Chattoon

Christine and Neil Hamilton Chattoon

We were greeted by Neil and then a rather ill Christine, who was a bit over whelmed by the size of the Chattoon crew. However things soon were back on track, Christine was dosed up in hot lemon and the Chattoon was underway. She and Neil talked about when they first met, his time as an MP and lots of other stuff. Tim Leatherbarrow the cartoonist used watercolours to produce his cartoon, not a technique I would have initially thought would work in such a small time frame, but it did. We learnt about how Christine became known as the Face of the British Banger and her response to that and her time on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. She also talked about her book The Bumper Book of British Battleaxes.

Christine and Neil Hamilton Chattoon

Christine and Neil Hamilton Chattoon

Finally came the ‘reveal’ of the finished cartoon and a group photo.

Christine and Neil Hamilton Chattoon

Christine and Neil Hamilton Chattoon

One evening in late March the Chattoon team met again, ready for their next adventure, this time to interview and film Sian Lloyd, the famous weather girl. We would be conducting the interview at the Met Office in London, just down the road from Westminster. In the warm late evening sun we shot some of the intro scenes before meeting Sian inside.

Sian Lloyd Chattoon

Sian Lloyd Chattoon

Sian Lloyd Chattoon

Sian Lloyd Chattoon

Sian was lovely, showing us round the (very) small studio in which she films the weather forecasts and introducing us to her colleagues. They had even set up a series of weather screens for us, showing the unusually hot march weather in graph format, a lovely warm glow spread across the computer monitors. The cartoonist this time was Cathy Simpson and the interviewer was Jeremy Jacobs.

Sian Lloyd Chattoon

Sian Lloyd Chattoon

Sian Lloyd Chattoon

Sian Lloyd Chattoon

Sian talked about her feelings regarding Wind Farms – which she loathes, her trek up Kilimanjaro – something akin to torture apparently and something she would never do again, Lembit Opik – only a very brief mention, her husband and her love of food, something she feels comes from her Welsh heritage. We also learned about her interest in Rally Driving and something for my male readers, how she became Rear of the Year, a fun competition with a more serious side, that highlights the issues around bowel cancer. Apparently she received a lovely snail mail letter and a certificate.

Sian Lloyd Chattoon

Sian Lloyd Chattoon

Sian Lloyd Chattoon

Sian Lloyd Chattoon

Once again I was able to capture Sian at the moment of the ‘Reveal’ and she loved her cartoon.

 

Sian Lloyd Chattoon

Sian Lloyd Chattoon

All images are © Nicola Gaughan Iconic Creative 2012. Other images can be viewed on my website www.iconiccreative.co.uk. If you would like to use my services to cover your event or for portraits, please contact me either via this blog or my website.

An Eggciting opportunity to photograph Edwina Currie

So there I was, minding my own business, when suddenly into my Inbox pops an email that had me straight on the phone and saying Yes to an amazing opportunity. A business contact Simon Cartoono Ellinas is a caricaturist, providing cartoons and caricatures at parties, weddings and other events. He also runs the well known Chattoon!, the chat show with cartoons, where celebrities are caricatured, whilst they are being interviewed.

Edwina Currie - Chattoon, Alan Media Coach Stevens meets Edwina

Edwina Currie - Chattoon!, Alan Media Coach Stevens meets Edwina

Edwina Currie - Chattoon, Ian Parratt meets Edwina

Edwina Currie - Chattoon!, Ian Parratt meets Edwina

Edwina Currie - Chattoon, Edwina talks about Nightingale House

Edwina Currie - Chattoon!, Edwina talks about Nightingale House

The email asked: Was I free tomorrow to photograph Former Health Minister Edwina Currie? Silly question! Its not everyday you get the opportunity to hear straight from the horse’s mouth (as it were) about her escapades with John Major and her thoughts on the Salmonella crisis and Maggie Thatcher.

Edwina Currie - Chattoon. Alan begins the interview

Edwina Currie - Chattoon!. Alan begins the interview

Edwina Currie - Chattoon, Simon and Edwina

Edwina Currie - Chattoon!, Simon and Edwina

I met with Simon, Alan Media Coach Stevens, another business contact I hadn’t seen for a few years and Ian Parratt, the caricaturist who would actually be drawing Edwina this time, in a delightful cafe in Clapham South and then we made our way to Nightingale House, a home for the Elderly, where Edwina is a Patron and was helping the residents. There we met Guy Carter, the Director of Photography and the cameraman who would be filming the Chattoon!.

Edwina Currie - Chattoon, sharing a joke

Edwina Currie - Chattoon!, sharing a joke

Edwina Currie - Chattoon, Ian draws his caricature throughout the interview

Edwina Currie - Chattoon!, Ian draws his caricature throughout the interview

We set up the interview area, did light and sound checks and then Edwina arrived. She briefly told us some of the history of the Home, whilst she was ‘miked up’ and then Alan began the interview.

Edwina Currie - Chattoon, the crew

Edwina Currie - Chattoon!, the crew

I must admit that I’ve never really been that into politics, I’ve just trotted along to the polling booths, cast my vote and then trotted off home (no I’m not going to tell you how I vote :-) ), so this was the first time I’d had the chance to meet a politician face to face. I briefly shook hands and then got on with the business of photographing the interview.

Edwina Currie - Chattoon, Ian continues drawing

Edwina Currie - Chattoon!, Ian continues drawing

Usually I only have to be aware of ‘my’ angles and shots, but this time I also had to be aware of the cameraman as well and try not to cut across his shots as we filmed in one take, and space was tight. I also had to include Ian and his drawing in the shots as well.

Edwina Currie - Chattoon, The Reveal

Edwina Currie - Chattoon!, The Reveal

Edwina talked about her University days, the furore over the Salmonella crisis and why she spoke out and her time with Margaret Thatcher. When she was asked what she thought of the new Meryl Streep film The Iron Lady, she replied that she felt Meryl Streep had captured Maggie to a tee. When asked if Mr Major had had any comments about her book, Edwina replied that she had received an email from him, saying that he and Norma were reading it in bed :-) .

Edwina Currie - Chattoon, The Caricature

Edwina Currie - Chattoon!, The Caricature

I love watching Strictly Come Dancing when I get the chance and its often the more mature ladies that I have the greatest respect for. It must be extremely exhausting to try and produce quality performances every week and keep up with the youngsters. Edwina talked about her experience and the fun she had on Strictly, despite finding it really hard.

Edwina Currie - Chattoon, Edwina with her caricature

Edwina Currie - Chattoon!, Edwina with her caricature

All through the interview Ian was drawing his caricature and finally at the end was able to do a full ‘reveal’. Edwina loved it and we did some shots showing her hold it proudly.

Edwina Currie - Chattoon, Edwina with her caricature

Edwina Currie - Chattoon!, Edwina with her caricature

Edwina Currie - Chattoon

Edwina Currie - Chattoon!

Chattoon! videos are also available on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/simonelli2?gl=GB&hl=en-GB

All images are © Nicola Gaughan Iconic Creative 2012. Should you wish to use these, or any others please contact me to discuss rates and usage.

To see further examples of my work please visit www.iconiccreative.co.uk.

 

 

 

London – The Olympic City

This summer is an exciting year for London, we’re hosting the  Olympic and Paralympic Games. I wasn’t lucky enough to win any tickets, but one of my friends did and I’m sure she’ll have an amazing time.

Many of my readers are American and I thought I would show you some of the sights you might see, if anyone is travelling to London to watch the Olympics. The images were taken a couple of years ago as part of my HNC in Photography course. The brief was to create images of London that would be used in a mock magazine, scenes that a visitor to London might see here, using the river Thames (this link shows various river cruises, but I’m not advertising or recommending any particular one – see their advertising material and websites to decide which one will suit you) as means of transport ie any of the scenes can be accessed from the river, thereby providing a narrative throughout the mock article.

As part of the brief we also had to layout the actual magazine pages, which given that I’m a designer as well and have worked on several magazines, I assumed would be an easy task for me. This turned out not to be the case, as often images that worked well on their own proved not to work so well when used next to another image in the spreads. As well as showing the main sights, we also had to cover the various means of transport available to visitors, such as taxis, bicycles and so on, while also showing various shopping opportunities, as well as any amusing interlude images that depicted the variety of life in the Capital.

The river Thames & London Eye from Westminster Bridge

The river Thames & London Eye from Westminster Bridge

One of the first images we had to decide on was the cover image and I felt this was the best as it showed, not only the river, but an attraction as well, as well as being visually creative. I felt the curve of the iron work echoed that of the London Eye and enhanced the image.

Photography is all about drawing with light. If you’re brave enough when you visit and get up to see the sunrise, you might be able to capture a shot that is enhanced by the beautiful soft light that occurs. We got up at 4am and got there at about 4.45am, a definite shock to the system. To add impact to the upper part of the images I used a graduated neutral density filter.

Tower Bridge at sunrise

Tower Bridge at sunrise

The Greater London Authority building at sunrise

The Greater London Authority building at sunrise

Other shots were taken at dusk and at night. I was very lucky with these shots of St Pauls, I got onto the London Eye just as the sun was starting to set, with some lovely images as a result. The London Eye is definitely worth visiting as you are afforded the most amazing panoramic views across the whole city. Just be prepared to queue a while.

London panorama including St Pauls from the London Eye

London panorama including St Pauls from the London Eye

London panorama Houses of Parliament from the London Eye

London panorama Houses of Parliament from the London Eye

Hayward Gallery, South Bank at Dusk

Hayward Gallery, South Bank at Dusk

County Hall (Sealife Aquarium), the London Eye & the South Bank at night

County Hall (Sealife Aquarium), the London Eye & the South Bank at night

St Pauls Cathedral is a significant landmark in London (it even survived the Blitz) and can be viewed from both sides of the river. According to legend, if you climb up to the Whispering Gallery and whisper your darkest secrets to the walls, someone on the other side of the huge gallery can hear them, so be careful what you say :-) . We were lucky enough to gain access to the Tate Modern‘s private viewing gallery (The Tate Modern covers modern art and the Tate Britain covers more traditional types of painting) and were able to capture shots that perhaps not all visitors to London might be able to.

St Pauls Cathedral

St Pauls Cathedral

St Pauls Cathedral from the Tate Gallery

St Pauls Cathedral from the Tate Gallery

Food is a significant part of any visit to another country, tasting the delicacies, finding out what the locals like and to cover this aspect we visited the world famous Borough Market. I had never been to this particular market and was stunned to see the wide range of food and drink available. Being undercover, the skylights defused the available light and we were able to get some beautiful images. Being a sea port, London has access to some great sea food, as well as freshwater produce. Check Time Out magazine for restaurants and cafes and other things to see and do.

Garlic at Borough Market

Garlic at Borough Market

Scallops

Scallops

Bread

Bread

London is well known for its iconic transport (check out the Transport for London website for information on tubes, buses and DLR), although sadly the well know Routermaster bus has largely been consigned to museums. A note to visitors: London taxis aren’t just black now, but are often decorated with advertising and brightly coloured. However they will still be that same shape so can be hired with confidence. If you’re still unsure, check that there is a plaque from the authorising authority inside somewhere.

London taxis

London taxis

Shopping is an exciting part of any trip and there’s plenty to choose from, ranging from establishments such as Harrods and Fortmum and Masons, to boutiques that sell all manner of craft including pottery or Tourist Souvenirs.

Pottery Boutique somewhere near Borough Market

Pottery Boutique somewhere near Borough Market

Quality souvenir shop near the Royal Festival Hall

Quality souvenir shop near the Royal Festival Hall

There is also accommodation to suit all budgets. It was my birthday the other day and was lucky enough to be treated to a stay at The Ritz, Afternoon Tea at Claridges, topped off with a trip to see The Lion King, so these following pics are not part of the magazine brief, and taken with a small point & shoot camera.

Our room at the Ritz

Our room at the Ritz

Our room at the Ritz

Our room at the Ritz

Celebration Champers at Claridges

Celebration Champers at Claridges

Afternoon tea at Claridges

Afternoon tea at Claridges

Afternoon tea at Claridges

Afternoon tea at Claridges

Finally, its often the people that we meet that make a visit and London is no exception, with its Beefeaters at the Tower of London and other characters such as the Pearly Kings and Queens.

Beefeater at the Tower of London

Beefeater at the Tower of London

I hope that you all thoroughly enjoy any trips to London that you have planned. There are some amazing sights to see and some exciting things to do, delicious things to eat and fantastic things to buy. And of course this year there will be once in a lifetime memories, never to be forgotten and hopefully some medals to top it all off :-) .

To see more of my work visit www.iconiccreative.co.uk. All images are © Nicola Gaughan Iconic Creative 2012. Should you wish to use these, or any other images I have that might be suitable, please contact me to discuss rates.

If you’ve found this post helpful or interesting, please feel free to leave a comment.

Celebrities and designers help raise funds for the Find Your Feet charity

Being a photographer is a great job, as you get to meet some amazing people and touch peoples’ lives by capturing memories that last forever. Its also a very important tool that can be used to document, comment on and fight social injustice and its nice to be able to give something back.

 

We Are What We Wear charity fashion show March 2011

We Are What We Wear charity fashion show March 2011

 

Find Your Feet charity display

Find Your Feet charity display

One  such instant was the We Are What We Wear charity fashion show that I was involved with in March 2011. One of my clients Vaishali Shah of Creative ID and Ananya Cards, asked me if I would be interested in covering the charity fashion show organised by the Find Your Feet charity, in celebration of their 50th Anniversary. All monies raised would go to the charity, to help them further their work.

We Are What We Wear March 2011

We Are What We Wear March 2011

We Are What We Wear March 2011

We Are What We Wear March 2011

We Are What We Wear March 2011

We Are What We Wear March 2011

Find Your Feet are a charity that works in rural areas to help support people and help them free themselves from poverty, through listening and responding to the varying needs of the different communities that they work with. The charity was founded in 1960 by Carol Martin and has evolved from being an organisation that provides humanitarian aid, to being one that supports long-term rural development projects and now focuses on India and Malawi. Despite now being a major economic growth area, the gap between the rich and poor in India is vast, a difference I saw myself when I visited the country in 2004. Malawi is one of the world’s least developed nations and relies heavily on aid to help with its development challenges.

The event was held in the Mint Leaf Restaurant Bar in the Haymarket, London and the venue was an ideal place to hold a fashion show. Not only was there a stage area for the main part of the fashion show and the dance event, there were walkways all around the restaurant which allowed the models to showcase the outfit to all the diners.

Dhriv Baker and DJ Nihal arrive at the We Are What We Wear fashion show March 2011

Dhriv Baker and DJ Nihal arrive at the We Are What We Wear fashion show March 2011

Dhruv Baker, MasterChef winner 2010

Dhruv Baker, MasterChef winner 2010

Honey Kalaria and Mint Leaf restaurant owner Dinu Bhattessa

Honey Kalaria and Mint Leaf restaurant owner Dinu Bhattessa

It was a star studded evening and was hosted by DJ Nihal from Radio 1′s Asian Network Show. Other guests included past MasterChef 2010 winner Dhruv Baker and Honey Kalaria, who runs her own Bollywood Dance Academy , “Britain’s top Modern Indian Dance expert” The Sun. Some of Honey’s young dancers also had hearts pumping and feet tapping with a fabulous, energetic Bollywood inspired repertoire.

Honey Kalaria's dancers rehearse before the show

Honey Kalaria's dancers rehearse before the show

Honey Kalaria's dancers

Honey Kalaria's dancers

Honey Kalaria's dancers

Honey Kalaria's dancers

Providing fun interludes throughout the evening magician Bharat Patel surprised and intrigued people with spell binding tricks.

Magician Bharat Patel spell binds people with his magic

Magician Bharat Patel spell binds people with his magic

Magician Bharat Patel spell binds people with his magic

Magician Bharat Patel spell binds people with his magic

The designers produced an exciting, varied and unusual array of outfits, which utilised all sorts of fabrics, including recycled materials and were created with environmental and ethical sourcing concerns paramount in the concept. Backstage was a cacophony of noise and colour, as models, make up artists and hairdressers raced to get ready for their entrance onto the catwalk.

We Are What We Wear fashion show March 2011

We Are What We Wear fashion show March 2011

We Are What We Wear fashion show March 2011

We Are What We Wear fashion show March 2011

Behind the scenes We Are What We Wear March 2011

Behind the scenes We Are What We Wear March 2011

Behind the scenes We Are What We Wear March 2011

Behind the scenes We Are What We Wear March 2011

Behind the scenes We Are What We Wear March 2011

Behind the scenes We Are What We Wear March 2011

Behind the scenes We Are What We Wear March 2011

Behind the scenes We Are What We Wear March 2011

We Are What We Wear fashion show March 2011

We Are What We Wear fashion show March 2011

We Are What We Wear fashion show March 2011

We Are What We Wear fashion show March 2011

We Are What We Wear fashion show March 2011

We Are What We Wear fashion show March 2011

We Are What We Wear fashion show March 2011

We Are What We Wear fashion show March 2011

We Are What We Wear fashion show March 2011

We Are What We Wear fashion show March 2011

We Are What We Wear fashion show March 2011

We Are What We Wear fashion show March 2011

We Are What We Wear fashion show March 2011

We Are What We Wear fashion show March 2011

After the fashion show, there was a charity auction hosted by Charley Speed, who is a model and judge on Britain’s Next Top Model and everyone had great fun bidding for the items and Charley even sported one of the auction lots, a fantastic handbag made of drink can ring pulls :-) .

Charley Speed hosts the auction at We Are What We Wear March 2011

Charley Speed hosts the auction at We Are What We Wear March 2011

Charley Speed hosts the auction at We Are What We Wear March 2011

Charley Speed hosts the auction at We Are What We Wear March 2011

The evening was a fabulous celebration of the work of the charity and raised the amazing total of £10,000 to help the charity continue its vital work helping the world’s poor. If you would like to help the charity with its work, donations can be made online on the charity’s website.

To check out more of my work please visit Iconic Creative Design and Photography.

All images are © Nicola Gaughan Iconic Creative 2011. Please contact me if you would like to use any images.

Remembering the Few – Lest We Forget

Many of you may know that I’ve been investigating my uncle’s RAF career over the last year and a half, and its been an emotional rollercoaster to be honest, which I didn’t expect and has made me realise just how much we owe to those that fought during World War 2. We owe them our freedom, which many of us take for granted.

My uncle in his Spitfire which he flew before transferring to Bomber Command

My uncle in his Spitfire which he flew before transferring to Bomber Command

My uncle was an RAF bomber pilot, enlisting into the RAF Volunteer Reserve in 1940 at the tender age of 18. After passing through the rigorous training system he gained his Wings in April 1941 and joined 57 Squadron, flying night bombing raids in a series of Vickers Wellingtons (fondly known as Wimpys or Flying Cigars).

Having done a lot of investigation at The National Archives at Kew, I was able to find all the raids that he took part in and sadly it was a very short list: just 12 missions.

On the night of 8 April 1942 he and his crewmates took off from RAF Feltwell bound for Hamburg. They never returned and all 6 were Killed in action and with No Known Grave. He was just 20 years old, the youngest of the crew, none of whom were aged over 28.

As part of my research I’ve been in contact with the Stichting Missing Airmen Foundation in Holland. They trace the families of crew who crashed in the Friesland area of the country. Having reviewed all the records, I’ve found I have to agree with the general consensus that my uncle’s plane crashed in the North Sea, just off the coast of Holland and the Foundation have been helping with my research as a result.

Once all the families (or as many as possible) are traced, the Foundation likes to erect a Memorial to the Crew and hold a ceremony where all the families can finally have some closure. I was honoured last summer to be invited to such a ceremony for the crew of Wellington R1397 (me in the pink raincoat and camera).

Following are some of the photos I took of the day:

 

Military attache Peter Lambourn talks to the head of the Dutch Airforce Recovery Dept

Military attache Peter Lambourn talks to the head of the Dutch Airforce Recovery Dept

 

Presentation in Boazum church about the crew and the search for the crashsite

Presentation in Boazum church about the crew and the search for the crashsite

 

Leaving Boazum church on the way to the crashsite

Leaving Boazum church on the way to the crashsite

New Zeland Ambassador for the Hague (one of the crew came from NZ) with Military Attached Peter Lambourn

New Zeland Ambassador for the Hague (one of the crew came from NZ) with Military Attached Peter Lambourn

Children from the village who have helped with the Memorial, pay their respects

Children from the village who have helped with the Memorial, pay their respects

Peter Lambourn lays his wreath next to that of the New Zealand Ambassador

Peter Lambourn lays his wreath next to that of the New Zealand Ambassador

Other wreathes including one from the Foundation

Other wreathes including one from the Foundation

The Memorial erected by the Stichting Missing Airmen Memorial Foundation

The Memorial erected by the Stichting Missing Airmen Memorial Foundation

Foundation members on the right, with some of the family members on the left

Foundation members on the right, with some of the family members on the left

Over 55,000 RAF men and women made the ultimate sacrifice during the War, with many of those having no known crashsite, and therefore with no possibilty for a grave and for closure for the families involved. Over the last few years there has been a public campaign to raise money to erect a memorial to all those, including those who died, in Bomber Command. After much toing and froing, negotiations and so on, work has finally started on the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park, with the Foundation Stone being laid on 4 May 2011.

All seemed well, or is it? The Government policy to try and reduce the deficit, by swaging cuts and so on has impacted on the Memorial. with a change in the law possibly leaving the Memorial with a £250k VAT bill! Disgraceful!! These men and women gave their youth and in the case of 55,000 men and women, their lives. There has never been any recognition in the form of a medal for members of Bomber Command, the only part of the Armed Forces not to receive one. Is the Goverment somehow embarrassed by Bomber Command? Without the efforts of Bomber Command, the war would have lasted far longer and thousands more people would have died. Even if they are embarrassed, its time to swallow their pride and to Honour and Thank these men and women, before its too late. Many of them are now in their 80s and 90s and they deserve to have recognition before the last of them passes away. Surely the least the Government can do is pay the debt we owe those men and women, and drop this VAT.

Disgusted, I wrote to my MP Virenda Sharma. He took up my case with the Treasury. Here is his comment after he received the reply from Mr Osborne’s department.

     As you will see, Mr Gauke sets out the Government’s logic in charging VAT on war memorials. However, this seems to completely miss the point. Mr Gauke discusses ‘luxury’ items and offering reliefs for food and other ‘essential’ items, but this should not be an issue of logical reasoning and financial facts and figures. Ultimately, if individuals want to erect a monument to honour the war dead, in keeping with planning restrictions and the wishes of others, it is absurd that the Government should begin to consider whether this is ‘worthwhile’ or not. Amidst talk of the ‘big society’, this is the sort of community activity that should be encouraged. While bankers continue to be paid astronomical bonuses, and companies manage to sustain tax dodging to the tune of billions of pounds, when a community wants to mark those who gave their lives in war for us, this is subject to strict tax regulation.

    Mr Gauke talks of their ‘exceptional fiscal challenge’, and no one can deny the need to tackle the government’s budget deficit. However, it seems that consistently those who least deserve it are losing out, with cuts that go too far and too fast. Charging VAT on war memorials is a clear demonstration of how fast the Government are making cuts, with little regard to the long term impact, and the effect on individuals’ confidence.

    I am sorry this was perhaps not the response you were hoping for. Please be assured of my support for VAT relief on this and other war memorials, which would cost the Government little and show a clear demonstration of support for our forces. However, the Treasury’s response is definite, and I am afraid there will be little manoeuvre. However, please feel free to contact me further on this or any other issue.

And finally the response from the Treasury:

Treasury - VAT memorials letter

Treasury - VAT memorials letter

It seems this Government has little respect for the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces and for those that wanted to show their gratitude to those that gave everything, for our freedom.

A proud Niece looking for justice through her photography. In Memory of my Uncle and the crew of Wellington x3757.

Lest We Forgot

 

EDIT  10th February 2012.

Good news! It seems People Power has had an effect and David Cameron has stepped in and given the Bomber Command Memorial Fund a grant which after all the figures are totted up, will rule out the VAT bill. Hurrah! About time too. Check out the Telegraph’s piece yesterday about it.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/rafbombercommand/9070661/1m-lifeline-for-Bomber-Command-memorial.html

 

 

Lembit Opik (MP) at Liberal Party HQ

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and are looking forward to a fabulous New Year. 2011 has been an amazing year with all sorts of photographic opportunities for me, and I’m positive there are even better things to come. Exciting! I already have some interesting shoots lined up for 2012, but more of that later.

Bart Ricketts

Bart Ricketts

In May I was asked to cover a launch party at Liberal Party HQ in central London, with Councillor Bart Ricketts and Lembit Opik (MP). Never having had that much to do with ‘Politics’ before, apart from when I visit the Polling Station, I thought it would be an interesting experience.

Liberal party launch event May 2011

Liberal party launch event May 2011

Lembit Opik MP at Liberal party launch event May 2011

Lembit Opik MP at Liberal party launch event May 2011

It was a lovely spring evening and the event was held out on the Terrace. Nibbles and drinks were provided and soon the conversation was flowing. I was able to get lots of relaxed and informal images of people enjoying themselves.

Liberal party launch event May 2011

Liberal party launch event May 2011

I even briefly met one of my Facebook contacts, cartoonist Simon Ellinas. Lembit was charming and obviously used to having the ‘paparazzi’ around, being a politician.

Lembit Opik MP at Liberal party launch event May 2011

Lembit Opik MP at Liberal party launch event May 2011

Lembit Opik MP at Liberal party launch event May 2011

Lembit Opik MP at Liberal party launch event May 2011

Having heard so much negative stuff in the press about politicians, I was pleasantly surprised at how nice everyone was.

Liberal party launch event May 2011

Liberal party launch event May 2011

All images © Nicola Gaughan Iconic Creative 2011. All Rights Reserved. www.iconiccreative.co.uk.

Do you believe in Fairies?

This Saturday I went on a Fairy Hunt, at Syon Park’s fantastic Enchanted Woodland event with the London Meetup Photographic Group. We met at 5pm and luckily we avoided the huge queue as the group had already booked the tickets. It’s such a popular event for families AND photographers that it was very crowded. Despite that I was able to get some fabulous pictures and I have even used one on my Christmas Cards this year.

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

We followed the wandering path through the extensive gardens at Syon, with many of us photographers ‘queuing’  to take advantage of the various stunning light displays. Lights included single colours on individual trees, multi coloured lights on grasses, ground shrubs and unusual tree formations, strip lights on tree branches, touch sensitive boxes, items including glitter balls hung in trees and on the bridge across the lake. The tour ended in the glass orangery with a spectacular sound and light laser show. Even the moon showed and I was able to use it in my image composition to add and extra focal point and interest.

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park\

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Excited children wandered around investigating all the nooks and crannies and even found what looked to be Fairie Houses tucked away at the base of trees, magical groves where owls, butterflies and dragonflies gathered and even a Fairie picnic.

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park

So, as the children were asked in Peter Pan, now do you believe in fairies? :-)