On Sunday Makelight took a break from the beloved Dulwich studio to lead a group of wonderfully creative ladies on a photography tour around London’s most pastel neighbourhood: charming and blossom-filled Notting Hill. This was the inaugural Makelight Photo Walk, the first in a series of photography outings organised by Emily and Kathryn, which once a month will explore a different (and photogenic!) London neighbourhood.
Perhaps because it was the end of the half term holiday, Notting Hill was surprisingly quiet when the six of us convened on Sunday afternoon and began - tentatively at first - taking photos at the top of Portobello Road. What surprised me the most is how photographing London in a group of similarly-minded women brought to my attention all sorts of potential subjects and scenes which I would never notice were I photographing the same area by myself. In fact, the previous week I explored this colourful patch of London to create a route for this Makelight tour. So when we set off I thought I had already captured quite a bit of what this quirky part of town has to offer. But working in a group meant that five other photographers were simultaneously seeking out something similar to me – and sharing it! One of my best imagines from the walk is a blue and white stripy house with flower boxes resting in an arched windowsill. We were standing on Elgin Crescent, gathered around a glorious Magnolia Tree and working to capture its blossoms in the changing light. I heard Emily exclaim, “Look at that stripy house!” It’s not something I would have given a second look at were I there alone. In fact I had more than likely passed it several times the previous week. But in that moment I was off, over the road to take that photo, and it’s definitely one of my favourites.
Oh, and about that Magnolia Tree! Right now pink Magnolia blossoms seem to be The Holy Grail post of London-themed Instagramming. And if you’ve ever tried to capture this sweet Winter-turning-to-Spring symbol yourself, you’ll know conditions have to be exactly right to make the real-life beauty of these buds translate to the same level of gorgeousness in a digital image. Hence the moment on Sunday when the six of us Makelighters stumbled upon a giant, blooming Magnolia Tree smack in the middle of Notting Hill. Was it against the desired white terraced house background? (Yes!) Was the sun shining? (Yes!) And had we arrived at the ideal moment, when the tree’s fashionable ombre pink flowers were at their fullest, before any rot began encroaching on blooms? (Why yes!) After snapping my initial round of photos, I managed to get this image of Emily, Lilian and Giulia. Aren’t the delighted looks on their faces that feeling we all get when we see something amazing and know we’ve struck Instragram-gold?
Image : Kathryn
The idea behind these 90-minute walks is to bring the work of Makelight beyond the studio and into London where you’ll have the opportunity to practice and improve your outdoor photography in ultra-Instagramable settings. After the walk, we’ll be available for a further half hour if you’d like to go for tea and ask any practical questions, like about using your camera or how best to incorporate photos of your local area into your Instagram feed. Oh and there will even be the opportunity to have your portrait taken on future walks, if you’re looking to update your social media profile pic. Just check out this adorable image Emily took of us in front of an amazing wall we stumbled upon in a Notting Hill mews!
One aspect of our first Makelight walk I wondered about was what would happen when we all wound up taking an image of exactly the same thing? If you take a look through our new hashtag, makelightphotowalks, you’ll see this actually didn’t happen too often. But one case when this did occur was with that beautiful Magnolia I mentioned above. So far, four of us have posted an image of the same flowering tree, but what fascinates me is how these images that appear the same are really quite different. Nicola Eve is a professional wedding florist whose stunning feed features very close-in and detailed shots of the prettiest blossoms. Her version of the Magnolia is completely consistent with her style and fits seamlessly into her feed. Another one of these Magnolia shots comes from the illustrator Emma Block who took a wider view of the tree, filling the whole frame with beautiful branches and including the house next door which is painted a stunning Wedgewood blue. The layering of pink on blue adds an interesting contrast down the centre of her square. The image looks very natural and unedited (or only lightly so) which is completely in keeping with Emma’s airy, pastel feed.
You can see a growing, evolving montage of all our photos from the day by searching for the tag #makelightphotowalks on Instagram. But the point I want to highlight is that even though people might be inspired to capture images of similar subjects on the Makelight walks, even the supposedly same scene winds up being unique once it’s cropped, edited, filtered and incorporated into your personal feed.
Our next walk takes place in a London neighbourhood that rivals Notting Hill for Makelight-style whimsy. Join Emily and me to photograph beautiful painted houses, a charming village of independent shops and cafes, pastel coloured doors galore and the leafy green park: see you in Primrose Hill!
Book your place today! xo
This post is by Kathryn. I'm super excited that there will be more posts from the Makelight Team coming soon! xo