muOn Saturday I spent the day with @5FTINF aka Philippa Stanton and some other lovely Instagramming ladies, in Brighton. We were participating in a still life photography workshop with the wonderful Philippa.
If you’re not familiar with Philippa’s work, you must take a look at her blog. Phillipa is Synesthetic, meaning she can see sound, taste and smell in shape, colour and texture, which allow her to create unique portraits of people’s voices, food and drink. However, it’s her still life shots of ‘The Table’ that has brought her to the forefront of the Instagram community.
As 5ftinf she has over 380,000 followers on Instagram, largely due to her daily still life shots of ‘The Table’. She highlights ordinary objects, small treasures, garden flowers and cups of tea in artistic compositions drawn from everyday feelings, rather than meanings.
I have featured Philippa Stanton, one of my favourite Instagram artists on this blog before. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to attend her workshop as soon as I found out about it.
The Still Life Photography Workshop
Phillipa shared her still life props with us, collected over the years, many from her childhood and her beloved ‘Granny’ Beryl. Alongside this amazing collection, were a vast array of stunning flowers and foliage…baby’s breath, hydrangeas, eucalyptus leaves… Walking into the hall was a warm visual feast. Coincidentally, a ballet class was taking place elsewhere in the building; beautiful classical music was ringing out…it was really quite special.
Each of us was given our own ‘table’, a wooden trestle table with stains, graffiti and years of life hidden within the surfaces. We collected props and flowers to make our table our own special space to explore our still life compositions on.
One exercise I really enjoyed was sitting looking at a leaf…maybe not what you would expect at a still life photography workshop. Have you ever really just looked? It’s such a mediative thing to do, just to stop and stare. To notice the veins, tones, and textures within one simple leaf. I’m terrible for multitasking between many electronic devices, to do lists, places to be, flitting from one activity to another. To just stop and stare and notice, it’s something I must do more of.
After this exercise and gifted with a pair of flower scissors, we were taken for a breezy walk in Brighton’s Preston Park. Once again to look, notice and gather some of natures treasures. I was so taken with Phillipa’s energy, enthusiasm and excitement at looking and finding simple leaves or flowers. As we snip… snip… snipped away on this blustery Brighton day, we chatted and got to know each other. Just lovely.
We returned to the hall for a wonderful lunch of olive bread and butternut squash soup on an artfully arranged table. @juliabesidesea provided gorgeous cake and there was a cacophony of tea to choose from.
As participants, we all clearly shared a love of collecting, arranging and photography. It was rather nice to be in a room of people who would rather photograph their lunch than actually eat it!
Back to work for the afternoon and we were let loose on our tables. Phillipa shared photography tips and tricks and helped us create our own masterful still life arrangements. I love looking on Instagram at the variation of creations that everybody came up with on Saturday. You can see more by searching for the #5ftinfworkshop hashtag on Instagram.
Quietly, everybody studiously created, arranged, moved, and experimented the afternoon away. It was a delightful tranquil space, away from the stresses and strains of life, work and children. I didn’t want it to end!
We all agreed that our in digital age, platforms such as Instagram have encouraged meetups like this workshop. We may often get lost in our devices but they will never replace real world contact. Quite the contrary. It encourages meetups like this.
I felt honoured to meet Phillipa and all of the other lovely ladies who had traveled far and wide to be there on Saturday (the furthest participant came from Sweden!).
Thank you Phillipa for a beautiful day and for sharing your passion and knowledge with us all.
It was lovely to meet: @acornerofmylife, @deluxehomediary, @flufflin_productions, @fionahumberston, @bettyc, @letitbecosy, @juliabesidethesea, @jessicatrent, @hellolittlewren, @holly_l_bell, @mariehjalm
I must give a shout out to Holly Bell, a Brighton based ceramic artist http://www.hollybell.co.uk, who provided some of her ceramic pots, mugs, vases (one of which I now own!) and bowls – do check our her beautiful work.
Have a lovely day
All images by Georgie St Clair