Book Review – The Woman in the Photograph by Stephanie Butland

Name: The Woman in the Photograph

Author: Stephanie Butland

Publication Date: 11th July 2019

Format: Paperback

Goodreads Link: Here

Review: I want to begin by saying that I was sent this book for free by Readers First, but all thoughts are my own. This book contains feminism, photography, family & friendship. This book begins in 1968, during a period of second wave feminism in the UK, and teenage photographer Veronica Moon is capturing the moments of a protest when she meets Leonie Barratt, a woman who will forever change her life. Skip to 2018 and Leonie is gone and Veronica is dying, yet she still assists Leonie’s niece Erica with a photography exhibition to celebrate Veronicas work for feminism and to celebrate her work and the work of Leonie. Veronica finally speaks of that period of her life that she seemed to be forgetting and is truthful about her and Leonie’s friendship. I loved how this book was written, it involved sections of the exhibition, different viewpoints of young and old Veronica, Erica and Leonie in the past (as well as some of her letters to do with feminism) and I felt as if that really helped me connect with the characters. As a photographer myself who has a growing interest in older cameras, I really enjoyed reading about some of the stuff involved within using a film camera, such as using the darkroom and the love Veronica had for taking photos. I’ve never actually read a book that focused around any wave of feminism, but still believe that this book was done right. It was well written, emotional, funny, educational and thought provoking. I enjoyed reading about photography & I enjoyed learning about feminism from the 60’s. I was hooked from the very beginning and highly recommend this to any woman with an interest in photography who wants to educate themselves on second wave feminism.

Rating: 5/5

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My Experiences as a Photographer

So I think most people who follow this blog would know that I am a photographer. I’m currently studying for a degree in photography with the Open College of the Arts, and although I’m doing that, I am also trying to learn how to earn as a photographer, specialising in doing things online.

By this I mean I prefer selling my photographs online, as I haven’t ever done client work unless for family/friends. I have my own shop on my website (link provided) which was originally created just as a portfolio, but I also recently created a Redbubble (link also provided) and like having that variety. It does seem that Redbubble is mainly for illustrations, fan-art and stuff along those lines, but having it as a place to showcase some of my best photos and have them up for sale as things such as clocks, notebooks, prints, clothes etc is nice. I also try to put some of my photos up onto stock photo websites, but with all of these ways of selling my photos, there are issues.

Places like Redbubble and stock photo sites are heavily saturated & your work really needs to stand out and that can be easier said than done. I enjoy the way I take & edit photos, so I just hope that others enjoy it too. I’ve also learnt that online shops do also need a fanbase. I do post on my photography Instagram but I’m still quite small at 870ish followers and the majority of them are also photographers like me or are family/friends, so the chances of getting a sale are quite slim, so you really need to work on marketing on other social medias. I also run a facebook page and twitter account for my photography, which can be great for marketing if done properly, which is something I need to learn! So if anyone actually has suggestions on how to market, please let me know! I am slowly working on purchasing some of my own items to do product photography to help market my work, but also because they’re nice to own!

I don’t honestly have too much experience with actual sales, but I do try various things and hope to improve upon my marketing skills in the future as my actual photography skills develop.

One thing I would love to try is using wall-space in local cafes. Wall-space sales were introduced to me by a friend and for anyone who doesn’t know, you have your photographic print up on display in a cafe or somewhere like that, and allow the cafe to put it up for sale. When sold, you and the cafe split the profits. It’s a great way of showcasing your work and getting it out there as well as making a bit of money from it!

For any other photographers, please let me know your experiences with selling your photos online!

Book Review – The Missing Wife by Sam Carrington

Name: The Missing Wife

Author: Sam Carrington

Publication Date: 27th June 2019

Format: eBook

Goodreads Link: Here

Review: I want to begin by saying that I received this book for free through Netgalley, but all thoughts are my own. This book is about a woman named Louisa who is soon to be turning 40, and she’s also just had her second baby. Her husband and her best friend surprise her with a party and at this party she is reunited with her ex-boyfriend Oliver. The next day, Olivers wife Melissa is reported missing, but no one can recall seeing her at the party. Louisa is then determined to find out what happened to her. This book was very well written and gripping. It’s honest about what it is like to be a new parent (and I assume it is accurate, as I don’t have children) and how she is dealing with baby blues & sleeplessness which is emphasised within this book. I did feel as if the majority of this book was quite fast paced and I did feel quite hooked. I feel as if we were provided with small hints and clues as to how the book was going to end, and although I did guess one part correctly, I was completely shocked by another bit that happened! This definitely kept my attention and I did enjoy it! It definitely became quite a dark and sinister read and I actually liked that, as thrillers aren’t a genre I’ve read too much about, I do enjoy reading these different varieties, so reading with a hint of darkness to it really interested me and has made me want to read even more of the genre. Overall, this is the first time I have read a book by Sam Carrington and I did enjoy it! If you like psychological thrillers then I would suggest giving this one a go!

Rating: 4/5

Book Review – Interpreting the Ripper Letters by M J Trow

Name: Interpreting the Ripper Letters

Author: M. J. Trow

Publication Date: 30th May 2019

Format: Hardcover

Goodreads Link: Here

Review: I want to begin by saying that I was sent this book for free by Pen & Sword, but all thoughts are my own. I am weirdly fascinated by Jack the Ripper and have been for a long time, so when I saw this, I knew I needed to read it. This book made me realise how many Ripper Letters there were, as I was only aware of a select few of the extremely popular ones such as Dear Boss. This book goes into not only a bunch of these letters, which may or may not have actually been from Jack the Ripper himself, but also speaks of the fake ones written by people who got caught, and shows the worldwide frenzy these murders had, all thanks to newspapers becoming more popular as more people were becoming literate in the Victorian era. This does also go into other murders such as those committed by the Yorkshire Ripper, to give context into how the media reacts to these sorts of horrific events. I did find this book to be extremely informative and well written and also very well researched. I think if you have any sort of interest in learning about Jack the Ripper, this is definitely a book you should read. Not only will you be more informed of more of the letters, but also learn more about the media in the Victorian era and just how difficult it was for the police to actually hunt down and catch Jack the Ripper. People would be writing letters saying who they think it is because someone acted slightly suspiciously, or people would be writing fake letters to their neighbours for a laugh but these letters would be handed into the police because of the threats they contain. The whole situation was incredible and the frenzy it caused all over the world to me was shocking as I just wasn’t expecting it to be so well known worldwide before the internet and social media. This book is very interesting and I do recommend it to anyone interested in Jack the Ripper.

Rating: 4/5

Book Haul – June 2019

June was a big book month! I managed to get 14 books! 11 physical books & 3 ebooks! I will first go into the ebooks and then physical books

eBooks:

I got 2 books from Netgalley. The first was The Missing Wife by Sam Carrington which came out late last month.

The other one I got from Negalley was Mythos by Stephen Fry, which I accidentally got because I logged onto the American version. Oops!

The final eBook I got was The Reign of Queen Victoria by Hector Bolitho which I was kindly sent by Agora books themselves!

 

Physical books:

In terms of physical books, I bought 2. Those were Ascension & Distortion by Victor Dixen and I got them from eBay!

I was also sent 6 by Pen and Sword, which I very much appreciate! Those were ‘Victims of the Tudor Reformation’ by Lynda Telford, ‘Following the Footsteps of the Princes in the Tower’ by Andrew Beattie, ‘Robin Hood: The Life & Legend of an Outlaw’ by Stephen Basdeo, ‘The History Behind Game of Thrones’ by David C Weinczok, ‘Interpreting the Ripper Letters’ by M J Trow and finally ‘The Real World of Victorian Steampunk’ by Simon Webb.

I very kindly received ‘The Conviction of Cora Burns’ by Carolyn Kirby by the publishers, No Exit Press!

And finally I won 2 books! One from Avon Books which was ‘A Woman of War’ by Mandy Robotham, and from Readers First I won ‘The Woman in the Photograph’ by Stephanie Butland.

How I Take Uni Notes – As A Distance Learning Student

Being a university student doing a distance learning course can be an extremely different experience compared to that of actual university. Instead of the standard 3/4 years, I can take up to 12 with my degree, although I hope I don’t take anywhere near that long! I get to do stuff in my own time, but it is an extremely independent way of working and you really need to be self-motivated, which means sometimes certain sections can take longer than others, and I can’t pop down the hall to ask someone a question about the course, since I am doing it from home. However, I still love doing the degree in this way, especially as it means I can make time for other things if necessary.

But the main thing is how do I make notes? I have my course materials posted to me so I do have a physical copy, but the way I make notes is mainly digital. I first highlight key points, phrases and names in the physical copy of the materials, and make these notes using an iPad Pro 10.5 inch & the first generation Apple Pencil using an app called Notability. This is of course not sponsored by them in any way, but I did want to share my experiences with the app. It does cost, but you’re able to sync all the notes to things like Dropbox and Google Drive and carefully organise them within the app, and even export them as PDF files and email them! This has been a life saver for me, especially with photo contact sheets, where I have to annotate photos saying why I have or haven’t picked those particular photos for my assignments. My handwriting definitely isn’t the best, but I feel as if it looks a little better on the iPad, and it’s definitely easier to correct my mistakes, which is one reason why I prefer digital notes.

However, I am a complete stationery addict. I buy a lot from eBay or Aliexpress and try to find good deals in actual shops, and even recently got from A5 Whitelines notebooks for £1.99 on eBay because I wanted to have some physical summaries of my notes, maybe a page including key dates (date I started, finished and assessment time) and a list of photographers mentioned within my course for future reference. Again, my handwriting isn’t the prettiest, but it’s readable and it’ll be a good excuse to use all those coloured pens I own. But I won’t be going viral on Instagram with #studygram!! But feel free to follow me @lifeandtea_ 

For all university students, it’s so important to make notes and keep things organised and of course everyone has their different ways of doing it. Paper vs digital notes seems to be a debate on studygram but it’s just personal preference. I do love both but for me it’s just so much easier to keep the majority of things digital. I can make multiple copies, back it up in different places, and if my device is water damaged, I won’t have lost everything. For me, it’s perfect, but that might not be the case for everyone. I’d love to know how others keep notes though, whether you’re an online student or you go to an actual university.

Reading Wrap-up – June 2019

June was a slightly disappointing reading month, but I was getting back into uni again & the boyfriend came home from uni! So I managed to get through 4 books which totalled at 1,345 pages, my worst month! I read 1 physical books, 2 ebooks and an audiobook. Hopefully this month will be better!

1. The Guilty Friend – Joanne Sefton (4/5)

I received this from Netgalley and it was different to what I expected. I was expecting a thriller and it wasn’t really that. It was still dramatic with a hint of mystery, but it focused around eating disorders too. I did a full review for this which I’ll link to.

2. The Colour of Magic – Terry Pratchett (4/5)

This was my audiobook for the month and I did really enjoy it! I’m fairly new to Terry Pratchett’s work and definitely want to get into more. This was nice to listen to in the mornings and I think it was fairly short too!

3. The Elizabeth Tudor Conspiracy – Alexandra Walsh (5/5)

I read the second book from Alexandra Walsh in her incredible trilogy and absolutely loved it. I once again got this from Netgalley and am so glad I read it. I can’t wait for book 3! I did also do a full review for this.

4. Interpreting the Ripper Letters – M J Row (4/5)

I got this from Pen & Sword and do have a review coming out for it soon. This was very educational and I did enjoy learning even more about the Ripper Letters. There were more than I thought! I also enjoyed learning about how media was involved during the Victorian era. Thank you Pen & Sword for sending me this!