Firstborn, home education, photography

I Am Joy


I’m sure you remember me mentioning our Firstborn and her passion for photography. She’s feeling pretty stoked at the moment as one of the photographs she submitted has been chosen by a panel at the Pallant House Gallery to be exhibited at the I Am Joy festival.

Incidentally, if you are a fan of Frida Kahlo’s work, Pallant House Gallery is currently running an exhibition of Frida and Diego Riviera’s work from the Gelman Collection until the first week of October. I’ve been with Slaveboy, Firstborn and Potato Bottom who marvelled at how beautiful a woman can be even with a monobrow and moustache.

I snapped up one of those Frida paper cut banners pretty pronto. I just need somewhere to hang it up now.

Firstborn is incredibly pleased with herself that her photograph had been chosen. Photography is a new passion for Firstborn, one that she accidentally stumbled upon when the original BTEC course (Art & Design) she wanted to do was cancelled due to low subscription. Slaveboy and I voiced our unwillingness to have her not do anything for a whole year and nudged her in the direction of doing the BTEC Photography course. She wasn’t too keen as she wasn’t into photography but we did point out that it’s hard to be into something when you’ve never tried it.

Slaveboy and I really do prescribe to the belief that in many matters, pondering less and doing more really does have its benefits. There’s nothing like navel gazing to halt momentum and in terms of home educating (despite the mantra that learning is lifelong), you can still watch opportunities pass you by like rolling tumbleweeds. Being a home educating teen who socialises a lot with school going peers, it was easy for Firstborn to only see the snapshots of the life her school going peers were having – the partying ones, the weekends and half terms ones, the ones that rarely capture the times when they are cramming for exams or choosing and filling college application forms. Her life with them were about the long summers, the sleepovers, the fun parts.

But don’t think that it is all push from us, with Firstborn dragging her heels behind her. Firstborn is a tenacious, quietly competitive and dogged young adult with a strong work ethics (this probably explained why even with a brewing flu, she insisted on carrying on with her wardrobe assistant work at last year’s Alice In Wonderland production at the Chichester Festival Theatre until we kept her home for having fainted twice in one morning). Firstborn did the BTEC photography course, moaned intermittently about her tutor and in between, swallowed the universal embarrassment of being seen out with your Dad and allowed Slaveboy to show her how to use her new DSLR camera.

There were five a.m. wake ups to photograph sunrise on the other side of the city, the midnight trek through heavy falling snow during our most bitter winter ever and the awkwardness of being 15 and approaching heavily tattooed Hell’s Angels for the opportunity to photograph them.

And yet, she was astounded to find out that she had obtained a distinction for her BTEC Photography course. Firstborn has been invited onto the Level 2 Art & Design Course, on the merits of her photography and the tailoring private lessons she had been getting for a year (she turned up at the interview in the dress and satin lined velvet jacket that she made herself). She has no GCSEs to her name and it appears at present, she will not be needing any to get to wherever it is she might want to be.

And if this sounds a little bit like a proud parent post, I guess it is. See it as a virtual good vibe being sent to the universe. After all, day in and day out, bad news assault our senses.

Here is the photograph that has been chosen. It will be up for sale at the exhibition held at the historic Guildhall (the very place that William Blake stood trial at) in Priory Park, Chichester. Exhibition starts this Monday.

Firstborn has her own photography blog and you can find it here.

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6 thoughts on “I Am Joy

  1. Last weekend in Aug. @ChiCopywriter posted:
    Looking for photography student to take photos at the Writers’ Retreat over August bank holiday. Paid in food & drink & great for portfolio!
    Mention my name, it might help!

  2. you must be incredibly proud of her. Love her photos and I really hope she does amazing. If she fancies doing some gig photography Manny’s band are playing in Brighton on Halloween

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