2017 photography highlights – my Top Ten

As Christmas comes and goes, and one enjoys some quality time off with family before embarking on another 12 month professional journey, it’s the occasion to compile a personal ” best of ” photography moments of the year drawing to a close.

So here are my own favourite images from 2017.

While in one sense there is no particular order with these pictures, it just seemed natural to begin with this landscape photograph taken on New Year’s day in my home town of Vertou, on the outskirts of Nantes.

The river Sèvre in Vertou, January 2017.
The river Sèvre in Vertou, January 2017.

It’s wonderful to find inspiration on one’s doorstep and I guess I have chosen this area to live in for the past fifteen years, as it offers a rich quality of life that is difficult to match. As a born city-dweller, the beauty and tranquillity of the surrounding countryside is a constant emotional and photographic resource.

One of the definite highlights of the year was my trip to Rome in March to take part in the photography workshop run by Alex and Rebecca Webb. The magic of the eternal city, bathed for a whole week in wonderful spring light, got my visual juices flowing and enabled me to create some really pleasing and original street photography. These following two are among my favourites; single figures captured against the richly textured and coloured walls of the Italian capital.

Near the Colisseum, Rome. March 2017
Near the Colisseum, Rome. March 2017

Ostiense district, Rome. March 2017
Ostiense district, Rome. March 2017

In early June, it was back to London, to catch up with friends and family, and sample some of the atmosphere around the General Election, the first real national political and social test since Brexit. As a confirmed European I had come to feel disenfranchised since the notorious vote a year earlier. No sooner had I arrived than there was the devastating terrorist attack at Borough market. But in the days that followed I sampled in large doses, the vibrant, multi-cultural, tolerant, free-spirited mood of the capital, that embodies all that is best about the British. It made me proud to be discovering this place to a French photographer friend and this pleasant feeling allowed me to capture some new and exciting viewpoints of my birth-town.

Sikh remembrance rally, Trafalgar Square, London. June 2017
Sikh remembrance rally, Trafalgar Square, London. June 2017

Wardour Street, London. June 2017
Wardour Street, London. June 2017

The summer months are inevitably a busy working period, due to the wedding season being in full swing. It always seems a little unfair picking just one or two moments out of all the great occasions I had the pleasure of photographing. But when push comes to shove I definitely have fond memories of Amanda and Jason’s tying of the knot. Not least because they chose my birthday to do so ! More seriously, the unique atmosphere of an Anglo-Aussie wedding taking place in rural Brittany, encapsulates all that I love about the style of celebration I have the privilege of shooting here in France. A real mixture of romance, tradition, cool & bohemian, captured in this lakeside kiss as the last light of the day faded.

Bridal lakeside kiss, Plougenast, Brittany, France. July 2017
Bridal lakeside kiss, Plougenast, Brittany, France. July 2017

I try and bring the quirky humour of my street photography into my wedding reportage work and this shot taken during one of the evening receptions is a typical case in point.

Wedding reception, Chateau Jalesnes, Loire valley, France. October 2017
Wedding reception, Chateau Jalesnes, Loire valley, France. October 2017

Despite work commitments, it’s important to find time to take a family break during the summer, especially as the school holdays here in France are over two months long ! This year we made the trip to the French side of Lake Geneva and although the weather was not really as stable and hot as we would have liked, we really enjoyed discovering this region and the wonderful vistas it has to offer.

Thonon-les-Bains, Haute Savoie, France. July 2017
Thonon-les-Bains, Haute Savoie, France. July 2017

Whatever the season, I am always drawn to water, perhaps it’s due to my Cancer horoscope sign ! As summer turns to autumn, the blues and oranges become richer and deeper and start taking on violet and purple hues. I was particularly thrilled to capture this next shot, as I had in part anticipated the viewpoint, the evening before, while looking to capture the special atmosphere and beauty of the Loire river as it cuts it’s way through the city of Nantes.

Sunrise over the Loire in Nantes, France. November 2017
Sunrise over the Loire in Nantes, France. November 2017

It’s not always however great weather and beautiful light that makes for a special picture. My final choice for 2017, was taken on a miserable rainy day, while running a Street Photography workshop in Saint Malo. Sometimes adverse conditions force you to look and try harder. Maybe I just got lucky. You could say that this image sums up much about this year: on a global level, not much good news. But in the details, an element of hope and laughter, and something to carry us forward positively into 2018!

A rainy Sunday in Saint Malo. September 2017
A rainy Sunday in Saint Malo. September 2017

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