Nazir Tanbouli at the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival

The Liverpool Arab Arts Festival 2016 was a feast for the eyes; I absolutely loved photographing it. But, for all the colour and music and sensory overload, it was one of the quieter artists who stood out for me: Nazir Tanbouli.

Nazir is an Egyptian-born artist, now living in London. For the festival, he brought his ‘drawing performance’ first to the World Museum and then the Bluecoat art centre. In these drawing performances, Nazir creates of a piece of art whilst in a state of mindfulness-like meditation. His art is calligraphy-based, inspired by the Arabic script.

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Ukulele Dennis at the Waterloo Ukulele Fun Festival

In August 2017, the Liver Hotel in Waterloo, Liverpool, put on the Waterloo Ukulele Fun Festival – or ‘WUFF’, to go by its rather fun acronym.

The Liver is a family-friendly pub with a really great garden of decent size. It used to be a bowling green, but in recent times it’s been converted to a proper pub garden. It now comes complete with children’s play equipment and wonderfully oversized table umbrellas to shelter you in even the wettest weather.

The festival was, unsurprisingly, a day of ukulele-based music. It featured acts from individual musicians to ukulele orchestras, packing out the small stage and spilling out onto the grass. There were a few other attractions, such as henna tattoos, face painting and raffles. The place was packed and it was an utterly fun day.

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A view from the Liverpool Eye

The summer holidays can be both a blessing and a curse for those with young children. Whilst we get to spend some wonderful, unadulterated time with our precious offspring, the weeks can end up stretching ahead, seemingly endlessly, and we find ourselves searching for fun days out.

This summer, we whiled-away a day being tourists in our city: we went to the Albert Docks. We explored the waterside village full of fairground rides and eateries. We lunched and took in art and culture at the Tate Liverpool. We wandered around the Albert Dock for a while. Then, we finished up by having a ride on the Liverpool Eye.

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Visiting the Roman Baths: the good and the bad

The Roman Baths is the jewel in the crown of the city of Bath. Built on geothermal underground springs, the baths are filled with water that comes out of the ground at 46°C,

The Celts were the first people to build shrine at the site, which they dedicated to the goddess Sulis.

When the Romans invaded Britain in the first century AD under the Emperor Claudius, they renamed the settlement Aquae Sulis, identifying Sulis with the Roman goddess Minerva, and built their own temple and baths complex at the springs.

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Liverpool Arab Arts Festival 2017

After photographing the festival for the first time last year, I returned this year to photograph Liverpool Arab Arts Festival 2017. And, yet again, it was an absolute blast.

This year, I photographed two days of the festival: Eid on the Square and the family finale day at the Palm House in Sefton Park.

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Opening day at the new Egyptian galleries, World Museum

On 28 April 2017, the World Museum in Liverpool opened its newly refurbished Egyptian galleries, after nearly two years of work. Being an Egyptophile, I was, of course, at the museum for when the doors opened at 10.00.

Although I wanted to get some photos of the gallery itself to share on my Egyptology blog, I wanted to do a bit of documentary work too. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had the chance to indulge in a bit of street-style photography.

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Street photography on a rainy day at Liverpool One

I do love spending a bit of time wandering, documenting life around me. There are so many ways in which people and places can be interesting, and different ways in which I, as a photographer, can capture life.

I like going out in different weather conditions and times of year to see how places change. I also use different lenses, such as my wide-angle lens – where you have to get close to your subject – and my trusty 35 mm (53 mm equivalent). This makes me think more carefully about how I go about using the camera, as well as making me use my legs, too.

One lens I hadn’t taken out around the street, however, is my 50 mm (75 mm equivalent) macro lens. I was interested to see how it fared being put to use out and about, rather than on a tripod, up close-and-personal with small things.

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Photographing children at the Garstang Museum

Comedian W.C. Fields once, famously, said “never work with animals or children” due to their unpredictability. After having spent an afternoon photographing children in the Garstang Museum, I would have to disagree.

Museum curator Dr Gina Criscenzo Laycock asked me to help her get some photos of children in the museum that she can use for promotional purposes. So, I gathered together a gaggle and brought them up to the museum for a session.

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A foggy morning at Crosby beach and marina

I live close to Crosby beach in north Liverpool, which has, in recent years, become famous for the Anthony Gormley art installation called Another Place. Also known as ‘the iron men’, the installation consists of one hundred iron statues made from a cast Gormley made of his own body.

Initially intended to be a temporary exhibition, the statues were purchased by Sefton Council and have now been on the beach for over a decade.

To say the iron men are popular with photographers, both amateur and professional, is an understatement. A quick Google image search for ‘iron men Crosby’ brings up lots of photos of the statues, the majority of them being caught on fine, sunny days or silhouetted against a colourful sunset. (Though, to be fair, the winter sunsets at the beach can be just stunning.)

It’s really hard to come up with something that hasn’t been done before.

However, when I woke up to a thick blanket of fog the other weekend, I jumped at the chance to grab my camera and go have my turn at photographing the statues.

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A New Year’s Day walk on West Kirby beach

New Year’s Day can be a bit of a non-day for many. For those who aren’t sleeping off a long night or nursing a severe hangover, going out for a walk somewhere can be a great way to blow away the cobwebs and pass some time.

As we were staying at a friend’s house over on the Wirral this New Year, we decided to go for a walk at Red Rocks on West Kirby beach.

Like much of the coast around the region, the beach is flat, sandy and has a large tidal range. West Kirby Beach looks out at the north coast of Wales and Hilbre Island. This stretch of beach has some amazing rocks which are great fun for the children to clamber around on.

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The Christmas lights and delights of Liverpool

Town centres can be hell in the run up to Christmas for even the most hardened of adventurers. Bad weather, more shoppers than you can shake a stick at and every one on every corner trying to wrench your wallet open.

If you’re not actually shopping, however, it can be really fun to have a wander and see the sights.

This year, Liverpool city centre has gone all-out with German-style markets (fashionable at the moment, I believe), large Christmas trees, a fairground and other such delights. I took my two girls into town late on Saturday afternoon for some Christmassy fun.

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‘The Little Mermaid’: a retelling for the Being Human Festival

My girls and I love a good trip out to a museum, and our most recent trip to the Walker Art Gallery didn’t disappoint.

As part of the Being Human festival – a festival dedicated to spreading the humanities love – the Walker had a mermaid-themed day.

Having two young girls who are fans of Disney’s (slightly sanitised version of) The Little Mermaid, I thought they’d enjoy the Liverpool Players’ retelling of the classic fairytale.

The performance didn’t disappoint.

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River of Light, Liverpool 2016

The River of Light was Liverpool’s contribution to the UK’s annual Guy Fawkes Night for 2016. A joint venture between the Liverpool and Wirral councils, it saw celebrations on both sides of the Mersey, culminating in a floating firework display in the middle of the river.

Determined not to come home with any more unplanned pets this year (following last year, when we went to a local display and ended up with two goldfish), I decided to take my two girls into town to see the River of Light.

It’s been a few years since the city’s main firework display was on in the centre of town – it’s been out at Sefton Park for a while, which is a great venue, but not so easy to get to as the city centre for many parts of Liverpool – so I was excited to see what the evening had to offer.

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‘Animal Mummies Revealed’: behind the scenes

One of my favourite cultural haunts in Liverpool is the World Museum. I often take my girls there to while away a few hours on a Saturday amongst the dinosaurs, bugs and ancient cultures.

We always love the temporary exhibitions which come to the museum, so I was very lucky to have been allowed in to the Animal Mummies Revealed exhibition (October 2016 until February 2017) for a couple of hours while it was being set up to get some behind-the-scenes shots.

It was just fascinating to see what was going on.

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Fujifilm XF16mm f1.4 lens up close and personal

At the beginning of October 2016, I bought myself the Fujifilm XF16mm f/1.4 lens (24mm equivalent on full-frame sensors). My reasoning was that I needed something wider than my 35mm for those situations when you don’t have room to step back to capture a scene, such as shooting in small spaces or busy environments. It’s also quite useful to not have to walk halfway down the street to get the whole of a building in shot.

And, I can’t deny that since then it’s really helped me out in those situations.

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Charlcombe Church: Bath’s oldest church

Charlcombe Church (or, the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, Charlcombe, to give it its official name) is Bath’s oldest church and the place of many great childhood memories for me.

Although it underwent extensive work in the 19th century (including the addition of the vestry on the north side and the stained-glass windows), the church was first built during Norman times. It’s a tiny church, but has enormous character. Here’s a few fun facts about it.

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