I have had a dig around I managed to find some great documentaries on some legendary photographers from Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Each with a different approach, all are very watchable.

Enjoy !

Slim Aarons: The High Life

A visual escape from grey skies and every day living .

Slim Aarons spent his life documenting jet setters, movie stars and Royalty.

" He showed life looking even better than it was"

Slim could always be found with his camera among the most beautiful people in the most beautiful of places, capturing a bygone era with signature elegance and style.

You may not know the name, but will certainly recognise the style. is referenced today by Designers and Dreamers the world over. Expect glorious colour palettes and oodles of inspiration for small square posts.

Watch with a Martini on the rocks .



Nancy Beaton Shooting Star 1928 by Cecil Beaton

Love Cecil

A slideshow from heaven.

Cecil's story has a Cinderella like quality with highs, lows and more than a few surprises along the way.

Remembered for being part of "The Bright Young Things", a post-war group of artists and creatives there is a great deal more to his life than that short period revealed.

Cecil broke new ground from the 1920's with ethereal backdrops and clever lighting techniques. He remained a highly a sought after photographer until almost the day he died.

With a talent for taking faces from ordinary to otherworldly, he became a firm favourite with London Society. Official Photographer to the Royal Family.

Later he moved to Hollywood and keen to expand his work beyond photography became a set and costume designer.

This dazzling documentary reveals much about the man behind the facade through his frank and honest diaries and photographs.

Pour yourself a Pimms and enjoy .


Heery's World

Snapping around Sydney

Gary Heery Photographer Self Portrait .

Follow Gary as he whirls around Sydney sharing his enthusiasm for his subjects and having a great time everywhere he lands. Thriving on variety and a driving need to show the beauty of whoever or whatever appear in front of his lens this film shows us just why Gary is a World Class Photographer.

Starting back in 1976 he has shot famous and infamous characters spanning music, art, film politics and sport as well as feathered friends for his dazzling book 'Bird.' His portfolio includes album covers for Madonna and Paul Simon (Graceland) and advertising campaigns for names like Pepsi , Swatch, Sony and Karl Lagerfield.

Watching Gary at work is an education in the art of connecting with people. We see him in teasing out the shots from his subjects with his playful banter from a Sex Shop, Bikers Chapter, Homeless Charity and a fashion shoot of nude models with flowers and fauna.

Watch with a gin and tonic and an open mind.



Finding Vivian Maier

Prepare to be intrigued .

Vivian was a loner who left a legacy of around 100,000 photographs. A mysterious Nanny with a dark side and many hidden secrets, including her photos which she kept locked away from all eyes apart from her own.

This film is her story told by John Maloof . John is the buyer of a largest collection of her negatives sold due to her not keeping up payments on rented storage space.

Most revealing are the interviews of families Vivian worked for in the 60's and 70's , who seem to have been left with varying impressions of her personality.

Vivian Maier is now regraded as one of the 20th Century's most important photographers.

Ironic as she kept her work private during her lifetime .

Enjoy with a glass of wine to celebrate Vivian's French Heritage.


Looking for Light - Jane Brown

'Ah there you are'


Watching this feels like a cosy trip to see your Nan, we see Jane with her son reminiscing about her life and work, revealing secrets of how she took such great portraits.

Her long list of subjects includes both The Queen of England and Queen of British Couture, Vivienne Westwood. Jane was renowned for putting sitters at ease with her minimal equipment and fast working style An ideal shoot would be a roll and half of film exposed with just 15mins spent shooting it.

Jane worked at The Observer for six decades breaking new ground as a female in a male dominated world.

A truly inspiring film.

Watch with tea, biscuits and a notebook.


Bill Cunningham New York

Street Photographer , Style Hound

Bill Cunningham New York Photographer

Bill Cunningham had endless energy for taking photographs, an obsession that lasted his lifetime.

He lived a frugal life alone in an apartment packed from floor to ceiling with his photographs with barely room to sleep. Home was unimportant to him, he spent so little time there - he was too busy working .

People would look for him on his bike, wanting to be spotted and featured on the pages of The New York Times. For Bill it didn't mater who you were. It was all about the colours, the styles, shapes, how they were being worn and spotting trends.

Documentary showcase of work, joy and enthusiasm.

Enjoy with your glass half full - just like Bill always did.



Elsa Dorfman : The B- Side

"I somehow have this misguided therapeutic idea that it's my role in the universe to make people feel better."

Elsa Dorfman with her Polaroid Camera 20x24

Watching this felt like I was going to visit an old tutor who was letting me into her studio and was sharing her story of how she came to be so sucessful.

Elsa passed away in May 2020 , leaving a legacy of thousands photographs . Many taken with her giant 20 X 24 inch Polaroid Camera. These are unique captures as only 6 of these cameras were made. The pictures are mainly of ordinary folk , Elsa asked only that they arrived to be photographed exactly as they were . No pretence or fancy gimmicks, this was her trademark . She then took 2 poses, always keeping the un purchased shot, calling them the B sides.

This film is a fitting tribute to Elsa the unassuming artist.

Enjoy while you knit yourself something cosy .



Further reading and images

I have included some further links on you may enjoy about the Photographers.









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Goodbye 2020. You really were a weird year to have lived through. Who would have thought on 31st Dec 2019 as we were toasting that start of the new decade that it was to be blighted by a pandemic.

Sadly I was unable to document the events of 2020 with my camera but instead all was squirrelled away on to the pages of my trusty diary. Each night before my head hit the pillow I emptied my thoughts on to the pages. Studies have shown that the emotional release that comes from keeping a journal helps to lower anxiety and stress and even helps us to get a better nights sleep. To write down positives from your day and things that you are grateful for are especially beneficial . It certainly helped me sleep better and worry less in 2020 !

Whether you journal in the morning or night is a personal decision, I find mornings are better if I am planning or want to be more productive .

Bedside cabinet with Red Magazine Letts of London Baroque  Diary

What is a journal ?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary : a journal is a written record of what you have done each day, sometimes including your private thoughts and feelings.

The Synonym for journal is Diary.

Journaling in 2021 isn't just about pen and paper .

In this digital age there is a dizzying array of apps to tempt you .

Digital Journaling

Day One is a one of the most popular apps. Keeping a journal or diary in this way is very convenient as you can add content on the go instead of having to make time to sit and write. As well as text you can add audio snippets, photos, video and even record geo locations . Other popular choices are Penzu and Five Minute Journal App

Video Diary

One Second Everydaty https://1se.co is a really fun way to keep a record of your days. This free app gives you a calendar to add a one second video clip each day and collates into a short video . If you miss a days it's easy to catch up go to the missed days and fill the gaps . It can be set to randomly select or even auto fill from your camera roll.

Short term use works well for an event like a holiday, the build up to a Wedding or Birth, it could even cover something like a school term.

I have used the free version, it worked really well for me. There is an option to pay for extra features.


This can work as a diary. It is unlikely that it will close down and all data deleted but I would not want to trust precious memories to a third party app. Some people use their pictures on their phones as a visual diary. I do this too, but the power of writing each day has benefits that go beyond being able to look back at moments on a phone.


I have considered using my blog this way but I am not sure I would be committed enough to create digital content daily. I am in awe of The Gentle Author who has maintained the Spiralfields Life Blog after making a promise in August 2009 to write 10,000 stories on Spitalfields Life . The Blog is reminiscent of Samuel Pepys Diaries , depicting everyday life in London. I think this blog will be referenced in years to come as a retrospective on how people lived in London in this century taking readers to London via stories of the people and places around Spitalfields in East London .

Traditional Pen and Paper

I am a pen and paper die hard and loyal to my Five Year Letts Dairy. I don't write too much, just a few lines that capture key moments of each day . It's interesting to watch patterns emerge as the years roll by. I find that I do the same things on the same days or weeks as before, coincidences often show up. I write so little else with a pen anymore it is nice take the time to put pen to paper. I often promise myself to write in better hand, perhaps one day finally master caligraphy.

A great way to get into the habit of journaling is One Line a Day Five Year Memory Book . Write what you like, maybe set an intention for the day, sum up your day, you could even use as a gratitude journal. It could even be a rant!

A diary doesn't have to be a long essay, at the end the day it's your space to be whatever you want it to be.

Art Journaling

An art journal is a visual diary generally a collection of words and images in a diary to record memories, ideas, thoughts, inspirations, emotions and dreams . These pages can include all sorts of media, absolutely anything you like - there are no rules ! You need not write a single word if you don't want to.

This type of journalling can be a great way to unlock your creativity and may even help ease stress or anxiety.

This is lots of information to help you get started on line. I recommend taking a look at Rinki's page https://kitesandroses.com/art-journal-ideas/ you'll find plenty of ideas to get you started.

Wreck this Journal - this book is for anyone who has wished to but had trouble starting, keeping , or finishing a journal or sketchbook . The pages are packed with lots of illustrations and suggestions to help you fill them with fun and inspiring content which make it easy to get started . Reviews are good, it looks like a really fun book to dive into .

If you have time to slow down then my friend Abby Monroes Art Journal Course could be a great gift to yourself . Abby is a teacher and artist who will help you to create a beautiful keepsake and tell your own unique story. You will create an Art Journal in a way that is sustainable and mindful with the emphasis on using what you already have around you.

Journals from the past

Samuel Pepys is possibly the most famous English Diarist. Pepys begun writing his observations in1660 as

a clerk and wrote up till 1703. Much of what we know of the Great Plague and Great Fire of London is due to Pepys Diaries. Diaries are used for more than the obivous. They have been used to prove innocence in trials, provide alibis, rebuild reputations and even to kiss and tell. Lenonard Woolf , husband of Virginna extracted passages from her diaries of 1918-41 to restore her reputation as serious writer after her death. He curated them into a book 'A Writers Diary' which is still printed and sold today.

British Actress Joan Wyndham was a member of the bohemian world of wartime Fitzrovia and wrote diaries from 1921-200. 'Love Lessons' and 'Love Is Blue' were published in the 1980's. Joan was described in one newspaper as "a latter-day Pepys in camiknickers". With an introduction like that her diaries are now on my reading list . Joan is joined by Alan Bennett, Kenneth Williams, Oscar Wilde and Oona King. First up though is A London Year: 365 Days of City Life in Diaries, Journals and Letters anthology of short diary entries for each day of the year. This book features diarist across the centuries from Samuel Pepys to Alan Bennett showing life in the city from Tudor times to the twenty-first century.

In 2021 there are more ways than ever before to keep records of our lives, perhaps our greatest challenge is to keep them in some sort of order for future generations to find useful rather than in a tangled digital loop.

N.B. I have been a customer of Letts of London for many years and was gifted the Baroque Dairy .

My first Christmas wasn’t what I thought I would be sharing with you, but hey it’s 2020 and nothing is as or has been what we expect or expected .

I am reflecting back as I have been working my way around 'The Art of Making Memories' by Meik Wiking . It is the kind of book you can dip in and out of reading whichever chapters catch your eye .

I picked up on the idea of telling stories to fuel memories by collecting objects that manifest them. These can then be used to furnish a room with stories . They don’t have to be expensive and can be something as simple as a pine cone from a walk or a pebble from a beach that forms part of a day you wish to remember .

There's oodles of tips to help you create and keep happy memories with lots of insights into what constitutes a good memory and how we can enjoy them.

Music, food, aromas, all can be instant time travel machines taking us back to places we may have long forgotten . Another trigger can be to go to places we have not visited for many years, a walking tour of a place where we have memories we have only told to the other person can really bring them to life . Literally going for a stroll down memory lane with your memories or those of someone you love.

I went in search of Christmas shots from my childhood and was really pleased to find this one of me from my first Christmas enthusiastically tearing the wrapping of a Christmas Present. I had no recollection of this Christmas but I do remember that TV ! I was born when TV’s were black and white and very clunky and only transmitted in black and white. Christmas Trees were fake and usually very small with string like branches that shed all over the carpet . Fairy lights were multi coloured ( I still have a penchant for them) and presents were not as plentiful .

I created this flat lay after thinking about the concept of collected mementos and my first Christmas alongside what Christmas is meaning to me this year and where we are now in 2020 . Thinking about it now as I write this I think I should have included a face mask !

These are the items I used and how I came by them, or the story attached to them.

Brooches that I have worn over Christmases Past and present.

Photo of my first Christmas.

Pinecones collected when on holiday from the grounds of Endsleigh Hotel in Devon.

Pinecones from trees opposite my house.

Rosemary grown and picked from our garden.

Bambi from Liberty London brought when we went to see “ A Christmas Carol “ at the London Palladium in 2012 with Tommy Steele as Scrooge.

Fairy lights inspired by Emily Quinton and Makelight which is closing this year after five years and has helped me grow my creativity .

Stars and Hearts brought from and made by my friend Abby Monroe.

Baubles, just because!

Bobble Hat brought recently to keep me cosy on walks durning lockdown.

Leach Mug brought home from a holiday visit to the Pottery in Cornwall.

Nespresso Coffee my lockdown day lifter.

Molton Brown Candle from My Daughters Advent Calendar.

Matches from Bleakhouse London brought after a London wandering with Annabel and her beloved dog Edward Lear.

At Christmas me, Mum, Dad and my brother always camped up in East London with my Mum’s family. This involved a big family Christmas Lunch with us all seated along a great length of extended tables in the "back room" . Once we had eaten and completed the washing up marathon most of the family retreated to comfort of the settee and chairs and ended up nodding off for the afternoon . Early evening was spent getting ready to party, we really did dress up! The action moved into the “front room”, where the carpet had been rolled up and the bar opened. There was a lots of dancing and singing with long dresses swishing around the dance floor. I even found a picture of my Dad wearing a velvet bow tie - all de rigueur in the 70s. It was always a full house as Mum had a large family, she was one of six children and there was also extended family or lonely friends who would be welcomed in to celebrate Christmas.

Boxing Day involved me staying home with my Nan and anyone who didn’t want to walk to Leyton Amateurs Ground to go and watch the football match. For the duration of Boxing Day the turkey left over from yesterday was out on the kitchen table for anyone who wanted to have a “pick“. There was another sitting at the long tables for a lunch of cold meat with pickle and mash potatoes .

Boxing Day evening was games night in the “front room”. We could get our toys out to amuse ourselves whilst the adults played charades, various card games and darts.

The bar was open again alongside a full buffet which kept the relatives busy.

I look back fondly on these times but at the time I am not sure I appreciated how special they were .

Christmas this year will be very different from the usual, with less than half of us at the table it will no doubt be one of the most remembered for so many reasons. I hope you have a lovely Christmas ahead and create memories to treasure and share at future Christmas Times .


https://www.abbymonroe.co.uk https://www.allsortsoflovely.com

https://www.bleakhouse.london https://www.leachpottery.com


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