Personal projects

The Lost Guitar

11 Sep 2019

In the Autumn of 2017, I started to photograph the making of a guitar by local craftsman Tim Williams as a personal project. By luck, he had just begun working on a custom-built acoustic guitar for renowned folk singer Ralph McTell, who has a home near the south Cornish coast. I photographed the project from the guitar mould being made right through to listening to Ralph sitting in his kitchen playing his new guitar. I found it an absolutely fascinating process to see up close, the range of tones that can be produced from different types of wood to having my mind absolutely boggled by the amount of work that goes into making a mother of pearl inlay.


I shot the portrait of Ralph with his beautiful new guitar at the end of November that year. Just a few days later I was involved in a fatal road accident that kind of derailed me in lots of ways and meant that this small body of work got pushed to the back burner. A recent conversation with a friend reminded me of the project and I felt that two years on, it must be about time to bring it out in the open. I'll admit, I found it slightly difficult to revisit, particularly the portrait of Ralph, as it reminded me of a very happy time before the incident. I find with some personal projects, it's hard not to have an emotional attachment and they can act as powerful reminders of certain times in your life, this being one of them.


Overall I'm happy with these shots as a collection and it feels good to finally send them out into the world! 


With thanks to Tim Williams for his patience whilst I occupied the workshop with my camera and to Ralph McTell for letting me sit in your kitchen and drink tea.


- Sal


You find Tim's beautiful guitars here


Above: Tim Williams's well organised workshop. 


Above: The mould for the guitar - thin pieces of wood are steam bent, fitted into this and then clamped to hold. 


Above: Steaming the wood. A laborious process!


Above: Filing down sections of mother of pearl for the decorative inlay that goes around the sound hole.


Above: Finest details, every millimeter matters!


Above: Ralph McTell, with the finished guitar. 

Posted in: Personal projects, Photography

The Brave & Beautiful Calendar

02 Sep 2019


It was an absolute privilege to be asked to take the portraits for this amazing project, The Brave & Beautiful - Breast Cancer Awareness Calendar. I worked with Liz Rogers, founder of the calendar project and herself, still recovering from the effects of treatment for breast cancer. Everyone I photographed for this calendar has either been diagnosed and treated for breast cancer or referred to the family history clinic at Mermaid Centre. Photographing such portraits requires a high level of respect, sensitivity and trust - I won't lie - it has been one of the most challenging photographic tasks I've ever taken on - at the same time however, it has been the most incredible experience and learning curve. 


The photoshoots took us across Cornwall as well as over to the Isles of Scilly. Hearing the stories of what these women have been through was genuinely humbling, thought-provoking but also incredibly inspiring. Thank you to everyone who had their portraits taken for this amazing project, for putting your trust in me as a photographer and to Liz for inviting me on board to be part of such a special calendar.


"Sally tackled this subject with such grace, respect and empathy and ensured all the ladies taking part were made to feel valued and special. The quality of the portraits is a testament to her skills as a photographer and a thoroughly lovely lady. It's been an absolute pleasure working with her and can not recommend her highly enough."  - Liz Rogers


Below I've shared a selection of behind the scenes snaps from the photoshoots and also a link to purchase it - it's a beautifully printed A3 calendar, printed by St Austell Printing Company. 


You can find the calendar for sale here: Brave and Beautiful Calendars 2020  (links to Facebook)


- Sal



Above Left: Arriving on Scilly
Above Right: Coming back in over Land's End.


Above: bunches of beautiful flowers at Treloweth flowers farm on St Mary's where we shot Lou's portrait.


Above: Taking time out from portraits for a stroll on St Mary's for some breathtaking views.


Above: Transport around the Caerhays Estate for Sheila's November portrait. 


Above: the New Zealand Huntaways getting ready to round up the flock for Liz's cover shot!


Posted in: pictures, Personal projects

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