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Picture papers

Judi Castille Safron PapersJudi Castille Safron paper


A few weeks ago I grabbed handfuls of saffron from very wet grass, took them home to dry, but ended with sogginess and to the compost they went. A lucky accident, the saffron dyed the papers they were draining on and after drying, they turned out to be great background papers for the herb photos.

Judi Castille Beetroot papers

A bowl of beetroot was another opportunity to try some home dying and the pink turned out pretty and will be used for another photo project soon.

I love the idea of dying and tinting papers with natural plant extracts and when space allows, I hope to get heavier papers to carry more dye and maybe throw in some marbling too – oil on water.

I have been asked to contribute to a couple of blogs writing about cheese. The challenge here is to show the cheese, not as an ingredient. If it was the latter I would have scope to get a little more artistic, more plates, knives, ingredients, fabrics. But these I think I want simpler. Maybe just a cheese with a slice removed, or a slight turn of angle to showcase the rind. Therefore it’s about light and a simple background, maybe a linen, a scrubbed wood board, cheese wax paper, or a paper of my own.

This cheese shot of a Petite Basque was set on a natural waxy cooking paper that had been cooked in the oven for about half an hour with a little oil, whilst baking a cake at the same time. Sometime multi-tasking can work!

The dyed papers can be put through a photo programme and used for texture too. I love floral photography and this might just work – fine art photography in other words – overlaying the textures or colours. A lot to explore.

I am still finding my photographic feet and working out what I enjoy but what also will I hope lead to some income. Maybe the current project of photographing the local farm animals will lead to images for books, or the tree project will end up being suitable for a book similar to the one I saw recently by three French photographers. A beautiful book I couldn’t afford, full of large format prints and wonderful accompanying hand-drawn sketches. It was snapped up in the shop after just a couple of days and the book-shop in my local town has many such landscape and wildlife books – so there is a market.


Last week I starting teaching a French teenager English -at first a terrifying thought – a 14 year old rally biking teenager- but actually it was fun and I was a lot friendlier than his terrifying teacher who did nothing apparently but shout a lot! And luck would have it, his farm had a pig. So pig was photographed and now the French think I am very odd. I mean, who photographs pigs that are going to be eaten at Christmas. Well I do and I am hoping that once my portfolio is complete, the locals might just see them differently.

My neighbour is about to get a book of his farm. He seems quite excited. A whole career in beef farming and no record at all visually. That seems a shame. He works very hard and the cows are well looked after. He often rides around the fields on his father’s old tractor – very sentimental to him and in summer he trained his nephew- hands on farming, hay making and harvesting. I also captured bulls and cows that are no longer here – bad feet meant a short life and a bull who just wasn’t cutting the mustard with the girls was now a financial liberty. I felt obliged to take their final portraits – to capture the personality. Cows have characters. We all shed a tear the day the bull went. So I know the book will have some emotional impact too.

Judi Castille Bad feet

Well from papers to personalities – that’s what photography can involve. It’s how I now develop my ideas that matters and that’s my challenge for next year. I will share the journey.

11 thoughts on “Picture papers

    1. Yes lots of plans, but juggling how to best to pursue. Yesterday I ran across a large piggy farm just North of where I live. Grabbed the chance to photograph these muddy guys and talk to the son of the owner. I once again didn’t have the good camera with me, but asked if I could return. Its all practice really.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Judi you have a knack for combining text and visuals in a way that I keep on reading and looking. Your photo of the cheese is stunning! And as you’ve found out with the saffron papers, serendipity can lead to lovely results. 🙂


  2. Interesting to read how happy accidents happen and in the end pay off! Wishing you luck on your farm photos for French neighbours. I remember the first time we saw rabbits in cages at a French market – not sure if they were for pets or to eat !


    1. I think they were most likely to eat….the French are not the same as the Brits re this aspect. Our neighbour had rabbits and I asked about them being pets and he laughed – no for cooking. Every Sunday in our neck of the woods the locals meet to shoot the local wildlife. I don’t agree with it, but its what the French do. I happen to be a rare meat eater and I just couldn’t find any Quorn or soya products at the supermarket. Mind you I am living in the middle of beef cattle land, so hardly the best place for a veggie!!


      1. I thought that too – just didn’t feel like admitting to my son who was only young at the time (and the rabbits were so pretty!) . Good luck being a veggie in France. Lots of omelettes I guess!


    1. Thank you. I actually love photographing cheese and its something I really want to work on next year. Food photography is a vast subject and I thought it would be nice to specialize in one subject. In the barn I will be able to set up better and get the best lighting.


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