No 3 Photography
Photographer & artist working in Northleach, Gloucestershire, England
"Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face, the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited, and the wealth and confusion man has created. It is a major force in explaining man to man."
Hans Holbein the Younger
Franz Xaver Winterhalter
I am Cheryl Cordery, a self-taught photographer, writer and artist. I was brought up in sixties and seventies England by parents who were curiously trendy and traditionalist all at the same time. I have grappled with the same contradictory pull. Not at all studious, but with a love of history, art, literature and music (rock, blues, jazz and classical), I spent my childhood surrounded by vinyl, books, paints, pencils and paper. I roamed our small-town Hampshire library, seeking out and poring over the few books I could find showing the work of Durer, Holbein, Velasquez and Caravaggio, Corot, Ingres, Winterhalter, Manet and Degas, not to mention Picasso and Hockney, all masters at suggesting and celebrating subtle and various realities.
Flunking my A levels, I worked as a secretary for many years. I then gave birth rather unexpectedly and decided to give up work in order to bring up and home educate the resultant son. Home education? I'd recommend it to any parent! It taught me so much! My son, innocent of the fear and caution inculcated in me by my schooling, taught me, among other things, not be afraid of learning new things! This applied particularly to the advent of digital photography.
I’d been given a small Rollei film camera by my parents for my 21st birthday. Having left it on the train after travelling to see Lord Mountbatten's funeral procession that same year, I (deservedly) remained virtually camera-less until the early 2000s. The purchase of my first digital DSLR (above) enabled my by-then 9 year old tech-savvy son to reclaim his own small Canon digital camera, borrowed "for just a moment" by me once I'd got over myself and my knee-jerk resistance to new-fangled technology and seen its exciting potential.
Said TechKid is now grown and has a burgeoning musical career of his own (he plays lead guitar in the up-and-coming band, The Strays (https://www.facebook.com/TheStraysLive) but that doesn't stop him indulging me when I want to dress him up and photograph him in the ruff I made from coffee filter papers and the crown studded with pearls from Hobbycraft and winegums from the sweetshop for rubies and emeralds.
Friend Mary seems happy to drape herself in swathes of satin and do the same. Then there is Stuart, a handsome burgermeister who plays a mean Gretsch guitar, and Joseph, a fine young dandy, complete with watch and chain. Michi gives a few nods to Georges de la Tour, Damien Hirst and Tretchikoff, while Nerissa & Kitty mischievously indulge me in impromptu Pre-Raphaelite mess-abouts. Undertaker and circus performer Byron displayed some of his talents (just the circus talents, let me add) before my lens. Nina, midway through her 80s, showed that beauty of character and bone structure is all. Estelle, beautiful and theatrical to her core, a photographer's dream. And the butchers, boater-ed and cleaver-ed and practiced in posing. Over time these occasions have become known as The Kitchen Sessions, and I offer sittings to those who can find their way here! Details are found in the Portraits section of Portfolios, above.
It seems now that, indulging myself in this work, I have entered some kind of second childhood. Sadly I can't play the vinyl any more, my Mac doesn't jolly well have a disk slot and the CD player in the car has gone kaput. iTunes it is then! While it lasts. But I am still surrounded by books. And I draw on my iPad these days. Lazy? Maybe. Maybe not. I am just very glad I still have a young cat at my disposal who seems willing to teach me ever more new tricks.
I now work with an EOS Canon 6D digital camera, and have a couple of really good lenses, enabling me, among other advantages, to confidently work in low-light conditions, encountered particularly in the street & at music gigs.
I am really fortunate to have such lovely kit. I am, though, convinced that one's 'eye' is one's most important tool. Is an eye for harmony of form and colour and good composition in-built, or can it be taught? Certainly, studying the work of the 'greats' in the photographic world has, for me, been visually intoxicating as well as wonderfully instructive.
I've adored the work of the early pioneers in the USA: Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand and Edward Steichen, and later Ernst Haas and Saul Leiter, not to mention European masters such as Josef Sudek, Andre Kertesz and Robert Doisneau. Fred Herzog and Harry Gruyaert, lately discovered, are photographers whose eye for form and colour is unsurpassed. Robert Mapplethorpe's flower studies, and Masao Yamamoto's minimalist images of blooms and landscape, the portraits of Jane Bown and Eve Arnold, all taken in natural light, and the compositional quirks of Arnold Newman, continue to educate and ravish me. Some are shown below.
David Redfern (Louis Armstrong, (above left) was a superb music photographer and his book 'The Unclosed Eye' was another library humdinger that opened both my eyes to the glorious harmony of good composition, colour and light, not to speak of that energy and exciting immediacy of a shot taken at the optimum moment.
Currently I am in partnership with my husband, the artist Don Cordery, in opening Gallery 9 (see here) in Northleach, a small but thriving town between Stow-on-the-Wold and Cheltenham, in The Cotswolds, England. It is a beautiful space in which to show our work, and I'm gearing up for some lovely encounters and for the opportunity to share our creative ideas!
PS ... Most of the work shown on this site will be exhibited over time at Gallery 9. I have a shop here, though, with selected photos and iPad drawings available for sale. Shout if there are any others, in the portfolios but not in the shop, that you might like to purchase!
All my photographs and iPad paintings are printed on high quality Canon paper (Photo Paper Pro Luster) on a Canon ImagePROGRAF Pro1000 printer. This uses pigment-based ink as opposed to dye-based ink, which produces images of high quality and longevity.