I am a huge fan of artwork – I think it adds so much of the personality to a room and one’s home. You can tell a lot about a person from the art on their walls. I have a particular fondness for photography (as I am married to a photographer, that’s probably a good thing!). I love unique images and really enjoy discovering new talent too.
Which leads me into my second Creative Spotlight, with the talented Cara Connell, who founded fine art photography company, Lumitrix, in 2013.
A freelance photographer herself, Cara was struck by how difficult it was to break into the fine art photography market, and so launched Lumitrix to give talented photographers a new platform for their work. She now represents photographers from around the world and is always searching for new talent. I adore her selection of beautiful prints – we have a few dotted around our home!
Her story is a fascinating one, from flying planes in Africa and overcoming adversity from ill health, to launching her own business. She is a real inspiration. I hope you enjoy…
How did you get into your current profession? I reached out to assist photographers when I was trying to become a photographer myself and Matilda Temperley was the only one to reply to my plaintive letters. Whilst assisting her, I learnt how much money photographers spend to create imagery that goes towards building their portfolio. It was all outgoings once studio hire, make up, models, equipment etc is paid for. I saw a gaping opportunity to help support these emerging photographers try and earn some money from these endeavours, whilst also offering great imagery as accessible fine art photography to home owners.
Was that what you always wanted to do? I always wanted to be a photographer. Once I graduated from Edinburgh University in Zoology, my dream was to become an aerial photographer in Africa, whilst working in conservation on the ground. I got my flying licence, took some wonderful photographs, but sadly got a tropical disease, which was pretty disruptive. This led to a complete change of lifestyle, bringing me back to London to a more innocuous and tame lifestyle. I became a lawyer and worked in Law for 5 years, but photography was always in the back of my mind. At age 30 I took the leap to become a photographer, but as soon as I did I broke my shoulder, so couldn’t hold a camera. I was worried I would have to give up on my bid for freedom and return to the City, so I know I had to make my own job work for me, which led to the idea of Lumitrix.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? My son. He is a culmination of everything in life coming good after a pretty difficult time with my health and the loss of a family member.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Physically, it is having warm bones from lying in the sun in the wilderness of either the highlands of Scotland or South Africa. Mentally, happiness can be quite a fragile state due to all of the demands that life puts on us. I’m talking bit things like loss of someone you love, unemployment, ill health or just things not working out the way you had hoped. I think the older we get, the more we learn how lucky we are just to be happy – so perfect happiness is that wonderful feeling you have when you sit there in a quiet moment, look around and realise how lucky you are to feel warm inside, content, and very happy with your lot.
Which living person do you most admire? I am fickle, but at the moment it is Leonardo Di Caprio – I love that he has harnessed the acclaim and power that he has derived through Hollywood and is applying this power to such a crucial issue that affects us all; the environment, global warming and conservation of species. He has created a foundation that supports projects around the world that build climate resiliency, protect vulnerable wildlife and restore balance to threatened ecosystems and communities. I wholeheartedly support this and if I were not in the throws of running Lumitrix, with my Zoology background, this is the type of work I would like to focus on.
Who or what is your greatest inspiration? Anyone who overcomes adversity and The Queen: I admire her stoicism and physical fortitude.
When and where were you happiest? At my 30th Birthday Party – a surprise birthday party that my family and friends made for me when things were a bit tough, as my mother was very sick.
What is your greatest extravagance? Exceptionally nice socks and eating good clean food. This is a real privilege and I love being able to live in London, whilst getting my food from Farmdrop. Farmdrop cut out the big greedy supermarkets, so that the farmers receive much more profit for their goods, making farming viable for them. The food also comes with minimal wrappings, which makes my heart sing as we all use and throw away way too much disposable wrappings. They also deliver with an electric van that is a cow!
Which talent would you most like to have? I’d like to be able to sing without my boyfriend wincing!
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? My feet – I didn’t win the genetic lottery on that front.
Describe yourself in three words. That is difficult – maybe best to ask the girls I work with?!
What is your most treasured possession? My dog, baby and boyfriend, in that order J
What’s your favourite way to spend the weekend? Usually is is far away from any city, but occasionally I love a London weekend. Making use of this fabulous City by dining in great restaurants, going to art galleries, walking across the river. If I have been in London for too long then I love to get out and go to the sea or the hills, just to really feel space and see horizons and smell clean air.
What is your favourite space in your home and why? My bed. It is like a warm hug at the end of a long day.
This post was written in collaboration with Lumitrix, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Photography by Lumitrix and Patrick Butler-Madden