This week I decided to take a little time exploring digital rendering of photographs using my iphone.  A lovely artist friend of mine whose work I truly admire, Tracy Verdugo (http://tracyverdugo.com/) alerted me recently to an iphone app that renders digital photographs into watercolour.  It is called Waterlogue.  I was instantly intrigued.  Since I was very young I have often painted and sketched as a hobby but these days I find myself with so little time to do anything like that so when I found out about Waterlogue, I thought I would try it out.

As with many photo manipulation apps you need to experiment.  Not all of mine have worked well with Waterlogue but I recently returned from leading an expedition in Africa where I was shooting photographs of the incredible Himba tribespeople in north western Namibia.  I have found two photos from the many that I shot there that work well with Waterlogue.  Here are some before and after images.

Young Himba Girl – the light on the original photo was bad here.  Sadly by the time this shot was taken the sun was nearly at noon point and was creating havoc in the form of shadows.  Initially I wasn’t happy with these shots:


And this is a digitally rendered version that I have removed all colour saturation from:

Preset Style = Bold Format = 10" (Giant) Format Margin = Small Format Border = Sm. Rounded Drawing = #2 Pencil Drawing Weight = Heavy Drawing Detail = Medium Paint = High Contrast Paint Lightness = Normal Paint Intensity = More Water = Tap Water Water Edges = Blurry Water Bleed = Average Brush = Fine Detail Brush Focus = Everything Brush Spacing = Medium Paper = Watercolor Paper Texture = Medium Paper Shading = Medium Options Faces = Enhance Faces

Perhaps my favourite of the two photos is actually this one.  Again this photo was shot in horrible light:


But this is what it looks like in Waterlogue:

Preset Style = Bold Format = 10" (Giant) Format Margin = Small Format Border = Sm. Rounded Drawing = #2 Pencil Drawing Weight = Heavy Drawing Detail = Medium Paint = High Contrast Paint Lightness = Normal Paint Intensity = More Water = Tap Water Water Edges = Blurry Water Bleed = Average Brush = Fine Detail Brush Focus = Everything Brush Spacing = Medium Paper = Watercolor Paper Texture = Medium Paper Shading = Medium Options Faces = Enhance Faces

The most incredible thing about this app is that it has turned photographs that I wasn’t happy with at all into pieces of art that I am thrilled with.  Under normal circumstances these are photographs that I would never publish publicly so this app has actually make me take a second look at my work with a view to creating works of art out of images that would be left backed up on hard drives and never used.

The original jpegs of these images were around 14MB each.  The app renders down the full size images to around 3MB in size.  While you can’t blow this up to billboard size, I could still print them well on paper around the size of A3 and frame them.  Naturally I would remove the border that the app has created.

A link to this lovely app’s web page is here http://www.waterlogueapp.com/ so why not download it and start creating your own work?

If you are interested in a print of these images, please email me at inger@ingervandyke.com .

The cost for an A3 – USD$120, AUD$175


Trip Report – Southern Africa Expedition

It’s live!  Here is my trip report from my recent expedition in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana (we also touched Angola!).

Looking back on this journey we really saw so many different things and were extraordinarily lucky to have the most incredible encounters with some very endangered wildlife in Namibia including desert adapted lions, rhinos and elephants.

I am planning to return to this incredible part of the world in 2017 to lead another trip.  If my report above has whetted your appetite to join me, please email me at inger@ingervandyke.com to find out more.  I hope to travel with you soon!

Coffee and Snow Leopards in Bed!

It’s not often that I wake up on a Sunday to news that some of my work has been published across my home country but that is what happened to me today.

The crisp white linen of our bed is a far cry from the four layers of bedding I slept under for 17 days in -25C in Ladakh, but I found myself longing for those camped out nights, listening to the calls of snow leopards echoing around the hills above us.  Thanks to Adrian Fowler and his team at Diimex in Sydney and the wonderful journalism work of Tim Barlass, the images I shot of a wild snow leopard hunt during our trip with Wild Images in March were syndicated across this weekend’s Australian newspapers.  Starting with the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, the story even spread as far as Mandurah!

As someone who would rather be behind the lens than in front of it and who would prefer their work to speak for them rather than their looks, the sudden burst of publicity surrounding these images has been revelatory and a little overwhelming.  So many people seem beguiled by my old male cat, the cat we tracked for three full days in Ladakh, the cat who stole my heart with his love rebuttals, failed hunts, scenting and stalking.  Of all the Snow Leopards we met on our trip, he was far and away my most favourite cat, his gnarly, scarred appearance casting a permanent look of disappointment across his face.

I wonder what he is doing now.  Where he might be?  I hope he is hiding out in a high den somewhere, helping to rear the next generation of Snow Leopards alongside the female we saw him mating with.  Although she was courting two males during our trip, she also appeared to have a soft spot for this old boy.  It was the old boy she spent the most time with, the old boy she always sought out first.

Mark bought me coffee as I sifted through the many emails, comments, shares, likes and texts that I received in the wake of these photos going live across Australia.  I felt humbled.

When I left Ladakh in March, my boot clad feet may have departed from the world of these leopards, but a part of my heart never did.

Thank you for sharing my journey with these incredible wild cats.

– Inger

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 11.50.14 Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 11.50.35 Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 11.50.57 Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 11.51.16 Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 11.51.39 Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 11.51.53 Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 11.52.15 Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 11.52.30 Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 11.52.43 Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 11.53.08 Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 11.53.25 Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 11.53.42


Fisheyes for iPhones – A Review of Klinger Studios Fisheye Lens App


As a seasoned iphone user and a strong advocate for their use as a supplementary camera in the field, I have always enjoyed having my phone nearby to get shots of nature that I encounter on walks, rides and drives.

In the last eight or so months, I thought I would ratchet my skills up a bit and I bought an Ollo clip series of lenses for my iphone 5S to make use of a wide-angle, two different magnified macro lenses and a fish-eye.  While I was initially pleased with the Olloclip, the Fisheye lens on it is disappointing as it doesn’t extend out to 8mm and provide the full fish-eye effect.  Instead, you get a cropped fish-eye shot which looks rather odd.

Frustrated, I started to look around.  I tried other clip on lenses but I found them difficult to focus on the subject and wieldy when they were clipped on to the camera.

Then I discovered “Fisheye Lens”, an amazing app that not only has an 8mm full fisheye lens for your phone but it also has options for use including:

– 12mm fisheye

– 15mm fisheye

– 8mm inverse

– 15mm invers

– square

You can also stretch, squeeze and warp your images within the app to create some funky effects.

I found this to be one of the most powerful apps I have used for a number of reasons.

Its PROs include:

– Tack sharp precision focussing.  I’m not sure how this app gets this so right but if you use the standard camera in your phone, sometimes it is really slow to focus and you can get blurred shots really easily.  This app waits until the object you are shooting is really, really in focus before it fires off so the resulting clarity is amazing.

– Full fisheye effect without cropping

– You can choose the level of vignetting you get and whether or not you want a white or black background, a soft or sharp edge to your photos

Its only CON is:

– It would be nice to vary the exposure with it.  During the normal use of your iphone you can tap on the screen when you have a shot in view and lighten or darken the image before you press the shutter button.  This wasn’t that easy to do with this app but trust me, this is its ONLY downside.

Yesterday I had the joy of wandering around the famous Kew Gardens in London with this app.  Here are some shots that I managed to get using it that I was really happy with.  For more information about the apps that Klinger produce please click here.


















Images From Far Flung Lands

One of the most terrifying things that happened to me when I left Australia to live in England a year ago, apart from leaving my friends and family behind on the other side of the world of course, was the uncertainty my move cast over the future of my business as a photojournalist.  Leaving Australia meant leaving many of my Australian centric publications and clients behind.  But leave I did and I am twelve months into a new venture, exploring new markets, new clients, new avenues of business in a world that is more competitive than I ever imagined.

Some days it simply overwhelms me as I try to juggle keeping my 14 year old business alive while running one of the UK’s most established international dive travel companies.  However, I was never one to shy away from a challenge so here I am.

Recently I have been so profoundly honored that my images are making their way into some private homes.  I have about a dozen or so collectors of my work in Australia, the United States and Singapore but this is now growing and recently the following images were sold by people to hang in their homes.

My prayer candles from Swayambhunath temple in Nepal


are on their way to a private home in Florida.

My little Elephant Seal from Macquarie Island

Southern Elephant Seal10

is on his way to the United States also.

Finally my crazy Saddhu from Pashupatinath


is on his way to Australia.

To me it is one of the highest honors someone can bestow on my work is the wish to have a photograph of mine hanging in their home.  I feel so truly blessed when I see these images go around the world.

So maybe that is where my business future lies?  In leading photographic expeditions to places that are too difficult to reach, then selling my images after I return.

I’m not sure, but fourteen years into this industry I am still enjoying the journey and all of its resultant highs, lows, shifts, challenges, travel and directions.  I am still here, despite my hemisphere shift and I hope to be successful here also.  Let’s see what happens next!



I have had a long and tumultuous relationship with penguins.  For someone who has been around seabirds since they were a small child I should be in love with them completely shouldn’t I?  That love should have no bounds.

Well that love is certainly existent now but it wasn’t always the case.

During the time I lived in Sydney from my late twenties to mid thirties, I became very used to Little Penguins.  I saw them from the ferries on Sydney harbour and would sometimes watch them darting in the surf right next to my boogie board.  For a long time I used to take delight in seeing them, that is, until I began working with them.

In my early thirties I started working alongside the longest continual study of the Wandering Albatross at sea in the world – the Southern Oceans Seabird Study Association (SOSSA).  While the principal aim of SOSSA’s work is to perpetuate a cohort study on albatrosses that has spanned more than fifty years, their work also involves seabird breeding island surveys along the coastal islands of New South Wales and I was lucky enough to be involved with these during the years of 2005 to 2007.  I loved these expeditions.  They gave me a glimpse into a world that so few people see.  Public landings on these islands are expressly forbidden and through strict management, many of them are a wonderland for a wildlife photographer like me.  Think deserted beaches, thousands of nesting seabirds, rocky outcrops, burrows everywhere, that wonderful cacophony of sound and that beautiful dank smell of seabirds – well I was just in heaven working on these islands.  It was like living in one massive documentary 24/7.

The birds that formed the corner stone of our nesting surveys included Sooty Oystercatchers and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters.  We also made notes of other nesting birds including White-faced Storm Petrels, Australian Ibis, Australian Pelicans, Silver Gulls, Crested Terns and Little Penguins.

Of all the birds we worked with I found penguins to be the most feisty, attitude-filled critters imaginable.  On the main island of the Five Islands off the coast of Wollongong, our base and research hut was a solar powered, converted shipping container (glamorous stuff this wildlife research!) and on one trip there we discovered that some Little Penguins had decided that under our hut was the perfect place to take up residence.  During the breeding season, Little Penguins are very, very noisy and they are largely nocturnal!  Their calls usually start at sunset and only stop around 5am when you need to get up and go to work so, needless to say, I wasn’t a huge fan of their all-night love ins, many of which involved slapping each other around, biting each other and squabbling over burrow space.  Penguins, well Little Penguins at least, do seem to like a bit of slap and tickle.  I just wished sometimes that they had chosen to do their mating and dating somewhere else.  Not even ear plugs would have worked with that amount of noise.  I wasn’t impressed.  Our days passed in a zombie like state as we struggled to feign tiredness to put in thirteen hour days of surveys.

During the day, we had protests.  The slats of the balcony on the outside of our hut provided some much needed shade for moulting penguins who, during the time they actually do moult, require a significant amount of energy and they need to stay dry until their plumage becomes seaworthy again.  Why not hang out in the well ventilated semi-shade of the hut balcony?  This seemed to work quite well for the penguins until some ignorant humans rudely decided to turn up for morning tea and pull up their chairs to take a rest in the sun.  Suddenly we were growled at!  Obviously we were casting an unwanted shadow, some penguins didn’t like it and a series of very loud protestations ensued!!!  My affections towards them began wearing thin.

Little Penguins are burrow nesters and their burrows are not dissimilar in size to those used by Wedge-tailed Shearwaters.  Accessing Shearwater chicks means you have to lie on your stomach on the ground, reach your arm down to the end of the burrow and hopefully you will find a fat, fluffy shearwater chick to band and weigh before taking a GPS read of its burrow location, releasing it and moving on.  Down the occasional burrow your arm would feel something different to a Shearwater.  Instead of a fat fluffy brown bird, you would get a nasty, nippy female penguin at the end and trust me, they are enough to make you withdraw your arm with the speed of lightning!  In these cases I must confess that I didn’t blame the resident penguins for kicking up a fuss.  I mean, deep down in a burrow, watching a grabbing arm reach in to feel around must have been terrifying for them.  No wonder they got upset!  I would too!

On one trip, I worked with a young assistant who had never been close to a penguin at all.  Usually I would never pull a bird out of a burrow for the sake of demonstration but given the fact that Little Penguins are one of the few penguin species that are thriving, I decided to show him one.  We set off around the island on foot and just when we went past one burrow entrance, we heard this blood curdling yowl.  My assistant jumped back in shock and exclaimed that it sounded like someone was being murdered!  I said “No, that’s a penguin” and decided, stupidly, that this might be the perfect opportunity to show him one.  I reached in gently and pulled a wriggly, strong, adult male penguin out of his burrow.  An animal that certainly wasn’t impressed at all by this action.   Here he is:

inger and penguin 2

Not a happy penguin.  After my assistant got this shot of me and petted the penguin, I gently put him back because I hate stressing animals for no real reason and I really didn’t consider this to be a good reason.  Off scurried the Little Penguin back into his burrow, or so I thought.  He went back into the entrance of it and just as we stood up and turned around to leave, he came bolting out of his burrow and bit me hard on the back of my calf!  I yelped!  I am very used to handling these animals.  I certainly didn’t hurt him.  He was just being vindictive I think.  It wasn’t a great way to win friends.

This altercation only served to tarnish my idea of them further until I finally went on to the islands during the penguin breeding season.  Baby Little Penguins are an entirely different matter.  Working with them during the peak of their breeding was pure joy.  I had the privilege of holding chicks that were around a week old like this one


To nearly fledged adult birds like these

copy inger and penguin 1

IMG_7177Then the tide and my attitude towards penguins began to turn.  I fell in love with Little Penguin chicks as I watched them waiting at the entrance of their burrows for mum or dad to come back and feed them with a belly full of fish.  It takes between eight and ten weeks from hatching to the time that young penguins will make their first run to the ocean.  Over the time I was lucky enough to spend working with them, I met some that really melted my heart.  Probably the most noted and unusual experience I had was finding a nearly fledged pair near the entrance of their burrow at the crown of Montague Island during the moult season.  Their parents had abandoned them in favour of moulting as it seems they had left their run too late to breed.  This is a highly unusual scenario for Little Penguins.  I saw them and was quite shocked.  When I came closer they were both emaciated from starvation.  To this day it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, walking away from those two.  You have to let nature play out its course on breeding islands.  There is a lot of mortality on them and a lot of joy through births too but with these two I felt a real compulsion to tell someone to rescue them and feed them.  You really can’t though.  They would have probably died from the stress of handling them to get them back to the mainland into proper care.  They were near death as it was.  I cried.

Fast forward a few years to my 37th year of life and I found myself on board a Russian Icebreaker cruising due south to penguin central, the Australian Antarctic Territory of Macquarie Island, an island that is home to between three and five million penguins of three key species – Kings, Royals or Macaronis and Gentoos.  There is a handful of Rockhoppers also living on Macquarie but they have a very restricted range there and they are not all that easy to see up close.  Unlike the other penguins on Macquarie, the Rockhoppers are very shy.  It was my first trip to Antarctica and I was thrilled to be going.

Arriving at Macquarie, we dropped anchor near the research station for the Australian Antarctic Division at Hasselborough Bay and we were instantly greeted by a welcoming party


Kings, Gentoos and Royals all came out to meet the boat, wondering what was new in their world.  They swam around us endlessly.  Each time I peered out of my porthole I saw them.  I was mesmerised by their curiosity.

I think we may have dropped some scientists off at the research station during our stop but I was that distracted I don’t remember.

Later that day we steamed south along the coast to a place that has now become one of my most favourite in the entire world, Sandy Bay.  Landing on Sandy is a bit tricky.  While it sits in the lee of Macquarie and enjoys some relative calm from the relentless westerly winds and gigantic ocean swells, landing there presents you with a dilemma.  The wildlife is so abundant on the beach that you have to approach slowly in an inflatable dinghy and a guide has to run the gauntlet of assembled penguins and elephant seal pups that have all gathered on the beach to investigate the newcomers.  Thousands of penguins call Sandy Bay home and their main populations are dominated by Kings and Royals.  I was in heaven.

For a while I wandered around with my then partner enjoying the sheer spectacle of it all.  We wandered off to the main colony of King Penguins, many of whom had fluffy brown chicks.


which, to me anyway, were every bit as pretty in their own way as their parents


I quite liked the King Penguins that I first met.  They were gently curious and would approach you to see what was happening, you’d turn around, they’d walk away and then they couldn’t resist the urge to turn around and look at you again.  I was discovering the base rule that the bigger the penguin, the more gentle they become.

After prying myself away from the Kings, I decided to head down to the colony of Royals that take up a large proportion of the real estate on Sandy Bay’s pebble filled beach.  I dumped my bag and tripod down close to their colony and realised that I’d dropped a lens cloth back at the King Penguin area.  I wandered back up the beach to retrieve it, only to find a rather unusual scene unfolding with my gear when I got back.

_MG_1565Vandals had moved in!


They looked innocent enough


but never let those looks fool you.  These were investigative tearaways who proceeded to inspect ALL of my gear.  They pulled the elasticated clips on my bag back as far as they could and got shocked when they sprung back upon release.  Pockets of bags were checked for goodies.  The legs of my tripod were lifted




and were stared at when gravity didn’t do it’s normal thing and drop the leg down.  The leg stayed in the air!

Amused by all of these antics, I sat and watched for a bit _MG_1568

but then I realised I need to swap lenses so I interrupted their play and went to sit beside them.  This scattered them for a little bit until a couple of the bolder, younger birds determined I wasn’t a threat and they sidled over.  Next minute the soles of my shoes were being sniffed, the pockets of my jackets were being inspected, one of them looked longingly at my lap trying to decide if it was going to be still and warm for long enough to grab a nap.

I wondered what to do to keep them amused.  I was that beguiled by them I became frightened they would grow bored by me and leave so I picked up a pebble and gently held it out.  I knew from prior research that some penguin species like pebbles and they give them as gifts.  I even read about a great study on the Antarctic Peninsula where the scientists had painted pebbles many different colours to see if the penguins preferred one colour over another.  What they found out was that many pebbles were both traded and stolen by individuals on their nesting grounds.  It was a fantastic study.

As I held the pebble out, one young Royal approached


and very gently took the pebble out of my fingers.  It then went away, dropped it, picked up another and brought it back to me.


I opened my hand out and a gift was dropped in to my palm.  It was one of the most amazing things that has ever happened to me in the field.  I was in love.

Although the rules surrounding the removal of items from Macquarie are strict, I collected the pebble and said “Thank you” and put it in the pocket of my backpack.

When I got back to mainland Australia, I had it mounted into a necklace


These days when people ask me about the pebble I usually just tell them it was a gift.  In my eyes anyway, it was.

With that gentle exchange, my love affair with penguins began and since then I have been blessed to work with many different species of them around the world including Yellow-eyed Penguins in New Zealand and on the Auckland Islands.


Rockhopper Penguins on Heard Island


Gentoos on Macquarie Island


King Penguins underwater on Macquarie


and in the snow on Heard Island


Snares Crested Penguins on the Snares Islands


and most recently with African Penguins on Robben Island, Boulders Beach and Simon’s Town in South Africa.

September 30

I have never had any “Happy Feet” ideas about these animals but what started off with ambivalence and even disdain with me, has evolved into unbridled respect.  Common to all penguins is a phenomenal physical strength.  I’ve watched rafts of little penguins battling huge swells in the open ocean to feed and seen them take high dives off rocky islets in Tasmania.  I’ve worried as I’ve seen them try to launch onto rocks in humongous swell, thinking they were going to get injured, only to see them pick themselves up and waddle off after being smashed against rocks.  No doubt I will meet other species of penguins during my lifetime but I am constantly delighted by penguins now – even those little yapping ones that run after you and bite you!

Steve McCurry – Afghanistan


Afghanistan:  It is at once pastoral and chaotic, peaceful and violent, destroyed and resilient, wonderfully welcoming yet deeply inhospitable – Steve McCurry

How could anyone ever forget those eyes?

For someone who tried desperately to get location work in Afghanistan for years and now feels that my chance has passed, I was always tremendously inspired by Steve McCurry’s photo of the Afghan girl and his quest to relocate her after he shot this image in a refugee camp during 1984.

In 2002 Sharbat Gula, the Afghan Girl who became an icon of the refugee situation during Afghanistan’s conflict with Russia in the 1980s, was found again by Steve McCurry who sought her out after his image became one of the most recognised photographs in the world.


I’ve always felt a huge level of empathy with Steve McCurry in his search for Sharbat Gula.  As a photographer with a passion for Central Asia, I have met so many incredible people and photographed them on my own journeys there.  Although my images are unlikely to gain the same notoriety as the Afghan girl, mine are often widely published to audiences in excess of a million people.

During my expedition to western Tibet last year, some of my most memorable experiences came out of my encounters with nomadic Tibetan tribespeople.  Due to the very nature of their existence, if I ever tried to locate one of these people again, it would be extremely difficult.  I would first have to wrangle with Chinese authorities to gain permission to where they roam (just a few days ago I found out that the entire area my expedition traversed in western Tibet has now been completely shut down by China indefinitely this year) and then commence a physical journey with my printed photographs in hand across one of the world’s harshest landscapes, stopping at nomad tents and asking around to see if I could find these people again.  Finding people who have no fixed address, no name or who have been forcibly removed from their homes through ethnic conflict is almost impossible in some of the places that I have been fortunate to call my offices.

The story of Steve McCurry’s rediscovery of Sharbat Gula was compelling to me and in the end, iris recognition technology, a good network of contacts and one man’s obsessive search finally led him to find her again 18 years after he took her photo.

Although The Afghan Girl was probably the most famous of his images from Afghanistan, Steve McCurry has had a thirty year relationship with the country.  During his visits there he has shot many wonderful images.  From disturbing images of war, to real life portraits, to images depicting the rich tapestry of cultures that make Afghanistan what it is today, the exhibition is a journey through one of the most beautiful yet disturbed countries in the world. A collection of these shots is currently being exhibited at the London gallery of Beetles and Huxley and is simply titled  “Afghanistan”.

I found the entire portfolio both compelling and elegantly shot.  The images were exquisitely framed and it was a good cross section of photographs taken during both the violent periods of Afghanistan’s recent history and the few times where the country has enjoyed a relative peace.

Here are some of my favourite images from the exhibition.







The exhibition runs in London until 7 June and I would encourage anyone with an interest in or connection to Afghanistan to go along and see it.  Whether you have a close personal connection to this part of the world like I have or even if you have enjoyed books like “The Kite Runner”, “A Thousand Splendid Suns” or Khaled Hosseini’s most recent book “And The Mountains Echoed” you would be moved by this body of work.

I certainly enjoyed my vicarious journey through Afghanistan looking at these images.

London Street Art Immersion 2 – The Naturalists




What really struck me about yesterday’s street art cruise in London’s East End was the propensity of some artists to use their medium to portray an environmental message.  It was fantastic to see them use graffiti creatively to show the natural world to the people of cities, many of whom may never get to see a wild whale, paper nautilus or Black-crested Coquette Hummingbird.

A few of these artists really stood out for me.


Website: http://www.louismasai.com/

Masai first started to paint birds all over building to highlight the plight of our vanishing avian species so I was pleasantly surprised to see a large Black-crested Coquette on a building yesterday.  Mark and I had actually seen these hummingbirds in the wilds of Honduras in January!


His work with birds didn’t just end with murals either.  He also chose to construct some really elaborate nesting boxes to attach to buildings to highlight the habitat destruction that many birds face in the wild.


His current campaign highlights the global issues that bees are facing and his message is clear – if we lose our pollinators, we will die.





These are very important messages because many people living in cities probably don’t see bees on a daily basis so I hope they stop and think when they see his art!


ATM is another one using graffiti as a way of highlighting the ominous future of some endangered species.

Website: http://atmstreetart.tumblr.com/

Video of ATM’s work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WE3XrNQOrfs

I loved the work in the video above of the Bittern.


What I really enjoy about ATM’s work is the fact he uses the environment to his best advantage when he decides on a location to paint.  I thought the image of toadstools below was excellent because it looks like they are growing out of the plants who decided to take up residence next to the wall anyway.



Website: http://roaweb.tumblr.com/

We came across a giant Hedgehog in Shoreditch yesterday!



Words cannot adequately describe the work of French graphic artist Lily Mixe who has taken to doing large street installations of sea creatures and other wildlife.  Of everything we looked at in London yesterday, it was her work that had me the most mesmerised.

I’ve just been sucked into the vortex of her website: http://lilymixe.wordpress.com/

Needless to say that her work doesn’t get painted over much!







Many of whom I don’t know the names of so I’m sorry I couldn’t credit their work properly.






I’m still reeling from the visual overload of Shoreditch yesterday.  I need to head back there soon!


London Street Art Immersion 1 – Graffiti Gone Wild!


Yesterday I took a long overdue trip to London to catch up with some friends that I hadn’t seen since September 2012.  I met Sanjeev (a fabulous and talented poet), Phil (awesome photographer) and his girlfriend El (assistant editor of a major women’s magazine in the UK) to spend a day touring some of London’s photography and street art venues.  It was a day of laughter, friendship, inspiration and exploration on foot around the east end mainly.


The east end of London in my twenties was still a great place but probably not as Bohemian as it has now become.  I used to love visiting there to eat at the famous Jewish delicatessen cafe called Blooms which closed in 2010.  It was an icon of Jewish food in London and I used to love sitting there eating gefillte fish and watching Rabbis come and go.  I will never forget watching an old Rabbi sitting in the corner of Blooms once. He was nodding off to sleep, his whiskers falling into the soup in front of him. What I love about the east end of today is the fantastic mix of cultures there including many middle eastern people, africans and asians.  You can walk down the street past African dreadlock salons, Indian sari sellers, Arabic fruit stalls and a variety of curry houses.  The sights and smells of the area were wonderful and so reminiscent of many places I’ve travelled.  I do love a multicultural, ethnic society!


The highlight of this part of London now, to me anyway, is the incredible street art!  Phil explained to me that London has  allowed some of its suburbs to be opened up to street artists who are given a free run to simply create.  We saw so many inspirational murals, window features, posters and tiny paintings yesterday, I shot almost four hundred images and it has taken me a night to digest it all! Phil explained to me that these murals provide him with endless inspiration because you might see something wonderful one week and the next time you visit that wall will be covered with something completely different!  Although some pieces stay for longer than others, the streets of Shoreditch are like a giant metamorphic process, like caterpillar to butterfly, bud to flower.  It is probably one of the best displays of transient art I’ve seen in my life! I have decided to divide these up into two blog posts because I liked different art for different reasons.  Firstly there is the graffiti art that revolves around graffiti in its purest form, portraits, thought provoking and clever images of humans and wall work that is similar to what I’ve seen in other parts of the world. The second post is for the Naturalist inspired artists that we saw. Where possible I have tried to credit the artists for the work I am about to post below.  Sadly I either didn’t know the names of some of them or they hadn’t signed their work off but if a reader of this post can either name the artist or correct me if I have misidentified a piece, I’d love that! Here are some of my favourites.


Website:  http://www.alostreetart.blogspot.co.uk/ Alo.001


The incredible work of a man and his roll of electrical tape! Website: http://www.benjaminmurphy.info/ 0J0A5067 0J0A5068


Website: http://slowbenart.com/?page_id=2 0J0A5202


The Spanish street artist of Borondo white-washes windows then etches portraits into them! Website: http://borondo.blogspot.co.uk/ 0J0A5147


Website:  Unknown Phil said this painting had just appeared beside a pile of rubbish recently. 0J0A5230


I loved Jim Vision’s work.  In the murals we saw yesterday there was a whimsical mix of surf, galleons and fire.  He has ventured into other subjects but these were my favourites. Website: http://www.rockwellhouse.co/jim-and-matilda/ 0J0A5063 0J0A5057


Definitely a highlight to see this Chilean artist’s work. Website: http://www.ottoschade.com/ 0J0A5086


Website: http://www.phlegmcomicnews.blogspot.co.uk/ 0J0A5106


Website: http://globalstreetart.com/run RUN.001


Website: http://sakiandbitches.tumblr.com/ 0J0A5190


The wizard of spray cans and stencils! Website: http://www.snikarts.com/ Interview with Snik: https://vimeo.com/30197033 Untitled 2.001


I first saw Noir’s work on the East Side Gallery in Berlin in 1998.  It was great to see his work in London too. Website:  http://www.galerie-noir.de/index.html Untitled 3.001


This is probably the most incredible piece we looked at.  Set up with a series of small explosives, this portrait is by the Portuguese artist Alexadndre Farto aka ‘Vhils”.  He sets this up, explodes it all then what is left is an incredible relief of someone’s face! Website: http://www.alexandrefarto.com/ 0J0A5140


Website:  http://tizerone.blogspot.co.uk/ 0J0A5059

Shepard Fairey

Website:  https://www.artsy.net/artist/shepard-fairey 0J0A5073


Website:  http://globalstreetart.com/616


L to R: Unknown, Rice, Him

Website for Rice:  http://www.fatcap.com/artist/rice.html Website for Him: unknown Unknown 1.001


Website – Not known but FB profile is https://www.facebook.com/sgfra 0J0A5154 0J0A5235


Website:  http://blackappleart.com/portfolio-item/trust-icon-uk/ 0J0A5243

L to R below:  Unknown, Fin Dac, Church of Best Ever

Website for Fin Dac:  http://findac.tumblr.com/ Website for Church of Best Ever:  http://cargocollective.com/churchofbestever Unidentified 2.001

Jimmy C

Website:  http://www.akajimmyc.com/ Fellow Aussie Jimmy C had some of my favourites from the day too!  Believe it or not the two below are by him and yet they are both really different! 0J0A5168 0J0A5166


Website:  http://amarapordios.tumblr.com/ 0J0A5226


Website:  http://floatingtheplanet.wordpress.com/ 0J0A5181

THE LOST SOULS CREW – CaptainKris, Squirl, SPZero

CaptainKris website:  http://www.kristiandouglas.com/ Squirl website: http://globalstreetart.com/artists/3aklv7g-squirl SPZero website: http://spzero76.com/ 0J0A5188

Cosmo Sarson

Website:  http://www.cosmosarson.com/ 0J0A5198


Website:  http://theothersideshow.bigcartel.com/ 0J0A5197


Website:  www.annalaurini.tumblr.com

Unidentified 3.001




0J0A5102 0J0A5242 It’s all pretty amazing!  According to Phil we only scratched the surface yesterday.  I couldn’t believe it. I have to admit that it was great to see some serious kudos being offered to these artists.  Some of them are breathtakingly talented.  I was even thrilled to see a gallery had been opened to sell the work of street artist called Pure Evil. 0J0A5136 When Mark and I were in Venice, Italy, in February this year, we saw stacks of graffiti but it was all horrible.  We both lamented that Venice should take  hold of this situation, clear the crap off its facades and encourage spaces to be created for true graffiti artists.  Some of the works we saw would be outstanding in a Venetian setting!