Creators Makers Artists

In November last year I started a new photographic project. One I expect will keep me busy for some time. The project is to visit and document craft people, designer makers, their work, spaces and process.

I’m really excited about this project and the people I will meet for a couple of reasons. The first is because many of the crafts and art forms I will encounter are ones I explored years ago at art college. So I’m looking forward to seeing true masters in action. The second reason is because many of the traits that make the people I will be meeting true artisans and skilled designer makers are the same traits a photographer needs to succeed. Patience, dedication, doing it for love not riches, personal creative gratification, the list goes on. So for these two reasons I will be gaining great personal inspiration, meeting a myriad of new and interesting people, all whilst doing what I love.

I will be meeting textile artists, potters, jewellers, furniture makers, leather workers, knitters and upholsterers and more. At the end of it I hope to have a collection of images that show the people, their unique work and what it takes to make their creations. And hopefully these will come together as a book.

In my next two posts I will be sharing the images from the first two people I have met. Rosalie, a jewellery maker that uses recycled coffee grounds, and Michelle, a textile artist that mixes photography and bold colours to create bold and exciting wall prints.

I hope you’ll follow and enjoy my journey.

To see more of my photographic work please visit my website:


My top 5 Ted Talks from photographers

In no particular order!

I’ve watched these countless times. They are by inspiring people telling powerful stories.

I hope you find them the same.

Update: What a difference a year makes

Following on from my previous post. I submitted my image ‘Path to the sea‘, to the online portfolio section  of Professional Photographer Magazine. Shortly after I received an email saying it was being considered for the September printed issue, to appear on the portfolio section of the magazine. You can imagine my excitement. To have one of my images deemed to be of a standard good enough to appear in the magazine was an amazing feeling.

Then a couple of weeks later I was tidying up piles of paperwork sitting on the dining room table, when I came across the september issue of the magazine. It had arrive a couple of days earlier then disappeared into all the paperwork  on the table! I tore open the plastic wrapping and instantly flicked to the portfolio section.

And there it was, a half page filled with my image. Very clearly credited ‘ Jhy Turley, UK’.

It was a very proud moment.

It’s hot in the kitchen

When it comes to food I’ve been very lucky; I was brought up in the pub trade, where my parents focused on good honest pub food. Every night I was spoilt for choice from a menu of what to eat, from home made pies to fresh cod and chips. I was also exposed to the hard work and long hours of preparation it takes to get each plate food on the table.

At 16 my younger brother Adam, followed in our fathers footsteps, picked up the chefs knife and headed off to Westminster College in London to become a chef.

Skipping forward 15 years he is now Head Chef at Bluebells restaurant in Sunningdale. He spent his first few years learning his craft at Wentworth Golf Course. The next chapter in his gastronomic learning was under the guidance of the world famous Michel Roux and his son Alain at the 3 Michelin Star, Waterside Inn, Bray.

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I’ve been lucky enough to eat at every major restaurant Adam has worked at as well as many other fine dining establishments. I’ve had kitchen tours and met the chefs that prepare meticulously crafted, mouthwatering dishes. However I’ve never witnessed them doing it, until now. Adam was kind enough to let me spend the day in his kitchen photographing him and his team hard at work.

I arrive late, thanks to the usual heavy traffic on the M25, it’s only 9:30am, but the chefs have been in for an hour, they won’t finish until gone midnight! There are 5 chefs and a kitchen porter on duty, each already fully focused on the task in hand. They are preparing sauces, kneading bread dough, filleting fish and preparing vegetables. A quick hello and they carry on, time is not wasted chatting, there is no radio on to distract them, they are all focused on getting ready for the lunch service.

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Nothing is wasted; the skin of the chicken and fish are used to create delicate and crunchy garnishes. Vegetables and fruits are prepared in such a way that as little as possible goes in the bin. Bones from the butcher are used to create stocks. If every household cooked like a professional kitchen we would all save money and reduce food waste massively.

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I move around the kitchen with great care; it’s a dangerous place, extremely hot surfaces, pans full of boiling liquid, knives sharp enough to shave with and everyone moving around carrying these items at speed. I try and capture each of the chefs at that perfect moment that illustrates all the action as it is happening around me, it’s much harder than I thought possible.

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During service Adam stands at the pass as each chef brings their piece of the puzzle on demand and perfectly cooked. Each dish on an order comes together in a flurry of motion and as each chef moves away the different plates of food sit beautifully ready to be whisked away by the waitress. Adam shouts “service” and the waitress arrives, the food heads out of the door as the next order is already beginning to take shape.

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It’s amazing seeing this highly complex process unfold. Every plate of food is a combination of elements created individually and then brought together for the diner to enjoy.

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I stayed throughout the afternoon and into the early evening, the pressure never lets up, there is always more prep or another order to plate up. I feel extremely privileged and very proud to have experienced my brothers talent first hand. He has worked tirelessly at Bluebells for 7 years now. The restaurant is in the Michelin guide and has two AA Rosettes and is regularly frequented by a variety of celebs!

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On this visit I focused all my attention on the kitchen and this is only half the story, maybe on another day I will document the front of house and the diners.

It was a serious learning curve; where to stand, what angles to shoot from, how to light. The kitchen is a tight environment, with lots of shiny surfaces and lots of light sources; natural light coming in from the window, fluorescent from the strip lights and the heat lamps emitting an intense orange glow. I decided to use flash and control the situation as much as possible. I still had to do some correction in post.

Here are a few more of the images from my time in the kitchen. I’m now looking forward to my next visit, whether it’s to sit out front and eat or in the kitchen with my camera.

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Hollandaise Sauce being prepared

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Fresh bread straight from the oven

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Kitchens are hot and steamy places to work

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Delicate and precise presentation is key

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Macaroon filling being piped

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Adam plating up Lamb kofta kebabs

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Making chocolate tubes for the Warm baked chocolate mousse

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Adam tasting his chefs work

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Adam cooking scallops

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Adam Turley, Head Chef, Bluebells

You can see more images from my day in the kitchen on my flickr photostream.