Evening lights

As the evening descends there is pause; a moment of interlude. People convene, rub their bellies and head for the comfort of food, cigarettes, a quiet pint or two before launching into the frenzy of the night-time festivities.

The sun pools the last of its sweet golden liquor into the horizon beyond and the cheerful winking lights lead us towards the dazzling final act.

© Emily Hughes and searchingtosee, 2012

Flower Friday (sorry it’s late)

I know, I know it’s not Friday any more, and I’m sorry it’s two days late. Friday ended up being a whirl of busyness and Olympic frenzy, then our cable connection failed, and (after serious amounts of cursing from Alex) we eventually ended up watching the ceremony streaming through iplayer with the TV screen hooked up to the computer, which worked pretty well except that I didn’t get time to post, which actually turned out to be a good thing – I’ll explain why in a bit.

Whilst team GB have so far rather failed to live up to the dizzy heights of expectation set up by the thumping kick off on Friday, my weekend just got better and better.

Yesterday was a top day. I got to cuddle a gorgeous four-day old baby born to dear friends of ours, we saw a house we loved, we had a hilarious evening with friends consuming lots of yummy food and wine (thank you chef Alex) and I discovered I was freshly pressed on WP. So pretty cool all round.

And now I have all these new followers, which is very exciting, and I’m thinking I have a responsibility now to post something really interesting, thought-provoking, inspiring etc… well I’m not sure how to do that, so you’re getting the flower. The one I should have posted on Friday but forgot to and actually couldn’t have because I hadn’t taken this shot yet.

And because the post which got freshly pressed was the one about instagrams, it seems fitting to post an instagram to follow it up.

And, this also happens to be my 50th post on my blog!

This was taken this morning. I was lounging on my bed checking my messages and my daughter brought me this sweet little hosta flower she had picked from the garden. It looked perfect against the bed sheet and the lighting was soft and mellow.

So this one is for all the newbies. I hope you like it. And thank you so much for all of your likes and lovely comments about my post.


© Emily Hughes and searchingtosee, 2012


One of the most magical moments of the truck festival for me was hearing The Low Anthem perform. They are a low key, low-fi eccentric bunch who are obsessed with recycling instruments and appear to turn their hands to every instrument under the sun including trumpet, clarinet, dulcimer, the pump organ and even the saw. They recorded their latest album in an abandoned pasta sauce factory.

They played this song, which a former band member had scribbled down before he left in the dead of night.

A lady next to me with spiky red hair burst into tears uncontrollably half way through the performance.

We all understood.

It’s one of those songs that just releases any kind of pent up emotion inside of you. It is raw and heartfelt and tender. To me it sounds just like pure emotion would feel, or as one fan on you tube puts it “all I can say is that this song makes me wanna cry like a bitch every time I hear it”.

It was a powerful moment of shared emotion in a crowd; a moment of haunting beauty.

Here are the faces of the crowd, listening, watching, whilst they played it …

© Emily Hughes and searchingtosee, 2012

Two’s company

This is the first post in a series on crowd images. Alex and I spent last weekend at the Truck festival near Steventon in Oxfordshire. It was a fantastic weekend; excellent music and a great atmosphere. There were many highlights, some of which I will post more about.

One of the things I enjoyed was plucking out scenes of couples from the crowds (sometimes intentionally and other times accidentally). I liked the way the twosomes  found their own secret spaces to just be quietly in their togetherness and share tranquil moments amongst the ensuing chaos and frenzy of the festival crowds. There is a sense of both reckless abandon and extreme privacy in a very public space (not least highlighted by my presence as intruder-photographer, and mostly fueled by lots of cider!). The images also tell their own little stories of friendship, love and community – truly summing up the spirit of the whole festival for me.

© Emily Hughes and searchingtosee, 2012

Things to do with your instagrams (part 2)

I posted here a while back about my enthusiasm for instagrams, and mobile phone photography in general. I decided to try out a few of the services I mentioned in that post, because I felt like I needed to do go some way towards creating something tangible out of all of those throwaway images I have amassed.

Here is the first set of instagrams I received from firebox. I was impressed with the service and speed of delivery. The prints have a nice matt finish. They don’t really look or feel like Polaroids, but I guess they are more inspired by Polaroids. They are fun and come in a sweet little pack with a free pen. I’ll definitely use the service again. I think it cost £9.99 for 12 prints, which isn’t too bad, but delivery was another £3-4 on top of that.

In contrast, I wasn’t so impressed with the postagram service. I ordered a couple of postcards back in March just to see what they were like; one to me and one to my mum’s address. They didn’t show up and I forgot about them. Then I re-ordered them a few weeks ago and they both turned up last week! I’m not sure if mum has got hers yet, though.

I found the website fairly unhelpful in terms of customer service. It was near impossible to find out how to contact someone about the missing postagrams and all I was able to do was re-order (which I had to pay for). I wasn’t that impressed with the size of the image or the quality either (you can pop it out of the postcard), and adding text to the card was difficult. I spent a long time trying to align the words properly and they still came out wrong. I had had an idea to do a little project with some postagrams, but I think I will use the firebox prints instead for this.

The final service I signed up for was instacanvas. Again, I like the idea of it – being able to order canvas prints of your and others’ instagrams from an ‘artists’ website sounds quite cool – but the website is lacking in content and style. It’s easy enough to sign up and navigate (though you have to wait a few weeks for your site to open), but there are pages which aren’t ready yet (like the stats page) and it doesn’t look particularly polished. It feels like a site which is very much a work in progress. To me it seems that there is a lot of hype around these new instagram services and not much (at least yet) to offer.

You can advertise your page with one of their buttons (see my widget on the right hand side under the main blog page) but these don’t look particularly, well, appealing in my opinion. Your photos upload directly from instagram and you can pick and choose which ones go into your gallery, which I like, but in reality what happens is people upload much better images they have taken with their SLRs (probably) to instagram from their computer via their iPhones after they have worked on them in Photoshop or whatever, so you see a lot of images (not all) which really couldn’t have been taken with instagram because they are beyond the capability of instagram, which is fine, of course, but then I wonder what the point of the instagram feed is at all. Most people don’t use the filters (they do have a feeling of uniformity to them), and there are other apps which have better filters and functionality out there. Instagram is starting to feel quite gimmicky; a vehicle for exposure as opposed to a ‘proper’ camera app.

(I know, I know I raved about it before, but hey, I admit I am a fickle creature…)

I haven’t ordered an instacanvas yet so I can’t comment on their quality. I will, but they are quite expensive, and at the moment we can’t hang things on our walls so I’m going to wait until we move.

I really wanted to try the postalpix service, which looks great, but sadly they are not operational as yet in the UK. I hope they get their acts together soon and offer a service to us UK customers as I really like the look of their square prints. Meanwhile, if anyone can recommend to me another service which can produce nice square format prints directly from your phone and/or computer I would love to hear about it!

Anyway, that’s it, for now! I have some ideas floating around of things to do with some of these prints. I will update more soon!

© Emily Hughes and searchingtosee, 2012

Flower Friday

Something a bit cheery for today I think. It’s been such a wet and miserable week (for a change).

Off to a music festival this weekend with Alex. I have my wellies and waterproof at the ready (but I’m praying hard for sunshine), and my super-organised husband has laid out the camping equipment. Come Sunday I’m sure I’ll be exhausted and smelly, and thankful for my bed.

Happy weekend everyone!


© Emily Hughes and searchingtosee, 2012


Something about this lonely shoe caught my eye.

© Emily Hughes and searchingtosee, 2012

Flower Friday

Forget me not

A humble flower, but I love it when forget me nots emerge in summer. They have such an intense, pretty blue. Like little dots of joy piercing the dreary grey skies. They always catch my eye…

So small, so blue, in grassy places
My flowers raise
Their tiny faces.

By streams my bigger sisters grow
And smile in gardens,
In a row.

I’ve never seen a garden plot;
But though I’m small
Forget me not!

from The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies, by Cicely Mary Barker

Finally school has finished! I’m feeling weary and a bit subdued today though. We’ve had a lot of bad weather and rain. Every inch of me is craving rest and warmth. Still there are summer holidays to look forward to now, and I have a few projects planned which I will post more about later….

Happy weekend everyone!

© Emily Hughes and searchingtosee, 2012

Between the sea and the sky

© Emily Hughes and searchingtosee, 2012

Spreading the love

A big THANK YOU to Jacque of thedreambeing for nominating me for the Liebster Award. She has a rather lovely blog, with some fabulous photography and inspiring art, so I’m very honoured to receive this award from her.

Liebster comes from the German lieb, or love. It also means cute, lovely, sweet or kind and forms the stem of the vern lieben, to love. Liebste(r,s) is an adjective meaning favourite, loved or dear or it can be used to refer to a person as a sweetheart or darling.

Instead of following the rules, in the spirit of this award I’m going to nominate some other lovely blogs I have found recently (I don’t know if they are all ‘up and coming’ – some of them may have been blogging for a while – but they are all lovely) and as the number 11 is a recurring theme, it seems, for this award, I will tell you 11 things which I think are lovely.

I am discovering great new blogs every day so it’s nice to get an opportunity to acknowledge some of them on here. If you would like to read the rules for accepting the award please refer here

11 lovely things:

*learning to curl my tongue around a new language*
*Italy, where I have forever left a small piece of my heart*
*daydreaming in the bath*
*the colour orange*
*the smell of pavements after the rain*
*the feeling of calm and wellbeing that yoga brings*
*putting my feet up with a glass of wine and a good book*
*Sunday lunch with friends and family*
*stepping off an aeroplane in a foreign place … when the unfamiliar temperature, sights, sounds and smells assault your senses all at once*
*kicking off my shoes, rolling up my trousers and feeling the sand between my toes*

My 12 nominations (I sneaked an extra one in!):




bones, mugs & harmony


her new leaf

as i see it



wings of wonder

all the soft places

yi-ching lin photography

These are all really interesting, lovely blogs by talented people. I wanted to write something about each one but some of them I am still getting to know. Please check them out!

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