Let There Be Light: A Little Challenge from Urban Cottage Industries

I’m always keen to try new things so when my the team at Urban Cottage Industries invited me to take part in a little challenge, I said, ‘sure, why not?’ The brief was pretty simple: pick two photos that show the beauty of natural and artificial light. Sounds fairly easy but in truth, I’m a writer by trade, not a photographer so was a little daunted by the idea.

In fact, I never really fancied myself as a photographer at all but as a teenager back in 2015, I was given a second hand Polaroid One camera and a pack of film. I hopped on the bus over to Lewes, a small town of cobbled twittens banked by the rolling Sussex Downs and started snapping. My first few shots were blurred, bizarrely lined up and to be totally honest, not all that great. Nevertheless, I stuck them in my sketchbook and bought another pack of film.

After that came a digital camera, sincere self portraits staged for my Myspace page and reams of shots from trips abroad. I’ve come a long way since using that little digital camera and the chunky Polaroid One (which I still have) to snap wonky pictures of my travels and still don’t really consider myself to be a photographer but using a camera, or a phone to take photos that might last forever is something that has always made me feel good. I captured these two images for the #LetThereBeLight challenge on two very different days…


The first was on a horribly wet and rainy Wednesday in London, where I live. I had been invited over to the launch of a pop-up shop in Shoreditch. The shop sold Scandi-inspired wares and mid-century furniture and whilst having a look around, I was lucky enough to bump into a blogger I admire very much, the author of Lagom. She signed a copy for me and I snapped this image of the book with the inscription inside, illuminated by a string of lights. What is it about fairy lights that make everything seem more beautiful?


Whilst on a solo trip to Nepal, a trip that coincidentally helped me to hone my amateur photography skills, I stayed at a guest house in Kathmandu. The spot was in a busy part of town and had a roof terrace, on which there were a few plastic chairs. The curtains in the rooms were fairly paltry and translucent so the sun would usually stream in first thing and wake me. On some days, I’d get up as the sun was rising and head to the roof to watch it drift over the dusty horizon and light up the city. I took this picture on one of those perfect mornings.


For more shots from my trips around the world or of the things I see and do in London taken courtesy of my battered old iPhone, you can follow me on Instagram. Tell me all about your travels and look out for the hashtag #LetThereBeLight.

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