A belated gift

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July is my special month this year. It has always been a unique time in my life in one way or another, but things have a peculiar manner of converging as milestone moments or turning points.

There have been some good years, and some very unfortunate ones. Nevertheless, it was July when I received my first point-and-shoot camera from my parents, back in 1976, and that changed my life.

It was always July when I visited Disneyland, Sea World, Universal Studios, Washington DC, and other memorable places I travelled to with my parents. The side trips after the obligatory family visits home, were additional birthday gifts that meant much more to me than whatever was handed over in a box.

2020 has been such a terrible and life-changing year for all of us, that we grasp at whatever lifelines we can to keep us sane, upright, creative, and moving. It goes without saying that #lockdown2020 has taken its toll on many people and their relationships, so all the more reason to treasure and celebrate what we have.

It is my greatest joy to announce the re-launching of the Guests Photographers and Stories Series both on the Marie Balustrade Blog and FrogDiva Photography website. The project began in 2016 as an experiment, an combination of creative talents and strengths, and a celebration of the gift of spontaneity. The guest photographer hands over sets of photographs to me, which I have not seen previously and wherein I have little to no say in the matter either. I then sit down to weave a tale around the images and create short stories. For me as a writer this is a fantastic tool to keep my creative juices flowing, but also my way of celebrating the wonderful work of friends and fellow photographers.

I will not deny that it is quite a challenge, especially since I chose photographers with very different specialisations or preferred niches. When I first receive the masterpieces I stare in consternation at the mix and wonder how on earth to put it all together. But therein lies the utter joy of this whole adventure and after months of writer’s block, I finally got my act together and launched the 2020 series as a birthday gift to myself.

Welcome to the Class of 2020 Guest Photographers:
Kevin Haggith (Canada)
John Harper (UK)
Hans Lukasse (The Netherlands)
Ismael Ortiz Escribano (Spain)
Ed Bannister (USA)
This is by no means the final list, so stay tuned and enjoy the stories!

We kicked off last night with The Kevin Haggith Series: Once Upon A Train which can be found on Marie Balustrade’s Blog) (where the focus is more on the text or FrogDiva Photography (where not only will you find some of the older stories but the photographs are the focal point and can be enjoyed on a larger scale).

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