Wednesday, 19 July 2017 00:00

Wells-next-the-Sea photographer Janice Alamanou nominated for Global Art Award

Written by  Janice Alamanou
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Wells-next-the-Sea photographer Janice Alamanou nominated for Global Art Award

From an early age I began my photography with winding-on and a four cube flash that spun around when expelled. If in haste to remove the flash, fingers would be burnt! At that time I had a maximum of 36 exposures which I then took to the chemist and one week later I could collect with the excitement of finding out what I had achieved. The lesson in this would be that if I took a blurry photograph of, for instance my dog running toward me, it would be funny, but when you pay for the images out of your pocket money - twice is not funny at all, simply a waste of money and effort. So I began to think, construct and create what I wished to capture and how.

Norfolk born and bred from generations of family, the first and still continued photography is the coastline, my home. Years of swimming in the sea and walking the vast beaches, sitting in the dunes and wandering the woodlands taught me to respect and understand the joys and the dangers of nature.

My father, previously Royal Navy and then a fisherman taught me to love the sea and I am naturally drawn to water, even in a city I will always gravitate to the river - the reflections, movement and peacefulness of nature’s greatest element. My first Wells flood images captured in 1978, at the age of 11, are in the book ‘A Personal Account of Time & Tide’ along with the more recent 2013 floods - where my own premises, both times, was under water. Even witnessing the strength and destruction the sea can cause, most days it brings so much happiness and I believe my life would be so much less without it.

In Norfolk we have so much, the diverse coastline, beaches, saltmarsh and cliffs, then come in just a few hundred metres to the array of fields with poppies, bluebells, barley, wheat, rapeseed and woodlands. I call it my ‘Bubble of Norfolk’. I am fortunate to have travelled and lived abroad previously and I love seeing and experiencing new places but I always love coming home - which in itself says something.

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Inspiration comes from the environment and people around me. Each photograph has a meaning and a reason behind it. I photograph as my life leads, finding that pushing too hard can destroy creativeness. Sometimes it is the art of doing nothing - sitting at an outdoor cafe, watching the world, listening, when your mind relaxes and then ideas begin to flow. For me, my photography must trigger something from within, to create feeling and to make the viewer look and look deeper. The intensity of a still image.

Over many years of experience my photography has evolved, initially our beautiful county with  seascape and landscape. I then incorporated people, into the scene and then individually, people of interest. It then seemed the natural step to amalgamate the two, creating the ‘Genesis Elements’ and onto ‘Soul Elements’.

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It was with ‘Genesis Elements - Water’ that my life began to evolve also. This image was recognised by Saatchi and put on their homepage in two different months. I was invited to exhibit at a gallery in Florence, Italy, for one month. This was extended to two months - three and a half years later I still have work with them. They brought my work to the Crypt Gallery in London this April and are taking it to Cannes in September. Previously they exhibited for me in Rome and Austria too, all leading to other galleries inviting me to join them. This gallery requested that I exhibit from only galleries from then on, so I decided to also open my own, which is now in it’s fourth year in Wells-next-the-Sea.

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In 2016 I won 5 awards, 3 MIFA’s, Moscow International Foto Awards and 2 from the British Institute of Professional Photography. 2017 I won a BIPP in March for ‘The White Collection’. Then, about a month ago I received a nomination, based on my work, from the Global Art Awards 2017, to be held at the Armani Hotel in Dubai in November. I feel very honoured at being nominated but instantly began to wonder what I would submit. It would have to be something worth submitting or I would not accept the nomination. It was several days later in a twilight ‘just as I was falling asleep’ moment, that the idea came to me. I had been creating tree photographs in The White Collection and I had one I hadn’t used with autumnal leaves. ‘I would gild it with 24ct gold!’ So at around 2am I was on the internet researching and found what I was looking for and the techniques I wished to use.

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During the creating, practise runs etc I received another email saying that I hadn’t responded to the nomination. On completing I accepted. I believe this may be a ‘first’. I have never seen photography with 24ct gold gilding before, only paintings. The finished image is now framed and can be viewed in the gallery. It is open to ‘closed bids’ until the day of the awards, 17/11/2017, and can be voted for on the website Blog at www.coastalphotography.co.uk . My Gallery, Coastal Photography, is at 88 Staithe Street, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, NR23 1AQ.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 19 July 2017 21:42

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