Sunday, 30 December 2012

2012: The Good, The Bad and The Unplanned


I hope you had a magical Christmas time and Santa got you lots of great toys! He was very good to me with lovely perfumes and blingy things. My favourites! How does he know eh?!

I'm just emerging from a few days of completely re-charging my glitter, which means I really, actually, truly did nothing! It was bliddy marvelous. It's so rare I take a few days to do nothing and I really got into the swing of it. And I've just realised that in planning my 2013 diary I forgot to schedule time off - I'm going to correct that right this second....

Right, that's time off booked into next years diary. Now, to look back on 2012!

The Good

I've got all sorts of good from this year!

Here are just a few of my personal favourites:

Speaking at Birmingham Girl Geeks launch event about social media and the 4am Project. Thanks for inviting me ladies! If you are a Girl and a bit of a Geek and you are in, or can get to Birmingham, keep an eye out for their up-coming events. 

Celebrating my best friend's 40th Birthday at a haunted cottage in the middle of nowhere in Wales. I still shudder at the ghostly goings on! It was a real country break with just the sound of birds and the neighbours mooing (they were cows, not humans!). I loved the open fire, but not the cobwebs. Part of me would just love to go back there again, and the other part says 'noooooo, it's just toooo scary!'.

Partying with Bugsy Malone at Fat Sam's Grand Slam. Fat Sam knows how to throw a party! I met Bugsy and he let me hold his splurge gun! What a gentleman. He's from NYC so I had a soft spot for him.

Having an Italian adventure in Milan! I had the chance to explore this beautiful city with it's stunning architecture, designer shops, art and of course the stylish people and not forgetting it has the most fabulous graveyard ever! Honestly.

The A.May.Zing month of May! 10 days of working and living in London. I had such an adventure and so many things fell into place. It was just the place I should have been that month. Now it's given me a taste for London and I've been back a few times since and plans to return very soon!

Being recruited by Brave New Ventures I had no idea what I was getting into or letting myself in for when I was approached by BNV. What a mysterious organisation. I'm still not quite sure what happened! 

Enjoying a Great British Seaside Holiday with my fab Mum We toured seaside towns down south and had one sunny day during the week. Hey, you can't go to the beach and not get rained on the the UK. Sandy sandwiches are a must. It's tradition! Thanks for a fab holiday Mum! 

Taking the 4am Project event to Nottingham and having 40 amazing photographers turn up despite the torrential rain! I still have to blog about this event, but it was a great challenge to take the project to a new city and make it happen and also team up with the Lakeside Arts Centre and their Saturday Night Sunday Morning exhibition. I'm very grateful to all the photographers who came along and took part in the 4am Project photography challenge given the challenging weather! 

Working with the talk about local team! Not just good, but great! However, now it's time to say a fond farewell to the team and take part in new adventures in 2013, which I'll announce shortly. If you ever get a chance to work with any of the tal team, do! If you have an interest in how to use social media from a grass root up perspective, keep an eye on the great work they do in empowering people and communities. It's been a pleasure working with everyone and I'll look forward to the TAL13 conference next year!  

The Bad

This could also go in The Unplanned category, but it was it was more 'bad' than 'unplanned' (not that I planned it!) so it's going here.

Being ill and spending a week in hospital. That was pretty bad. The 'good' is that I am better now. Hurrah!

It took a month out of the year all in all and I resent it for that. And it knocked my confidence in how my body works and also what I could and couldn't eat until I ended up eating the blandest diet ever. Thankfully, I am better and I know I can eat whatever I like again. So, another, Hurrah!

The 'good' for you is that I'm pretty bored of talking about it now, so this'll be the last you hear about it. Unless 1. I get ill again or 2. I feel like I want some sympathy haha.

The Unplanned

I didn't plan 2012 quite well enough. Which in some parts worked out well (Amazing Month Of May and for the Being Ill parts), but that was only by accident. Let me explain.

Earlier in the year I applied for a Clore Fellowship. Naturally I was pretty excited about this, but I also had a feeling that my chances of securing a place would be fairly slim. However, if you don't try for things, you stand no chance at all. What with the time commitment involved in the Fellowship if I had of been successful, and even though I felt my chances were a little slim, I kept the second half of the year free of commitments. In April I got the news that I didn't get a place. I was looking at the rest of the year without as much of a plan as I would ordinarily have liked.

It all worked out in the end and I was able to get back on track with planning but I really think I should have had more of a back up plan. The power of a back up plan should not be underestimated!


I will give 2012 a score of 7/10.

2013, I have very high expectations of you! We are aiming for 10/10!

Thank you to everyone who has brought their positivity to the year! 

I wish you all the happiness in the world and every success for 2013! 

Let's grab it and go out and make our own luck! :) 

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas to you!

I hope you have a fabulous time whatever you do and whoever you are with!

Love of festive love and kisses

Karen xxx

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Speaking about my photography career and the 4am Project

At Fotofilia Photography Studio
Last month I gave two talks about my photography career and the 4am Project at Fotofilia Photography Studio. 

David Rann who owns Fotofilia ask me to come along and give two 90 minute talks to his two photographic societies; The Club and F2. 

I spoke about how I turned my passion into a career, and how the 4am Project began and captured the imaginations of photographers around the world.

Fotofilia 4am Project Walk
With a global 4am Project date coming up soon David got some hardy photography souls together and headed out into the rain drenched streets of Birmingham! Check out his blog post about the morning and his DSLR photographs. Thanks for organising the walk and for inviting me along to speak to your photo societies David!

Have a look at everything that is happening at Fotofilia. Not only is there a fabulous photo studio for hire (at a great price), there are classes and lessons and courses. David arranges exhibitions as well as running the photographic societies.

What David said about my talks:

“Karen has now delivered two presentations to the photographic societies we run here at Fotofilia. I had wanted to bring Karen along to speak for some time, having heard many great things about the 4am Project and admiring the innovative concept. 

On both occasions, the presentations were fun, informative and inspirational - (anything that can encourage our members to consider getting up at 4am to take pictures must be recommended). The presentations were well paced and friendly, with any questions being handled honestly and concisely"

If you would like to hire me to talk photography, 4am Project, communities or social media, then give me a shout! 

Say hello on twitter @karenstrunks

Friday, 14 December 2012

Iconic London 2012

On the 12th of the 12th of the 12th I went along to the launch of the London Instagramers photography exhibition Iconic London 2012 which is a retrospective of London this year.

The exhibition is on at the Truman Brewery until 16th December so go along this weekend! There are 100's of amazing images of London to be seen and be inspired by. You can get a sneak peek of some of the photographs and the photographers behind them over on the iLondon site.

Whilst you are there, strike a pose in the instamgram photo booth! 

Zoe and I - so shy! ;) 

Thanks for a great night! I'm full of instagram inspiration now. 

You can find me on instagram here and like ALL my photos ;) 

I wanted to make sure I had a memorable day as well as night on 12th December 2012 so I took myself on a photo walk around the city. It was a very chilly day, but I wrapped up and got out there and had a lot of photo fun along the way! Of course I couldn't let a day like 121212 go by without documenting it, so I've recorded it on Storify

It was a fantastic day and night in the Big Smoke. Thanks to everyone who was part of it! :) 

Say hello on twitter: @karenstrunks

Monday, 3 December 2012

Becoming a tourist in the city where I live

They say the best way to see the city that you live in is to pretend that you are a tourist and that you are seeing things for the first time. Do you have to travel far to have new experiences?

My friend Elizabeth lives in Cardiff and she told me she was visiting the city where I live, Birmingham. As soon as she mentioned this to me I got so excited and offered to show her around. Rather trustingly Elizabeth put herself completely in my hands for the day and went along with the whole thing!

I love organising and making plans and setting schedules and times and very soon a precision timed tour of Birmingham was on a spread sheet waiting to be executed.

But what do they say about the best laid plans.....? I only went and lost my printed timetable on the morning itself. Minutes before Elizabeth stepped off the train I realised that somewhere between having the day's schedule in my hand hot off the printer and travelling to New Street Station that this vital ingredient of the day had gone missing. But all was not lost - hurrah! I have a good memory so I was able to piece together my plans for the day. Yay.

I made google map of the route we took which is about 4.5 miles.

View Larger Map

I had to give some thought into what parts of the city to show Elizabeth and the tour would be a bit biased towards where I know, and what I like, but I did try to bear my friends likes and dislikes in mind too!

I've @storify'd the day of course!  You can see everywhere we went and what we saw along the way.

Thank you to Elizabeth for a wicked day and to my friends Marty and Sas who I haven't seen for far too long, but we got a chance to catch up on Saturday night over a traditional Birmingham dish, the Balti! Whoop!!! :)

The #BrumTourist Two! 

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