Images, Style & Books
Words: Paul Chapman
Images: Laura Dye
Laura Dye is our cover photographer for this edition; she’s lived in Chesterfield all her life and has a passion for taking a slightly off camber look at the normal, or even the mundane, and making it look interesting.
Thanks to Laura for taking time away from her full-time admin job to meet up at West Studios and talk life and photos.
"I’ve always enjoyed photography; my partner is a photographer and has encouraged me to indulge myself," says Laura.
I first met Laura through Laura Jo at Adorn Jewellers, Laura had taken a product photo that we used in Adorn’s advert and was quite excited when her image appeared in S40 Local and online. I took a browse of Laura’s beautiful Instagram account and suggested we meet up for a chat.
Laura also runs a local book club, with her friend Hannah, which is going from strength to strength. "It’s through the book club that I met Laura Jo," says Laura. “She asked if I’d do some product shots, and has asked me to go back and do some spring images. I’ve also worked with Matt at Ginspired to get some images together for him.
"I’ve loved working with the two businesses, their approach to their work fits with my style of photography.
"I really enjoy trying to capture a moment in time, perhaps adding romance to the image somehow, as I've said, trying to make the mundane interesting. I love nature, it inspires me, my photos used for the book club are carefully staged, most have a natural feel to them. I like to place the book in the centre of a stage."
Laura’s Instagram feeds are cleverly stylised, many of her product-based images create a scene, a moment, something visually interesting within the confines of a small space, something that catches the eye. "I suppose it was during lockdown that this became a focus for me, we were all trapped at home so creating these images was great fun.
"I love to go for a coffee, sit for a while and then capture the feel of the place. I find that by being still for a moment, I feel the sense of calm and can better capture that moment."
Laura admits to not being attracted to the techie side of photography, it’s much more about the composition, whether the image is taken on her phone or larger format DSLR camera. She also likes to get results and surprisingly says she’s not that patient! She is keen to encourage all of us to pick up our phones and capture moments.
"I've done a number of business photoshoots for Adorn, Ginspired and Luna & Willow Candle Co. I met Laura Jo from Adorn at the book club, which I run with Hannah, from Luna & Willow. I like the way the book club has created links, relationships and has developed its own community," explains Laura. "We all love Chesterfield and are passionate about showcasing the best that town has to offer, and the independent businesses within it."
"At the club meets we feature products from independent businesses, we make recommendations to each other suggesting perfect for gifts for Valentines for instance. It’s about encouraging people to think more locally and visit the shops in and around town."
The book club has over 20 members and meets regularly at Chandlers. "It started in August 2022, many of my friends felt a bit lonely after COVID and I just wanted to get a small group together as the Winter months approached.
"It’s been great to establish the group and see people coming along for our meetings, it’s a relaxed comfortable place to spend a few hours."
Laura has also dabbled with blog writing so maybe we can hope for text to accompany her images? I asked about her favourite image. "I love flowers, each im
age must have a strong sense of subject. A picture I really love was taken in a pub garden whilst we were in Lindisfarne. It’s just part of the View. It’s easy to be overwhelmed with a scene, but underwhelmed with the resulting photo - focus on one part of it and you’ll be surprised what you can achieve."
I’m looking forward to following Laura’s progress, her Instagram feeds deliver a romantic snippet of the life around us.