Photographers in Brighton, Portrait Night at Add The Colour (Coffee House)

A couple of days ago I checked a few of my Twitter followers’ profiles, as I usually do in order to make sure I don’t receive an abundance of unwanted (direct~ targeting~ marketing~ tweets). Upon reviewing the tweeps that are mad enough to follow me, I noticed a tiny profile picture of a cup. My eyes then gazed to the location and I was surprised to see it was in Brighton, East Sussex!  I clicked to follow back then started my mini investigation before checking the place out in person.

Add The Colour is a coffee house situated on 64-65 North Road, just a stone’s throw from the North Laines. A big open space with huge windows, comfortable sofas and crisp white walls checkered with  a collection of framed photos from local and international photographers… Along with being a meeting place for mum’s with children (enough space for prams/ child friendly), it is also a club house for local photographers. Add The Colour is run by Dan Whelan, a photographer, avid barista and patron saint of local produce. I had the pleasure of meeting Dan yesterday. The encounter was brief however Dan wasn’t just standing around looking pretty, he was making and serving coffees, serving cake, biscotti, quiches and trying to acknowledge every person that entered the shop.

To be brutally honest. I was nervous. I was going to meet a small handful of Brighton’s best photographers and as I was new to this game, in terms of mixing with others of my kind, I had anticipated a cold front upon entering the building. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I walked in, immediately acknowledged by Dan.
“Can I help you…?” he asked.
“Yes, my name is Nadine”, I said and needn’t have said more.
Dan knew who I was (after all, he’s mad enough to follow me on Twitter) and then turned to a corner of the room.
Mike! This is Nadine.” 
I looked over, smiled timidly and then walked over to introduce myself.

Whilst Dan was preparing my Latte, Mike invited me to share a seat on the big sofa with him. He introduced me to Molly, his daughter (the half in their, 3 and a half Photographers exhibition for Brighton Photo Fringe 2010). Molly with camera in hand smiled sweetly and said hello. She’s only a little girl, sat on a big couch alongside her friend Lucy), but she was snapping away looking for things to photograph. We were chatting for a bit, then more togs started arriving for the Portrait Evening.

Dan started setting up the black backdrop for our portrait shoot that evening. They had arranged for 4 girls to spend a few hours of their time, posing for us. I was nervous and excited as everyone started getting their gear out. Cameras, lenses, external flashes and sensors along with a white studio umbrella. I had briefly met a few other photographers by then. I felt more at ease than I did when I arrived. It just made me think about how powerful the mind really is. We allow ourselves to assemble barriers through fear of being rejected for who we really are. I was yesterday and still am, an amateur photographer, but the difference was that I was around people just like me, regardless of how long I’ve been doing this for. Jai, a funny, genuinely nice wildlife and sports photographer sitting next to me, turned and asked me a serious question before I got my camera out for the portrait shoot…

” Do you speak Nikon…?”

I smiled cheekily and looked up from my kit bag, lifting my baby from it.

” I most certainly do, sir!”, I said. At that moment it dawned on me…

I was one of them as much as I allowed myself to be. We all live locally, we all share the same passion (not limited to coffee) and most importantly, most of us spoke the same language.

Only a few spoke a different dialect.

It’s called Canon. 😉

Model: Charlene Cooper (Lovely girl)
For All 3 Images
Camera Model: Nikon D80
F/Stop: F/4.5
Exposure time: 1/50sec.
ISO Speed: ISO-1000
Focal Length 92mm
Max Aperture: 4.3
Metering Mode: Spot
Flash Mode: NO FLASH
Exposure Program: Manual
White Balance: Auto

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