Portrait of the Artist

Every person has their own story and great portrait pictures will capture their spirit and make us feel that we are getting a fly-on-the-wall glimpse into their lives.

Jeremy Lawrence of Futt Futt Futt Photography, pictured below,  loves telling stories through his imagery and enjoys the challenge of a project.

Which is one of the reasons why this year he set himself the task of creating an exhibition called Portrait of the Artist for the OpenUp Sheffield event.

He took around 80 or so portrait photographs of other artists taking part, which were exhibited prior to and during the event. 

There are just a few of the images on these pages and they will give you an idea of how long it must have taken him to complete the project which he confesses was a bit of a logistical challenge involving a spreadsheet or two.

“I enjoy trying to find the essence of a person by making a connection with them and often spend more time talking than I do taking the picture,” he explained.

“For this exhibition I wanted to include something about their art and their work influences and I had to get to know them to discover the best way to reveal something about them.”

Explaining his pictures, he said that Lyn Littlewood, a landscape artist who lives near Hathersage, was taken with intertwined exposed roots and branches of a tree behind her, echoing the detailing of the embroidered jumper she was wearing and also referring to her ‘roots’ in textiles, where she originally started. 

For Brian Robinson he emulated the layering techniques the artist uses in his paintings by using some of his biographical details from the OpenUp catalogue for more texture. 

In Annette Petch’s portrait (pictured above) he framed her with some of the many tools she has in her studio.

It was back in the 80s when Jeremy was studying Astronomy and Geology at Sheffield University and working on the University newspaper that he first started seriously taking photographs.

“I discovered I had a knack for it and enjoyed it – especially being able to tell a story through imagery,” he said.

“I grew up sitting in cinemas and have always been into film and film-making. The key to that is telling a story and that skill carries over into photography.”

After university while he was still finding his feet in the world of work Jeremy travelled widely, had a variety of jobs and honed his business skills.

Eventually in 2001 he set up his own photography business Futt Futt Futt in Sheffield. 

Asked about the unusual name the photographer explained that it was something that just happened – and he decided to keep it because it’s a bit of a talking point.

“People always ask me about the name and will remember it. If I had used my own name it would probably have been easily forgotten,” he said, a little tongue-in-cheek.

Jeremy has been visiting artists during the OpenUp weekends for many years but only joined in for the first time last year.

“In part that was to give me the incentive to get my studio at home finished. I needed a deadline OpenUp provided it.

“Then this year I decided to do something different because it was the 20th anniversary of the event.

“Portrait of the Artist was also something which could also be used to promote OpenUp and the artists.”

The exhibition was held at DINA, a relatively new exhibition space at Cambridge Street in the centre of the city.

Jeremy was so pleased with the feedback that he is hoping he may be able to exhibit it and other work elsewhere next year.

“I am in the process of refocusing myself as a fine art photographer and I definitely want to do more exhibition work in the future,” he said.

To find out more about Jeremy’s work and to contact him if you would like to commission a portrait go to http://www.futtfuttfutt.com

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