London Art Spot: Fabienne Henry

 

Tunisia, Ivory Coast, Ireland, Canada and the UK. Sounds like a holiday wish list, but it’s actually all of the countries where this week’s featured artist Fabienne Henry has lived. Originally from Paris, she’s lived outside of France for most of her life.

After studying Law in Paris, Fabienne practised only for a few months. Law doesn’t travel very well. She lectured in Law for a while, spent some time as a French teacher and then a magazine editor (why not?) before settling into her current career as a freelance writer. As you can see from her creative images below, she is also a keen, self-taught photographer.

Living in London since last summer, Fabienne finds every stroll she takes and every event she attends a true delight. (It is London, after all.) However, she’s also very nostalgic of her time in Vancouver.  Ideally, the two cities would bump heads and Fabienne would live in Vancouver with the cultural aspect and the eccentricity of London.

For this week’s London Art Spot, she tells us about her blog “Lost & Found in London”, about the popularity of a certain piece of flour-less chocolate cake and shares photos of a woman eating ice cream in a burqa.

“Primrose Hill”  

LLO: Where are you from originally and how and when did you end up in London?
FH:
I’m originally from France but I grew up in Africa. I went to university in Paris and then went to Dublin to improve my English. I ended up staying there for eight years since I met a lovely Irish man who became my husband. We moved to Vancouver in 2003 and came back to Europe after three great years in BBC (Beautiful British Columbia). We landed in Yorkshire first, which was a culture shock for a city slicker. Thankfully, a work opportunity came up in London and we moved to the city in the summer 2009. 

“Brompton Cemetery”  

LLO: How does living in London influence your creativity?
FH:
There is always something happening in London. I think that Londoners are very creative in many aspects of their lives: in the way they dress, in their food, in their hobbies… Plus London is so cosmopolitan; there are many different influences everywhere you look. How can you not feel inspired or creative when you live in London? 

“Garlic”

LLO: Do you remember when you first fell in love with photography and how has your style evolved since then?
FH:
I think I became obsessed with photography in my early teens. I was taking pictures mostly of family events and friends. I used to love that moment when I went to collect my film rolls at the photo shop. A moment of expectations that’s lost to digital nowadays. When I was 16 I bought a SLR Canon EOS with 2 different lenses and I started to take shots of almost everything. It was a costly hobby back then. Now I still photograph about everything and I mostly enjoy shooting unusual places or situations in London, Paris, Brittany, my daughter and food. 


“Field Game in Yorkshire Lavender, Terrington, North Yorkshire” 

LLO: Tell us about your blog, Lost & Found in London, and how you came up about the idea.
FH:
 I started blogging in 2004 when I was living in Canada. It was the beginning of the blog phenomenon back then and I loved this idea of endless possibilities. Plus there was so much to tell about life in Vancouver. Then I moved to Yorkshire and the blog became “Lost in Yorkshire”. I took a different angle: as you can imagine it wasn’t as fun or exotic to live in the middle of Yorkshire. For me anyway. My posts turned towards the cultural differences between France and England. A little bit like Stephen Clarke’s A year in the Merde reversed! Thankfully, Yorkshire is a beautiful place (no cynicism here) and I was able to illustrate my posts with nice shots of the Dales and the numerous National Trust Gardens (the English really love their gardens). When I moved to London, I needed a celebrating change so the blog became known as “Lost & Found in London” and I now enjoy writing and posting photos about my adventures in this great city. 

“Palisades, Brittany, France” 

LLO: What is your most popular “find” according to your blog or Flickr stats?
FH:
 My most popular picture on Flickr at the moment is a close-up on a flour less chocolate cake. Probably tagging with “chocolate” helped!

On my blog, the most popular posts are the ones where I speak about British clichés and also my twice monthly guessing game – “la devinette du mercredi”. I post a photo where one has to guess what it is or where it was taken.

LLO: With all of your travel, living in so many different countries and having multiple talents from photography to writing to teaching, what do you ultimately see yourself doing?
FH:
Moving around makes it difficult to adapt to a steady professional life. Hopefully this time we’ll stay a bit longer in London so I would be able to develop my taste for freelance journalism. I would love to write regular articles for papers or internet sites as I’m doing right now, but not as frequently as I wish to.

“Amazing Light in Vancouver” 

LLO: Share a photo with a great story behind it and tell us about it?
FH:
 Last August, I was wandering in the Southbank when I captured this scene:


I found these shots amusing and interesting because in France at the time was the heated public debate about the possibility of the burqa ban. It was a way of speaking about it on a lighter note. When you think about it, eating ice cream with a burqa on is not the simplest task!

“Molly on the Beach” 

LLO: Where is your favourite place in London to take your camera?
FH:
 I always have my DSLR with me at the weekend, and a smaller camera anytime in my bag. Basically all of London is a playground paradise for photographers. If I had to choose a place I’d say may be the South Bank.

“Ballerina” 

LLO: Is there somewhere in London that you go to get a taste of Paris?
FH:
 Paris and London are really two different cities in many ways, especially from the architectural point of view. From that perspective it’s difficult to compare the two. Although sometimes when I take a walk on the riverbank or when I cross a bridge I can catch some kind of Paris feeling. If you refer to the French atmosphere, then head straight to South Ken: you’ll feel that sometimes that French is the primary language over there. This is definitely the French quarter with the Embassy, the lycée, the shops and the French Cultural Centre.

“Prison Break @ Borough Market” 

LLO: Show us you favourite London image you’ve captured so far.
FH:
I like the colours and the few iconic London items on it.

Thanks Fabienne! 

For more London Art Spot interviews, click here. 

Country Living Spring Fair: Guy Foreman

Following on from my interviews with Eli Ofir and Alexandra Woods earlier this week, I’ve had an opportunity to ask Country Living Magazine’s Head of Shows a few questions. Guy Foreman gives a heads up on what not to miss if you’re planning to head over to Islington for the Spring Fair next week.

LLO: As the Head of Show with all of the insider info on the Country Living Spring Fair, which five exhibitors, theatre, workshops events, etc would you say are definitely not to be missed?
GF:
There’s loads going on, covering a huge variety of different subject matter, from biscuit decorating to beadwork and everything inbetween. After the success of our craft theatre at our Christmas Fair last year in Scotland, we’ve introduced an area specifically for craft demonstrations where visitors can follow experts as they make things by hand, and then take home a little piece of the fair with them.  

There’s two theatres full of great stuff to see and do.  It’s very difficult to choose, but two of the five talks I’ll definitely be down the front for are the two that our editorial team are running: Hester Page, our Houses Editor, will be talking about Creating the Country Living Style on Thursday at 2pm and Alison Walker, our Food Editor, will be running a workshop on Easter gifts on Wednesday at 1pm.  Both Hester and Alison are instrumental in creating the fantastic editorial that makes the mag so beautiful, and I’m sure visitors will be flocking to each talk.  

As for the other three I would choose, as I’m in the process of trying to build my own house, I’ll be interested to hear Hugo House of Green Energy talking about “How to go off Grid” on Friday at 10.45am, and for some Saturday afternoon entertainment, I’ll be watching our Charity of the Year – the Woodland Trust, run their take on “Who wants to be a Millionaire?” – “Who wants to be a Treeillionaire.”

Finally, just for some Easter inspiration, I’ll be looking for plenty of samples from the Auberge du Chocolat as they talk about Easter chocolate ideas – something that’s running everyday.  

LLO: What is the most unique aspect of this year’s show?
GF:
Every year the show is different – with plenty of new exhibitors to see. For me, it marks the passing of winter and the start of days getting longer and lighter. This year, I’m particularly excited about the magazine’s Silver Jubilee. We launched in 1985 and our June issue marks our 25th birthday, but celebrations are in full swing already; our main campaign is entitled “Your Countryside Needs You”, and is all about how people can get involved in local projects and initiatives that support communities on a local level.  We’ll be talking about that a lot at the Spring Fair.

LLO: How about lunch? What’s on offer at the food hall this year?
GF:
Loads.  Plenty to try and sample, and far too many to list, but my recommendations would be the Handmade Scotch Egg company – a brilliant take on a British deli staple, biscuits and cakes from the Little Rose Bakery, washed down with a tipple from Chase Distillery – vodka from Herefordshire.

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Greenwich Market: Chocolate-Covered Yumminess

We are spoilt for choice in London when it comes to delicious market food, but last weekend after devouring some chorizo and potato stew from a Portuguese stand, I discovered an excellent dessert. Strawberries on a wooden skewer dipped into hot, melted milk or dark chocolate, swizzled with more chocolate, placed in a giant green banana leaf and topped with a smattering of marshmallows or nuts. To eat, you squeeze tightly, pull out the skewer and poke into a big sweet strawberry dripping with chocolate. YUM!

To indulge (and trust me, you want to!), visit Greenwich Market.

London Restaurants: Amalfi

Been a while since the last time I ate at Amalfi in Soho, a great little Italian place in the middle of all the excitement. Typical Italian dishes, friendly staff, decent prices, atmospheric basement, delicious wine from Puglia and a melty, gooey, chocolate dessert with vanilla ice cream. I always leave feeling satisfyingly stuffed and tonight was no different.

Good place to catch a meal before a night out. Or a random Monday night with a few friends like me…

31 Old Compton Street, London W1V 5PL