Living her life through a lens

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A young photographer is putting a spell on the fashion world with her talent. Marie Westmoreland reports.

CREATING a magical world of fairies started Jade Turnbull’s obsession with photography.

The 23-year-old, from Durham, became fascinated with manipulating images of herself and friends at the tender age of 10.

“I loved the idea of being in a different world and my friends loved seeing themselves as mystical creatures wearing fairy wings.

“Once I started, I was hooked,” said Jade, who taught herself how to retouch photographs.

By the age of 17 Jade was told her work was too advanced to do an A-level course, so two years later she completed a degree at Newcastle College in Commercial Photographic Practice, followed by a third year of Creative Practice, where she achieved a 2:1.

Jade said: “I was already doing a lot of freelance work but I got sick of people judging me by my age. I felt people were not taking me seriously, so wanted the qualifications to back up my work.

“British photographer Lara Jade was a huge inspiration to me, as she started photography at the age of 12.

“She really gave me the confidence to get my work out there even though others thought I was too young.”

Another photographer who Jade admires is Paolo Roversi.

“He does amazing portraits. The way he portrays the subject’s emotions in his images with lighting and composition really inspires me when working with people,” he said.

“There are many more photographers, models and images that inspire me, and I find new ones every day.”

Now Jade runs a successful business, Jade Photography, which sees her working on editorials for North East businesses such as The Fashion Bible and Tallulah Love, and has had her work featured on Italian Vogue’s website.

She has won the Model Mayhem Photographer of the Week award twice, had her images published in the Photography Monthly 500 Most Inspiring Images book and had her work used in a spotlight feature in Digital SLR Magazine.

“In this industry I get to meet and be around so many inspiring and influential people and creating art together is just amazing,” said Jade, who loves to make people feel good about themselves.

“Not many people like getting their photograph taken, but I see it as my job to make them feel confident about themselves.

“It gives me a warm feeling inside when I can see someone coming out of their shell,” added Jade, who says her retouching skills and love of photography go hand in hand.

Kitted out with a Nikon D40x digital camera aged 17 (she now uses a Nikon D600), Jade began working with aspiring models which helped build her portfolio.

She said: “I began networking on websites such as Model Mayhem and Pure Storm to showcase my work and meet new people, ranging from models to make up artists.

“I love doing high fashion editorials, but I still really enjoy working with people on anything from family shots to model portfolios.

“I love trying to capture the different emotions in people’s faces, too, so I have always been a big fan of portraits.”

Jade has always had support from her family and her partner, Darron Atkinson, 22, who helped her believe in herself.

She said: “Without the support from my family and partner I can safely say that I would not be where I am today.”

The couple, who have been together for five years, now live in Darron’s hometown of Framwellgate Moor and Jade has created a photography studio in the spare bedroom.

Now Jade is in demand in the North East and even has clients based in America.

Her advice for aspiring photographers is to “network as much as possible”.

She said: “Word of mouth is a very good way of getting your name out there and you can only do this by working and meeting with as many creative individuals as possible.

“Network with models, make-up artists, hair stylists and designers.

“If people like you and your work, they will spread the word.”

Despite her success, she still finds it hard to appreciate her photos.

Jade said: “When I look back at images I always find it hard to like my own work.”

Her favourites are usually natural, caught-in-the-moment shots which feature emotions and feelings. An image she still loves is called ‘Whisper’, which features model Tiny Millican.

She said: “This was a one-time shot with real emotions. We were shooting fashion and a cat came up to the window, for a split second there was a real moment that I captured. I much prefer this type of shot rather than posed.”

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