She has long been interested in photography, taking snaps during family holidays. But Lorraine Finney is finally finding the time to follow her dream.

The mother-of-two dedicated her life to raising her children, and it was only when they left home five years ago that she had some more time to immerse herself in her passion.

"I started studying it and it evolved from there," smiles Lorraine, who lives by Boscombe beach during the week, spending weekend at her family home near Basingstoke.

"I was doing it four or five days a week, I was so passionate about it.

"It's quite hard being a professional photographer. When you've been a mother, your main aim is looking after the family first. To try to switch that around is quite a challenge. But it's rewarding and quite liberating."

Living in the Hampshire countryside, Lorraine found herself naturally drawn to the scenery and the landscape. She now also finds inspiration in the Dorset coastline, as her Bournemouth home features an unrivalled view of the sea.

After taking an 18-month online course with The Photography Institute, Lorraine took part in various workshops to develop her skills and began taking photos not only for herself, but for friends and family.

Her work began to gain recognition at networking events and she is now about to host her very first solo exhibition, A Celebration of Land, Sea and Skyscapes, at the Hayloft Gallery in Christchurch.

"I just really wanted to extend my photographic knowledge and try and create art," she explains," to try and bring people's walls to life, to bring some emotion to people that will capture a memory.

"As a child, I've always seen patterns in curtains and Artexed ceilings, that other people don't necessarily see – it's called pareidolia. So I've always had a good eye for composition and that's added to my photography. It makes it a bit different. I thought I could create something special."

Something else that makes Lorraine's work stand out, is the medium she uses. As well as printing her images on canvas, she creates aluminium prints, which make a striking feature on any wall and enable her to cater for any taste or decor.

Lorraine has won awards from the Societies of International Nature and Wildlife Photography, of which she is a member, but says she is continually learning.

"It's life-long learning. Trying to keep up with qualifications, network events – you can't just hide in your office, you've got to get out and about and meet people and let them know what you do.

"I have a website, but it's really hard because it's just a picture — I wanted people to see the quality of my work and the different mediums," she adds of her reasons for hosting an exhibition.

" I think, when people meet me, they can see the passion that comes from me, that comes out in my artwork. When you marry the two together, it's just 'wow'."

Lorraine will be donating ten per cent of the proceeds to the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation, an organisation set up in memory of John Thornton who was tragically killed in Afghanistan in 2008. The JTYAF provides opportunities for young people to help them to develop as individuals and fulfil their ambitions in life.

The partnership between Lorraine and the charity came about after John's parents, Linda and Peter, bought one her Red Arrows pictures at auction, in memory of a flight John had taken with one of the pilots after winning a high achiever award at college.

"We had a connection," she says. "I had all the Red Arrows sigh the back of it and the Red Arrow that flew their son was one of them. They said it was a beautiful picture. I thought it was meant to be.

"I love putting stories behind my work – when people meet me and have a connection, or there's a connection behind their piece of work.

"I've never been as passionate about anything in my life as I am about this. It's a lovely feeling, to feel so passionate about something.

"When you're out in nature, you've got to let the landscape speak to you. Whether it's the cloud formation, or the light. If you can capture something magical, that's unique."


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