Jacquie Schurman talks about her photography journal

The Backstory

I used to be an HR manager in London. I was being trained to be coach and when someone said your job needs to be something which doesn’t feel like it’s a job.   I realised I was just working to pay the mortgage and that my real passions were skiing and photography.  I also didn’t have any responsibilities or attachments to London so I decided to make the leap, rent my house out and just come out here.

I joined the photography club at school at about age 16 and I loved going into the dark room and developing pictures.  I’ve always had a camera in my hand but I’d never considered it as a profession.  

The Transition

When you start a photography business you offer everything from portraits to weddings to interior photography.  Although I enjoyed weddings, I realised my stress levels were going up for trying to get a particular image rather than my style which is more reportage, going with the flow and capturing emotions.

I preferred interior photography which allowed me to take time at peace to get the shot.  Then I subconsciously realised that many rooms I were photographing had bare walls, so there was something missing.  I then started selling my images at little art and craft fairs.  I had a particular moment whereby someone asked me to blow up a photograph I’d taken to 3m x 2m, in three panels.  It was then I realised there was real potential in my photography, which had been pretty much a hobby until that point.  That was the confidence boost I needed.


And then lockdown happened.  We hear lots of stories of the positives of lockdown and that was true for me too.  It gave me time to go through all of my photographs and look at what I loved about them.  I then organised things by colour palettes and schemes, and I write blog posts about the moods and feelings associated with different colours.  I am very much a feeling person!

As well as the image itself I can print of several different materials, which adds extra texture.  There’s everything from canvas to aluminium dibond.  I match the materials and the images and making sure everything fits with the room the image is intended for.  

Hotel du Lac

Kyle had approached me about my work and originally he wanted my work in every bedroom.  Unfortunately due to costs this wasn’t possible, but just as you come into the hotel on your right is one of my pieces.  People who come to Hotel du Lac can see a little bit of Finesse Art and then visit my website to see everything I offer or contact me for commissions.

The Hotel du Lac is an incredible location to photograph.  No matter what the season.  In autumn it’s wonderful even, with all the mist and the changing colours.  And you don’t always need to look at the big picture.  Personally my eye goes to detail, such as a leaf, or a few bubbles which have frozen.  I like taking the time to zoom in and see the smaller things and not just the full canvas.  The light coming through the trees here is magnificent.  Looking at the bokeh effect is fascinating too.

Multi Sensory Approach

I read a fascinating book once called Sense.  It really made me think about how we live.  Images aren’t just images.  They can invoke sensations; sometime you can smell things, hear things.  A photograph can make you feel alive.  The cliché saying ‘a picture tells a thousand words’ is so true.

Inspirational Photographers

Melody Sky is inspiring me at the moment.  She’s based in Chamonix and she’s done a lot of night shots.  Her photos are simplistic and yet magical.  I also like Oliver Robert.  It’s so serene, peaceful and seamless.  Even talking about it calms my voice.  That’s what I mean when I talk about multi-sensory.

Tips for budding photographers

Look all around you, not just in front of you with a wide lens.  Feel what you’re trying to capture and really take your time.  Think about the lighting and best time of day to take the location.  Golden hour here is just magical.  Harsh lighting is for harsh moments; soft lighting allows more ambiance in an image.

Favourite Places

My favourite place is the top of Zore/Séraussaix.  The 360 degree view there is just incredible. I also love the top of Mont Chéry.  I use apps to help me know where the sun is going to be.  I’ll often do a pre-hike, and sometimes freeze myself waiting for the perfect shot, it’s not easy!  One app I use tells me the sun position, moon position, when twilight starts, golden hour, moon phases, etc. One shot can take days of planning and preparation.

Favourite Disney character

I think of all the ones my daughter watches.  There’s one I can’t get out of my head and that’s Anna, from Frozen.  She has tenacity and she’s determined and I suppose that’s me.  She doesn’t give up! Never give up on your dreams; do what you love!

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