Gemma McKell is a creative photographer and lives in Cumbria with her three daughters, husband and dog. She works under the name Folk and Kin and you can discover her journal on Instagram: @folkandkin.
How long have you lived in Cumbria?
I have been living in Cumbria my entire life, I briefly moved away in my late teens but soon moved home. I can't imagine living anywhere else. I love the way of life here and I’m proud to call Cumbria my home.
Where are you favourite places to visit?
Cumbria is a beautiful region of England, and it has many wonderful areas. The coast is my favourite place to visit. I love walking the nature trail at south Walney to the lighthouse and photographing coastal nature and foliage. The sea is a vast expanse of beauty, and a source of endless inspiration with its ever-changing colours and textures. I like to take imagery on the shore most days and I enjoy walking and beach combing for sea pottery and shells. It’s a great way to clear your mind and stir the imagination. I also like visiting and photographing our local heritage areas, in particularly Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top and the charming Dove Cottage that was home to William Wordsworth. I find the history and literature in the county fascinating.
How does the county affect your creative practise as a photographer?
Living in Cumbria can have a profound effect on creative practice. Cumbria is a beautiful and diverse county, with a wide range of landscapes, from the rugged fells of the Lake District to the atmospheric coast. This variety of scenery provides me with a wealth of opportunities to capture the beauty of the county.
How are you embracing a slower pace during the winter as a family?
We’re trying to embrace the darker cold days by keeping in touch with nature, wrapping up and walking together, crafting and creating art. I think just as we normally do but at a slower more considered pace. Talking the time to be together in the winter months, resting up and hunkering down. The winter doesn’t have to be dreary. There is still plenty of beauty outdoors. The first signs of spring are already here.
Do you have a favourite season?
My favourite season is autumn, closely followed by spring. Autumn for so many reasons, the colours, the October skies, the feeling it brings after the summer. When the nights turn and it’s time to start lighting the fire and preparing for the colder months. There is something incredibly melancholy about autumn and that’s the sort of feeling that greatly inspires my work. I adore mood and atmosphere in photography and there’s nothing quite like the feeling autumn creates.
What are you working on in 2023?
I’ve quite a lot going on this year with various projects. I’m working on commercial and branding for small businesses still and I have a limited number of weddings a year too which is now all booked up. I’m also starting a passion project with two friends 'The Seasonal Creative' that will bring photography workshops, creativity and retreats to the heart of the lakes.