‘The times, they are a’changing’.
When Bob penned those lyrics, I’m not sure he realised how often they would be quoted, but as life continues its erratic trajectory, their pertinence endures.
They certainly apply today, as things are evolving at Bailey Chinnery and we want to tell you about some big changes to what we are doing, going forwards.
As most of you know, I have been ill for some time and over the year since we launched Bailey Chinnery, my health has impacted on tours more than once. Valda had to run the second of two one day workshops in Bosham alone last summer and I was unable to lead a tour to Venice in December after my Mum died. A few weeks ago, once again, I reluctantly had to withdraw from our tour to the Hebrides, causing much inconvenience.
I don’t want this to continue. Our service to our clients is extremely important to us and while I am much better than I was twelve months ago, I feel I need to get fully well, so the unpredictability of my condition doesn’t continue to cause issues.
Therefore, I have made the very difficult decision to take a sabbatical from teaching until November. This means I won’t be co-leading the upcoming tours to Bilbao, Giverny and the Faroes with Valda. Those clients affected have been informed privately. We are delighted and enormously appreciative that our great friend and accomplished photographer, Terry Gibbins, has agreed to stand in for me.
I will just co-lead with Valda our print workshops in Sheffield in June which are only 30 minutes from my home.
I plan to return to teaching for our Creative Growth tour to the Cairngorms in November and co-lead our Venice tour in December.
There will also be a slight restructuring at Bailey Chinnery in the foreseeable future. As things stand, the workload is intense and unsustainable in its present form (for either of us) for very much longer. As a consequence of my illness, I have realised I need to spend less time away from home. So from 2020, I plan to co-lead with Valda just two or three overseas tours a year. I will reassess this decision if and when I feel the time is right. We will continue to run our one day UK workshops together and have plans to run more print workshops.
However, this doesn’t mean that the number of tours Bailey Chinnery runs will be reducing. We are delighted that Valda will continue to lead an exciting tour schedule with two new guest leaders – Terry Gibbins and Denis Hocking.
We have invited them to join us because both of them bring something special to what we offer. They have great people and teaching skills. They are brilliant photographers in their own right and they both think about photography in a way that chimes with our own philosophy. Each are also highly skilled landscape and travel photographers. This means that for those of you who would like it, they will be happy to take you out for sunrise on location when conditions are suitable (and those who prefer our more usual relaxing start to the day can enjoy a lie in and then a more leisurely breakfast with Valda until they return).
We have some incredible new destinations in the planning for you, including some long haul places for ‘trips of a lifetime’. We see this new development as a major step forward in giving you, our friends, the very best creative experience we can. However – and we cannot stress this enough – we remain totally committed to creative thinking, pursuing your own vision and avoiding tripod holes and clichés at all costs. And of course, we will always make sure your comfort, hydration and nutritional needs are always very well catered for.
Meanwhile, although I won’t be traveling with you as frequently, I will still be fully involved in all we do. I will be taking on the majority of the administration of the business, so it will be me sending you emails, chasing you and being a general nuisance. We will also be developing our growing print business which is proving very popular, and we are releasing many new videos to add to the collection we have available on our website. The next set will be all about printing. It will be a busy year for us both.
Another consequence – and a very difficult decision for me, has been the cancellation of my London exhibition at the Menier gallery. It was a huge project involving the printing and framing of over 70 images, not to mention the logistics involved in organising the private view and the minutiae of holding an exhibition.
I found myself getting overwhelmed with the whole task to the point that it was having a very detrimental effect on my mental health. I feel guilty letting down Young Minds (the charity to whom I was donating all of the profits). I have obviously apologised to them and explained that in order to fulfil all of my other obligations in life and remain well enough to function, I felt I had little choice but to withdraw.
As we clock up our first year in business, Valda and I would like to thank you all for being such amazing and supportive clients. We could not do what we do without you and your enthusiasm, ideas and kind encouragement. Your continued loyalty and friendship means more to us than we can say.
Love Doug and Valda