Stephen Candy Photography: Blog en-us (C) Stephen Candy Photography (Stephen Candy Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:37:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:37:00 GMT Stephen Candy Photography: Blog 120 111 Teetotal in a "Perfect Storm" of Rum! _MG_8462_MG_8462

On Friday I was at The Kraken Rum’s special “Dine in a Perfect Storm” event in London. How did I, someone who has never drunk alcohol, end up dining at a rum themed event where the cocktails flowed freely and the entire thing was the creation of one of the world’s leading rum brands?

To answer this, we inevitably have to go back in time a few years. My love of that other tentacled beast, HP Lovecraft’s Cthulhu, connected me with Jonathan Chaffin’s “Horror in Clay” tiki mugs. For the first photos I ever took of his first two mugs (the original Horror in Clay mug and the second “Innsmouth Fogcutter” one) I used a bottle of a well known brand of rum as a background prop. (After all, you can’t really have a tiki cocktail without getting some booze in there somewhere!)


When the world at large saw the photos, the feedback was generously positive, but one comment was “you should have used Kraken rum.” I didn’t know the brand (as a non-drinker I am usually a bit rubbish at alcohol brands) but I looked it up and discovered a very clever branding, with a tentacled Beast as the brand mascot that very much tied in with the Lovecraftian feel of Cthulhu. I introduced the Kraken bottles as supporting props in my next batch of Horror in Clay photos and the two have often sat together since.

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The very next Christmas, the Kraken released a special ceramic bottle made by Wade ceramics. Wade are a long established (since 1867) brand respected worldwide and they created a truly impressive bottle that I couldn’t resist buying (even if I gifted the rum inside to grateful family members!) I am glad that I did, since the ceramic bottles have gone on to become valuable collectors’ pieces with new designs released each year.



I followed the Kraken’s social media feeds and saw some of the amazing merchandise created for their American webstore. Sadly the international shipping on these items is prohibitive but my friends in America (Hello Tro!) have sent some of the smaller items to me over the years with other packages including the brilliant Kraken Rum Book and a tentacled shot glass. The Kraken then released their own tiki mug in America, which naturally I had to team up with the Horror in Clay Cthulhu mugs for extra tentacled tiki action!

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When the Kraken launched their UK “League of Darkness” I signed up, to stay up to date with their latest happenings and in the hope of some more merchandise for the UK. Through the League I have been able not only to get early access to the newer ceramic bottles (vital as they sell out so quickly) but also a great limited edition Kraken hoodie. In fact, when they accidentally sent me TWO of the hoodie I ordered they were even kind enough to tell me to keep the spare one – so my partner and I now have matching hoodies thanks to the Kraken!

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The Kraken brand is also well known for the events that it hosts, sponsors and attends. The photos I have seen on their social media posts (and in The League of Darkness) have always made me think what fun they’d be to attend, but I also thought it would be a waste to attend a cocktail drinking event and not drink any cocktails. The most recent event, though, looked to be something a bit different and also right up my street. When I found out about “Dine in a Perfect Storm” I thought that it would be a Kraken event I could more certainly enjoy. The idea of using technology to create an indoor storm and then serve guests a feast while the storm raged was a novel one – and my own work photographing immersive events such as my many Halloween clients and the actor/VR combination show based on Jeff Wayne’s musical version of “War of the Worlds” currently running means I knew the potential this had. Since there would be food and a performance (of sorts) then I wouldn’t feel so foolish passing up the drinks – and my partner Lisa said she would be happy to help out with drinking the extra cocktails!


Naturally we couldn’t resist wearing our matching hoodies to the event. On arrival, a host dressed in suitably nautical 18th/19th Century attire welcomed us inside and escorted us through a darkened tunnel to the first bar area. He gave us each some “treasure” with which to purchase our drinks – a clever use of old pre-decimal UK currency. These served as drinks tokens throughout the event.

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This first bar area was very small and quite busy, but also very friendly. The hosts, despite their period clothing, were mainly performing typical logistical tasks, but there was one actor in a character role as a sailor telling larger-than-life tall tales of his encounters with the Beast and how he managed to escape. He told the stories with gusto and didn’t flag for having clearly had to tell them over and over again all afternoon/evening. The clever use of contact lenses for his character was something we didn’t even spot until looking at the photo afterwards!

(Please note that some of the photos from this point onwards were taken with my “holiday” camera – a pocket sized Canon SX420IS. This is the camera I use in my leisure time, not for professional purposes.)

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When our time arrived, we were called together and led along the corridor. Before entering the dining area everyone was given a Kraken branded waterproof coat (with an exclusive design we were delighted that we got to keep afterwards.) This would prove very useful as the way to the table involved walking through a literal shower of water that surrounded it.


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At each place setting was the menu, presented in a rolled up scroll, with lovely cutlery and plates that would certainly not have been out of place at the Captain’s table at sea centuries ago.

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The food was all blackened to suit the black ink theme, but tasted just right. (This sinister bread roll and black ink butter was no different to the “ordinary” coloured ones I am used to in restaurants!)

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There was a squid centrepiece that smoked impressively with dry ice – but that we were warned not to try to eat! The food came quickly and efficiently as the storm raged – the technology being cleverly used to ensure that the rains subsided enough for the waiting staff to serve us without the food getting soggy en route.

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The theming had been very carefully thought through, even down to the shells housing the salt and pepper and of course the cocktails flowed throughout – four different recipes over the course of the evening each of which Lisa assures me was both tasty and also VERY strong! (The Kraken remained the star of the show, no scrimping on the portions!)

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Wind machines, lighting effects, “rumble” effects (or just loud bassy speakers) all added to the creation of the storm and someone somewhere was doing a very good job of moderating the levels so they were always impressive, created a great experience but didn’t interrupt or spoil the eating experience. The most “showstopping” wind moments were always between courses and the overall noise level was never quite so high as to prevent conversation. (I’ve certainly eaten in louder pubs or clubs!)
Once the meal was finished we were invited to the second bar adjacent to the dining table for further cocktails and Kraken ice cream. This I DID taste, as I don’t avoid alcohol in food, and I can say first hand it was VERY tasty (despite the sinister black sludge appearance.) The closest ice-cream flavour for comparison to my taste was the “bubblegum” flavours I’ve had at Baskin Robbins.

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The need to prepare the table for the next sitting meant that we were soon sent back to the first bar, where again more cocktails were on offer plus the chance to chat with some of the Kraken team about the event, to praise them for their great branding and (in my case) to nag them mercilessly about my desire for more of that stunning US merchandise to be made available over here!

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Based on the ticket price (£25 per head for public, slightly under this for League of Darkness members) we reasoned that very little profit was being made. A three course custom-dyed seafood meal in a high-tech controlled environment with at least four cocktails per person and only 20 people in a sitting, in a central London location? I paid more than that for a café breakfast in Brighton the following day! However as a stroke of marketing genius I think it’s a very clever use of budget, as it’s something that everyone who was there will talk about for a long time and the press coverage it will generate will be much further reaching than if the money spent creating it had simply gone on traditional print advertising.
Praise the Kraken – and a big well done to the team behind this clever event that the following photo sums up nicely.




(Stephen Candy Photography) Horror in Clay Kraken Kraken Rum Perfect Storm Release the Kraken review rum tiki Sun, 14 Jul 2019 20:45:08 GMT
Cartoon Giraffe Needs Your Help - JubyLee Bakes _MG_7386_MG_7386

Today I’d like to talk about a cartoon giraffe. Yes, really! Well, sort of…

Those of you who know me well know that I can often be found at QEII School in Horsham, amongst other things taking photos of the many and varied activities there. As a school that has a strong focus on Creative Arts (and one of the only special needs schools in the country with a Gold Artsmark from the Arts Council) there are always plenty of performances and events for me to photograph.

Back in 2013, the Rotary Club of Horsham organised a Giraffe Trail in the town, featuring model giraffes that had been decorated by a variety of local groups and organisations. Apart from providing a fun trail of artwork through the town, the idea was that the giraffes would be auctioned off at the end to raise money for charity. QEII were asked to decorate one of the giraffes and went for a decoupage style, covering their 5 foot tall model giraffe with a variety of photos I’d supplied of different events and activities at the school. She was then accessorised with a crown, in the style of the school’s logo, fantastic eyelashes and a set of ruby slippers (in a “Wizard of Oz” nod to the school’s performing arts work.) In honour of the name of the school, which in full is The Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee School, she was christened JubyLee.

JubyLee giraffe joined in the Giraffe Trail and at the end was a part of the auction, which was held in a suitably modern fashion via eBay. Then something rather splendid happened. A group of parents of students in the school’s sixth form teamed up to buy JubyLee and then donated her back to the school! Ever since then she’s been a school mascot, standing guard in either the school foyer or the drama studio foyer. However she clearly made an impression on the parents as, a couple of years later, they and their children – now having finished school and looking to make their way in the world – were inspired to choose JubyLee as the mascot for their baking company!

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The early JubyLee Bakes team at a 2016 photo call.

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JubyLee bakers selling their wares at Collyer's College in Horsham.

JubyLee Bakes are a splendid little company who provide job opportunities for adults with learning difficulties. In 2016 they won the Gatwick final for Young Start Up Talent which secured them funds and marketing support from industry experts to help them develop their business. To help with their bid for the competition, the giraffe was turned into a fantastic cartoon logo by brilliant artist Annalees Lim. This is the JubyLee that you’ll see to this day on their posters, packaging, website and so on.


Their success and, of course, the quality of their everso tasty bakes, led to them growing and being able to take on more staff and provide more opportunities. They supply a range of companies – large and small – across the region and I’ve been fortunate to be able to keep in touch with them both socially and professionally as they’ve grown. (A huge bonus is that they always chuck in some of their bakes when paying for a photoshoot!) Currently they work out of hired premises at QEII School, using the modern kitchen facilities in the school’s recently refurbished Oaks Class. The catch with hiring school premises, though, is that during the school day the school needs them! This restricts the options for baking and what the growing firm really needs is a home of its own. They’ve got a premises near Thakeham lined up but need the finances to renovate the unit into a suitable modern kitchen from which to bring us their bakes, cooking all day long! Being open for longer hours will mean they can offer more work and employ more people, giving much needed opportunities to other adults with learning difficulties who can so often struggle to find worthwhile employment.

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You have a chance to help with this as the group is currently up for a £50,000 grant from the National Lottery People’s Projects. The funding is allocated by public vote and only the top three in their group will receive the money. You can help them by heading to the website and casting your vote for JubyLee Bakes. This is the link:
Please do give them your vote – they’re a lovely group of hard workers who really deserve the chance to develop their project and continue building on their hard work to date. Voting closes Monday 15th April at midday, so be quick!

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Tasty, tasty JubyLee Bakes. I especially recommend the lemon flapjacks!

And make sure you try their bakes if you ever get the chance – just keep an eye out for that cartoon giraffe!


Hanging out with my friend JubyLee the giraffe!

(Stephen Candy Photography) #PeoplesProjects charity JubyLee Bakes National Lottery Sun, 14 Apr 2019 14:44:56 GMT
New Blogs for 2019 No. 10 - Shakespeare Coins _MG_7242_MG_7242

As you’ve already seen in previous blogs, I collect coins. Many and various different sorts of coin, almost all of which have one thing in common: they’re pretend. They may be currency, but only in the fantasy worlds of books or television shows. Either that or they simply contain logos of or designs by some of my favourite creators or projects.

The exception to this is my set of Shakespeare £2 coins. These are actual, real currency in the UK (admittedly not worth as much as they used to be due to the UK’s current political indecisiveness, but currency nonetheless.) I do like a bit of Shakespeare (even if most of his works benefit from some judicious editing-for-pace to suit a modern audience’s – or at least my – attention span.) Every year I have fun seeing what the Shakespeare Schools Festival get up to and I’ve enjoyed a visit or two to The Globe Theatre in London. (A highlight from one visit being a backstage tour and getting to stand alongside one of the guides/actors as he randomly launched into the “friends, Romans, countrymen…” speech at full performance volume from the balcony onstage!)


Custom designs on UK coins have been around for a long time, and collecting them is a popular hobby. I am not a big fan of manufactured rareness in items. (The words “limited edition” are far too much of a marketing tool these days and I don’t understand why a manufacturer would deliberately produce so few of an item that the resale value immediately outstrips the sale price. It’s like they deliberately want online resellers/scalpers to make huge extra profits – the inflated resale price doesn’t add any money into the manufacturers pockets after all.) Whenever a new design of coin is released, the Royal Mint do make available a variety of “brilliant uncirculated” versions, which are still currency but cost more than face value to buy as they (as the name suggests) have never been circulated and so are shiny and unscratched. They often come with “value added” leaflets/packaging/albums too. I am not a fan of paying more than £2 for a £2 coin, so I set out to collect the 2016 Shakespeare releases by simply waiting to see how long it would be before I came across one in my change. (I did ask at the bank a few times when paying in cheques or similar if they had any, but they never did.)


There were three Shakespeare coins released in 2016 to mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death. One design for comedies (a jester’s cap and marotte), one for histories (a crown and dagger) and one for tragedies (a skull and rose.)

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The release of the coins was filtered through the tills at Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford-Upon-Avon. I thought this was a nice touch as if you’re going to have a limited release you may as well tie it to something relevant. This meant that visitors to the area were more likely to receive the coins in their change. This did also mean that it took until 2018 for me to collect a full set and even then it was achieved only with a little help from my friends who knew how keen I was to have all three! (I now also have a spare of one of the coins, but four coins over 2+ years shows how tough it can be to find the special edition coins “in the wild.”)


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I think I’ll stick to “pretend” coins from now on, although that new Professor Stephen Hawking design does look tempting…


(Stephen Candy Photography) coins Royal Mint Shakespeare Sun, 17 Mar 2019 21:43:27 GMT
New Blogs for 2019 No. 9 - Littlest Lovecraft _MG_6646_MG_6646

Back in early 2013 I was supporting a Kickstarter project by Nat Iwata for a set of Steampunk Cthulhu themed playing cards. (It was a very Cthulhu-cards time, as this was hot on the heels of Albino Dragon’s awesome Call of Cthulhu cards.) In one of his updates, Nat mentioned a project “translating the story of The Call of Cthulhu into an approachable children's book for all ages!


This was the first “Littlest Lovecraft” book, by Tro Rex and Eyona Bella. I loved the concept and art style so I backed the project to receive a copy of the book. Such is the way that things join up, it turned out that a while later the book’s author Tro was a member of the same Facebook group as me (the exclusive and elusive “Wayward Backers”) and she drew our attention to a festive competition that she was running, with prizes every day of the event's “Twelve Days of Cthulhumas” plus a grand prize on the thirteenth day for which only those who’d taken part for all twelve days were eligible. I took part every day, performing a variety of different Lovecraft themed tasks and was fortunate enough to win the grand prize, which was a collection of all the daily prizes together. Quite the stash of Littlest Lovecraft treats! It included all the fun accessories I’d not ordered from the original Kickstarter, such as a drinks tumbler, coins and dice.


When the time came around for the second project, I was a confirmed fan and was delighted to be able to supply some photos to help promote the Kickstarter. (Using provisional artwork that Tro sent me, I was even able to create a mock-up of the book to photograph.) In fact it was this project that led to my nickname of “Professor” Candy, due to the title of one of the Kickstarter pledge levels and the enthusiastic manner with which I adopted it!


I am proud to have supplied promotional photos for all the Littlest Lovecraft projects since then. For the third book I was able to put together a special photoshoot, which remains one of my favourites ever! Makeup artist Emma Procter transformed actor Iain Leighton into one of the Innsmouth “fish guys” that feature in The Shadow Over Innsmouth” and we took a set of promo photos for the book. It was lots of fun, especially seeing the reactions of  the public as they walked past us while we shot at a public location for the watery backdrop – not to mention when we all went up the pub for dinner afterwards with Iain still in full costume and makeup!


Each new book has come with the same base set of awesome accessories and I love how much thought and effort has gone into each one. Now that the full set of five books has been published – the last one arrived this week – they even have their own gorgeous slipcase to live in. There’s a set of five different tumblers, five different coin designs and five different dice too. In addition to that there’s been more postcards, bookmarks, stickers, T-shirts, hoodies and other great items like badges than I can fit on a single table!

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The attention to detail and creativity has been consistently impressive, down to the lemon juice “secret” Esoteric Order of Dagon logo hidden on the Innsmouth scroll that came with The Shadow Over Innsmouth. (Art on the scroll having been provided by the lovely Galen Ihlenfeldt, another artist whose work I am delighted to have encountered thanks to the way projects all seem to join up!)

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Three of the books also came with a booklet of extra material – stories and poems by writers and supporters of the project.

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There was even a great stoneware drinks coaster with “The Horror Collection” and an amazing metal replica of the key, exactly matching the artwork, with “The Dreamlands Collection.”

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I remain impressed that Tro and Eyona put in the extra effort to send out a separate – and handwritten – thank you postcard with each project, and often also a special Christmas/Ctulhumas/Innsmas/you-get-the-idea card as well!

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I love being able to add something unique to my collection and for Littlest Lovecraft this includes a hand drawn tentacle sketch and a hand drawn page layout from the Dreamlands Collection by Eyona. It also includes a rather stunning replica of the bas-relief from “The Call of Cthulhu” created in resin by artist Wibble Nut (yes, really.) He made one specially fro Tro and Eyona and, thanks to Tro putting us in touch, I was able to get one for myself too! It perfectly matches the art from the book and is a great display piece.

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It was also through the appearance of one of the tiki mugs in the Shadow Over Innsmouth promotional video that I first encountered Horror in Clay, whose brilliant work I am very happy to have become a collector of. (Speaking of Innsmouth, if you ever read this book you may spot a similarity between the bus driver and myself! It’s a definite privilege to have made a cameo appearance in the artwork.)

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I count myself lucky to have met Tro through the magic of the internet and she remains the only one of my various American friends that I’ve met in person – she’s been to the UK a few times and has visited (and hand delivered Lovecraftian treats) whilst over here!

Now that the fifth and final book has been published I will admit to being sad that the journey is over. There’s always been such a sense of fun in seeing these projects come together and in sharing the excitement at all the different items arriving from the various manufacturers. I’m very glad, though, that Tro and Eyona managed to achieve such a fantastic feat in getting all five books published and out into the world – and onto my shelves!

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(Stephen Candy Photography) books Cthulhu Littlest Lovecraft Lovecraft Sun, 10 Mar 2019 21:43:39 GMT
New Blogs for 2019 No. 8 - Emily Benet _MG_5326_MG_5326

I always enjoy how seemingly random things can connect. Back in the mists of time (at least TEN YEARS AGO – cripes) reading the always interesting small print on an innocent smoothies bottle led me to attending one of their “village fete” events. (Think small scale music festival, with a bit more ferret racing than usual.) At the event, I bought a t-shirt with the innocent logo on, which was manufactured by a company called howies. The small print on the T-shirt (yes, I read that too) was a bit different from the usual washing instructions and led me to the howies website. They fast became one of my favourite clothing brands and even now I can typically be found wearing at least one item made by them on any given day. (Also, with a bit of make-do-and-mend, their stuff LASTS.)


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Being a customer meant I got their newsletters, which included more than just your typical “please buy stuff” content. There was usually a tale of something interesting that they’d encountered, or an event they’d staged. At the time, there was a howies shop on Carnaby Street in London (which I even managed to visit a couple of times – see the photo below.)


At the store they held various events – including a rap workshop with none other than Professor Elemental. (That chap really does get everywhere!) Another event they shared was a talk by author and blogger Emily Benet, who at the time was also a London shopkeeper – the tales of which were told on her Shop Girl Blog, which was at the time freshly published in the Shop Girl Diaries book. The newsletter write up for her event piqued my interest – as a former retail worker myself, any tales of life behind the shop counter are of interest – so I tracked down a copy of the book and very much enjoyed it. It tells of life running a lighting shop in a state of perpetual “closing down sale” as well as the story of Emily’s personal life as it heads towards a “reader, I married him” moment. (No spoilers, but be sure to read the book and her blog for the full story.)

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Emily’s newsletter next shared news of her success in the 2011 Earlyworks Press Short Story competition, for which her tale “Five Pounds Short” was shortlisted. I was the first person to order a copy of the resulting book, "From Barcelona to Bihar" in which her story was published, directly from her via a link in the newsletter. Since I was the first, and was prompt enough to order before her copies from the publisher had even arrived, she very kindly sent me her own copy and also sent a signed copy of her first book too. (I do love a signed book, and this meant I could gift my existing copy to a friend. Sharing the book love is always a good thing!) I should also mention “Short Stories for Busy Adults” at this point. A collection of Emily’s short stories (the clue’s in the title) available as an eBook but not a print edition, so it sadly doesn’t get to have a place on the bookshelf with its peers (or to be in these photos.)



The next project was serialised online via the Wattpad website, as “Spray Painted Bananas.” (The title linking to a key plot point.) I am rubbish at reading serials online, but always happy to get the whole story in book or ebook format. In this case I did both, as I have a signed physical book but read the story on my kindle for convenience. (This often tends to be the case if I do get a signed book. I don’t want to “spoil” it by, you know, actually touching it or – shock – reading it, so I’ll get the kindle version as well. I must admit, I also find a kindle convenient for reading in bed (backlight) and for those REALLY HEAVY fantasy books that I like so much, as it doesn’t get any heavier when the page count goes up.) When published by HarperCollins the story was renamed “The Temp” – perhaps the banana based title was a bit too outlandish for the world of romance novels. I enjoyed the story of Amber’s journey from lifelong “temp” to artist.



Emily’s next book was in territory familiar to me – the world of social media and, especially, twitter. The title “Please Retweet” gives it away somewhat. Or rather, “#PleaseRetweet” as we all know how important the hashtag is these days! A lot of the story rang true, with behind-the-scenes chaos propping up the social media of the famous or semi-famous.

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The latest published work from Emily is “The Hen Party.” A cast of not necessarily instantly likeable characters find that a hen party themed reality TV show doesn’t quite go to plan. There’s more to this Mallorcan hen night than booze and beaches!

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Currently I know that Emily is working on a book of pregnancy tales “The Pregnancy Diaries” and I look forward to reading that in due course. None of her work is the sort of thing I typically read – not an elf, wizard or spaceship to be seen – but it’s good to read something different from time to time and I very much like her style. The new book will add to my “Emily Benet shelf” – the existence of which lead her to write the below comment in my copy of “#PleaseRetweet.”



As you can see, her books share space not only with my friend Cherry Radford’s romances but also a quite diverse selection of other books, including Doctor Who, Snoopy, some ghost stories and more!

Please do have a look at Emily’s website for the full story on the books I’ve mentioned today.


(Stephen Candy Photography) books Emily Benet howies innocent drinks Sun, 24 Feb 2019 19:10:00 GMT
New Blogs for 2019 No. 7 - Cheapass Games _MG_4675_MG_4675

As is so often the case with these things, it is all Patrick Rothfuss’s fault. After the massive success of Albino Dragon’s “Name of the Wind” playing cards back in 2013 introduced me to him, I became a big fan of Pat’s books and his work in general. (Look him up, it’ll be worth it.) Following on from the NOTW deck, one of artist Shane Tyree’s next projects was to illustrate two further decks of playing cards for a new game called “Pairs” being launched on Kickstarter by a company called Cheapass Games. I didn’t know it at the time, but Cheapass and their designer-in-chief James Ernest are something of a legend in tabletop gaming circles, having designed and published many, MANY games since 1996. My connection was simply that an artist I knew was creating new art based on a book I now loved.

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The Kickstarter project grew and grew and in the end led to no fewer than TWELVE different variant decks of the game. These included another NOTW deck illustrated by longtime Rothfuss collaborator Nate Taylor, and a further Nate Taylor deck based on the not-for-kids kids books “The Princess and Mr Whiffle” written by Pat.

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Other collaborators included John Kovalic, Phil and Kaja Foglio, Echo Chernik and some chap called Professor Elemental. (The Professor Elemental connection was especially amusing since I had actually worked with his alter-ego Paul Alborough in the “real world” for a number of years. It’s odd having the distant world of games design in America suddenly connecting with my actual life in Sussex, England!)


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So many of these connections have led to other fun projects and fandoms and I became a firm fan of Cheapass Games. I’ve been fortunate to correspond on occasion with James Ernest himself, as well as Carol Monahan, VP of CAG (and James’s wife) and also Cassidy Werner, Marketing Director. They’ve all always been both super lovely and super indulgent of my tendency to say “look I taked a picture do you like it? Do you? Do you?” like an attention seeking toddler. (Which I am, of course, going to do all over again as soon as I hit “Publish” on this blog…)

A secret bonus (for me at least) hidden away inside the “Commonwealth” Pairs deck is that Shane hid away my family name on the “Death” card’s artwork. He and I, and some of our other online friends, were on a video conference while he was drawing it and he kindly tucked it away in the background. I’m even happier that the same card features the “Wheel of Tehlu” which is the item from Badali Jewelery’s Kingkiller range that I wear most frequently.




As well as a signed postcard featuring Shane’s art, the Pairs project also included a signed bookplate from Pat himself too and a great collector’s coin that became the start of an ongoing collection.

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The next Cheapass Games project furthered the Professor Elemental connection (and James himself even came over to London to film the video. I still regret not being able to meet him in person at the time after his kind invitation to do so.) It was fun to see Paul Alborough’s developing fame lead to his character getting his own tabletop game! (Plus it’s still amusing telling some of his former colleagues in the education sector that he not only now has his own card game, but his face on a coin and on some dice, then seeing their reactions.) The game consists of attempts to tell tall tales of far-flung adventures at a Victorian club, whilst not having actually left the country at all!


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The Kickstarter version also included a set of fun “character Meeples” as an upgrade to the standard playing pawns, featuring the Professor, his monkey-butler Geoffrey and other characters.


Everyone loves zombies these days, although my work in the scare attractions industry may bias me in that respect. This means that “Lord of the Fries” – a game featuring zombies in a fast food restaurant – is just right and brings a great blend of comedy and fun. It joins up with other games in the same “world” – the fast-food restaurant of the damned!

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Another game in the same vein – “Give Me The Brain” even came with a fun rubber “brain.” What’s not to love about that sort of attention to detail.

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The card game “Brawl” has a fun, fast “real-time” approach and had all the trademark CAG flourishes, including a great embroidered patch as well as another awesome coin.

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Then comes the game that started it all. “Kill Doctor Lucky” was the first Cheapass Games product back in 1996. I’ve seen the game described as “reverse Cluedo” – instead of solving the murder while wandering around the mansion, you want to COMMIT the murder. Unfortunately Doctor Lucky is just so damn LUCKY that he evades your attacks without even realising it! Second to Tak (see below) this remains my favourite Cheapass game to play and to share with new players.

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The bundle with “Kill Doctor Lucky” also included some older games, packaged not in the deluxe or “superdeluxe” style of other games, but in more old-school plastic bags. The gameplay is none the less for it, though. You don’t usually play the box! (Although a current game project from Gamelyn Games challenges that somewhat.) The card-based Doctor Lucky game “Get Lucky” further adds to the world of James Ernest’s most famous character.

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Along the way I have also picked up other games including “Before I Kill You, Mister Spy...” and the earliest Kickstarter-funded deluxe edition, “Unexploded Cow” plus more custom dice and a coin to match.

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Doctor Lucky’s adventures have recently continued with “The Island of Doctor Lucky” plus the Doctor has many faces – as you can see here!


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That Professor Elemental turns up everywhere!


Another classic Cheapass Game given a recent Kickstarter makeover is “Button Men.” In the divided-by-a-single-language, faucet/tap, sidewalk/pavement, boot/trunk world of American English, a button is what we in England would call a badge. A “button man” is also a hired killer or gangster, so the game – originally designed to be played with characters printed on actual button/badges, is a clever play on this. Not as clever, though, as the sheep-based character “Mutton Ben” included as a bonus with the original run of the game. The game comes with playing cards, but several sets of badges were also made available.

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Most recently, the Girl Genius comic strip, as created by Phil and Kaja Foglio, has been the focus of a revival of an older game called “The Works.” New decks of cards, with new art, have been created, along with another great smattering of accessories including an embroidered patch and appropriately cog-shaped collector’s coin.

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The major Cheapass Games Kickstarter projects have tended to ship with a “Funvelope” of fun accessory items. This started off as a quite modest envelope but has grown over time to the point where it is now more of a bubble-pack of fun stuff! It’s this sort of added fun, alongside well delivered and enjoyable games, that makes their projects memorable and stand out from the crowd.

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Who doesn't also love custom dice and collector's coins!




It’s also fun to be able to get hold of games-in-development, such as this beta test version of “Rochi” a game set in the world of Sonia Lyris’s book The Stranger.


I’ve saved my favourite until last. The game of “Tak” stems from Patrick Rothfuss’s book “The Wise Man’s Fear.” It’s one of my favourite books and the game is vaguely described within it’s pages as the lead character, Kvothe, plays it whilst a guest/prisoner (depending on the timeframe) in a royal court. The description makes it sound like one of the timeless classic games like Chess or Draughts, so the idea of bringing it to life was a brave one. Indeed, Pat Rothfuss himself says in his introduction to the Tak Companion Book “while James was great, I figured that nobody could just sit down and make up a game on a par with chess or go.”


It turns out, however, that James Ernest is NOT nobody. He came up with a simple, elegant game that is quick to learn and hard to master. I’ve enjoyed playing it with friends and with children. It’s also a delight to see a company that is prepared to say “here’s the rules and ingredients you need to make our game yourself without giving us any money – or if you like you can buy ours” BEFORE they’ve even brought their version to market, and to continue to do so once the official version is available. Before the Kickstarter project was even live you could download the rules and a gameboard to make your own Tak set at home. (There are SO MANY free games on the CAG website, you should have a look. They also have a donations button if you find you’re loving the games and want to say thanks.)

Having fun with Tak, and taking my own photos of the game staged as if it was being played in the Eolian tavern (a key location in the Kingkiller books) really made me feel a connection to the game and to the story, and in a real sense brought me closer to Pat’s world and to the people who make it happen, since his team at Elodin Enterprises and Worldbuilders saw my photos and liked them and even asked to use some of them for their own promotions. (I couldn’t ask for a higher endorsement than that!)

I’ve taken a lot of photos of a variety of Tak items in the past, and it’s going to get a whole blog dedicated to it in the future, so for now here’s some shots of the awesome companion coin, including the promo-only gold version that Cassidy was kind enough to send me.

Stay tuned to the Cheapass website and social media too, as James is putting together "Cheapass Games in black and white" a retrospective book that's coming soon and that I can't wait to read!

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(Stephen Candy Photography) Cheapass Games Doctor Lucky Kingkiller Name of the Wind Patrick Rothfuss Worldbuilders Tue, 19 Feb 2019 15:54:04 GMT
New Blogs for 2019 No.6 - Slytherin Celebration _MG_3342_MG_3342

This week it was Harry Potter’s birthday! (Or, at least, the day on which it is said he is born in the hugely successful books by J.K. Rowling.) The publisher of the books hold an annual “Harry Potter Book Night” every 7th February to celebrate this, with parties, book readings and other events held across the world. (I even indulged in some Potter-ey fun myself with one of my special needs photography classes at QEII School in Horsham.)

This year was the fifth year the event has been held and the theme was “Hogwarts” (the wizard school Harry attends and the location for almost all the adventures in the books and films.) Famously, the school divides its students into “houses” in a manner not unlike many real schools, although the sorting process in the real world probably has more to do with class logistics, spreadsheets, pastoral staff availability and surnames than a magical talking hat. I thought it would be a good time to celebrate “my” house, as I am sure that if I attended Hogwarts I would be sorted into Slytherin. Despite Harry’s own cries of “not Slytherin” when he took his turn to wear the sorting hat, I don’t think this is anything to be ashamed of. A bit of “Slytherin pride” is in order. Schools in the real world don’t sort their students into houses based on seemingly astrological personality types and I don’t really believe that a magical wizard school would sort their students seemingly into “heroes” “baddies” and “the other ones who make up the numbers.” I suppose I should concede that Hagrid’s statement that “there’s not a single witch or wizard who went bad that wasn’t in Slytherin” paints them in a bad light and the fact that the house’s founder Salazar Slytherin was clearly something of a Muggle-hating extremist also doesn’t help (although he still commands enough historical respect to get his own card inside chocolate frog boxes!)


In favour of the house, however, is the fact that no less a wizard than Merlin was a member and in fact the characteristics prized by Slytherin of being ambitious, shrewd and cunning are ones that can be seen in many famous and successful people in all walks of life. The books and especially the films portrayal of Slytherin as “the baddie house” is, I suspect, one of narrative convenience and doesn’t reflect how things would really be in a school as wonderful as Hogwarts. (No, I’m definitely not taking a pretend magic wizard school too seriously, I don’t know what you mean.)

Harry Potter fans take the issue of which house they’re in very seriously and there are a variety of online “sorting” quizzes you can take to find out where you’d be if you were at Hogwarts. (If you're curious, you could try this one on Pottermore, but you need to create an account there first. Otherwise Google will find many unofficial alternatives for you.) Typically Gryffindor is the most popular, especially amongst younger fans, since it is Harry Potter’s house. In recent years Hufflepuff has risen in popularity due to the more recent “Fantastic Beasts” films having a hero in Newt Scamander who is from that house. Fewer people are likely to pick “the baddie house” as their choice though, unless they’re a bit more open minded about things. Whenever I’ve visited Warner Brothers Studio Tour, I’ve always been the only one to cheer when the guide says “anyone here from Slytherin?” I make sure to cheer extra loud too!

Whereas in the earlier days of Harry Potter merchandising, everything tended to be focused on Harry himself and Hogwarts items tended to be generic or with Gryffindor as the only option. These days, though, there are lots of items available to fans from all four houses. Naturally my collection tends towards Slytherin.

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Many of these items are made by master creators The Noble Collection, whose wand replicas are perfect recreations of the items you see in the films and who offer a number of exciting Hogwarts-house themed items.

Slytherin wizards are represented in the recent “blind box” metal wands from Jakks. I am not a fan of blind-boxed items on the whole. Trading card swaps are one thing, but having to make multiple purchases of items costing several pounds in order to complete a set is something I think is a bit unfair when there’s no guarantee of getting a complete collection and not simply frustrating duplicates. (I don’t like the artificial rarity that is prevalent in many “collectors” or “limited edition” items either, but that’s a topic for another time.) Recently several high street stores have had these wands on heavy reduction in their post-Christmas sales so a few of them have snuck into my collection…

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It isn’t completely necessary to purchase high-end replica items though. There’s a good selection of bargain Slytherin items available from stores such as Primark and even Poundland! Even the Noble Collection are good at having items that are affordable and practical, such as the magic wand pens and Hogwarts house pens.

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My Slytherin tie goes very well with my house robe, which was made-to-measure for me by the lovely Emma of Pleated Rose. Getting my own robe was a bit of an indulgence but I am delighted to have it. (The pin badge you see on the robe is from J.K. Rowling’s Lumos charity.)


While the Noble Collection have a set of amazing Hogwarts House notebooks available, with detailed metal house logos on the cover, there are also simpler notebooks such as the smaller one seen here from Insights that I picked up in Waterstones.

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Of course, if you’re looking at notebooks, there’s also this stunning replica of “Advanced Potion Making” from MinaLima, a copy of their design from the films. A book that plays a key role in the books and films, as the property of none other than the Half-Blood Prince himself, Slytherin head of house (and later Hogwarts headmaster) Severus Snape.


Bloomsbury have made the most of the following that each house has with the 20th Anniversary editions of the Harry Potter books that they have been releasing. Each house’s edition has its own custom colours, page edging, artwork and unique introductions with specific house facts. I am looking forward to getting the latest re-release “The Prisoner of Azkaban” later this year.

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One of my favourite items (again from Noble) is the Slytherin wax seal set. There’s something special about writing an actual letter and then sealing it with wax, it’s so far removed from sending an email that I find it intriguing and exciting! This set lets you apply a Slytherin House seal to your letters before you give them to your owl to deliver.

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Finally, I can’t talk about Harry Potter without mentioning the truly amazing shrine to the series that is Oliver Dall’s shop in Brighton. The Warner Brothers Studio Tour is the number one place to go for fans of the books and films, but if you want the experience of shopping on Diagon Alley, I would say that going into Oliver’s Brighton is the closest you can get! The whole shop is appropriately themed and stocked to the rafters with Harry Potter items large and small (from the smallest chocolate frog to the biggest, shiniest – and yes, priciest – prop replica.) Oliver and his team are always really friendly and make shopping there a truly fun experience, plus the shop has items to suit every budget. Even the most expensive items are competitively priced in this world of internet-price-comparison. (Lots of the items in this blog came from the store, plus others that will be sure to feature in future weeks...)
If you’re a Potterhead and find yourself in the South of England, make sure you pay him a visit.


(Stephen Candy Photography) Harry Potter Hogwarts MinaLima Noble Collection Olivers Brighton Slytherin Sun, 10 Feb 2019 20:35:39 GMT
New Blogs for 2019 No. 5 - Snoopy! _MG_3160_MG_3160

Before Star Trek or Star Wars or even Doctor Who, before Sherlock Holmes, Lord of the Rings, Ghostbusters and long before Harry Potter there was Snoopy!

While this may not be chronologically accurate, from my personal point of view this is definitely true. As a baby one of my first toys was a cuddly Snoopy and I grew up a fan of Snoopy, Charlie Brown and all things “Peanuts.” While growing up I collected dozens of the different compilation volumes of Charles M. Schulz’s daily cartoons, some purchased new, some from car boot sales and collected as many toys, figures and other items as I possibly could. In the process I learned an important lesson about collecting (and one that remains important today.) It’s not always possible to have “All The Things!” Collecting every item of merchandise for a hugely popular cultural icon is something that often just can’t be done. Fans and collectors certainly want to “complete the set” and even in the 1980s this was true for me. You don’t want gaps in your Panini sticker album (there was a Snoopy one of those, and I also collected their stickers for The Real Ghostbusters, Thundercats, Transformers, MASK and Care Bears. Apparently they also did football stickers too!) You CAN complete a sticker album, but when something’s been around as long as Snoopy nobody has the space to have EVERYTHING. Even the official Charles M. Schulz museum has to rotate their exhibits. After years of buying, or at least wanting to buy anything with a Snoopy on it I did learn this and calm down – and I have sometimes managed to maintain this self-discipline on other collections. (Not always though – having a complete set remains very tempting when it’s not quite so unobtainable as having Every Snoopy Ever.)

My very first Snoopy suffered the inevitable wear and tear of a child’s toy – he even had to have nose replacement surgery and now has a button nose! After many years of service he retired and was replaced with a newer version (but still kept in much-loved esteem, of course.) The “family” of this particular design of cuddly Snoopy was added to over time. There was a larger version at a local toy/nik-nak store called “Aladdin’s Cave” as part of a Snoopy display but not actually for sale. When the store closed down and had an “everything must go” sale, my early-teen self was able to persuade them to sell it to me, then an even larger version was added thanks to a car boot sale a few years later. These remain among my most treasured Snoopies!

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In the last year of secondary school (the “fifth year” or what is now called Year 11, or 10th Grade if you’re reading this in America) my English teacher set the class the task of recording their own “Desert Island Discs.” (A popular BBC Radio show in which famous people choose their favourite records along with a book and a “luxury item” that they would choose to take with them were they to be stranded on a desert island.) My musical choices included works by the Pet Shop Boys and The Beautiful South, but more relevantly to today’s theme I chose “The Complete Works of Charles M. Schulz” as my book. At the time, no such volume existed – after all it would be quite the task to fit all the Peanuts strips ever in the book and this was several years before the end of the series’ publication run. Once the series HAD ended (and the fact that the final every strip was published on the day Schulz passed away still moves me, it’s like he knew his work was complete and so he could rest) it was very exciting to hear the plans of Fantagraphics Books to publish compilation volumes of every strip, in publication order. I remember being worried that the plan to do so at a rate of two volumes a year over a period of twelve years might falter partway through (I’ve got other partwork books that stalled after fewer than half the intended volumes were released.) Thankfully this proved not to be the case and I duly collected the special annual two-volume boxed sets from 2004-2016. I’m delighted to now have this at the heart of my Peanuts collection.




My love of Snoopy and Peanuts also lead my younger self to read one of my first “grown-up” non-fiction books, Rheta Grimsley Johnson’s 1989 biography of Schulz “Good Grief.” It was inspiring to read how the man behind my favourite characters was so gentle and caring and also modest. One of my favourite anecdotes from the books is the tale of how Schulz, not usually one to flex the muscles of his status and wealth, was worried that the manufacturer of the pens he used to draw Peanuts had gone out of business, so he purchased all the remaining stock to ensure he’d never run out!


I collected a large number of 2 inch model Snoopies too. These were available from many shops in the 1980s and then from car boot sales in the 1990s, although they’re rarer these days. All sorts of different activities were available but my favourite remains this one, of Snoopy and Woodstock setting off for adventure together.


More recently, Jim Shore has sculpted a gorgeous range of models, blending his own style with the classic Peanuts characters and stories. I’m pleased to have collected several (although I’ve learned my lesson and am not trying to collect them all!)


My friend Sally from Roseus Crafts was also kind enough to give me these pretty Snoopy tea light holders as a birthday present a few years ago. You can check out her other crafts here.


While Snoopy’s sadly not seen as much (especially not in the UK) these days, he – and the rest of the Peanuts gang – will always be firm favourites of mine.


(Stephen Candy Photography) books Fantagraphics Jim Shore Peanuts Roseus Crafts Snoopy Sun, 03 Feb 2019 23:47:23 GMT
New Blogs for 2019 No. 4 - Oh the Horror (in Clay!) _MG_2514 (2)_MG_2514 (2)

About five years ago, my friend Tro from Littlest Lovecraft (of whom more another week) featured an awesome HP Lovecraft themed mug in the video for one of her Kickstarter projects. I very much wanted to get hold of one, so she pointed me in the direction of Jonathan Chaffin, the creator of the mug in question (which had also been a Kickstarter project some time previously.) I discovered he had in fact made two Lovecraftian “tiki” mugs and they were available from his website, Horror in Clay. (At this point I didn’t know what “tiki” was! So much still to learn. Would you like to know more? Wikipedia here.)

The mugs were well priced, but shipping to the UK from the USA for them was pricey. (Breakable and heavy items take a bit of transporting!) I decided to go for it, though, and took the plunge buying both at once. (Cheaper per-item shipping that way at least.) When the parcel arrived I was taken aback at the attention to detail and care that had gone into it. The experience was much like I would imagine unpacking a museum exhibit retrieved from storage might be. (Imagine all those crates at the end of the first Indiana Jones film…) Each mug was bubblewrapped, inside its own box, and then those boxes in turn safely in “packing peanuts” in the bigger box. There were also some brilliant extra items hidden away in the box; some Cthulhu themed coins and cleverly designed cocktail recipe cards and drinksmats to go with each mug.

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I shared some photos of the mugs with some of my online friends and, by now, Tro had introduced me to Jonathan online so he saw them too. The first ever set I took used “Captain Morgan” brand rum as set dressing. Someone online commented that surely Kraken brand rum would be more appropriate and that made another connection that I’ll also cover another day!

The next Horror in Clay Kickstarter project was a new mug, based on Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Cask of Amontillado.” This was the first project I had a chance to be involved with as a backer and this was a lot of fun, but before that mug arrived there was a fun side-project that was a perfect mix of my new interest in his mugs and my existing work in the scare attractions industry. He created the “Dark Lantern” mug, based on the story and character of “the Collector” – one of the signature monsters at Atlanta’s “Netherworld” haunted house. Two versions of the mug were available, a blue one that anyone could order online and a “bone”/brown version that could only be purchased from the Netherworld gift store. On the strength of the photos I’d already shared, I persuaded Jonathan that it would be worth sending me both variants and I strove to make this worth his while with the “Dark Lantern photo tour” of some of the UK’s leading Halloween events, who are clients of mine. The slideshow below shows the different events the rarer bone edition mug visited, many of them winners/multiple-winners of industry awards.

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By now, a nice working pattern had established. I’d get occasional messages from Jonathan saying “any chance of a photo to promote the mugs for a blog from the drinks mat makers” or other fun crossovers and little challenges. It’s always a pleasure to be asked and I enjoy coming up with images that meet these requirements. Seen below are examples taken for use on the Geek Mom blog, the Tiki with Ray blog (and also used for a steampunk convention) and Printglobe’s blog.




I also doubled up with a Littlest Lovecraft photoshoot, giving a "fish guy" from the fictional town of Innsmouth a chance to drink from the Innsmouth Fogcutter mug.


(With thanks to Iain "Flash" Leighton for modelling and Emma "Thrones" Procter for makeup.)

Another crossover opportunity came when I was shooting promotional photos for Sean Rouse of Regions Beyond candles. Sean also loves tiki and so was happy to pose with one of the Netherworld mugs in full zombie mode!

(Thanks again to Emma Procter for makeup.)

My special photo to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Horror in Clay was very popular!


I’ve keenly followed all the Horror in Clay projects and am proud to be one of only a few collectors in the world to have a full set of the mugs, including a special one created for the Pseudopod podcast’s 10th anniversary.

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There’s also a different colour “Hyperborean” variant on the original Cthulhu mug and a newer, purple version of the Innsmouth Fogcutter (the original green variety now being sold out.)

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The tales of Edgar Allan Poe were the inspiration for a second mug, based on the terrible ape from “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.”

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Last year Jonathan organised Inuhele, a home tiki bar tour in Atlanta. The event had its own special mug and, whilst technically not a Horror in Clay, I couldn’t resist adding it to the collection. Partly from the inevitable collector’s need for completism but mainly because it’s such a great looking piece.

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This week, the most recent mug arrived. The “Pallid Mask” is inspired by Robert W. Chambers novella “The King in Yellow” a set of stories that has a very Lovecraftian feel and was indeed praised by H.P. Lovecraft himself as “one of the greatest weird tales ever written.” It came with the now-customary array of exciting extras, proving itself a worthy member of the Horror in Clay family.






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(Yes that's right. The "Tiki Cthulhu Business" pin badge GLOWS IN THE DARK. I do love things that glow in the dark!)

Jonathan and his wife Allison also run MugCrate, which is a variation on the "Loot Crate" mystery box theme, only each box contains tiki cocktail items. The Crates are always amazing value and well worth a look if you love great cocktails and awesome barware. (Not every mug is a Horror in Clay, but they curate some brilliant items from across the world of tiki!)


Next month sees Inuhele return, so if you love these mugs, tiki cocktails and having fun (and you’re in Atlanta, which sadly I most definitely am not) then do check out the website for full details.




Last April Fool’s Day, Horror in Clay announced the “Scotch-O-Nut” – a plastic beaker shaped like a coconut – as an alternative to well crafted ceramic mugs. The idea was sufficiently off the wall that it took a while for people to realise that this was an actual novelty product they could buy! I have to say, despite its comedy origins, I am rather taken with my Scotch-O-Nuts and think they’re great fun.


One irony of collecting all these brilliant cocktail mugs for me is that, as a lifelong teetotaller, I won’t ever enjoy a properly crafted alcoholic cocktail from them. However I’ve found a perfect solution that has been well received by all who have encountered it – Horror in Clay “milkshake madness!”


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(Stephen Candy Photography) horror Horror in Clay Lovecraft Poe tiki Mon, 28 Jan 2019 01:11:18 GMT
New Blogs for 2019 No. 3 - Ghostbusters Extra Egon! Ghostbusters – Extra Egon!

Diamond Select Real Ghostbusters EgonDiamond Select Real Ghostbusters Egon

This week has been very Ghostbusters-centric for me. Firstly I, along with much of the internet, was VERY excited by Jason Reitman’s surprise Ghostbusters sequel teaser. It’s always been exciting to speculate how a sequel, with the original cast and characters but set an appropriate amount of time later than the original to allow for the passage of time for the actors, might look and (to borrow from the first film) “now it looks like it may actually happen!”

Original Diamond Select Movie GhostbustersOriginal Diamond Select Movie Ghostbusters

Secondly, a routine visit to Gobsmack Comics in Horsham revealed a new line of toys <ahem> collectibles that I was unaware of. Although I’ve collected the Diamond Select Ghostbusters figures from the original film, I didn’t know they’d expanded the range to cover the Real Ghostbusters cartoon. After a whole day of self restraint, I decided to take the plunge and bought the new Egon figure. Having collected the four Ghostbusters from the first set of figures I’d thought I was done. (I didn’t go in for the “collect all the figures including the ones that are the same character but with a different hat” option. There’s only so much shelfspace in anyone’s house – not to mention money in the wallet!) However these new figures mean (to borrow from another very famous film) “just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!”

_MG_2244_MG_2244 _MG_2241_MG_2241 _MG_2248_MG_2248

I haven’t yet decided whether I’ll stretch to getting all four Ghostbusters again – my “Ghostbusters” shelf is already overfull, but it’s hard to resist such a well made model of my favourite character. As a child I saw the first film slightly after its original release. A lot of “pester power” finally persuaded my mother to take me to see it at a local municipal hall (of the sort that showed films a little while after their cinematic release was completed.) I really enjoyed it and subsequently video recorded it from the television on its first Christmastime broadcast. It got a LOT of rewatches! Then when the Real Ghostbusters cartoon came out, it actually took me by surprise. For whatever reason I missed the first episode (and didn’t even know about the show at all – no internet spoilers or hype in those days!) When my friends wanted to play Ghostbusters on the playground the following day, I was only too happy to join in, but was surprised that they wanted to be friends with “Slimer.” As far as I was concerned the Sedgewick Hotel ghost was called “the green gog” and was a baddie! (To this day I’m not sure WHY I thought that was its name, but it was the accepted term amongst my friends before what had been known as “onionhead” during film production was rechristened “Slimer” by the cartoon.) Eventually it was explained to me “hadn’t I seen the cartoon yesterday?” The pieces fell into place and I soon caught up, videoing many future episodes and enthusiastically rewatching them whilst collecting the toys as best I could. (In those days, one had to visit different toystores in the hope of them having the Ghostbuster you sought in stock. Many times Argos let me down when the code I took to the till came back “out of stock.”) It was always Egon that I related to the most, with his scientific ways and slightly detached attitude (although if I’m honest, I am probably closer to Venkman in personality!) It’s interesting that, despite his apparently calm and rational personality, it is Egon who gets angry and attacks Walter Peck after Peck shuts off the containment unit in the first film. (Perhaps Peck’s assertion that Egon’s equipment caused the explosion was too much of a professional insult?) Harold Ramis himself stated that this was a deliberate character point and it does show that the character has real depth in just the same way as the “emotionless” Spock in Star Trek.

_MG_2259_MG_2259 _MG_2286_MG_2286


The new Egon figure from Diamond Select shares the features from their other models in being exquisitely detailed and having many, very accurately realised accessories. The proton pack, PKE meter and ghost trap have been redesigned to reflect the cartoon props and of course the character sculpt has been redone too (although close scrutiny does show that the upper torso is a repaint of the existing Egon figure – you can make out the outline of where the original has the “Spengler” nametape, not present in The Real Ghostbusters.)


_MG_2301_MG_2301 _MG_2303_MG_2303

_MG_2305_MG_2305 _MG_2306_MG_2306

I have quite a few Egon figures although a check in my parents’ loft prior to shooting these photos revealed that I sadly no longer have my original Real Ghostbusters toys, seemingly a victim of a rare clearout probably in my late teens.


It’s great to see how much detail goes into the accessories for all these figures, even the Playmobil figures for younger children. You can see a comparison of Proton Packs and PKE meters below.

Diamond Select "Movie" Proton PackDiamond Select "Movie" Proton Pack Diamond Select "Cartoon" Proton PackDiamond Select "Cartoon" Proton Pack

Vinyl Idolz "Movie" Proton PackVinyl Idolz "Movie" Proton Pack Playmobil "Movie" Proton PackPlaymobil "Movie" Proton Pack

Diamond Select "Movie" PKE MeterDiamond Select "Movie" PKE Meter Diamond Select "Cartoon" PKE MeterDiamond Select "Cartoon" PKE Meter

Vinyl Idolz "Movie" PKE MeterVinyl Idolz "Movie" PKE Meter Playmobil "Movie" PKE MeterPlaymobil "Movie" PKE Meter

I can’t talk about Ghostbusters here without also mentioning the 30th Anniversary playing card deck released by my friends at Albino Dragon five years ago. (That’s right, it’s the 35th Anniversary this year – I’m excited to read the accompanying IDW comic books for the event.)


Before the deck was even announced, let alone drawn, I recall a conversation with company owner Erik about which characters would suit which face cards in a Ghostbusters deck. It was exciting to then see the deck come to life. They’ve since also brought out a card game which I am hoping to get hold of a copy of soon. (Sadly the distributor for the game don’t ship internationally.) Officially licensed products often have to abide by some very strict, and sometimes very dull, “style guidelines” regarding how images look, so the stylised art for the deck is an interesting contrast to the strict “art that looks like photos from the film” or worse “stock film stills pasted onto playing cards” approach that licensed decks sometimes have.

_MG_2348_MG_2348 _MG_2352_MG_2352

Finally, it’s amusing that this collection of figures has yielded a not-at-all-disturbing bag of dismembered Ghostbuster hands, from the various different pose options for each figure. I’m sure they’ll come in handy for something…



(Stephen Candy Photography) Albino Dragon Diamond Select Egon Spengler Ghostbusters Playmobil Vinyl Idolz Sun, 20 Jan 2019 22:28:54 GMT
New Blogs for 2019 No. 2 - Majickal Matlock Majickal Matlock

Matlock the Hare CollectionMatlock the Hare Collection

So, what are the prerequisites for creating your own “world” in fantasy storytelling? Relatable characters, epic adventures, frightening villains, a beginning, middle and end? These are all typical but there are some other peripheral aspects that have become part and parcel of much fantasy fiction to such a degree that they’re now almost expected. I’m going to talk about them while at the same time introducing you to the majickal (yes, I spelled that right) world of “Matlock the Hare.”

The Matlock the Hare TrilogyThe Matlock the Hare Trilogy

The Matlock the Hare TrilogyThe Matlock the Hare Trilogy

The first book in the Matlock the Hare trilogy, “The Riddle of Trefflupugga Path” was written by Phil Lovesey, illustrated by Jacqui Lovesey and published by Silverwood Books in 2014. (The top photo above, taken by me in 2016, promotes the trilogy on the Matlock website and the lower one is featured in the back of the artwork companion book “Upon A Tzorkly Moon.”) It introduced readers to the world of Winchett Dale, a mythical extension of Derbyshire’s Peak District in the UK. It is beyond the reach of (most) humans and home to a unique collection of talking animals, some of which are familiar and others fantastical. It is also home to its own language, “Dalespeak” and this brings us to the first thing we expect from a fantasy world – its own language. JRR Tolkien might have written “Lord of the Rings” and its extended works as a scholarly means to test his created languages such as Elvish (with its many varieties such as Quenya and Sindarin) and Dwarfish (Khuzdul) but other fictional languages have less lofty roots. Star Trek’s Klingon language began as some guttural sounds made by actor James Doohan (“Scotty”) and refined with film producer Jon Povill for the scenes at the beginning of Star Trek: The Motion Picture featuring that race. This was subsequently refined by linguist Marc Okrand for his book “The Klingon Dictionary” and has become famous for its adoption by fans. (Klingon translations of famous literary works including Hamlet and The Little Prince now exist!) Many other works, both in written and onscreen fiction, now include their own language but a common factor is the use of translation for the reader/viewer. (Explanations in text, subtitles on screen.) The language of Winchett Dale isn’t too far away from English, but has lots of its own words dropped into sentences replacing common English terms pretty much from the opening page. Although there’s a glossary at the back, it’s surprising and fun just how quickly you grab an understanding from context and get used to the new words. They’re such fun words too, such as “clottabussed” meaning “a bit daft or silly” or “oidy” for small (“peffa-oidy” for very small.)

I first encountered Matlock the Hare just before the publication of the third book in the trilogy (“The Trial of the Majickal Elders”) in 2016. I saw a retweet by Thomas Brown promoting something called #TheMajickReturns, a promotional campaign for the book and inviting people to contact Phil & Jacqui to take part. A quick bit of investigating showed that we had some mutual friends (hello Professor Elemental) and so I got in touch. The idea was to spend the run-up to the book’s publication sharing daily photos with a handmade “Dale creature” that Phil & Jacqui would supply (and that Jacqui would handmake.)

Shelpp the neffle-hammerShelpp the neffle-hammer

I was sent “Shelpp” who is a “neffle-hammer” – a sort of self operating magic hammer, but one that must be kept busy or it’ll find work for itself and not always in a helpful way. To play my part, I took Shelpp with me to work for the duration and grabbed shots of him wherever I went, as well as some extra ones taken at home to ensure there was enough for every day. You can see all of those photos in the slideshow below.

Whilst taking part in #TheMajickReturns, I also made a point of catching up on the backstory, reading the first two books in the trilogy. I found it very enjoyable and written in the same knowing style that all good children's stories and pantomimes are – there’s something fun for younger readers whilst still being engaging and even incisive for older ones. (I especially enjoy the portrayal of the layers of incompetent and self-fulfilling bureaucracy in the Dales.)

Although too late to take part in the Kickstarter campaigns that had funded the second two books of the trilogy, I was delighted that Phil and Jacqui took the world of Matlock further than the three books. Another of the things that seems compulsory for fantasy is having a map of your world and I was thrilled that they sent me a copy of Jacqui’s map of Winchett Dale, as seen in the books. It can be seen pictured below, beneath three more creatures from Matlock’s world. (l-r a “Beebagourd”, a “Brogg” and a “Dripple.”)

The Map of Winchett DaleThe Map of Winchett Dale

On publication of the third book in the trilogy, one of the first things I said was that there should be a companion book of Jacqui’s artwork in a larger, colour format. It turns out that great minds think alike as this was the very next project. (You’ll notice all the latest big films also have “Art of…” tie-in books.) “Upon A Tzorkly Moon” was published in 2017 and I am especially delighted to have a piece of the original art from the book in my collection.

Upon a Tzorkly Moon book w. original artUpon a Tzorkly Moon book w. original art Upon a Tzorkly Moon book w. original artUpon a Tzorkly Moon book w. original art

As well as creating the art for the stories, and indeed being responsible for the first painting of Matlock that got the whole thing started, Jacqui makes a number of handmade miniatures of Dale creatures. I’m pleased to have several of these, they live happily on my bookshelf in front of the Matlock the Hare books.

A DrippleA Dripple A BeebagourdA Beebagourd

A BroggA Brogg A BicklespriteA Bicklesprite

A BicklespriteA Bicklesprite Thunke the BeadleThunke the Beadle

In a world as clottabussed and saztaculous as Winchett Dale, there are always more tales to be told and 2017 was punctuated by monthly “Dale Mail” boxes (in a similar style to the popular Loot Crate mystery parcels.) Each contained a mini storybook, two art cards and some fun accompanying items and built into a lovely little collection.

"Dale Mail" handmade books"Dale Mail" handmade books

"Moonion" bulb from Dale Mail box."Moonion" bulb from Dale Mail box.

Moonion closeupMoonion closeup


Dale Mail art cards and collector's boxDale Mail art cards and collector's box

Halloween Dale MailHalloween Dale Mail

Halloween Dale MailHalloween Dale Mail

The “Dale Mail” boxes paused in early 2018 for another book project, focussing on the witches from the Matlock stories in “The League of Lid-Curving Witchery.” Telling the tale of three witches back before Matlock’s time and this time illustrated in full colour. The Kickstarter project also included options for fun extras such as the game of “Thunke!” and I was again delighted that Jacqui sent me a piece of original art from the book, this time the painting from the book’s very last page.

League of Lid-Curving Witchery with original artLeague of Lid-Curving Witchery with original art

Original artwork from book's final pageOriginal artwork from book's final page

Handmade "Dark Twizzly Horn" necklace Kickstarter rewardHandmade "Dark Twizzly Horn" necklace Kickstarter reward

For 2019, Phil & Jacqui created a calendar with more art from Winchett Dale and also showing the different festivals of the Dale (as well as the ones we already know from our world, known in Dalespeak as “The Great Beyond.”)

Matlock Calendar 2019Matlock Calendar 2019

Of course, Harry Potter has made “butterbeer” famous and several other fictional worlds have made-up drinks of their own. Winchett Dale has Guzzwort beer, Tzorkly Moon celebration ale and Grimwagel Wine, as witnessed by the beermats shown here!

Winchett Dale beer matsWinchett Dale beer mats

A final word must be given to the lovely attention to detail that always goes into the packaging for everything that comes from Winchett Dale. It’s always a delight to open new packages, with careful tissue paper wrapping and fun Matlock themed stickers.

Matlock packagingMatlock packaging

Do have a look at Matlock the Hare’s website to find out more about his tzorkly and saztaculous world, I’m very glad that I did back in 2016 and it’s been a treat to photograph so many of Phil and Jacqui’s creations since then. Stay tuned to Kickstarter too, as there's an exciting new "White Hare Wisdom" oracle card deck coming from them on February 12th...


(Stephen Candy Photography) books Kickstarter Matlock the Hare Sun, 13 Jan 2019 19:52:19 GMT
New Blogs for 2019 No. 1 - Tolkien Times It’s been over two years since I posted on this blog. This is probably a sign of just how busy I’ve been as each season seems to blur into the next more each year, but I’ve resolved to put more effort into things for 2019 and have formulated a plan to post a new blog, with all new photos, each weekend throughout the year. I’m hoping it will give me a chance to share more than just the event photos that are the mainstay of the “sales” pages of this site.

As some of you know – especially those who follow me over on twitter – I am fortunate to have the opportunity to photograph an assortment of fun items from the worlds of scifi, fantasy and tabletop gaming. (I am proud to be something of a geek and the 25GB subfolder of photos on my server titled “Geekery” is testament to this.) I usually share these images via twitter and they’re also often used by some of the manufacturers to help promote their wares.

Tolkien Times

Tolkien Props and CoinsTolkien Props and Coins

Each weekend I’ll share some new images either of some products from my collection, something new that has arrived, or from a recent event or occasion. For this first week, I thought it would be appropriate to visit the world of JRR Tolkien, since January 3rd was the 127th anniversary of The Professor’s birth. I first read “The Hobbit” aged about 9 and, like so many others, Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy remains one of my favourite series of films, one that I revisit often.

The Noble Collection, Shire Post Mint and “Lord of the Rings.”

Evenstar Necklace with Rivendell Moon coinsEvenstar Necklace with Rivendell Moon coins

The Noble Collection are well known as the manufacturers of prop replicas from several of the world’s most popular fantasy/adventure worlds, including Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, DC Comics and – of course – Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. One of my favourite items from their LOTR collection is the replica Evenstar necklace pictured here.

Noble Collection "Evenstar" NecklaceNoble Collection "Evenstar" Necklace

This is an exact duplicate of the one worn by Liv Tyler as Arwen in the films (although in the books there’s no direct reference to a necklace by this name, merely that she wears a “white jewel” on her chest.) Its many appearances in that trilogy make it one of the most recognisable artifacts – and certainly one that is more wearable and portable than a sword! The Noble letter-opener replicas of key swords from the films are just as detailed and accurate whilst being rather less dangerous than their full sized counterparts. (Future weeks may feature images of some of the swords I’ve accidentally collected from other fantasy worlds though…)

Noble Collection - Sting, Glamdring & OrcristNoble Collection - Sting, Glamdring & Orcrist

Noble Collection StingNoble Collection Sting

Noble Collection GlamdringNoble Collection Glamdring

Noble Collection OrcristNoble Collection Orcrist

Noble Collection Glamdring with Evenstar NecklaceNoble Collection Glamdring with Evenstar Necklace

Shire Post Mint are an American family business from Arkansas. The Mint’s founder, Tom Maringer, is a lifelong Tolkien fan and expert. His own fan project creating unofficial stamps of The Shire (hence “Shire Post”) progressed into creating unofficial but much sought after Shire coins using traditional techniques and antique coin-pressing equipment (hence “Shire Post Mint.”) His work is all handmade, a world (and a century) away from the sort of mass produced coinage typical of many games and merchandise items. Before “Game of Thrones” was the international behemoth it now is, author George RR Martin saw Tom’s coins and enquired after having some made to help bring the world of his book “A Song of Ice and Fire” to life. This licence stood Shire Post in good stead when “Game of Thrones” became an international hit. Rather than give the licence for coins to a bigger manufacturer (for potentially bigger percentage return), GRRM stuck to the deal he’d made with them and this raised the company’s profile. (They have a VERY wide range of coins from the series that is well worth checking out, including an amazing Iron Coin of the Faceless man that’s MUCH nicer than what we saw onscreen in the HBO series. Whilst HBO sadly chose not to use the Shire Post coins onscreen I do know that both cast and crew had their coins onset and apparently if you ever meet George RR Martin in person, it’s possible he may even have some with him.)

Selection of Shire Post Mint Tolkien CoinsSelection of Shire Post Mint Tolkien Coins

The Shire Post range expanded, as did the company, and now includes other fantasy realms including Robert Jordan’s “The Wheel of Time”, Brandon Sanderson’s “Mistborn”, Patrick Rothfuss’s “Kingkiller Chronicle”, “Conan the Barbarian” and more, as well as a great range of original coins too. (You’ll see more of their work in future blogs.) The firm now encompasses three generations of the Maringer family and what was a part-time hobby has become a full-time job for them all! The story came full-circle in 2015 when Shire Post were finally given a licence to produce official “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” coins, some of which feature designs inherited from the earlier, unofficial range. (The earlier range remain sought after among collectors and I am delighted to have some of these tucked away in my collection too! Pictured here is an example of just one such coin, appropriate for the occasion of Tolkien’s “birthday” – a Mathom, minted as a special gift for those attending Bilbo Baggins’s birthday party.)

Shire Post Mint Mathom ObverseShire Post Mint Mathom Obverse

Shire Post Mint Mathom ReverseShire Post Mint Mathom Reverse

The more recent coins are available from Shire Post both individually or in a set of collections four of which are shown here.

Shire Post Mint Hobbit Coins Set 1Shire Post Mint Hobbit Coins Set 1

Shire Post Mint Hobbit Coins Set 2Shire Post Mint Hobbit Coins Set 2

Shire Post Mint LOTR Coins Set 1Shire Post Mint LOTR Coins Set 1

Shire Post Mint LOTR Coins Set 2Shire Post Mint LOTR Coins Set 2

It’s worth noting that many of the Shire Post coins are also available as necklaces, such as this Elvish Leaf in solid niobium. (Pictured with the Noble Collection Glamdring sword letter opener.)

Shire Post Mint Elvish Leaf Necklace 1Shire Post Mint Elvish Leaf Necklace 1

Shire Post Mint Elvish Leaf Necklace 1Shire Post Mint Elvish Leaf Necklace 1

Shire Post also put lovely touches to the presentation of orders they send out – a special custom envelope to hold your coins, with an appropriate wax seal. Shown here with the Gondor Crown in niobium (left) and silver next to the seal. I really recommend a visit to their website to see their wares.

Shire Post Mint Wax Seal & CoinsShire Post Mint Wax Seal & Coins

Over the coming weeks I will be sharing more freshly taken photos, some of them featuring items from this teaser image below. (How many different "worlds" and creators can you spot?) If there are any items you’d like to see me photograph please do get in touch as I’d very much enjoy some interaction over the coming year of photos!

2019 Blogs Teaser2019 Blogs Teaser

(Stephen Candy Photography) coins Lord of the Rings Noble Collection Shire Post Mint The Hobbit Tolkien Sat, 05 Jan 2019 22:23:40 GMT
2016 In Review At the end of every year I seem to end up saying “this has been my busiest year ever.” That remains true of 2016, which has been an exciting and energetic mixture of my regular work for long-term clients plus a number of new challenges too. While I don’t want to simply write a list of “jobs I’ve done this year” now is surely the time to look back and pick out some highlights.

No year would be a success without the many shows presented by my regular theatrical clients. Of course it’s Ariel Company Theatre who keep me busiest in this respect and I remain grateful for Neil & Nicci’s constant support. It is always a pleasure working on their shows and showcases. Now they have 5 drama academies, plus their Othellos special needs group, choirs and workshops it’s never long until their next performance.

_MG_0154Ariel's Musicality 2016Production photo from show at The Hawth.

COS Musical Theatre’s shows have continued to go from strength to strength. 2016 saw another great pantomime, revue show and a full production of “The Wizard of Oz.” I am very excited for “Spamalot” next year (and their panto “Dick Whittington” opens at The Hawth next weekend too. Book now, it’s probably almost sold out already!)

_MG_0115COS Wizard of OzProduction photo from "The Wizard of Oz" at The Hawth Various Stagecoach franchises across the South also keep me busy and it’s lovely seeing the different ways each school brings out the best in their students.

_MG_7360Nightmare Before ChristmasPerformance photo from Haywards Heath Stagecoach A wide number of dance productions provide great photo-opportunities. Fi Steps autumn showcase is always exceptional and marks the start of the hectic Autumn/Winter season for me. This year there seemed not to be a break from that point right up until Christmas as one event led straight into another! This year’s 25th Anniversary show, appropriately titled “25”, showed how much love there is for the superbly talented Fiona Whyte amongst her staff and students. I’m delighted that Fi continues to choose me to photograph her shows – especially now she’s an in-demand photographer herself.

_MG_5752Fi Steps "25"Fi Steps dancers in action at The Hawth The Hawth Theatre’s resident dance school Sway also put on several great showcases at the end of their Summer term.

_MG_4662Sway DanceSway Dance Showcase performance at The Hawth Autumn means the incredibly hectic Halloween season. Every year brings more new venues and clients meaning almost every minute of October is precisely scheduled. As always, Tulleys Shocktober Fest is the heart of Halloween. It’s thanks to the ongoing support of Stuart Beare at Tulleys Farm that I am now well known within the Scare Attractions industry and in 2016 I returned to several existing venues as well as taking on new clients. It’s brilliant to see that Scream Park Entertainments are also getting busier and busier too. I’m so glad our paths get to cross as frequently as they do – long may this continue.
_MG_4290Fire DanceFirey fun at Shocktober Fest _MG_3632Broadwitch HauntfestUnderground terror at Broadditch Farm

_MG_9930Shocktober Street TheatreStreet Theatre Team at Tulleys 2016

As the official photographer for ScareCON, Europe’s only trade show for the scare attractions industry, it is a treat to photograph all the goings on at this constantly expanding event. I must congratulate Michael Bolton for his work on this and thank him for his continual support. (This year it was a huge bonus that we all made it onto BBC1’s “One Show” as part of their Halloween coverage. Blink and you’ll miss me, but the coverage for the industry was outstanding and very positive.)

_MG_2043One Show TerrorMonsters, zombies and Arthur Smith, filming for BBC1's One Show at ScareCON 2016 I was thrilled to see Juby Lee Bakes win the Young Startup Talent prize this year and it has been lovely to be able to support this enthusiastic group of young people as their “bakery project” progresses. (Plus they keep giving me cakes, which is always going to meet with my approval.) I expect 2017 will be a very exciting growth time for their business.

_MG_9005 (2)Juby Lee BakesThe Juby Lee Bakes team My product photography work is possibly less “visible” here, especially to those who don’t follow me on Twitter. I have had lots of exciting items sent my way for photos this year. I am especially proud of the photos I have taken for the American companies Horror in Clay, Littlest Lovecraft, Project Khopesh and Shire Post Mint. It is a real privilege when I am entrusted with prototype items sent all the way from the USA! There’s nothing more fun than getting a message asking for a particular sort of shot or themed shot featuring the items already in my possession. A real challenge sometimes too…

_MG_8613Horror in ClayPromotional photo for Horror in Clay/Geek Mom website. I had great fun with #TheMajickReturns in October, a promotional event leading up to the publication of the final book in Phil and Jacqui Lovesey’s “Matlock the Hare” trilogy. A whole month of different photos featuring “Shelpp the neffle hammer!” Just the sort of madness I enjoy and I’m delighted that they’ve got another project set in “Winchett Dale” coming up in February 2017. If “Lord of the Rings but with talking animals” sounds like fun to you (trust me, it is) then be sure to check out their website

_MG_8958Matlock TrilogyMatlock the Hare books Closer to home it was great to take a number of different photos for Sean Rouse’s new company October Candles whose spookily-themed candles “aren’t just for October.” It was lovely to bring together a team of old friends and collaborators for this.

_MG_6138October CandlesOctober Candles with a "Burnt Witch"

As well as covering their summer school production of "Joseph" I was delighted to be asked once again to photograph The Capitol's pantomime. This year it was "Aladdin" and featured the return of some past favourites to the cast alongside some great newcomers. It was a treat that it also included the return of my friend Martin "Bunny Galore" Ramsdin to The Capitol as Widow Twankey. Brilliant family fun that was clearly well received by audiences and reviewers alike.

_MG_3384Aladdin"Dirty Laundry" song

This August I finally took the plunge and updated my website. I had been putting this off for a LONG time due to the workload involved in migrating all my existing photo albums to a new provider. However it had been apparent for quite some time that the PhotoBox “Pro Gallery” I was using was no longer fit for the purpose. I am very pleased with my new site and the customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive so I am glad I took the plunge. Thank you to everyone who had to be patient during the changeover. It is now possible to easily access older photos on this new site as well as my more recent work. If there are any old sets of photos that I have not copied across, please do contact me to ask and I can add them to my archive pages for you.

A project from another photographer that I must mention is Paul Michael Kane’s inspiring “Lightbox Photography Cards.” I am proud to be an “education ambassador” for these and indeed was the first person in the world to use them in an educational setting back in February 2015. There are now four different decks of cards available, each with a variety of photo challenges cleverly designed to be ideal for photographers of all levels of ability and experience.  They’re also accessible regardless of what equipment you use (there’s even a whole deck designed just for use with mobile phone cameras) so for anyone asking me how to improve their own photography these are the first thing I recommend.

_MG_7685Lightbox ArrivesPaul Michael Kane's Lightbox Photography Cards

Finally I can’t finish without saying how proud I am of Jack Lane and his “Wisdom of a Fool” show. I am proud that he asked me to take the publicity and production photos for him in the Autumn of 2015 when he premiered his work at The Capitol in Horsham. Since then the production has toured the UK to huge acclaim and I am delighted to have seen the poster (featuring a photo I took) appear outside prestigious venues across the country! Telling the story of Norman Wisdom, this energetic one man show is back at The Capitol (as well as other venues) for 2017 and I can’t recommend it enough. Get yourself a ticket and you’ll have something great to look forward to.

_MG_8577Wisdom of a FoolWisdom of a Fool Poster Photo I am bound to have missed out something in my recollections, but it’s fair to say I have enjoyed every show, shoot, performance and production that I have worked on in 2016 and am very much hoping I will see everyone again in 2017 for another busy year!

(Stephen Candy Photography) 2016 ScareCON Tulleys ariel company theatre cos musical theatre fi steps halloween stagecoach wisdom of a fool Sat, 31 Dec 2016 18:57:19 GMT
Christmas Delivery Cut-Offs I can't believe it's nearly Christmas already. That little "gap" between Halloween and Christmas that provides me with a bit of a rest and a catch-up has completely disappeared this year.

If you're planning on ordering prints from this website and want them to arrive in time for Christmas, the last day for orders is MONDAY 19th DECEMBER.

If you want digital files, not prints, you can get them up to midday on Christmas Eve by emailing or messaging me.

I hope your Christmas shopping is going well. Remember, everyone loves a framed print of themselves/their child/their Grandchild as a present...

(Stephen Candy Photography) Christmas Wed, 14 Dec 2016 21:57:47 GMT
Archive News - Ariel Company Theatre (Part 2) I have now completed the second half of my Ariel Company Theatre archive update. All the Ariel Drama Academy and Othellos showcases from 2015 and before are now in a subfolder of the Ariel Archive called ADP Showcases Archive.

This means that all the major Ariel events and performances since 2007 are now easily available in one place on my new site. There are a few smaller events (such as the flashmobs and some non-theatre-based Drama Academy events) which I have not archived. If you cannot find what you're looking for then please do contact me and I will be happy to add new folders as required.

Now I'm moving on to the next major archive upload task - Stagecoach. I've photographed shows for many of the South-East's Stagecoach Theatre Arts franchises and will make them all available in their own archive sections as soon as possible.

(Stephen Candy Photography) archive ariel company theatre stagecoach Thu, 08 Sep 2016 21:06:03 GMT
Archive News - Ariel Company Theatre (Part 1) Ariel Company Theatre are one of my biggest clients - and also one of my busiest! They seem to somehow have more and more happening every year. I have now worked my way through my archive of their shows dating back to 2007 and they are all now on my Ariel Company Theatre Archives page.

(It is worth noting that some smaller Ariel events might have been left out, so if you can't find something please do message me to ask.)

I am now going to move on to the Ariel Drama Academy showcases. There are a LOT of these too, so there'll be another update once they're all up to date...

(Stephen Candy Photography) archive ariel company theatre Sun, 04 Sep 2016 22:03:03 GMT
Archive News - Fi Steps and Hit & Run I have now completed two more archives of photos.

Every Fi Steps show from "Hollywood to Broadway" in 2009 onwards is now available here. There is also a special offer on Fi Steps photos until the end of September. Please contact me or Fi, or see the Fi Steps Facebook group for details.

All the shows I covered for the much-missed Hit & Run Theatre Company are archived here.

I'm continuing to add more archive photos as fast as I can - there's been a LOT of shows over the past decade...

(Stephen Candy Photography) archive fi steps hit and run Tue, 30 Aug 2016 12:01:33 GMT
Archive News - COS Musical Theatre I've spent a fair bit of time trying to ensure that as many as possible of the older photos that were on my previous website remain available. I have now completed moving the entire archive of COS Musical Theatre photos to a new COS Musical Theatre Archives page located here in my "Pre-2016 Albums" section. This contains the performance photos from every COS show from 2008-2015. (Shows from 2016 onwards will be in their own folders on my main Buy Photos page.)


I am working on having archive pages for all my regular clients to make it as easy as possible to revisit and order photos from older shows. Please bear with me while I work on this and please do email or message me if there's a particular show or event you're waiting for and I will try to prioritise it for you. As more archive pages become available I will update this blog with the news.

(Stephen Candy Photography) archive cos musical theatre Sun, 28 Aug 2016 22:08:30 GMT
Where's my photos from before 2016? I am sure this will become a Frequently Asked Question, so thought I'd best address it right away.

One of the things most often said to me by people involved in the shows and events I photograph regularly is "I've been meaning to go back and order photos from that show/event ages ago." I always assure them that the photos are still on my website, waiting for their order whenever they are ready.
Now, with the change of website provider, that is sadly no longer true. In theory, a website/program called Upload Junction is supposed to be able to transfer ALL the old photos from PhotoBox to Zenfolio. That's actually about 120,000 images across about 500 albums over almost 10 years. So no mean feat! It turns out this task was too much to ask and, after half copying fewer than 5 albums, it gave up. This left me with the unenviable task of re-uploading every single photo I've ever put on my website. I'm afraid, with the limited amount of orders I get from the older albums, that just wasn't realistic. I HAVE re-uploaded every album from 2016. (Thank goodness for fibre-optic broadband speeds or it'd have taken the rest of the year just to do this!) I have not been able to re-upload the older albums from 2015 and before. However, I am more than happy to re-add specific albums that you may wish to revisit. Please just email me (stephen AT and let me know what show/event you're looking for, so you can view/order the photos you want. I'm sorry for this inconvenience, it's the worst side effect of what I am hoping is otherwise going to be a positive switch to my new, improved website.

Too Long; Didn't Read: Older photos from 2015 and before are now only available on request, please email me for assistance.

(Stephen Candy Photography) archive Thu, 18 Aug 2016 22:28:09 GMT
First Blog Post I've been meaning to update my website for over a year. The limited functionality of the old PhotoBox sales site along with needing to have an online presence that was more than just a "for sale" set of albums were both factors spurring me towards this, but being really busy actually taking photos has always got in the way!

PhotoBox abandoning their "Pro Gallery" service, leaving me no choice but to relocate my site, has forced my hand and so here we are! It's probably for the best, since barely a week passes without an email from a potential customer complaining that the PhotoBox site isn't working properly. I'd always be happy to fix these orders by hand, but dread to think how many I lost from less patient customers giving up and not contacting me. Hopefully that will be a thing of the past. I've even managed to keep my prices the same, despite a three-figure increase in annual costs caused by this change. That's almost ten years at the same price per photo and STILL the lowest price I know for any equivalent service.

This post is mainly a test to see if the blog function works as it should. I shall try to use the ongoing blog to keep up with what I've been working on and perhaps to showcase some of the work I do that's not purely events-based and so doesn't have such a high public profile.

Hopefully the transition to the Zenfolio service will be relatively painless. I've yet to try the agonising process of transferring all my old albums from PhotoBox - so if it's not done when you read this, wish me luck!

(Stephen Candy Photography) Mon, 15 Aug 2016 15:08:57 GMT