Then and Now

Oxted Gasholder April 2019 - Going, Going, Gone!


Welcome to my fourth blog about the demolition of the gas holder that I’m photographing for posterity and to satisfy my own curiosity.

Since I last wrote on 15th March a lot has happened at the demolition site and the gas holder, as you can see has gone for good!

As expected, once the roof was dismantled early last month as described in my previous blog, the next stage to remove the surround of 9 rings high took less time as a cherry picker was used with an operative working to cut away until it was at a manageable height for the next stage to take place.

The final rings of the structure came down very fast indeed with the help of a very experienced operator who, with much precision controlled a cutting machine, which resembled a pre-historic creature that chomped its way through the steel, in what appeared to be an effortless operation.

We experienced much rumbling here at the studio which sent me running with my cameras in hand to capture some of the final stages which happened within 3 days at the end of March.

I’m going to leave the photographs to do the talking as they show the final stages of the demolition process.

It really was a matter of going, going, gone and for good!

The below sequence is from the top of Snatts Hill.

Now that the demolition process is nearing completion, next month in May, St William, the contractors will take their positions on-site to put in place the start of the building process for 111 luxury - 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments and penthouses.

You can see a very impressive model of the housing development at Robert Leech Estate Agents opposite the studio, it really is worth taking a look if you are keen to buy one or are just curious to know more.

The below sequence looking from a window at Priory House Dental Practice.

From Station Road East, between Carpet Right and Gloss.

A look on-site.

Various viewpoints.

It really has been a captivating and mesmerising experience photographing the process so far from various viewpoints. The photographs I have shared are just a small selection from a greater number that I intend to share at a later date.

I am going to be continuing the story over the next two years during construction and the completion of Courtyard Gardens, a wonderful new addition to our unique town - Oxted.

I hope this glimpse has taken you on an insightful historical journey.

If you would like to subscribe to my monthly round-up newsletters where these blogs will feature, please scroll down to the bottom of the page to add your contact details on the ‘Subscribe to Our Newsletter’ button.

If you missed the previous 3 newsletters you can see them here on the blog page of the website.

In the meantime enjoy the weekend and I’ll be back next month with the next instalment.

Bye for now…


Celebrating 21 Years of SMS Creative Photography

Now, onto 2018. I am already working on so many new projects that it is difficult to know where to start!  I always look at the New Year as a blank canvas for my business, where I take time to consider new ventures and inspiration. 

The first important milestone for 2018 is the celebration of a very special anniversary. On Saturday 10 February, it will be 21 years since I opened my SMS Creative Photography studio on Oxted high street. I am proud to have served the Oxted community for 21 years and would like to invite you to raise a glass with me, if you are in the area on the 10th.   

Of course, during this time we have seen so much change. What has remained the same, however, is our united passion for our family and our friends, and our enjoyment of sharing and celebrating special moments. I look forward to being here for you all for another 21 years!



Capture the Present, to Create the Past, for Future Generations...

Quick and Easy In this amazing, disposable, digital, instant age we now live in, isn't it remarkable we can capture a moment on our smart phone and share and post for all to be a part of that emotion?

We can record some special times with a click of a button without the hassle of carrying a camera - but do we ever stop - stop and savour that moment, do we ever appreciate it, or are we too concerned about photographing to share on social media?

Don't get me wrong I'm a firm believer that we share these times, with our smart phones we become so connected, but don't let them replace the importance of professional photographs. Now is a good time of year to make time to let a professional capture landmarks in your life, from my experience everyone has been so pleased they did.

Immortalize I love commissions to photograph moments that can never be repeated. My work is my passion, I get to meet so many interesting people who allow me into their lives to capture their families to reflect on and to safeguards their family history.

By going that extra mile, you are capturing the present, to create the past for future generations. In years to come, with printed photographs there will still be that suitcase in the attic full of prints for future generations to rummage through, just to see what great grandma or grandpa looked liked. It's that moment of realisation when you spot a distant relative who looks just like a member of your family.

Then and Now The selection of photographs below show examples of the photographs taken during the early years of when I opened my studio in 1997 to present day.

If I have photographed you before and you would like to recreate the pose, or you would like to start your family visual history, just give us a call, or come into our friendly studio to find out where to start.

Photographs below taken 'Then' in December 1999 and 'Now' in December 2014


Photographs below taken 'Then' in September 1997 'Now' April 2015


Photographs below taken 'Then' in September 2002 and 'Now' February 2015


Photographs below taken 'Then' in December 1998 and 'Now' January 2015


Photographs below taken 'Then'  December 1998 and 'Now' October 2014


Thanks for reading, I'll be back in two weeks with more to share. Enjoy the sunshine! Bye for now.


SMS Creative Photography Celebrating 18 Years

I've always had a passion for photography and creativity and wanted it to be my career from a very early age. I trained when I left school, with the intention of having my own business to share my passion. I was given the opportunity through adversity, to realise this dream and I wasn't going to let it pass me by.  With 3 young children in tow the journey has been creative, educational, challenging and most of all very rewarding. On 10th February 1997 I opened the doors to SMS Creative Photography at 83 Station Road East, Oxted.  Thanks to the local community and beyond, I have enjoyed a growing business ever since.

Where It Started

All of this started on film, either 35mm or medium format negatives. This restricted me to either 12 exposures on the medium format with my trusted Hasselblad or 24 and 36 exposures with my Nikon F1 bodies. If I wanted to shoot in colour and black and white I had to use 2 camera bodies, one for each type of film and wait a few days before I got to see the end result. I had to rely on my technical and creative ability to get it right first time, which looking back, was the best training, because it became instinctive. I was very careful not to waste an exposure and to think fast and not to miss the moment.

How times have changed. If someone had told me that within three years of opening I would be shooting digital images, would be able to see the image on the back of the camera, copy images without loss of quality - I would have thought they were joking.

When I was introduced to digital photography I was reluctant to use it, I still shot with film and did a little digital to try it out. How wrong was I!  Within a couple of years I went completely digital for quality and convenience, and as they say, the rest is history. Although film has it's place, digital photography is a fantastic medium, for the freedom it gives to be able to share and archive and without doubt, post production.

What the past has taught me is how precious time is, you don't get a second chance to preserve those special moments in life that so may of us take for granted.

Then and Now

The photograph below on the left was taken on 1st March 1997 for a first birthday and was the first shoot I did in the studio, the one beside it taken last month.


The video below is a short show reel we've prepared to share some of those moments from the archives - 'Then and Now'.

Were you, or someone you know amongst the many families photographed in the early days? Do get in touch, be lovely to hear from you and reproduce your photograph.

'Guess Where In Oxted' photographic competition.

To encourage your children to be more visually aware I have created a competition, 'Guess Where In Oxted' to guess where an obscure photograph has been taken in and around the town. Children can take part if their infant and junior school in Oxted is participating. The competition can be completed during half term week 14 - 22 February. The schools taking part are, Limpsfield CE Infant, Downs Way, St. Peter's, St. Mary's, Holland and Hazelwood. The schools will issue the entry forms via their newsletter. First prize is a camera (suitable for the age of the winner) with a lesson on how to use it and studio sittings for 2nd and 3rd prizes. Please click on the photograph below to find out more.


Thanks for reading, I'll be back in two weeks time to let you know about our 18th birthday cake on Saturday 14 February to join our celebration.

Bye for now.


Then and Now Photography


Then and Now

With only six days left until Christmas I just want to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year. Also to thank you all for your custom and support over the past year and in many cases, years.

There is still time to have a family shoot with prints ready in time for Christmas, but hurry, Monday 22nd is the last day to get your prints ready for the 25th.  A personalised gift voucher for a studio or location shoot in 2015 is always a welcome gift. Please call the studio on 01883 722282 to arrange.

Speaking of 2015, it's going to be an exciting year for me as I celebrate 18 years in Oxted at SMS Creative Photography, with lots of wonderful things planned, more of that to follow as the year unfolds.

I'm especially enjoying inviting families and individuals back who I photographed in the late 90's for a 'Now' photograph. It's heart warming to watch so many families grow over this time line and a pleasure to capture the 'Now' to compare with the 'Then'.

Are you one of the many families I photographed in the early days? Would you like to take part? I'd love to hear from you! Take a look at our website to see a few who already have. Please pass this message on if you know someone who was photographed then.

We will be closing on Christmas Eve at 4pm and opening again on Saturday 2nd January at 9am. By appointment only on 29, 30 and 31st December.

Thanks for reading, I'll be back in the New Year.

Happy Christmas.

Bye for now.