AS the UK has gradually emerged from lockdown there have been many success stories that have come to light, including budding Denton artist Kelly Clarke.
Having previously honed her craft as a wedding photographer, Kelly, 41, was put in the frightening position last March of having her entire workload evaporate overnight.
But rather than wallow in worry about what the future would bring, she drew on her experience as a former design and tech teacher at Sale Grammar School to take control of her destiny.
She said: “It was a massive shock. Literally every booking I had was cancelled as soon as we went into the first lockdown because no weddings were permitted to go ahead.
“It was a very scary time, but rather than sitting around in the garden I tried to keep my mind off things by getting out and about with my camera.
“I started going to the Northern Quarter and taking photographs of all of the colourful things I’d see and from the photos I’d create a collage of images.”
After posting some of her early creations online, Kelly was surprised by the sheer volume of positive feedback for her work, so much so that she started to expand her reach.
Adding to her repertoire of work which reflected other local areas, such as Didsbury, Salford and Denton, she suddenly found herself inundated with requests for prints.
She said: “I had no idea what I was doing would be that popular! I actually had a big industrial printer I’d had for years that I was thinking of getting rid of, but it’s been vital ever since my artwork took off.
“I’ve sold just over 3,000 prints since I started and I’ve had quite a few bars, restaurants and gift shops from areas I’ve photographed getting in touch requesting to stock prints for sale.“I’ve even started getting requests from people in areas I’ve not yet covered asking if I’m planning to do anything on where they live. It’s great to know there is a market for what I’m doing.”
As the UK makes it’s final moves towards normality, Kelly admits she will find it hard to swap the canvas for the wedding camera again, but believes she can find the balance between her two passions.
She continued: “I really don’t want to stop doing my art, but I do want to pick up from where I left off with my wedding photography. I think there will be a balance between the two, though.
“There’s a lot of potential for this business. With the way it’s growing and my reach becoming more and more national, I’m really excited to see where the future takes me.”
• View the full gallery at kellyclarkephotography.com