Come and Visit My First Photo Exhibition in a London Gallery!

My First Photo Exhibition // Dutch Girl in London The entrance of the Natural History Museum in London where the skeleton of blue whale 'Hope' welcomes visitors

These last two weeks have been quite eventful for me with so many different exciting things happening. One of them was being offered the amazing opportunity to be included in a group photo exhibition in a London gallery! The invitation to be part of this wonderful event came a few weeks ago, just 2 hours after I learned the short story that I submitted for a Dutch writing competition didn’t make it onto their longlist. Although I didn’t expect to be selected, I was still disappointed so you can imagine how my day got turned ’round completely in just a matter of a few hours.

My First Photo Exhibition // Dutch Girl in London
I’m fascinated with the contrast of old and new in London’s cityscape. On the left you can see the ruins of St Alphege Church which dates back to medieval times. Nowadays it’s surrounded by sleek skyscrapers. The curvy copper-coloured footbridge above me connects this point to the Barbican. I used the buildings here to frame the overflying plane.
My First Photo Exhibition // Dutch Girl in London
This is what the footbridge looks like from above.

I’m a social influencer!

The surprising invitation came from Traverse Events and the email mentioned how I was selected alongside about 50 other ‘social influencers’ to use the new Samsung Galaxy S9, courtesy of Samsung UK and mobile phone carrier Three UK for 1.5 weeks. I never considered myself a social influencer, but it appears I’m now officially one.

Each participant will have one photo in the group photo exhibition at the Herrick Gallery in London on 1 and 2 August. As a bonus, Traverse organised several free workshops with popular Instagrammers for all participants so we could pick up some valuable mobile photography tips from real pros. I joined the workshop on mobile photography editing taught by Sean Byrne and learned some great insider tricks, which I’ll of course try to implement in my future Instagram photos. Considering these were exclusive workshops I’d rather not share the pro tips here (sorry guys)!

My First Photo Exhibition // Dutch Girl in London
I enjoyed playing with the shutter speed on the Samsung S9 as you can see here in the photo I took at the futuristic looking Canary Wharf Tube station

The other workshop I joined was taught by London Skyline photographer, Michael Tomas. He very kindly and patiently gave us great photography tips and explained how to use the manual settings on the Samsung S9 when using the Pro mode. Although I still struggled with the Android system by the end of the 1.5-week trial period (after having used iPhones for years), I was definitely impressed with the photo quality and photography options the Samsung phone provided, most of all because of the Pro mode. This mode not only enables you to shoot in RAW, but it also allows you to manually change the ISO, shutter speed, exposure levels and white balance, making this phone a very compact and convenient alternative to digital photo cameras. You can see how I played around with the shutter speed in the photo taken at Canary Wharf Tube station above. And if you scroll back to the first photo of St Alphege Church you can clearly see the plane in the clouds while I couldn’t capture it so well on my iPhone and proper Fujifilm camera I also had with me.

This blog post, however, isn’t meant to be a review of the phone. In fact, participation in the gallery event doesn’t require any online coverage from anyone (nor are we being paid for it), but as I’m very excited about being included in a photo exhibition, I of course had to brag, eh blog about it 😉

I travelled to some of London’s most photogenic spots to capture striking architecture as I’m mostly interested in that subject. However, I’d also love to have the courage to take more photos of people in the street.  I’m too shy for this though and would be scared people would get angry with me for taking their photo. I was therefore very happy with the security guard who unexpectedly came down the staircase at the Barbican estate. Instead of telling me off, he even offered to take a photo of me!


My First Photo Exhibition // Dutch Girl in London
Don’t you think this footbridge in Canary Wharf (Canada Place) resembles a sci-fi film set?
My First Photo Exhibition // Dutch Girl in London
For this photo I used the focus mode and tried to focus on the bee in the lavender on the right while you can see the curved building of the Barbican estate in the background.
My First Photo Exhibition // Dutch Girl in London
Yes another photo of Canary Wharf Tube station, but it just looks so impressive! #sorrynotsorry
My First Photo Exhibition // Dutch Girl in London
Left: The elegant St Paul’s Cathedral captured from the One New Change shopping centre // Right: inside the brutalist Barbican estate


My First Photo Exhibition // Dutch Girl in London
This cool looking security guard unexpectedly walked into my frame and it was just perfect!
My First Photo Exhibition // Dutch Girl in London
A macaroon shop with open top in London St Pancras train station
My First Photo Exhibition // Dutch Girl in London
It might seem like the street is completely deserted, but being located right in between St Paul’s Cathedral and Tate Modern, it was actually buzzing with people. I was patient and waited for just the right moment, but I’m really annoyed for not getting all lines of the building and pavement straight.

The accidental selfie and moveable shutter button

Some of the participants were sent the Samsung S9 Plus and although I would’ve loved to have tried some of its unique features such as the selective focus mode, I was still quite pleased with the photography options on the ‘regular’ Samsung S9 I had on loan. It was funny though how each and every participant (myself included) was complaining about how sensitive the buttons on the screen were  – whilst trying to adjust the aperture or white balance by sliding my finger on the screen for instance, the camera would constantly switch to an entirely different mode, often the selfie mode so I’d constantly see my own frustrated face on the screen instead of the beautiful London skyline.

Besides the Pro mode, I also loved the option of being able to add a second shutter button to anywhere on the screen. I don’t know about you, but sometimes in my attempt to frame the perfect scene I either have to twist my wrist and hand in a very unnatural angle or I almost drop my phone because my finger just can’t quite reach the shutter button at the bottom of the screen. Being able to move around that button on the Samsung S9 was such a revelation!

My First Photo Exhibition // Dutch Girl in London
Left: one of the many accidental selfies and therefore frustrated face. // Right: I added a second shutter button on the screen.

The group photo exhibition Blography is open on Wednesday 1 and Thursday 2 August between 10am and 6pm at the Herrick Gallery.

What is your favourite subject to photograph? Is it people, buildings or landscapes for instance? If it’s street photography with random passers-by, please let me know what your tricks are for not upsetting your subjects or feeling nervous to take their photos!

Zarina xx