Welcome to a long-awaited interview with the Challenge Host of “Fan Of…” and “Water Water Everywhere,” Jez Braithwaite of Photos by Jez. If you join challenges at all you know that Jez supports many of them with pictures taken with Snappy (DSLR) & Lensy (lens ball). I fell in love with his fun attitude and beautiful pictures, and I know many of you have also.
Jez’s Blogging History
Even though Jez started taking photographs when he was 12, his blogging history is much more recent.
I’ve always been keen on photography & got my first SLR, a Praktica, at the tender age of 14. I’ve been taking photographs of my travels as a school kid, through my twenty-year career as a Naval Officer, and of anything that’s caught my eye since. Until 10 years ago, my photos sat in albums or in the packets that came back from the developers; then I got Snappy, my current DSLR. Since then, my photos have sat on my Mac and in the cloud. I tried a website about 3 years ago to showcase my pictures but gained minimal traction.Jez
He started blogging in 2018 following the example of his wife, Susan, a Scottish romance author. It took adversity in 2019 when Jez suffered from a collapsed lung and broken leg before he started blogging in earnest with WordPress.
2019 was a pretty grim year with a collapsed lung in February and a broken leg in June. It was whilst recovering from the broken leg and displaced ankle joint (I was in a non-weight bearing cast, so pretty much off my feet for 12 weeks) that my wife, Susan (already a blogger), then suggested that I give blogging a go and in particular join the WordPress photo community; and so my life as a blogger began.Jez
How Jez Started Hosting His Own Challenge
The first challenge I really got involved in was Becky’s July Squares that year (the topic was blue). This was a great challenge with a lot of scope for pushing the boundaries of the rules and a lot of fun to participate in and get great ideas from others taking part. I was off my feet, so this gave me a significant focus for my energies. As August rolled around and Becky’s Squares ended, I was still recovering and decided to do a daily post to keep myself occupied and further my photographic and blogging skills. Another challenge I participated in, the WordPress Weekly Photo challenge, had also ended, leading to me finding my own blogging path.
My Fan Of… post came about as a result of a couple of factors. I decided that I would post about random things that interested me, and my wife came up with the idea of calling it Fan Of…, and so the post was born. Part of the reason behind the original post was that people could get to know a bit about me through my interests. I thought of all the bloggers out there and that we rarely get to really know the people (beyond their “about page”) and that maybe others would be keen to share their interests, and so the challenge was born.
This was going to be a daily post where I featured photos of things I was interested in, and that was it. For the first couple of weeks, there wasn’t much traffic on my posts, but by then I was learning the WordPress way and discovering the plethora of challenges out there.
I started taking part in other challenges such as Cee’s FOTD, which led me to Cee’s other challenges (CFFC, CMMC, CB&W, and PPAC), the newly started Lens-Artists Challenges, Sunday Stills (hosted by Terri) and One Word Sunday (Hosted by Debbie), to name but a few. Through this and visiting other participants posts on the various challenges, I was able to gain more followers and noticed that my Fan Of… posts were gaining popularity.
This was the point that my own daily post morphed into a challenge post. People appeared interested in my random subject matter, and it was fast becoming my most viewed post. The post became weekly, and others were invited to play along. I must add at this point that I had fantastic support from Cee, giving me some tips on running a challenge and adding me to her challenge page.
Water, Water Everywhere
A retired Royal Navy Veteran from Scotland, Jez had been participating in Granny Shot It’s Challenge, Water, Water Everywhere. In November, 2019 Granny wanted to spend more time with her grandkids and handed over the challenge to Jez.
Cee, I wanted to let you know that I will not be posting to my blog except every once in a while from now on. Jez has agreed to take over the WWE challenge, but he can’t start until November 11. I told him that I would tell you and that if he wanted to change anything about it (frequency, etc) to let you know before the 11th. Thanks for all the help you have given me and all the things you have taught me about blogging and photography.Granny Shot It
Hosting this second challenge made him better known and got even more links and responses. Like all of us bloggers Jez enjoys the contacts he has made from hosting these two challenges.
I get much satisfaction from seeing my own people come along in their photography. I learn so much from other people.Jez
Jez Shouts Outs to Blogging Heroes
These bloggers aren’t just people I admire but also those who have supported me as a blogger & as a challenge host. Whilst I am thankful for all those that follow my blogging journey, those below deserve a special shout out (they are in no particular order).
- My wife, Susan at Susan T. Braithwaite. Susan’s ongoing support & encouragement is the whole reason that I began blogging during a bad health year. She also ran a writing challenge for a year before concentrating on her own novel.
- Cee Neuner giving me tips about how to host a challenge and adding my challenges to her ongoing and updated challenge list. Her photography tips have helped me grow as a photographer, too,
- Debbie from Travel With Intent — Her architectural posts are fantastic; she also hosts Six Word Saturday & One Word Sunday. She regularly posts on my Fan Of… challenge
- Becky from the Life of B, and host of the Square Challenge; she’s also responsible for my fascination with lensball photography.
- Brian from Bushboy. He’s always ready to support, give good practical advice & has a great sense of humour (we have regular back & forths in comment sections). He also hosts the Last on the Card Challenge.
- Aletta from Nowathome has been a fantastic supporter of both my challenges.
- Natalie at Little Pieces of Me has been another blogger whose challenges I got involved with at an early stage; she post regularly to my WWE challenge with some stunning seascapes & wildlife shots.
- Elke at Eklastic & Pictures Imperfect blog has been a brilliant supporter of my Fan Of… challenge & has really got behind the ethos of it. I feel that I have really got to know her & where she lives through her Fan Of… posts.
- Anne Leueen at HorseAddict. Anne is another great supporter of bloggers as a whole & regularly takes part in many challenges, including my own. She also writes post about horse riding, dressage in particular & her own training with her horse, Biasini; every so often she does a post “Biasini Speaks” where the post is written from the mind of Biasini, which is so much fun!!!
- Hammad from the Blog of Hammad Rais. Hammad is just a thoroughly nice guy that I have met through the world of blogging. He is another regular on my challenges as well as hosts his own Weekend Sky Challenge.
Now it’s your turn
Please leave a comment for Jez and me, and be sure to follow some of the links to meet his favorite people, join in his challenge communities, and see more of his beautiful photography.