Getting to know @hptuk
Hello, @hptuk! To start, could you tell us who you are and what you do?
I am Heather, I’m British and have been living in Florida for 19 years.
For many years I homeschooled my daughter, who is now a sophomore at University of Florida. Once my daughter was dual-enrolled at college a few years ago, I started working part-time as a computer skills teacher for preschoolers. I also own an online vintage store (coming to IG soon!).
That’s so exciting! You’ll have to link us to that when you create your IG account. How and why did you get involved with photography/art/Instagram?
Photography has always been part of my life. My father was a newspaper photographer in Yorkshire, England as a young man. He always had, and still has, a camera with him. At a young age I started taking pictures and loved getting my processed film back. When I started working for the travel industry, based in London, I became even more passionate about photography, capturing shots from all the different destinations I was lucky enough to go to.
In my late twenties, I decided to leave London to pursue a job as a scuba instructor, a hobby I had fallen in love with over the years, having dived in many different countries. I worked on a liveaboard dive boat in the Turks & Caicos Islands for 2 years and became the underwater photo pro, using a Nikonos V camera and developing the film for myself and our passengers, in the boat’s darkroom.
Life then brought me to Florida and I continued with photography, as a hobby. I had my own darkroom and developed black and white prints on fiber-based paper, then hand tinted them with Marshall’s oils, the same way photos were colored a century ago. I did the art show circuit around Florida and had my work exhibited in several galleries and establishments. I was adamant that I would never stop using film…and here I am with a Nikon DSLR posting photos on Instagram every day, while my film camera gathers dust 🙂
I have taught kids’ photography classes over the years and sometimes do family portraits and headshots locally. I created a website a few years ago, and being involved in Instagram has provided me with the impetus to get it active again.
I started my Instagram account in May 2015, thinking it would be another way to keep in touch with people, and post photos of my daily life. I had no idea that there were so many creative and wonderful hubs showcasing people’s work. Instagram has been an uplifting and enriching experience for me, I have formed incredible friendships and always feel validated and encouraged by followers who engage regularly and comment on my work. They, in turn, really inspire me. There are some incredibly talented people on Instagram and I love seeing all the different styles of photography and editing. I have an android, but typically post photos from my DSLR, and sometimes my iPad, which I purchased last summer in order to download all the amazing editing apps! I use Mextures, VSCO, Unionapp regularly. I fell in love with Mextures because I almost feel like I am hand-coloring again, adding layers of color and / or texture to the piece. I tend to be drawn to warm, soft tones and feel that they complement my subject matter, which is primarily Florida scenery and nature. I am most inspired by the ocean, I love capturing images there and listening to the sounds of the sea. I find it both soothing and rejuvenating.
After a few months on Instagram, I was asked to be a moderator for @Mellow_ Mextures, a hub featuring artists who edit their shots with Mextures. On January 1st, I took on a similar role for @Flowerzdelight, featuring..flower shots. It’s been a wonderful experience, curating beautiful work to share with others. The level of talent is astounding and inspiring. It motivates you to step up your game!
Wow! What an interesting journey it has been… What has been a seminal moment for you since you began your journey on Instagram? What memorable responses have you had to your work?
A huge IG moment for me was when Walgreens chose one of my photos to be used as part of an advertising campaign, last summer. The photo was used on social media in August, and will be shared again on Instagram in April 2016. Also, I was very happy and honored that @Mextures featured one of my formulas (Foggy) last week.
That’s fabulous! “Foggy” is one of the formulas featured at the bottom of this post, as well – a beautiful one, indeed! What’s your next goal for your art and photography?
Going forward, my next goal is to master the GoPro that I got for Christmas. I plan on posting underwater shots etc once the weather warms up. That will probably be under a separate IG account. I would also like to expand my editing skills and spend time learning how to use some of the other apps.
I love it! Those are both goals for me here on the blog this year, as well! So, what’s the most important or best advice you’ve been given to reach your goals?
The most important advice people have given me is to enjoy each moment, I do tend to be impatient and rush through things, so I am working on that.
Excellent advice. What is your favorite form or style of art?
My favorite form of art is definitely photography, especially black and white. I also love hand-colored landscapes by artists like Wallace Nutting.
And what would be your dream project?
My dream project would be to capture some different, dramatic landscapes. I love Florida but some mountains once in a while would be awesome.
This has been quite an interesting adventure, interviewing you. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat! Let’s end with something super fun. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
If I could have a superpower, it would be flying. That would be cool. And I could get rid of my car.
Sounds good to me! Thank you so much, Heather (@hptuk) for being a part of this feature series. We all wish you great success and joy as you continue your art and Instagram journey!
Sampling of Heather’s Mextures Formulas
(find more at her Instagram, @hptuk)
Foggy – KDKYBJX
Alive – PFSWPFC
Reach – BIBBGFM
Glow – VTVRREP
Palms – PUVLPSR
Purple Sky – SMMHAPP
Art from the Instagram Gallery of @hptuk
If you love Heather’s work, be sure to follow her on Instagram @hptuk so you’ll never miss her fabulous posts!
Thank you again, Heather, for being a part of this series!