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Charlie Ratcliffe

Charlie Ratcliffe

Through Outset I have been able to take small steps and re-build a business that is all about the things I am passionate about.

Charlie’s story

Working within the creative sector as an artist and teacher, Charlie chose to leave a career that she loved to care for her new baby until it was well enough for her to return to work. However work needed to be flexible and reliable so Charlie ended up working in management rather than the arts.

“I had an extraordinary career in the arts before having a sick child, but I think I was too afraid to lose so much again so I did nothing to re-establish myself. My management job took me on the ESF-funded Empowering Smart Women programme where I realised that I was working in the wrong direction and not fulfilling my creative potential. It was also there that I was recommended to Outset Cornwall.”

Charlie’s new photography business works with traditional materials and equipment delivering something very unique to clients.

“I use pin-hole cameras, film cameras, super8 cine film and screen printing to produce images that embrace tradition and give a unique quality product that can then be digitized for use.”

Charlie is currently teaching school children how to make cameras from old bean tins or washing powder boxes and has ambitious plans to roll out her youth training programme right across the county.

“Through Outset I have been able to take small steps and re-build a business that is all about the things I am passionate about. The programme was inspiring and supportive, and although it can be really scary taking the leap into self-employment, Outset made the process seem simple; ensuring I had looked at all the pitfalls.”

Charlie hopes to gain a strong reputation for being daring and creative, championing the heritage and beauty of using traditional techniques in her work. As well as hoping to soon launch a wedding photography arm of the business that uses unusual methods such as 180-degree panoramic cameras and 360-degree spinners, Charlie is working towards developing some fantastic workshops for blind and partially-sighted people to explore this media.

“I am already meeting many imaginative and creative people through my work and collaborating with them. Outset gave me the confidence to believe in myself and also helped me to focus on what I am doing in a professional way. I have sound pricing strategies and am building a portfolio and website based on my experiences. Outset gave me the confidence to do all this!”