Home Tech Apple The Marbury Lady and her iPhone camera

The Marbury Lady and her iPhone camera


Alison Hamlin-Hughes is The Marbury Lady. She is a professional photographer who uses an iPhone, rather than a bagful of cameras and lenses. Indeed, Alison makes a virtue out of her choice of camera and has created a successful business selling her evocative compositions, both at a local market and online to a wider audience.

“I used to hide the fact that I use an iPhone rather than a DSLR camera for my pictures, but now I’m really proud of that!”

Photography runs in the family. Alison’s 26-year-old son, Jake Plumb, is an industrial archaeology photographer, documenting sites all over the country before they are demolished. And, in a strange twist, he does all his photography using a Nikon film camera. His mother, on the other hand, is not just a digital photographer but has espoused the latest trend to smartphone capture.

Marbury is a small village in Cheshire, just north of Northwich. To add a bit of spice to the story, the Marbury Lady is a local legend, said to be a dark-skinned exotic Egyptian girl who haunts the grounds of the old Marbury Hall.

Alison, however, is firmly rooted in the here and now. Yet her pseudonym adds a layer of mystery. It’s a very apposite umbrella for her haunting photographs of the grounds of Marbury Hall and the local Cheshire countryside.

You can find a large gallery of Alison’s photographs here on Instagram. She obviously has a talent for contre-jour photography, and the iPhone handles it very well.

The Marbury Lady has turned her hobby into a business, using the humble Apple iPhone as the conduit for her undoubted creative photographic talent

You can find The Marbury Lady here at Facebook.

The Marbury Lady website

Via Cheshire Live


  1. Lot’s of sky!

    Regarding the picture of Alison’s gallery, there are a number of quite large “blow-ups” hanging.

    … Just a minute, you can’t do that?

  2. These are just amazing! I would have said “obviously a Leica”!. And here I am wondering when to take the plunge into full frame………….. Perhaps I had better plunge backwards and see if an iPhone can outphone Huwaei (which I dislike). Thank you Marbury Lady for making my evening with the poetic beauty of your images !

  3. Lovely work, Alison. At the Gallery of Photography Ireland we use a man called Brendan O Se to do our smartphone workshops. He was International iPhone Photographer of the Year in 2017. I will send Mike a link to his website for you. I am also now following you on Instagram using my online name ‘willeica’. I am sure that Brendan and yourself would have a lot in common. You will see that his iPhone photography is extremely creative and uses all of the capabilities of his smartphone.


  4. Alison,
    This is literally an eye-opening collection of work, and I suspect challenges many of our prejudices.

    I wonder if you do portrait work? That would be lovely to see!


    • Hi Kathy
      Thank you so much, and you are so right!
      Portrait isn’t something I do much of , although I have done a few of my family, not sure if I can upload them here but would be happy to share them with you if I can 🙂

  5. My previous comment perhaps did not reflect my enthusiasm for the craft of iPhoneography, instead I made a slightly facetious comment about those folk that always find a reason to dismiss the concept.

    The latest model, the 12 pro-plus (sounds like some sort of pick me up) has a lidar camera and covers a good range of focal lengths with its extra lenses… it is very capable, it even produces reasonable images from darkness. It also demonstrates that lensless photography is something that is going to be with us in the future.

    Recently, I was forwarded a URL dedicated to, what it claims are the best photos of the year… It is called the IPPA awards, and there are some crackers on there.


    • I agree, Stephen, and I would undoubtedly use my iPhone more often if it felt more comfortable in the hand. For many, I know, the smartphone has been their introduction to photography and they are probably fully acclimatised. I tend to like something that feels like a camera. But I am probably in a minority.

      • Mike, if you are in a minority on the matter of holding a slender rectangle to take photos, then so am I. Clearly it can be done, more easily by those who have never held a conventional camera. A tablet camera is even worse, yet it has come to the rescue on odd occasions. The evidence suggests that the devices have just not been designed by a practising photographer.

        • I suppose that it would not tax the likes of say “Match Technical” or A.N.Other to produce a (perhaps) MagSafe accessory that assists in the ergonomic management of that very clever slab?

          I frequently see people using phones with a sort of knob stuck to the back, I suppose this thing allows for the setting down of the phone for long sessions, it also seems to aid holding whilst applying make-up (not that I have tried).

          e.g. I could visualise a sort of two finger loop arrangement with a shutter release button mounted somehere conveniently. This mounted to the back of a phone could make for a much steadier overall process.

          Also, even though I am not that enamoured by the EVF concept, it has to be considered that it is closer to the original form of photography, with field cameras etc., it was Leica what went rogue with their newfangled OVF’s.

          • I once saw a Leica M3 iPhone cover, complete with dummy lens but I would be surprised if it added to the depth in order to provide more grip. There would probably be a market for a case that provided more grip.

      • That’s very true for many Mike, not me though I’m happy to say!
        My first camera was a Zenith 11, then Olympus E500, & Nikon D200
        I’ve been using my iPhone for 5 years, 6, 8 and now 11 pro Max. I still have the Nikon but not used it in ages.

  6. Great work and images. I admire the art of using yourIphone. I’m totally unable to take a single image with mine. It feels so weird in the hands

    • Jean, I hold my iPhone 6 horizontally with the home button (or where it would be on the newer models) towards the left. This brings up the two volume control buttons to the top edge. Then holding the camera with both or one hand (if you want) I press the volume button closest to the mute switch to take the picture. This is very much like taking a picture with a P&S using a back screen. But I also have an Apple leather back case for the iPhone 6 which makes handling less slippery.

      • I think with a bit of sorting out as you have done, the iPhone becomes more manageable. I confess that I use the phone so seldom as a camera that I tend to use the screen button. I must make an effort to get used to the volume control shutter button. This is especially important for when my new obj e arrives. I’ve decided, finally, to get to know that camera a tad better. See what it’s capable of.

  7. What a wonderful article, and such rich and delightful images. Perhaps that dream of my next Leica should be quietly ditched in favour of upgrading my IPhone 11 to one of the Pro range phones.

    Thank you for sharing with us.

    Best wishes



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