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Culture vulture

Nature and the bigger picture are inspirations for PGCE student Nam Parikh

Favourite reading

I read a lot of Christian autobiographies. I really like Corrie ten Boom's In My Father's House, The Hiding Place and Tramp for the Lord. Her family was such an amazing example of Christian life lived out in action. They hid Jews from the Nazis until they were captured and sent to concentration camps. At the moment I'm reading Flatland by Edwin Abbott. All the people in it are shapes. The more corners they have, the higher their social status. The best thing to be is a circle because they have innumerable vertices. I'm not at all sure how it's going to end.

Taking pictures

I love nature films and wildlife photography. At the moment I take quite arty pictures: reflections in water and unusual lighting effects. The last time I thought something would make a really good picture I went to a little country church. It was a crisp, cold morning and the church door was half-lit by brilliant sunshine. I go for walks along the river sometimes and take pictures of old rickety boats.

Best photographer

I love Yann Arthus-Bertrand's collection The Earth from Above (pictured).

You can see the pictures on his website (

On canvas

I don't really understand modern art. I paint, usually in oils. The last one I did was about making choices and decisions: a person was travelling along one of two diverging paths, with quite a dark sky on one side and a bright one on the other. Often I paint vast empty sea shores.

Something for school

The Curly Pyjama Letters, by Michael Leunig. It's a series of letters between a guy called Mr Curly and his friend Vasco Pyjama. Mr Curly travels round the world to find himself. It's a picture book but it's full of philosophical meaning and it's dedicated to unusual friendships. I love it.

Nam Parikh, 21, is half-way through a PGCE (specialising in key stages 2 and 3 science) at Cambridge, having stayed on there after her zoology degree. She already has a job offer provided she passes her course. She was talking to Karen Gold

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