I was commissioned to photograph the woman who is leading the government’s troubled family’s team, Louise Casey. The pictures of her being interviewed came out well due to the light streaming in from the window behind her, and the fact that she was very animated and unconscious.
She said she could talk for hours about what she’s passionate about, to which I replied I could do the same on the subject of photography.
When it came to taking the posed shots for which I had scouted a location earlier, my lens decided to send cryptic messages to my camera, to the tune of error message. I got flustered and took it straight down to the camera doctor soon after, but I’m pleased that I got at least one shot that I’m happy with, particularly the playful nature of the colourful sculpture contrasted with her serious expression.
Michael McGuinness’ work, Monday Comes Very Quickly
Once a month I host a night of discussion for photographers in Shoreditch, London. We are a satellite group of London Independent Photographers (LIP) which has been running for over 25 years, and has a great magazine showcasing members’ work 3 times a year.
In our group we showcase finished work and projects in progress. Last night, by chance, turned out to be a Mental Health Special, as 3 out of 4 of the showcased photographers had work connected to the subject.
Michael McGuinness kicked off, a recent graduate of Photojournalism MA at Westminster University. He has been working in collaboration with Birmingham and Solihull Health Trust, and has photographed patients within their care. It’s a mixture of portraits and reportage-style images presented as a final piece in a newspaper, plus more experimental media within his exhibition. He even printed one of his images on a lady’s headscarf, amongst the items that are for sale. Michael has had paid work offered to him to continue similar projects, which indicates that he has made a successful impression on the Health Trust. So is this a way for clients to undergo therapy? Apparently so, as Michael encourages subjects to use cameras while he’s engaging with them.
I am excited to see how the work evolves, as the photographer is committed to continue along the broad theme of mental health. He’s produced a great set of images, though I think his work will only get stronger the more he engages with the subject.
Boxing at Alexandra Palace
At the weekend I brought home more than I bargained for, as I got rained upon by sweat from boxers fighting at Alexandra Palace. I took a combination of photos from the giant organ at one side of the Great Hall, which gave me a wide perspective of the crowd on all sides of the ring. The commission required taking photos of the crowd, and as I’d never attended a professional match before, so I saw it as a good opportunity to observe. Lots of men, as you’d expect and very laddish in their behaviour with extremely glam trophy wives and girlfriends paraded around. I think all of them aspired to be boxers. I concentrated on the ringside shots once I had photographed all the context. It’s one of the most difficult sports to photograph, as there’s a very small window of vision in which to poke the camera lens through, between two ropes. No flash is permitted, and available light is minimal, while the photographers are all jostling with each other for elbow space.
Oxford Street, London
Rarely have I been so gripped by a photography exhibition as I was by The World in London, which depicts a London inhabitant from every single country of the world (well, almost.) Each portrait was taken by a different photographer, so the style varies considerably, and the best thing of all that it’s not in a gallery, but accessible to all those 1000s of people who walk along Oxford Street every day. My favourite is the portrait taken in the unmistakable London ambience of a tube carriage of a Yemenite. The exhibition is up for the duration of the Olympic Games until September 9th 2012.
My own attempt at featuring countries of the world in one unifying theme is my Waiting for the Bus photography project. It includes quirky fruit bus stops in Japan and fast food themed ones in Bangkok.
London Villages Project at Goldsmiths, University of London
London Villages Project is now hung at University of London in Goldsmith’s. It is a collaboration of 100 or so photographers who each took it upon themselves to explore and document a different part or aspect of London. It was important for me as it gave me an extra push to begin my work on Transition Towns, It was also a pleasure to be involved in a body of work which was part of a larger story, a fascinating picture of contemporary London told by different characters from altering perspectives.