Photographing an MP

I have photographed many MPs and I enjoy the challenge. The common conception of them being dashing off to meetings and having little spare time is true in my experience. I was nervous ahead of photographing Sadiq Khan, the Shadow Justice Minister, as the Art Editor at the Law Society Gazette phoned me several times to warn me that they were relaunching, and that I needed to come up with some pictures with a killer instinct. It was a profile piece, rather than a chatty or animated on, so luckily the mood suited the required pose. I took my usual brollie, and due to the rain it was being inconsistent and making me convulse in nervous exasperation! Luckily the silver reflector I had lifted the light in his eyes, providing a really intense light (image at top). He was a very patient sitter, and the reporter I asked to assist me with holding duty said she got more copy out of him through casual conversation on Parliament Square than she did during the whole interview.

 

Photofusion exhibition of Grow Heathrow pictures.

Photofusion exhibition

Photofusion exhibition

Thanks to Photofusion Gallery in Brixton for selecting 3 of my pictures for their Annual Members’ Photography Salon, which will open on 6th December. The pictures are all from the Grow Heathrow series, more about which is written below. They’ll be shown on a slide show.

The two featured above both depict housing. The photo on the left is of two participants preparing cob, a material used for house building composed of local ingredients: clay, sand, hay, water and earth. It is fireproof, inexpensive and has been revived in recent years by the sustainability movement. Mixing the ingredients was a very interactive, not altogether clean experience. I like the photo because, for me, it contains an element of romance between the two participants.

I have been trying to document the structures that residents at Grow Heathrow sleep in (top right). They are all unique and some very innovative due to the constraints that are placed upon them by using only renewable and found materials. This one is surrounded by tomato plants, and rather a lot of wild bushes, reminiscent to me of the Alaskan wilderness!

Foraging at Grow Heathrow

Apples, damsons and pressing

Apples, juice, damsons, hawthorns and pressing

Much of the weekend I spent at Grow Heathrow, an eco-village that is situated just outside the perimeter of Heathrow Airport. It started off as a protest against a third runway, and has evolved into a community that lives off grid, powering all of it’s own electricity through solar and wind power.

At certain times of the year they invite visitors to participate in events and workshops, like foraging and apple pressing which took place this weekend. I’ve been back to the site in order to photograph the evolution of the project every few week or months. Check out my ongoing project here.

The apple press we used was an old fashioned one that made the whole process very interactive, and a great way to pass the time while chatting to others. The damsons (miniature purple plums) tasted really sweet, but the biggest surprise was discovering mushrooms on the way back from the orchard. Puffball and another unidentified variety were picked, and collected. The former are round, white and have little taste but do well in stews or with garlic.