Four years ago I took part in a group project with several other photographers. We set out to document the World Cup, the only problem being we didn’t have tickets to any of the matches, or flights to South Africa. But being stuck in London wasn’t all bad, as most countries are represented here (we didn’t meet any North Koreans), and they they know how to gather when their country is competing.
In the process I had a Brazilian hair cut, sipped Algerian sweet tea, downed schnapps with Danish and consumed plate loads of paella with the victorious Spanish. I looked oddly out of place in a Dutch sea of orange. There were pints of beer flowing and a dancable samba band playing throughout Brazil’s involvement.
At a time when contentious migration issues are being debated in Britain, the 2014 World Cup will again be a time to celebrate with different nations the diversity that makes London one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities.
More images can be seen here
Frank Hewetson is not a name that most people are familiar with, but he is one of the prisoners recently released from a harsh prison sentence in Russia as part of Arctic 30. After a worldwide campaign to get the international activists freed, Franks, at home when I met him said he thought it was only the advent of the Winter Olympics that forced their release. And that of Pussy Riot, incidentally, which happened at a similar time. The Queens Park resident spoke animatedly of his time in a first in a freezing Siberian cell, followed by a more comfortable room at St. Petersburg. As a non-smoker, one of the biggest issues was the fact that his 2 Russian cell mates were chain-smoking throughout. Aside from the thick air, they got on amicably, and ironically Frank handed cigarettes that he was given to his cellmates in the interest of friendship.
Dr Leah won a series of Alan Sugar’s The Apprentice, and is pioneering a new concept, that is a cosmetic surgery drop-in clinic. I got the call from an Irish national paper, with the brief to get a range of shots which show off the place. That wasn’t difficult, as the interior is brand new , and the lady herself is very presentable. In fact the main problem was that she seemed to have had modelling lesson, and made all the moves that looked more akin to a glamorous model rather than an entrepreneurial doctor. We took her outside to get a few city pictures in order to establish the context, but the paper went for some of the more conventional lab shots.
Another portrait of Dr Leah can be found on the portraits section of my website.
I had the pleasure to photograph someone that I would put on a pedestal, James Thornton, founding CEO of Clientearth. His practise is Europe’s first public interest environmental law organisation, and he is in the New Statesman’s top ten of people who could change the world . Not only that but he is an ordained Zen Buddhist and author of 3 books, one of which (Field Guide to the Soul) I ordered on my return home. The office of Client Earth is nothing less than you’d hope for when visiting this environmental warrior. Based in London Fields, Hackney, they have a high-ceilinged open plan room with organically shaped windows above stunning vistas of the fashionable park. A bbq sits on the balcony in preparation for summer staff dining. The man himself epitomises calmness and serenity, an agreeable soul with an underlying drive. The day I went to photograph James the sun beamed through the window, providing my subject with a halo which I could only conclude was thoroughly appropriate.
These determined young individuals are all working as apprentices in the city of London.
They have jobs ranging from Housing Officer to part of a communications team.
I like the contrast between fresh faced employees and the sense establishment that the location brings.
The light is a good mix between natural available fill from the windows on the left and behind subject, and brollie to my right.
Best of all there is a professional air about this group, yet it doesn’t feel too staged.
Last night I went down to be a part of the book launch by co-founder of the Transition Town movement, Rob Hopkins. The Transition Town movement promotes sustainability projects applying a bottom up approach, using a framework of local communities. Founded in 2007, the movement is growing rapidly and now boasts over 1,000 in 40 different countries. When listening to Rob talk it’s not difficult to see why the movement is so popular, as his enthusiasm is infectious and his ideas come across with clarity and logic. Change begins in small communities and spreads throughout neighbourhoods, towns and beyond, that’s the message.
The talk was illustrated using case studies from various projects, such as Transition Tooting’s high street pop-up shop with “nothing for sale, but lots to offer”, a space which served as a room for discussion, debate and workshops. Another was a shop in a Yorkshire village which, when threatened with closure, was taken over by the community in order to serve edible food grown and made by the community.
Crystal Palace Transition Town seems to be one of the most energetic at present, a fact backed up by the numerous speakers relaying projects happening throughout the area. An observer said he thought that the atmosphere had turned evangelical due to various whoops and hollers coming from a section of the audience. A revolution has come and planted itself in this corner of South London, and although it is usually a quiet one, converts can be forgiven for letting out a little celebrating when their Messiah has come to town!
Beekeeping picture at the Foto8 Summer Show
This picture’s done OK for me. You may know it from the homepage on my website, but it was also selected for the prestigious Foto8 Summer Show in East London. That’s me looking suntanned and a bit smug (that’s why I’d rather take pictures) in July 2012. The photo has also been reproduced in the Transition Free Press and helped me get my foot in the door at Friends of the Earth. As from April 10th-May 3rd it will be on show at The Royal Geographical Society in South Kensington as part of the Environmental Photographer of the Year, as well as one of my films, Shaking the Tree. The picture itself was taken during a gorgeous day in Finsbury Park, as part of a workshop. All the participants were told to don a beekeeping suit, which begs me to ask whether I should wear one more often.