The chaos of darkness...

As part of a campaign for the service Nightstop by De Paul, this series of images explores darkness, fears and vulnerabilities from the perspective of a homeless girl. 

Nightstop provides a one night emergency stop over for anyone who has found themselves on the streets. Local, accredited families welcome them into their homes until they are able to get more permanent accommodation through De Paul. 

Working alongside the talented Joe from Eden Stanley Communications and our star, Dina, we created images which offer an intimate insight into the world of homelessness for women and girls at night. Darkness can feel alive, alive with uncertainty, fear, hidden forces. Playing with different light sources and shutter speeds we created a series of images which are shaky, emotive and real.

The images are intended to make the viewer feel uneasy - some are chaotic, some deliberately lack focus and some draw you in. All in all I hope they make you stop and imagine.

http://www.depaulnightstopuk.org/


Freedom of expression

A whirlwind of energy, positivity, colour and personality. Freedom of expression in every sense of the word. It was incredible to be a part of such a positive, powerful force for change and acceptance.

Thank you Matt as ever, and the Naz & Matt Foundation for taking me along… I hope this documentation will help to showcase your ultimate aim... the freedom to be yourself.

 

Bringing back personality

Inherently, people want to work with people they like.

Yet ironically, we’re increasingly doing business online and hiding behind our computer screens. So personality and transparency online is as important as ever, and I’m excited to see more and more companies recognising this and opening up to creative ways of showing their personality.

We’ve moved on from the staid, dull company head shots, which seemed to serve a practical purpose only, and are increasingly using the ‘about us’ or ‘our team’ pages to display photos that allow the company personalities to shine through. Your photographs should intrigue and excite potential clients, and encourage them to get in touch. If they don't then you're missing a big trick!

Companies, however big or small, have a specific personality that they want to portray, which forms part of their brand. I think it’s important to balance this with an honest reflection of the individual personalities who make up that company.

Here's a little selection of my favourites from the past few months, to inspire you. Each is very different to the next - some may resonate with you and your brand and some may not, but each is an honest reflection of the individual personality and their values.

Rediscovering the emotion of film photography

I've just been reminded of that wonderful emotion you can get from film photography when I picked up my holiday photos, and may have shed a little tear! I recently treated myself to a Leica M2 and trialed my new toy on holiday in New Zealand with my sister.

It's an emotion we've all sadly lost since the onset of digital. It's the excitement of reliving your holiday when you're back in the throws of reality, the apprehension of whether they've come out okay and, when you see them for the first time, it's the memories and emotion of the holiday that comes flooding back. For me, it's also that little bit of magic that film (especially Leica film!) manages to create… a subtlety that digital just can't seem to process.

I also took a Canon G12 with me, in case, god forbid, I'd put the films in wrong or managed to lose them en route home. I'm pleased with the photos I took - I had time to retake and perfect each photo, to manicure each one in photoshop afterwards and to create some beautiful photos that I've plastered on Facebook to show the world what an amazing trip we had. But by the time I got home I was bored of them. My impatience had got the better of me, and I'd looked at them so many times during the holiday that any emotional attachment to them had gone.

My film photos are entirely different.

I took the film photos for me. Not to post on Facebook, not to show people how amazing our holiday was. But to remember a journey of a lifetime and the little moments that were special to me.

The Leica M2 has no light meter. So I have to compose the shot, measure the available light with my (1950's) external light meter, then set the settings on the camera to match, and maybe adjust it by a stop or two to add drama or to make sure there's no overexposure. By this stage my sister's found the whole process very amusing, has been distracted by something different and got bored of posing. But that's the beauty of it. I've captured an unassuming, natural moment. The whole process allows you the time to think about what your capturing and take photos with meaning, not just a snapshot.

There's one photo which made me cry and summed up so much about my holiday to me… so many good times all rolled into a photo. It's a personal photo that won't hold much to anyone else, but if you look at it enough you might be able to appreciate the magic of film and some of those emotions and good times… And maybe it'll inspire you to think a little more about the pics you take and maybe even to take a roll of film with you on your next holiday!

 

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Space and simplicity.

It's not often that I take to a studio. But it's good to break from tradition every so often, so to spend a couple of hours with the fantastic photographer Robert Taylor, in a London studio was a real pleasure. I photographed him, he photographed me. 

For me a portrait becomes interesting when there's a story to read into. For that reason I tend to photograph in natural environments, using natural light. In contrast, a studio offers you a blank canvas and allows you to create your own story. Space and simplicity can be beautiful and allows the character to shine through. Robert you were a breath of fresh air to work with... great fun, insightful and intelligent. Look forward to working with you more in the future :-). 

It was tough to narrow down, but here's my favourites...  

Farm life...

Not just any farm life... this remarkable family have built their organic farm from scratch. Their journey started in a little shack, on the land they bought to develop their dream. Gradually over the years, they've expanded to produce more and more products, that feed a growing market for organic food in Colombia. A very special and inspiring day being taught the value of chemical free foods and the power of determination and having a dream! Thanks again to the team at More Local (see post below for more details on More Local).

Remove the tourist goggles...

It's very easy to travel through a country with tourist goggles on and not really see the country at all. Unfortunately, the most publicised hostels and travel companies in Colombia are often foreign owned (they're savvier about marketing and PR), and you can easily stick within the comfort of your own language, people and culture if you really want to.

Refreshingly though, there are a few enterprising Colombians trying to encourage tourists to understand the country through the eyes of the locals, and fund the Colombian communities at the same time.

The guys at More Local (a Colombian run travel agency) are some of those. Their tours are not luxury or pristine, but if they were, they wouldn't really be Colombian. They are however, genuine and fascinating. You'll be welcomed into local families and work places, and get a little insight into everyday, real life in Colombia.

So… having bought a Colombian poncho in the beautiful colonial village of Villa de Leyva, it was privilege to spend a day with the local farmers understanding the process behind their production, courtesy of More Local. I quickly realised they deserved every penny I spent on my poncho (and felt v. guilty for haggling them down). Three generations work hard together and natter their way through the days. Here's a little storyboard of my day without the goggles on.

Service with a smile...

Shops in Aracataca are bright and colourful, inside and out. And the shop owners always have time for a chat.

Healthy start to the day

I already miss my morning fruit shop and dose of vitamin C. Fruit is a major export for Colombia - they produce a tenth of the world's banana exports, second only to Ecuador.

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Life's a playground

Who need iphones and computer games... I sat with these kids and watched them play and keep themselves entertained for over an hour.

Girls about town...

Kids in the UK could learn a lot from Colombian kids. I didn't hear a child scream or complain once, they smile and say 'hola' to people who walk past and have a lovely innocence about them, as children should.

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94 years of stories...

Hannibal Calle, 94 years old, sits outside his house every afternoon and loves to tell his stories of his time with Garcia Marquez. I wish I could understand more Spanish as I'm sure his stories were fascinating!

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A hundred stories...

Magdalena Bolano, Garcia Marquez's old nanny, and her son, welcomed me into their modest little townhouse. Their faces tell a hundred stories.

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Cien años de soledad

If every country held a poll for the most popular writer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez would apparently top them in more countries that than anyone else (Gerald Martin, biographer of Marquez). That makes him the worlds most popular writer. He was born and bred in the much overlooked, wonderful little village of Aracataca, in Northern Colombia. 

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The local library, Aracataca - a literature lovers dream. 

The local library, Aracataca - a literature lovers dream.

 

Town life in the Amazon

It's not all trees and mosquito's. Football is a huge part of Colombian culture - if it's not being played in the football field (every village we visited in the Amazon had one) it's being watched in the local bar with a cerveza... by the men at least. 

It's not all trees and mosquito's. Football is a huge part of Colombian culture - if it's not being played in the football field (every village we visited in the Amazon had one) it's being watched in the local bar with a cerveza... by the men at least.