The images here came to me on an evening wandering around the magical town of Ataco in El Salvador. It’s a little cobbled town nestled in the mountains, surrounded by coffee trees and natural habitat for as far as the eye can see. It’s become a community of creatives, who have painted the crumbling walls with bright murals and sell their artisan wares on every corner. My time there will sit with me for a long time. And I’m sure that’s in no small part to the intimacy of experience that comes with slowing down and allowing time to take it’s own pace.Read More
I’ve questioned many times whether I’m really passionate about photography. I have few photos of my holidays and I’m never seen with my camera when I’m ‘off duty’. So maybe it’s just a job to me… but I know it’s not. I’ve been drawn to it for a reason.
When I’m not cycling, I’m usually swimming, in lido’s, lakes or seas - I’m drawn to water, like a little rubber duck, if rubber ducks could cycle. Many friends have suggested I combine my passions and get into underwater photography, and it seems like a logical suggestion, that would be the dream right? But something has always stopped me.
I’ve had all the chats about the barriers that might be getting in the way - procrastination, fear of failure, not being good enough. And I’m guilty of all of them. But as I build up a rhythm in the murky lake water, gliding through the seaweed and taking mental snapshots of the trees on the horizon every time I turned my head, I know why. I’m always observing, soaking in the surroundings and taking a hundred photos in my head. I don’t always need a piece of equipment to be passionate about photography. And I don’t need physical photos as evidence of that.
So it's not that I don't enjoy my job, it's just that what draws me to it isn't necessarily what draws others to it. Photography to me is a way of bringing more observation and exploration into my life, to focus in on things that I cherish. However, observation is a gift most of us have available to us at any time, in any place, and we don't always need a camera to hone this skill. In a world where everything seems to be constantly documented and photographed, we’d do well to give our memory more credit and give more time to the simple pleasure in observation, for ourselves. And I don't think I'm doing my industry an injustice suggesting this - when you do pick up a camera, you might realise you've learnt more than you expected.
Photographing weddings is no longer my bread and butter - I photograph about one a year and am selective. I work with people I like or have an affinity with, and throw energy and a fresh eye into each one.Read More
I’ve spent many a cold night pedalling round in circles, my little legs going faster than I thought possible, desperately trying not to drop behind the pack.
The Velodrome in Herne Hill is a place I’ve loved and hated in equal measure. I’ve pushed myself hard there and worn down my pride. But equally (nearly) always left feeling elated and full of fresh drive to achieve new things.Read More
I’ve always steered away from fashion photography. I struggle with the pressure it impresses on people - young people in particular - to look a certain way, with the objectification of models, the hierarchical nature of the industry and exploitation behind so many big clothing brands. But that's a conversation for another time… It does however, neatly neatly take me on to the topic of my next shoot - fashion. Ha.Read More
Some of my favourites from a few days spent at the wonderful St. Mary's High School in Gerrards Cross. I used to be one of these pupils many moons ago, so it felt quite special to be able to go back as a fully fledged adult and photograph for them. 30 years on a few things had changed, but I still had flashbacks of running down the corridors and playing in the playing fields. Needless to say it felt like the school had shrunk, but I'm guessing I just got bigger...Read More
For most of us, movement is a simple pleasure. We may have been targeted by sports marketing and the commercialisation of fitness, but contrary to their sales pitch, staying fit and healthy doesn’t need to cost. It’s only our self belief that can get in the way.
Sport has become one of my biggest pleasures in life. It has brought me friendship, appreciation, inspiration and physical and emotional strength. So working with Haringey Council on this project to help improve health and wellbeing in one of the poorest boroughs in the country, was a real privilege.
I spent a couple of days wandering round Haringey, exploring local cheap or free ways to keep fit and healthy. It was heartening to see how much is going on behind the scenes and how many lives have been changed through simple shifts in lifestyle.
My favourite moment was meeting and watching two homeless men use the free outdoor park gym whilst putting the world to rights. Sport has a very special ability to level and connect people.
“Do not let what you can not do interfere with what you can do.”
– John Wooden
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.Read More
A whirlwind of energy, positivity, colour and personality. This is 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.Read More
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!