Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

Sites of Conscience

Friday, April 8th, 2011

I came across an organisation called the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience many months ago, while doing some research for my long term political prisons project. Last week I finally made contact with them and found that not only does my project align closely with their work, but they are delightfully friendly and encouraging people.

They are a worldwide network of historic sites, each one of which bears testimony to man’s cruelty and injustice to others. It’s a great initiative, giving its members a more powerful voice than they could have individually.

Yesterday we discussed several ways in which we could work together in the future. I’m looking forward to it.

Patrick Forbes’ Haiti documentary

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

As part of the documentary project on UN peacekeepers that I’ve been trying to get going, I’ve been in touch with Patrick Forbes – neighbour and documentary film maker – who has just completed a film in Haiti.

The film centres on a project to rebuild the market in the centre of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince after the 2010 earthquake. The entire project was paid for by the Irish businessman Dennis O’Brian, but was hindered by some serious setbacks along the way.

It aired in the UK on BBC 2 in January, but there are some clips still on YouTube:

The BBC page for the film is here. I hope you can get to see it.

The Sahrawi project

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

The Aftermath Project, set up by photographer Sara Terry after her experiences in Bosnia, dispenses an annual grant to documentary photographers. The grant is designed to facilitate a documentary project on the subject of the long term affects of war. As I understand it the money usually comes from George Soros’s Open Society Institute.

Yesterday was the submission deadline for a new grant, funded this time by the Howard G. Buffet Foundation, on the subject of the Sahrawi people of Western Sahara.

As usual, the brief is admirably open. The Aftermath people are interested to hear each photographer’s approach to the subject, what their work is like, and what their budget would be to realise the work. Simple. But it always takes me an age to prepare this kind of submission.

This time the subject was a very good fit with my long term project ‘Prisons of Conscience’, since the Sahrawi people were the victims of a campaign of ‘disappearances’ in the 1970s and 80s. Following the effective occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco, the Moroccan security services routinely abducted individuals from their homes and detained them for years, leaving their families with no idea what had become of them.

After the death of the Moroccan King Hassan II in 1999, and the succession of Mohamed VI, the surviving detainees were released. Their troubles weren’t over, however, since they often had no idea where their families now lived (and the families had no idea whether they were still alive) and their country was divided by the Sahara’s equivalent of the Berlin Wall. For a pretty good description of the current situation read this Amnesty International report.

After a bit of research I found the main sites where the Sahrawi were detained and the areas where the surviving detainees now live, so I was able to put together what I hope is a fascinating photographic journey. We’ll see if the Aftermath people go for it.

The on-line submission process for these grants is always different, and yesterday’s was certainly interesting since I could see all the other photographers’ submissions as they came in! I didn’t look though guys. Honest.

Poznan pictures now on the website

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

So, as those of you who follow my Twitter feed will know, I was in Poznan last month as a guest of the city council to take pictures of their fine city. I was one of four photographers: Francesco Giusti from Italy, Thierry Lewenberg-Sturm from France and Ben Mergelsberg from Germany. The brief was actually fabulous. Their point of view was that, since they’d chosen us for our work, they trusted us to take whatever pictures we wished.

Stary Rynek, Poznan, Poland. July 2010.

Stary Rynek, Poznan, Poland. July 2010.

The city have now chosen the pictures they want to use for the ‘Poznan: Eastern Energy, Western Style‘ exhibition to take place simultaneously in London, Paris, Berlin and Milan and so I can make the other pictures available here on my website. There’s also a FaceBook page about the project.

Stary Rynek, Poznan, Poland. July 2010.

Stary Rynek, Poznan, Poland. July 2010.

As always, I hope you enjoy having a look at the pics and look forward to hearing what you think of them. Click the little slideshow icon and sit back!

The ‘New Direction’ bears fruit

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

So, just realised it’s almost 3 months since that last post, proclaiming to the world my grand New Direction, so I though it’s probably about time I showed you some results:

Tina at Castle House

You can see a few here but you’ll have to log-in to see more.

A new direction

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

I’ve always been unsure of which photographic pigeonhole I inhabit. I know what I’m not – photojournalist, conceptualist, digital manipulator – but sometimes I have a lot of difficulty trying to figure out what I am. The best I can say is that my style is reportage.

That style means that I am inevitably drawn in the direction of documentary photography. This is fine, and I find such work rewarding, but it really doesn’t satisfy the more artistic parts of my nature. For the last few years I’ve been working more and more on the documentary aspect – I think partly through the mistaken belief that I would be able to make money out of this kind of thing, fool that I am.

It’s time for a change.

I’m going to move back into more artistic work. For me that means portraits, and figure nudes. I’m planning a few shoots over the next few months and I’ll post some samples of work here as I go along.

Seems like such a small thing, but believe me – it’s taken a lot of soul searching to decide on this change of direction!

Tangier pictures now public

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

I’ve made the pictures I took in Tangier last month publicly accessible in the Client Area of the website here.

French is taught to boys and girls as part of the general curriculum. 'The Blue House', Tangier, Morocco. December 2009.

French is taught to boys and girls as part of the general curriculum.

The pictures were taken as part of a project on child migration from north Africa to Spain. The project is now, sadly, dead in the water. Lack of funding. Same old story.

I’m clearly hoping the project will continue in some form, and I will keep pursuing possible avenues of funding, but in the meantime please have a look at the pics. I’d like to hear what you think.

Theresienstadt

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

I’ve finally got around to scanning some more pictures from the Theresienstadt story.

Theresienstadt
Administration office in the military prison used by the Gestapo during the Nazi era to hold political prisoners. Small Fortress, Terezin, Czech Republic. November 2003.

It really was an extraordinary day that I spent there in 2003, and quite unexpected. Have a look at more pictures here, or download the PDF, in which you can also read my thoughts on the place.

That day sparked a long term project about the prisons used by repressive regimes to suppress opposition. I’m hoping to do some more work on this over the next year.

Pictures of the bulls

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

I realised hardly anybody has seen these pictures, and this feels like a pretty good home for them – for the time being, at any rate. Hope you enjoy.

The pictures were taken in eastern Spain in over the last two summers where, in an echo of ancient festivals, cows and bulls form an integral part of summer celebrations in the towns and villages. Bulls run through streets in the hot afternoon sun – and in the middle of the night – calves chase children around the village square, and young men can live their torero dreams.

This is not the corrida, with it’s formalised structure and celebrity matadors. The aim is not to kill or maim the animals – indeed inflicting any harm on the beasts is condemed. These are fiestas organised and enjoyed by the people.

If you let it play to the end of the bulls gallery, you’ll get some more pictures.

San Antoni Abad

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

I’m used to St Francis being the patron saint of animals, but around here it’s St Antony. For the last two days most towns have been carrying out blessings of animals. The animals in question are largely pets, dogs being the most frequent recipients of the scared sprinkle, but all manner of little critters are offered up.
Yesterday I was in Alcoy and this morning in Benissa taking pictures. Horse, rabbit, donkey, tortoise, budgerigar, cat, you name it – I’ve knelt or trodden in just about every type of excrement imaginable in the last two days.
I’m hoping the resulting pictures will become part of an ongoing project, or perhaps ‘theme’ would be a better way of putting it, about the relationship between people and animals.