‘Let’s Talk About It’ campaign launched for Solace Women's Aid

A couple of months ago I was asked by the supremely talented team at ZZ&D creative agency to shoot a series of portraits for the new 'Let's talk about it' campaign for the North London Rape Crisis centre (run by London based charity Solace Women's Aid). 

The North London Rape Crisis service is a new free helpline, set up to provide life-saving emotional support to survivors of sexual violence and abuse, in a critical climate of unprecedented demand for services and insecure funding. The anonymous listening service is available to women and girls aged 13+ who have experienced any form sexual violence or abuse at any time.

The campaign:  The ZZ&D design team created a series of posters and A5 flyers that have been distributed across GPs, community spaces, refuges and universities in the seven boroughs covered by the service. For the final campaign, the images I shot were were coupled with messages addressing common barriers victims face in discussing and reporting sexual violence and abuse.

The results can be seen below. Keep up the amazing work guys.

Sun and love at the Tin cat cafe

On a beautiful sunny day in Adelaide, South Australia the deligthful Ben & Kristy invited friends and family to the Tin cat Cafe to celebrate their wedding. I thought I'd share a few of the shots - particularly the 'behind the scenes' ones before the big I do! The sun was shining, the drinks were flowing and there was barely a dry eye in the house! click on the an image to bring up a full screen version in lightbox.

My interview with Foto39


An Interview With Heidi Woodman


Firstly, congratulations to Heidi Woodman who has been announced as one of the  finalists in the Lensculture Visual Storytelling Awards 2014 for Gold Fever

Selected as an exhibitor in Foto39’s 2014 exhibition, Heidi was kind enough to offer her own definition of ‘distances’, the theme for our 2015 exhibition, as well as answering a few questions about Gold Fever.

Gold Fever is a series touching on politics, greed, humanity and power; are you always inspired to create work focusing on such complex topics?

I’m certainly attracted to subjects of a more complex nature and particularly those which connect us all in some way regardless of who we are or where we come from, albeit in different ways and to varying degrees. There are decisions we make and things we do (particularly in the developed world) that have repercussions that we are not necessarily cognisant of; and perhaps we’d think or do differently if we were. 

I’m also fascinated with issues which transcend national borders and class barriers on a much more personal level such as domestic and sexual and violence. Or the more seemingly mundane issues like the pressures of adolescence, which is the next project I am working on. Goodness me, this all sounds very heavy indeed doesn't it?! I’m also interested in the fluffy stuff as well by the way!

What led you to Ghana to create Gold Fever?

My husband was raised in Ghana, so we had traveled back to the country together on a number of occasions both before and also in the midst of global financial crisis. I was struck by how Ghana appeared to be flourishing when most of the world was flailing. A surge in the price of gold, which is one of Ghana’s biggest exports, was the driver of this growth. I studied finance and economics at university so was naturally compelled to dig a little deeper. The idea for ‘Gold Fever’ grew quite organically from there.

The price of gold is a very keenly debated topic in our media yet the complexities behind the way that the spot price is decided are actually quite esoteric. So despite the fact that the price of gold is often used as a barometer for economic sentiment and as such affects us all, this disconnect makes it easy for people to distance themselves from the effects mining has on the land and the people where it it is mined. 

Documentary photography is a genre well populated in both online and offline media. How do you tackle discerning your own voice within your work?

By sticking to subject matter that you are truly interested in. Research, plan and know your subjects as well as possible; but when you shoot, shoot intuitively.

Henri Cartier-Bresson called it a ‘Decisive Moment’ while Garry Winogrand simply wished to see what things looked like photographed- what do you think creates a good photograph?

I think that a good photograph tells a story, speaks to your emotions…or ideally both! Above and beyond technical perfection, a good photograph has layers and depth and stirs something within the viewer.

It’s been an exciting time for your work, what advice would you give to aspiring photographers?

It’s a tough business and there are so many wonderful photographers out there, I’m really only just starting to carve out my own path now so I hesitate to offer any advice. If I must I would say that, as I mentioned before, try to stick the stuff you truly care about. Also make sure you know as much about your subject as possible, this means that you can be more responsive and less likely to find yourself in a situation where you feel too out of your depth and thus unable to really think about nuances of your work (a little out of your depth is ok of course as it challenges you).

What projects are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a couple at the moment. One is about the pressures faced by young people on the cusp of adulthood, particularly regarding the pressures around sexual experience in the digital world we live in. I’m trying to make it a collaborative project of sorts, working with the teenagers in order to give them a voice as opposed to a more voyeuristic or distant style we often see in the media.

I’m also researching and planning a follow up project to Gold Fever which is a development of some of the same themes touched on in the Gold fever’ series. Specifically, how certain decisions taken in the developed world have ramifications and repercussions far beyond what most people are aware.

Let’s talk kit – our audience is always interested in what equipment photographer’s use. What’s in your kit bag?

Canon 5D mark III as my main body but I also have a Canon 6D for my second body, as situations like I encountered in Gold Fever I don’t have time to switch lenses. 

Lenses: Canon 70-200 2.8 II USM, canon 85mm 1.4, canon 50mm 1.8, canon 16-35mm 2.8, canon speedlite 630ex-rt. I also have a couple of Manfrotto carbon fibre tripods, a Manfrotto BeFree tripod (very useful for travel), a couple of Manfrotto LED midi lights. For my portraiture work I also have various lastolite trip grip reflectors and various accoutrements. Crucially -my notebook and PATIENCE!!!

Our next exhibition is currently open for submissions with a theme of ‘distances’. Is there any one image that stands out to you as successfully representative of distance?

As a body of work, Mike Brodie's amazing project - 'A Period of Juvenile Prosperity' stands out to me as representative of distances. Firstly in the literal and physical sense as it documents his long journey train-jumping, hitch-hiking and walking the length and breadth of the United states. Secondly because it covers a brief period in his life, a passing of time and a life that is now very distant from the one he now leads. (Mike Brodie quite famously quit photography and turned his back on the art world after the publication of this book, despite it's worldwide success and became a mechanic).

Baby steps...Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014

The TWPP prize gets a fair bit of stick for being predictable and unprogressive; the top spots often filled by images of people with glum expressions staring blankly into the lens, pubescent teens most likely with red hair and freckles...posing with an animal for good measure.

Ok I'm being a little harsh to make a point, however, there is no denying that the TWPPP has been in need of a little bit of variety if it is to shake off it's image of predictability. For the most part there wasn't anything shockingly different this year - for instance two of the shortlisted images (Birgit Puves photo of the identical twins Braian and Ryan and the Skate girl by Jessica Fulford-Dobson, although lovely portraits, ticked many of the usual TWPP prize 'boxes' - but there were a few surprises. 

Firstly the winning shot featured someone smiling at the centre (gasp) and it could be said that it, a few other stand-out shots, pushed the boundaries of what defines a portrait. The winning entry by David Titlow is a beautiful, gentle image that has something of a rembrandtian quality to it. It shows the photographers baby son being introduced to a dog, the entire scene watched with reverent gazes by the adults who surround the child. A well deserved winner.

Another top placing image Indecisive moment shows a group of teenagers, none engaged directly with the camera, with the young girl of focus somewhat on the fringes of the shot. Not one of my favourites (although I do think it's a beautiful image) but good to see some variety amongst the shortlist. 

Paul Stuart's portrait of Silvio Berlusconi is quite amazing, so raw, honest and a bit unnerving. Other favourites of mine included David Harriman's Truth, Kitty and Faith; Jon Tonk's photo of a man holding a weather balloon at the meteorological station in St Helena island and Zed Nelson's M, P and JJ.


Hooray! I'm one of the 20 finalists in the Lensculture Visual Storytelling Awards 2014

Incredibly happy and honoured to announce that my 'Gold Fever' project has been selected as one of the 20 finalists in the Lensculture Visual Storytelling awards! LensCulture is one of the most prestigious online photography networks in the world, with this competition being judged by top curators and photo critics. It really is such a wonderful honour to be placed amongst some really exceptional photographers...ah now, what project to follow this up with?!!!