Saturday, 21 December 2013

Fishermen in the Houses of Parliament

Generations, Hastings' Fishing Families will be exhibited in the Upper Waiting Hall in the Houses of Parliament at the end of January.
Last spring, we submitted an application through our local MP, Amber Rudd, to have the Generations photographs (see previous Blogs) exhibited in the Houses of Parliament Waiting Hall. There is normally a huge queue of applications for showing work in this prestigious location. Needless to say, we are over the moon with this is very exciting news.
The exhibition, which opens January 27th, will be a very powerful opportunity to promote the cause of the Hastings fishing community, as well as publicising the work of FLAG (Fisheries Local Action Group). From the success of this exhibition, I hope to continue the project throughout the UK, as well as similar fishing communities in Europe.

Thursday, 12 December 2013


Somehow, we all thought Nelson Mandela would live forever. His passing was like the death of a beloved grandfather, who you know will die soon, but in your heart you’re never really quite prepared for the pain, disbelief and sadness when it happens.
I was especially moved by Barack Obama’s eloquent and moving testimonials to this great man.
"It was precisely because he could admit to imperfection, because he was so full of good humor, even mischief despite the heavy burdens that he carried, that we loved him so," Obama said.
"He was not a bust made of marble, he was a man of flesh and blood, a son and a husband, a father and a friend, that is why we have learned so much from him and that is why we can learn from him still.”
I photographed Nelson Mandela in London shortly after he was elected President and came to Europe to encourage trade with the new South Africa. He had recently recovered from a bout of illness, but you never would have known it during the press conference, as he sparkled with charm and wit, and his deep felt passion for his beloved country. He was the epitome of charisma and I felt very privileged to have been that close to such a great man.

And it is to Nelson Mandela that I owe a very personal thanks and gratitude. Because of the photograph I took at the Happy 70th Birthday/Free Nelson Mandela concert at Wembley Stadium in 1988, I became involved in one of the most exciting and fulfilling photography projects I’ve ever worked on,  ‘Wembley to Soweto’
Thank you Madiba! 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013


I've recently been updating an on-going project on the Hastings fishing community and twenty six of these photographs are now on display at the Stade Hall Gallery, Hastings, from 2-14 November. The Private View is Thursday evening, 7 November, 6:30-9 but it's not private at all, so Please come!
I began documenting the Hastings fishing community back in 1992, while still living in London. When we moved down here in 2000, I wanted to update it. But as so often happens with creative ambitions, life has a funny way of getting in the way.
In 2012 I was fortunate enough to talk with Yasmin Ornsby of Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society (HFPS) who encouraged me to continue with the project. We decided that this time the emphasis should be on the generations of families, as fishing in Hastings has always been a family business, with some of the family names going back over 800 years. 
We also felt that it was important that I photograph the women who are such an important and vital part of the Hastings fishing community. 

To be honest, this is a work in progress, as I've really only begun to scratch the surface of recording all the inter-connected generations of fishing families. I want to continue with the project until I've photographed all the different overlapping generations of fishing families -- which could take quite a while!
The sale of all the photographs and postcards will go to (HFPS) to help them in their battle to get a fair quota for Hastings' fishing fleet.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

The Battle of the Sexes

‘The Battle of the Sexes’ is a gripping documentary about the 1973 tennis match between Wimbledon champion Billie Jean King and the self-confessed “male chauvinist pig” Bobby Riggs ( New Black Films). King won the match, but the film is much more than just the record of a tennis match. It is the story of King’s fight for equality for women on the tennis courts, and in society in general. Tennis is now the only professional sport where women are paid equally, thanks to the tenacity of Billie Jean King.

I attended the Premier of the film several weeks ago with two of my students from the “Wembley to Soweto” project (Wembley to Soweto)

‘Wembley to Soweto’ began in 2010 during the South African World Cup, teaching young men and women from Soweto how to feed their families with their cameras. The project has since grown, working with young photographers in Newcastle, Cumbria, Brighton and most recently in London during the Olympics.
Samin Ahmadzadeh and Casey Newton, two students from the Olympic project, had the opportunity to work in a real-time situation, rubbing shoulders with London’s top press and news photographers at big celebrity event.

Plans are afoot to run “Wembley to Soweto” in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup. Stay tuned!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Good-bye Tony Soprano

The death of actor James Gandolfini, aka Tony Soprano, at the age of 51 from a heart attack, came as a great shock.
Shocking because he was so relatively young.
And upsetting because I, like so many others, truly loved the Soprano series. In the days before Playback, we would rearrange our social lives so that we didn’t miss an episode. And what episodes they were!
The hulky, threatening gangster who saw a shrink; Tony hiding his huge armament of guns in the loft of an old people's home; and the Mafia don whose own mother plotted his assassination.
‘The Sopranos’ especially resonated for me because my very first photography assignments in New York were for exactly these same characters.
For a short while I worked for the United Teamsters Union, the union of disappearing Jimmy Hoffa fame. The vast majority of American the trade unions worked hard - and honestly - to make workers’ lives better. But the Teamsters were truly the hard boys of the union movement in New York.
The Teamster’s offices, just off Union Square, was filled with Soprano characters.
One time I rode up the lift with a group of Tony’s and as one of them scratched his bulging stomach, I saw the pistol strapped to his belt. I rushed breathlessly to the editor’s office, stumbling over my words to warn him that there was a man with a gun in the building. The editor looked at me with a look of ‘Stupid fuckin’ college kid’ and said, ‘That was the vice president, you idiot.’
The next day I was fired.
Good-bye James Gandolfini, Good-bye Big Tony.