Friday, 21 April 2017

World meet Olly

Olly and the rose

Everybody this is Olly, my full-time assistant.

“I don't think I have a favourite colour… it would probably be purple at a push. I’d say my favourite place in the world is the rolling fields of Kent. At weekends you might find me in a London haunt with friends, or alternatively watching my favourite film Leon with my dog Alfie (although I do have a soft spot for Ratatouille). I really don’t like it when people put their condiment covered knives in the butter - who wants a ham sandwich with a hint of jam, a trickle of marmite and a suspicion of brown sauce? Seriously. I once got attacked by a man wielding a machete in Thailand, that’s probably the most scared I’ve ever been. That’ll teach me for trying to barter with the locals. I like to dance to September by Earth Wind and Fire. I like eating olives (but only the green kind), and I like taking photos, particularly if it means I can put a clock on my head or munch on a rose. My most treasured possession is the Claddagh ring that my gran gave me… which I sadly lost, so now it’s probably the photographs of my family from my childhood. I loved those times when I was small and we were road tripping around the South of France playing Morning Glory (what’s the story) on the radio. And if you’re offering: it’s a pint of Old Dairy ale thanks.”

Thursday, 20 April 2017

17 minutes with Ed Balls - The Sunday Times Magazine


I have always enjoyed meeting interesting people and amazingly my job allows me to do just that - I still can’t believe my luck.

Sometimes those people are unknown to most, sometimes they are well known, and sometimes they are people who are very well known for doing the cha cha cha. You see I was given seventeen minutes to meet Ed Balls. Not a huge amount of time, I admit, but enough to get to know the man, just a touch. I love the adrenaline rush I get from high intensity, short shoots. Everything becomes more exciting, more immediate. You have to get the job done, you have to make the most of what you get, and however much you plan you never quite know what’s going to happen. I might dive straight into a deep conversation, find myself getting shouted at down a loud hailer and discover the highs and lows of being a parent. At least that’s what happened when I met Ed.

Unfortunately there wasn’t enough time for Ed to teach me the Cha Cha Cha…  

Read the interview in The Sunday Times Magazine: LINK


Monday, 3 April 2017

Shirin Ebadi and Nargess Tavassolian for The Sunday Times Magazine

I always do my research before photographing someone and occasionally people’s life stories blow me away. But none more so than Shirin Ebadi. A woman who has tirelessly devoted her life to the defence of others, in particular those threatened by her home country's regime. She is the winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts towards democracy and human rights and has had to live in exile since 2009. Her daughter Nargess Tavassolian has followed her path and is now a human rights lawyer as well. I photographed them together for the Sunday Times Magazine.

Read the article here: LINK  

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Lynn Barber for The Sunday Times Magazine

What do you get when you combine one journalist, four grandkids and five sticks of candy floss… beautiful chaos.

I was asked to photograph the journalist Lynn Barber for The Sunday Times Magazine. She is supposed to stop smoking and clean up her act when the grandchildren come to stay. But there's no chance, she says. Have a read here: LINK

Huge thanks to Lynn and her family for being fully on board with my ideas - it was wonderful messing about in Brighton with you.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Help for Heroes

Back in 2013 I received a telephone call out of the blue asking if I wanted to photograph the first ever catalogue for Help For Heroes. Hell yeah I did. Since then I have done numerous shoots with Help for Heroes and each one has been as brilliant as the last.

They are always a pleasure to work with because we operate like a well-oiled machine together (you would expect no less from a military charity). This means we are able to do a huge amount in a short space of time.

They do such fantastic work helping ex-serviceman and women and it has been awesome to be part of it for such a long period of time. I look forward to doing more shoots with them in the future.

Show your support here: LINK

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Photographers' Gallery Instagram Takeover

Something pretty cool happened this week. I was given the opportunity to takeover The Photographers’ Gallery Instagram page. It’s a great honour to be able to share my favourite photos with 117,000 photo lovers. Head on over now to take a look: LINK

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Throw back to December's Help Portrait photoshoot

Back in December I took part in Help Portrait, whose motto 'Don't take a photo, give it' sums up its purpose in a nutshell. We photographed homeless and vulnerable people at The Passage, a central London homeless shelter. The charity does amazing work turning people's lives around and it was wonderful to meet and photograph the clients they work with. Here's a short video from behind the scenes and you can see more images from the shoot here: LINK

Find out more about The Passage here:

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

10 years of Premier Skills exhibition - Collaboration takes you further

It has been two years since I approached the Premier League with an idea to photograph their fans around the world. I had gone out of the blue to pitch the idea to them, something I had never done before. As a photographer there is often a separation between commissioned work and personal work but occasionally the two come together and beautiful things occur. Thankfully the Premier League were interested, better than that they brought a whole new element to the project that I didn’t expect and made it far stronger. 

That was why I was running down a Soweto street with ten kids and an old football trying to photograph them in the last of the evening light. These kids can go up the road after school to train with some of the best coaches in South Africa. As part of the Premier Skills program run by the British Council, Premier League coaches travel to some of the most impoverished communities in the world and train locals to be football educators. A domino effect begins as these educators spread the best coaching practices throughout their area. The scheme has reached a staggering 1.2 million kids. It gives them dreams, teaches them the benefits of commitment, and keeps them out of drugs and crime. I knew nothing about this program which the Premier League runs in partnership with the British Council, but it sounded interesting and I was eager to develop the project to include this.

I love collaboration, particularly when both sides gain from it. Without collaborating with the British Council and the Premier League I would not have been able to tell these stories. Staff based in South Africa and India opened the doors for me, they introduced me to the people they had been working with for years and then gave me free reign to tell their stories as I saw best. I embraced the challenge with open arms just like I do my personal work. I spent months before my travels chatting to coaches on Skype, talking football with the local fan clubs and finding out about India and South Africa. I slowly developed the best way to make this project. On the ground this freedom continued, I could photograph the way I wanted to and embrace the situations I found myself in. The resulting exhibition is very different from how I first imagined the project two years ago, but that’s the thing about collaboration - you change your viewpoint and learn new things when you work with others. The photographs show the power football has to promote positive change in communities around the world. They tell the stories of the inspiring people I met. It’s been great collaborating in this way and I hope I can do more projects like this in the future.

9 Feb - 24 March 2017, Monday-Friday 9-5

 Nomonde is a coach educator in Soweto. She sees herself as an important role model for children in her local community. She teaches children football skills and educates them about social issues.

This girl lost her mother a year ago. At fourteen, she has taken on all her responsibilities. Without the Premier Skills sessions, she would never have a chance to play, and never have a chance to feel like a child.  

In Kolkata, visually impaired girls are partnered with visually able friends to play football together. People with disabilities are often not included in sporting activities, but this makes them feel valued within the community.  

I was eager to also capture the many football followers I came across on my trip so I visited super fans in South Africa, businessmen in Mumbai and stopped regularly on the streets of Kolkata and Johannesburg to capture the everyday people we saw in their favourite team’s jerseys.  

I would like to say a huge thank you to the Premier League and British Council for making this project happen. Tim Vine for keeping his faith in my ideas, Chris Chadwick who travelled with me, helped endlessly and made a beautiful film of the experience. And to all the many staff at the British Council both in the UK and abroad without whom this project would not have been possible.

Monday, 9 January 2017

A great start to 2017 - my first cover for The Sunday Times Magazine

She's note leaving home - Sunday Times Magazine

What a great start to 2017, my first cover for The Sunday Times Magazine! And for such an interesting article as well.

Gabriel Pogrund and Alix O’Neill wrote about millennials who are forced to live at home and the struggles that their generation is going through to enter independent adulthood. I was asked to visit a couple of people in just this situation -  it’s a bit strange arriving at someone’s house and asking them to get into bed with their parents, particularly when you’ve never met before. But that’s exactly what I did for this shoot. Wonderfully both families I photographed were game and embraced the idea wholeheartedly.

Massive thanks to Russ for the commission and to my subjects for their patience. Read the article here: LINK

Living with your parents - The Sunday Times Magazine