This year I set myself two resolutions: one to run a half marathon, and one to master my unicycle to some degree. My Unicycle waits patiently in the corner of a room, but I have exceeded my Marathon goal by miles, so I feel fine about that situation. I will not be setting any resolutions for 2016, other than to live each moment and to be true to myself.
I had my busiest year since the recession, so I hope that is a trend that continues! It seems the photographic industry is settling into itself again, following the digital explosion. As amazing and addictive as the smartphone is, there is sometimes a need to bring in the pro’s!
I had lots of meetings with Picture Editors this year, and met and photographed some great people. One of my favourite jobs was for Metropolitan Housing; a housing association that as well as providing homes, they supply care and support services. I was commissioned to take pictures of three people to represent some of their services: Someone with mental health problems, a person with learning disabilities and an old person. It was an absolute privilege to meet Manelle, an eighty-seven year old gem.
She regaled my client and me with stories of her Convent school upbringing in Ceylon. Manelle also told us of how much she loved singing and serenaded us with several tuneful songs. She said it all with ‘music does something to my very soul’. If I live to 87 I hope I am still this enthusiastic about life.
We weren't allowed to leave without stuffing a couple of Werther's originals into our pockets!
I've garnered some recognition this year, winning a couple of prizes: both were created using traditional film and processing techniques.
As is often the case I entered the prestigious Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize. Needless to say, they are not ready for me yet! My rejected image did have a moment in the Portrait Salon ' salon de refuses' at the Embassy Tea Gallery. This image has been featured here before and forms part of my long-term project Downtime.
The project is still in development, and I have spent quite some time recently, analysing where it is at. This year I have managed to add sixteen new images to the project, bringing the total to thirty. I had thought once I hit thirty images I could start putting together a book. Alas, I feel the words are now just as important as the images, so I will be writing for the next month or so, from where I can hopefully get a handle on what to do next! But as a friend of mine said “it may become your life's work”.
The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery until 21st February 2016. http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/twppp-2015/exhibition.php
This year has been a big year for me personally and I have been reflecting on all areas of my life. Photography has been a large part of my world for so long, but I recognise my passion lies in the whole creative process which can be applied anywhere: coming up with ideas, sometimes forming collaborations, and seeing projects through to fruition.
With that in mind I have decided to take my foot off the pedal in some areas of photography, so I can concentrate on various personal projects.
You may have noticed that I like to keep active, and one way I do that is by practicing ‘Boxing Yoga’. A concept dreamed up by Matt Garcia, and executed with the help of Kajza Ekberg. I found out about this on a chance meeting with Matt and asking him ‘what the hell is Boxing Yoga’?!
Well, that was a couple of years ago, and I love it! So much so , that come February I will be embarking on a training course that should make me an official Boxing Yoga teacher, so get ready for some Downward Dog action!
Last year I listed various favourites, but I am having trouble singling anything out this time around, so here’s a collection of things that I enjoyed in 2015:
The Theory of Everything: the story of Stephen Hawkins as Scientist and Husband.
Just yesterday I took my son to see Star Wars: the Force Awakens. I think I could have got away with being a teenage boy myself from my level of excitement. It was amazing!
I somehow haven’t watched Spectre yet, so if anyone wants to join me for a viewing let me know!
A life without limits by multiple Ironman world champion Chrissie Wellington. It may not be the best written book ever, but is very honest and truly inspirational.
Ziggyology by Simon Goddard: an intelligently written, way-more-info-than-you-bargained- for- book, primarily about the rise and fall of David Bowie’s creation, Ziggy Stardust, but you will pick up facts on things as diverse as Holst to Kubrick, which if you have a better memory than me could serve you well in a pub quiz!
Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude at The Courthauld Gallery
The Art of the Brick at The Truman Gallery. Showcasing Nathan Sawaya’s amazing Lego Sculptures.
Gathered Leaves/Photographs by Alec Soth. I have only recently become aware of Alec’s work, but I spent an enjoyable couple of hours at The Science Museum’s Media Space viewing various projects of his. All insightful documentaries of people’s lives.
This is running until 28th March 2016.
Shoes: Pleasure and Pain showing at the V & A Museum until 31st January 2016. I suggested going here with a shoe-loving friend of mine. It was thoroughly entertaining, giving a holistic view of footwear, and leaving me thinking maybe one day I will own a pair of Christian Louboutin’s!
Best Day Out
I have two, and both were spent with my Son. We lucked-out in August on a sunny day in Newcastle (whilst it was raining in London). We did a fast sweep of the city, managed to see the Gateshead Millennium Bridge raise and took a trip to see The Angel of the North in all her glory.
I took the boy to his first festival: V Fest in Chelmsford. Of course it poured down not long after our arrival, but the sun shone for George Ezra. It was great to see Ella Ayre and her lovely keyboardist Josh Carruthers who secured me my tickets!
I do have a favourite here, and that was seeing my family about 100 metres from the Marathon finish line. I cannot show you my view, but you can see my reaction!
Merry Christmas and may the force be strong through 2016!