Category Archives: Portraits

Portrait Of Britain Winner!

I am very excited to announce that not one but two of my photos have been chosen as Winners in this years Portrait Of Britain competition. The Portrait Of Britain is a photography exhibition run by the British Journal Of Photography which, in their own words, celebrates the rich tapestry of people that make up Great Britain.

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It’s A Doug’s Life

They say never work with children or animals. but when one of my healthcare clients asked me if I was interested in shooting a Pets As Therapy calendar featuring the pets, I thought why not, after all what do “they” know; it’s either going to be fun or utter chaos! The parting shot from the brief being “if you can get them doing any tricks that would be brilliant – but we don’t expect it!”.

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Still Tolling

Imagine being born in 1918, shot in the stomach during WWII, held as a Prisoner Of War, accused of being a spy, suffering malnutrition and nearly losing the use of your legs, being in Dresden when the Allies bombed it, escaping across the border, returning to the town you’ve lived your whole life, ringing church bells since you were 11 years old, receiving the Order Of St Mellitus from the Bishop Of London, receiving the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, being mentioned in the House Of Commons by the Prime Minister, and finally packing up driving…at the age of 100!

Meet Dennis…

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Portrait Salon

I sometimes question myself and my reasoning when I am out and about shooting personal work (that’s work I shoot just for myself with no third party brief and, no pay). It usually involves people I’ve met or approached who I think would make for an interesting portrait. My self doubt arises, usually when it’s cold, dark, wet and miserable and I’m lugging my gear around on my own (which I do for most of my personal work – it keeps me grounded by reminding me what it’s like to be an assistant again). It’s often further exacerbated when my subject asks me why I want to take their photo and what am I going to do with it? The very lovely Mrs Griffiths even went as far as to say that I couldn’t be a very busy photographer as nobody would want to buy her picture!

Portrait of Mrs Griffiths, who was part of my 28 Days In February project.
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Mr Mr Pearce

Now I’m used to photographing in very small places, as my project on bellringers will attest, but when I agreed to photograph artist Mr Mr Pearce in his studio on Johnson’s Island, I didn’t realise that it wasn’t much bigger than a desk, and had all the usual artist paraphernalia inside including a lot of his artworks (obviously).

Johnson’s Island, Brentford
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Split The Difference

How brave are you? Would you recommend that someone attend an anger management course? What if that someone was holding an axe? That’s what a former boss suggested to my latest subject Clay – before he left and set up his own business – as a tree surgeon, hence the axe. His leaving was more to do with paperwork and the safety ‘elf than anger management though.

Despite how that sounds Clay is a remarkably mild mannered man and a bell ringer at the local church in his spare time. He also lives in this beautiful old listed cottage in the heart of Surrey.

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Greeting The Sun

Why would grown ups get up at 4am, strap some bells to their shins, and head to a hill in Surrey to wave hankies and bash sticks? Probably because they were members of the Ewell St Mary’s Morris Men and were participating in their annual dance event to “Greet The Sun” on May Day morning. It was a mixture of intrigue, and a rash promise to a magazine editor, that made me get up even earlier and head to Box Hill to capture some portraits of the Morris Men as the sun came up at 5:34!

It was pitch black when I arrived to set up my gear, but I had packed a head torch and had done a reccé of the hillside a couple of days before to work out the best spot for the portraits. Initially I was alone but then I heard what I thought were goats, only to realise that it was the bell clad Morris Men making their way down from the car park!

It was very misty on the day and we were on the shadow side of the hill so the sunlight wasn’t around for long but there were some interesting skies and I was able to get these portraits.

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Only Human: Martin Parr

I must admit I’m a massive fan of Magnum photographer Martin Parr’s photography and he currently has an exhibition on at the National Portrait Gallery (NPG), which is well worth a visit (on until May 27th 2019). The NPG ran a competition to encourage people who have been inspired by his work and one of my entries made it into the top 30 shortlist. It was even used in the PR to encourage people to enter.

Here’s the selection of images that I entered.

Max A Hatter

It’s amazing what you find on little islands. I met Max A Hatter on Johnson’s Island in West London; he makes hats in a very small studio, at the top of a spiral staircase (I seem to be sending a lot of time in small rooms at the top of spiral staircases!) Max was introduced to me by Tim at Clement Knives, who I photographed on a nearby island making chef’s knives.

Max’s hats are really quite unique; based on a bowler style but with influences from Sapeurs and Yardies, and with a Turbanesque – a detachable padding or turban, which is used for position and comfort. 

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Life In A Dark Shed

I’ve often wandered past a tin shed behind some gates, and wondered what was inside. One day I went inside and met Trevor, who has worked there since the age of 14. His Father worked there too, up until 4 weeks before he passed away at the age of 94. With all the welding, drilling and cutting that goes on there is a lot of dust everywhere but Trevor says he is tidying it up. Whilst I was there we came across a letter from 1984, although Trevor said that he had found one from the 70’s recently!

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