I’m often asked where I find my subjects for some of my personal portraits; the answer is simple – if I see someone interesting I go up and ask them! Take Chas for instance; I have regularly cycled past his long boat on the Wey Navigation just underneath the M25 motorway bridge, and often thought he would probably make a great subject, but the problem was his boat was on the other side of the canal so it was difficult to make contact with him.
So in the end I had to use a well known aerial map app to find a way of driving to his mooring (It’s not easy) and then went and knocked on his gate (it’s a secure mooring) and asked if he would let me photograph him.
Now when I say he lives under the M25 I mean it; that’s the M25 bridge crossing the water just behind him in the photograph below. Chas has lived there since the 80’s and has a photograph of the bridge straddling the canal but without being attached to the main carriage way when the M25 was being built.
I asked Chas how he managed to stand the noise, and he replied that you get used to it; in fact you notice when it goes quiet so Chas will pick up the phone and report an accident on the M25 to the police! I must admit that I stopped being aware of the noise after a couple of hours photographing Chas.
Not long after I took Chas and fellow boat owner Mick’s portraits at their moorings Mick sold his boat (he actually sold it the Monday after I photographed him) and Chas moved to land to live in his home nearby. I’m often asked why I am interested in taking photos of everyday people and my reply is always the same – “Today is tomorrow’s history”.