Video: Calais & Dunkirk Video

After doing a four-day course with Photofusion last year I made this short promotional video for Just Shelter – I was grateful to have the opportunity as it helps to have something real to use for content. I chose not to include music because I could not get my head around the manipulative way it is used and I HATE cheesy music over real things. It really cheapens actual situations and patronises everybody from subjects to viewers. I have since noticed where music has been used effectively and will continue to keep looking for examples.


Calais/Dunkirk: Thoughts

Along with the ideas which I posted yesterday I think I need to also think about the way I keep this work public. It’s now over two years’ of work, having started in December 2015,  and continuing, and there needs to be more context, images grouped into time periods plus links to the blog posts I write as well as any other developments currently in planning/early implementation stage.



Children’s workshop with Wildchild

I was pleased and flattered to be asked to run a children’s workshop for a local group called Wildchild, whose main remit is about giving city children an opportunity to experience planting, getting dirty, and appreciating the outdoors. Although it is usually run on land that the parent group Paradise Co-op manage, the workshop was held in a church which has recently opened a community cafe run by a friend of mine who I met through Just Shelter due to the cold weather. We had access to the garden and the church.

It was lots of fun and the children really seemed to enjoy the workshop very much. They have taken some wonderful photographs which Wildchild will share privately with parents and the group, I was very glad to have inspired them. They were incredibly welcoming and interested in what I do and why.

Here is the outline of the workshop:

Wild Child Photography Workshop Plan – Tuesday 6th February 2018


Main Aims; to introduce the idea of photography being a language and a medium that encourages us to look and see the world around us. 

  • Who I am – local photographer working as a photographer and studying to be an artist who uses cameras and images in own work (briefly discuss difference)
  • Introduce children to the idea that photography is a language everyone can and does use to express themselves, and in particular connection with Wild Child to observe nature
  • Ask children to tell me if they can tell me think of different ways photography can be used, where they see photographic images in their world, how they see photographs being used, what they think of photographs if at all
  • A very brief introduction to some technicalities – low light, the quality of light, using shutter speeds, how aperture can affect the picture – working in auto of P (I don’t think any more manual controls are worth going into in this session) (I decided not to cover this at all on the day)
  • Finally, discuss how photography is about seeing – how it encourages you to take a closer look at the world around you


Choose from one of the following activities: (They may spend the whole time doing one exercise or if they have time they might do more. We may need to spend some time talking to the children about the various options and giving them some ideas, examples, etc.)

  • Make a photographic documentary about Wild Child and the Paradise Co-op land where most of the sessions take place. Think about how you will present the documentary – slide show, text or speaker, what you want to say in the documentary.
  • Create an abstract art project based around nature in the Paradise Co-op plot. Again, you can suggest how you see the images might be presented, who will your audience be, and think about the point of the project.
  • Create a false narrative (a story which you will try to pretend is the truth) using images to convince your audience you are somewhere other than Wandsworth using images and words. i.e. You may photograph yourselves in the woods and claim it is somewhere in Bavaria for instance… how convincing can you make your presentation and where will you show these images, along with your made up story?

The final exercise was chosen by two groups as far as I know. One group turned the church into a prison using cropping and judicious choice of space. Another set theirs in Mexico. The light beating down on the red bricks of the church at the end of the day was perfect! (I think they were also superheroes and seemed to have zombies in the mix too ….)

Leonard Bernstein On Motivation

If nothing else, the phrase ‘fancy gibberish’ in the following article is priceless, and I’m sure it could be applied to many, many artists’ statements including some I’ve written! An increasing bugbear of mine is the artist’s statement and I hope to find a way to overcome the lure of fancy gibberish when I write my own. That aside, this is a such a lovely account worth recording.

Research: Empire, ​psychoanalysis​

Britain’s Dream-catchers and the truths of Empire: This is such an excellent article and links intrinsically to what I’ve been looking at in S&O…

Two paragraphs, in particular, that may prove useful at some point to refer to:

“Informants on at least three continents reported that the stages of sexual development that Freud made famous – oral, anal, genital – were nowhere to be found; children did not pass through a latency period, for instance, or a phase of fascination with excretory functions. Seligman’s dream-collectors in the Naga Hills and in Nigeria even gainsaid the relevance of such fundamental concepts as libido and repression. Sexual mores were so much less restrictive than in the West, they reported, that unconscious minds there were much less intent on subverting them.”

“The common thread running through all the accounts was a twist on the Oedipal story. The oppressive patriarch, a largely fantasied figure in the European context, was here embodied in the very real force of the ‘white man’ and the colonial state behind him. This was a strikingly deromanticised vision of empire, in which only habits of deference and fear of reprisal constrained the urge to throw off tyrannical shackles. Seligman had, it turned out, chronicled the psychic wounds of colonialism, revealing a political order fundamentally at odds with Britain’s self-understanding” (Linstrum, 2017)