I am a community-based portrait photographer with a Fine Arts (painting) background. I use a conceptual approach to address social issues and the themes that regularly surface in my work are homelessness, education, immigration, inter-faith interactions and definitions of community.
My work is rooted within my local neighbourhood and the relationships I have developed across the many different communities and Faith Groups within East London.
I am inspired by the energy and the diversity of people that live around me. My work has a particular focus on portraying vulnerable people in a dignified manner. I collaborate with them to create documentary images that are meaningful and representative of their life experience.
Creating images is only a fraction of my work. Before initiating a project I often spend months building long-term relationships with community leaders, activists and senior staff within charitable organisations. After creating a series of images a new process begins: developing exhibition materials, promoting my work in press and online and holding exhibitions within community spaces.
Whenever I show my work I also hold inclusive, participatory artist talks. I often feel my work gives a voice to people who are not heard – so I ensure they have the opportunity to speak about their experience, as well as being represented in my photographs.
I am also committed to supporting other photographers and artists. Last year I co-founded Backyard, an online photography magazine, which promotes projects and art made close to home.
Selected Commissions and Funding
London Borough of Waltham Forest (2012)
I have been awarded a commission to create a photographic Visual Time Capsule of the major cultural and Olympic related events within Waltham Forest in 2012 as part of an Artists Taking Part initiative. This ambitious community project includes recruiting a team of volunteer participants from across the community, working in partnership with schools, voluntary groups, faith groups and other artists, running a series of workshops, encouraging the volunteers to create images from their perspective and holding an exhibition.
(Organisation involved: Chingford Foundation School, Willowfield Humanities College, Barnardos, Forest Women’s Inter-Faith Network, The Mill Community Centre).
The British Council / Rogers Stirk Harbour Partnership (2012)
The International Architecture and Design Showcase 2012 is the British Council’s contribution to the Cultural Olympiad. As part of the programme The British Council are working in partnership with Mossbourne Community Academy in Hackney and world renowned Architects Rogers Stirk Harbour Partnership. They are creating an education initiative to inspire young people about the importance of sustainable design.
I have been commissioned to document this first class employer engagement project and create a photofilm recording the experiences of the students, teachers and visiting architects & designers.
London Borough of Waltham Forest (2011 – 2012)
Taking Part: I have contributed to an inspirational and diverse portfolio of photographs, which have been the result of a year-long collaboration by Image 17, a group of 13 Waltham Forest photographers. We have documented 48 community sports teams and groups and created a collection of 144 celebratory images, showing the breadth of sports available and the commitment of staff and volunteers in our community.
This project is the largest of its kind in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics and has received substantial press coverage, including a feature on the BBC website and three pages in the Evening Standard.
My perspective for this project was to photograph people not often represented in sports photography. I therefore developed relationships with the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and Leyton Orient Community Sports Programme which enabled me to work with senior citizens and two groups of adults with learning needs.
Voluntary Action Waltham Forest (2011-2012)
This commission has been renewed in 2012 after a successful collaboration in 2011. Together with fellow photographer Katherine Green, I have been commissioned to document voluntary groups within the Borough of Waltham Forest. A personal highlight was documenting a pilgrimage across the borough organised by the Forest Women’s Inter-Faith Network, who visited 3 Temples, 2 Mosques 3 Churches and a Gurdwara.
Katherine and I exhibited our work in Walthamstow Central Library during the E17 Art Trail and participated in an artist talk, including a broad audience from our community.
Curating – Backyard Magazine
In 2011 I co-founded Backyard, an online photography magazine that features the work of photographers who love to explore and capture their neighbourhoods. Our launch issue featured six photographers from London.
In March 2012 our second issue included six photographers from Queensland, Australia. This issue was curated in partnership with photographer Man Cheung, and included well-known as well as emerging photographers.
In April 2012 we partnered with the World Photography Organisation and created a special ‘pop-up’ issue of Backyard at Somerset House in London. We invited contributors to a workshop where they helped shape the issue and learn about the editing process.
Backyard has built a worldwide audience with 6,500 visitors and 56,000 page views since its launch.
Selected recent and current exhibitions
Image17’s Taking Part I
Leyton Library, High Road, London E10 5QH
24 March – 22 April 2012
Image17’s Taking Part IV
Walthamstow Library, High Street, London E17 7JN
21 July – 19 August 2012
Image17’s Taking Part V
Walthamstow Library, High Street, London E17 7JN
21 August – 16 September 2012
Voluntary Action in Waltham Forest
(2 person show)
A selection of work from the VAWF commission as part of the 2011 E17 Art Trail at Walthamstow Central Library, alongside fellow photographer Katherine Green.
2nd – 11th September 2011
Work from Guests & Volunteers selected by Simon Baker, Curator of Photography and International Art at Tate Modern to take part in an exhibition at the European Commission’s 12 Star Gallery in London. My work represented the UK in a show with 27 photographers from the 27 EU countries.
July 19th – September 9th 2011
Guests & Volunteers: Portraits from the Crisis Night Shift
Tokarska Gallery, London, E17
A solo exhibition of work created in partnership with Crisis, the national charity for single homeless people. The exhibition included an artist talk where both Guests and Volunteers spoke about their experience being photographed and the importance of this project.
June 3rd – June 18th 2011