48 hours to the end of another year and the need to round off my blog with an obligatory post of pictures looms again. Over 31,000 pictures spurted out into the digital kleenex of time (metaphor warning: I have a COLD!) during this last 12 months and it seems, only 1387 of them were worth converting to TIFF files. 10 cameras used and 17 lenses, Lightroom can be a wonderful source of useless data! This year has been full of ups and downs, not the usual plain sailing.
The year started with my second solo exhibition in as many years, courtesy of Olympus, at the Art Bermondsey Project Space in London. I was amazed to see so many friends turn up, if you were there, thank you for making the effort! I seemed to spend most Thursday evenings between January and April shooting some lovely amateur thespians taking part in theatrical workshops here in Winchester. It was a great opportunity to see normal people doing very strange things!
In May I travelled to London to photograph a hen party and eventually got some much needed sunshine in Portugal with my best pal Sarah. Mostly based in the Algarve, we spent one boozy night in Lisbon and redeemed ourselves the following day by exploring one of the cities most impressive art galleries. Within 2 days of our return I was New-York-bound for a last minute place on the David Alan Harvey workshop at his loft in Brooklyn. That was quite a trip, I met so many amazing people, all immersed in the world of photography and got to push my own work into new areas. That dude has soul and I only hope a little rubbed off on me.
The week was capped with the mother of all house parties, on the rooftop at Kent Avenue, cold beer, warm air and a clear view across the East River of Manhattan’s twinkling lights. Walking home in the small hours through the most devout Hasidic Jewish neighbourhood, swaying slightly, a belly full of beer, bladder bursting at the seams. Now I would normally pee in ANY street if I needed to, but the thought of one of those old jewish guys with the big hat and beard and pointy finger, leaning out of his window, uttering a god-like wrath as I filled his dustbin with urine was just untenable. I started an awkward jog towards the Williamsburg bridge, under which, in its darkness, I could find relief. However, the second that bridge came into view my stupid brain said “you’re home dude!” and my bladder took that as a green light. Standing in amazement and shock, I literally ‘filled my boots’! Walking home past night-joggers and cool couples leaving parties, wearing my new ‘two-tone’ jeans, warm and wet rapidly turning to cold and wet, I willed myself to move as naturally as possible. This artifice succeeded only until they got close enough to hear the squelch of my shoes!
In July I had more fun with the wonderful Standen family, pissing it up in Winchester and chilling out on the beach in Cornwall (where I thrashed Sarah at crazy golf). Once again, close proximity to (the then 1 year old) Frida, providing some of my favourite pictures of the year.
In July I also made a 3rd trip to Sibiu in Romania where I photographed more fashion behind the scenes at the annual show and also spent a day shooting the new model Cretu Andreea
In August I set off with my ‘photo pal’ Karl for Havana Cuba. It was the same photographic paradise I had visited 10 years before but on this trip I got to (made myself) meet a lot more people. From the friendly boxers of the Rafael Trejo Gym to the street kids on every corner and the midnight revellers on the Malecon, it was the people who made this trip so memorable.
In October I spent a weekend with 18 photographers in London, immersing myself in the world of street photography with one of Magnums latest nominee’s the talented Matt Stuart. This was ‘hard core’ street photography mind you, none of your long lens bollocks! London’s east end became a veritable cacophony of rangefinder shutters going off! It was here I discovered that I am not really that good at the whole HCSP thing, but I really enjoyed trying it out!
This year my older brother David awoke from what he thought was a fairly urgent appendectomy, to discover he had just had a massive tumour removed. In October he moved in with me here in Winchester where he has been undergoing his follow up chemotherapy. This has been going well, by comparison to many peoples reaction to this treatment. Having spent many weeks researching the findings of naturopathic clinics around the world, prior to his treatment and having subsequently adopted a strict Ketogenic regime of zero sugar and low carbs combined with substantial quantities of high-nutrient, vegetable juicing, I personally wonder if his current good condition is more as a result of this than the chemo. The immune system is a powerful thing and I wonder if all the processed crap we consume is, as many believe, reducing its effectiveness. My brother is focussed and optimistic for his future.
During his stay I have of course been shooting lots of pictures of David and his lovely wife Nieza (during her visit).
In December I thought it would be a good idea to give David and his wife a week to themselves so I took myself off to the Canary Islands accompanied by my artist friend Clare who’s portrait I shot in November. During the week we bumped into Lavinia, one of my fellow photography students from the Matt Stuart workshop, and a rather drunken night ensued at the Rock Island Bar in Coralejo. I now know categorically that at 52, I am no longer capable of withholding more that 3 types of alcohol within my body for any period of time, lesson learned the hard way!
As ever, the year was mostly about the special friends who I have been fortunate to share it with so here are a few pictures of those who have not featured in the stories above.
Happy New Year to all I know! xx