02 Jan Looking back on 2018.
It’s hard to believe 2018 is over already! Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s the relentless pace of life in London, but the past 12 months seem to have gone by so fast.
Before being catapulted into 2019, I thought I would take the time to reflect on my experiences over the past year, and share some of the highlights and new developments.
This year marked the start of two new projects – neither of which has a title yet, and both of which are focused on the food system. The first aims to highlight the impact of factory farming on the animals trapped within the industrial food system – bred and slaughtered in a manner that can only be considered inhumane.
Rather than visually representing the experiences of these animals as they happen, I’m instead taking portraits of those that have been saved – celebrating their beauty and hopefully capturing a glimpse of their individual character – and sharing their stories in words.
It’s a project I’m doing in collaboration with friend and fellow photographer, Claudia Leisinger – my first time working with someone in this way, and while we’ve only visited one sanctuary so far – namely the Farm Animal Rescue Sanctuary near Leamington Spa, we plan to visit more over the coming months, and share the stories of animals of all shapes and sizes.
The second project is on small-scale food producers, who put sustainability and quality at the heart of the processes they use. Our reliance on supermarkets has led to significant, ever-increasing compromises on quality, nutrition, flavour and social and environmental impact. However, movements such as the Slow Food movement, and organisations such as Sustainable Food Trust aim to preserve and nurture sustainable food culture.
As with my project on factory farmed animals, this too is in its infancy, and the sole shoot I have carried out to date involved Alex from Earth Ale, as he foraged for elderberries, wild hops and blackberries for his latest brew.
My desire is to capture the stories and activities of people producing a range of products – beer, cheese, high-welfare meat and more, with the aim of raising awareness about the alternatives that exist, and the need to nurture and embrace the alternative, sustainable food system that these producers represent. If you know anyone who might be suitable, please get in touch!
Portraits and Headshots.
The year also saw me take many more portraits and headshots – from politicians to social entrepreneurs, artists to criminal lawyers – repeat clients, and new clients.
I’ve also starting an initiative that allows groups of individuals – such as entrepreneurs or artists working out of co-working spaces or at a fair – to access discounted headshots. I’ve trialled it in a few locations across London, with different groups of people, and it’s been quite successful. I hope to roll it out to many more spaces in the months to come.
Highlights of the year.
Some of the highlights from a professional perspective, include having my work published in a variety of online and print publications – including Forbes, Jellied Eel, Village Raw, LIP and others.
One of the biggest highlights though was in late November, when I was short-listed for the Rebecca Vassie Memorial Award. It was the first time I had submitted my work for any sort of funding or competition, and so was great to obtain some recognition of my ideas and work. The proposal I submitted was for a project on migrant farm labour in the UK – something I hope I can still move forward with in 2019, despite not having any financial support.
I thought I would end this piece with my experiences of other people’s work that truly inspired me. The first is Dorothea Lange, whose work was exhibited at the Barbican, and gave a real insight into her life, photographic practice and philosophy.
The other noteworthy experience was a talk given by Edward Burtynsky, whose work I have admired for some time. He reflected on the evolution of his work over the past three decades, as he explored our impact on the environment, sharing his thoughts and experiences, along with his latest work – the Anthropocene project.