Saturday, 31 December 2011

2011 Sideways Summary

A brand new year is just around the corner so I'll try and summarise 2011 with some of my favourites shots/shoots along with some pictures that never ended up going on the blog. I'll be the first one to admit that blogging has become a bit of a burden this year. The black hole of never ending good stuff that is Twitter overtook the sharing of online content. The planning of my wedding took up an enormous amount of time too, but lets be honest, laziness is at the heart of the problem. Enough with the excuses, here we go.

The moment my now wife said 'yes' to me on top of a castle overlooking the sea, with friends and family from all over the world gathered in one spot, was definitely the highlight of the year (and my life!), and these two pictures are from our resulting mini-honeymoon to Dorset, where amongst other things, we took in the delight that is Durdle Door.

One the funniest and most rewarding of my own projects that I worked on was the phenomenon of same-sex dancing. This picture is from an event at The Rivoli in Brockley, where couples from all over the world come to compete in ballroom dancing. An audio slide show will hopefully be complete in time for next years competition.

Sitting beneath West Norwood Cemetery is one of the country's few large-scale catacombs. Known as the Millionaire's Cemetery, it was one of the most fashionable places in the city to be buried during Victorian times, when death was commemorated in the most indulgent way a family could afford, and catacomb burial was seen as the pinnacle of high status. Chipped and moulding coffins are on plain display. There are approximately 1,500 coffins down here, with capacity for about 2,000.

The first thing to greet you when you enter the catacombs is the old hydraulic catafalque (above), aka coffin lift. At the end of a funeral, as something of a dramatic conclusion, this would have been used to lower the coffin straight into the catacombs from the old chapel above (which was destroyed by a bomb in the Second World War). Waiting below would have been a team of pall bearers, who would have then unloaded the coffin and taken it to its allocated space. An awesome place, which really gave me the creeps.

Since 2010, I've had the pleasure of working with Kick It Out. This shot is from one of their many coaching sessions for black and Asian managers, where England U19 manager Noel Blake (R) and Chelsea FC's Michael Emenalo (L) took part. The work they do is much needed, with only two black managers involved in top-level football in this country, and as racism charges against John Terry and Luis Suarez have proved, there is still a lot to do to stamp out racism from the game.

More sports, this time a nice portrait. I was sent down to Ladywell Fields in Lewisham to get a site shot as they had just had a new surface laid down on the athletics track. A chap which I vaguely recognised was about to start training and I got chatting to him. Turns out it was Conrad Williams, a Team GB athlete training for next years London Olympics, and he was more than happy to pose for a few shots.

A final sports pic, this one from Wimbledon, where sadly I only had time to go for one afternoon. This is ultimate champion Novak Djokovic twisting his arm unbelievably as he serves. I love how this looks and have a whole series of these.

A couple of shots from the flash mob outside City Hall in May, where security guards have made it into a sport to stop photographers from getting their cameras out. Getting creative with the message are Leah Borromeo (top) and NUJ's Jess Hurd. More on all things related at PHNAT.

The Royal wedding was fun! The nation went into hyper drive and got a day off for their troubles. Little girls dressed as princesses and neighbours threw street parties in a seldom seen show of friendliness. For me, it was a extremely busy day, but luckily I didn't have to go into Buckingham Palace, where photographers have been speaking of the job from hell. I was well fed and watered all day. This shot is from East Greenwich Pleasaunce.

More royalty, here's Camilla getting a stiff upper lip from an equestrian friend as she visited Ebony Horse Club in the middle of Brixton.

The biggest story in London was probably the August riots. I came back from work just as Hackney was erupting. I went down to have a look and within 10 minutes I'd seen three people being robbed of their cameras. There was no police in sight, people were committing robbery right left and centre, and as I wasn't covering it for the paper, I decided it wasn't worth the risk. Numerous photographers got beat up and robbed, and I'm kind of glad that I stayed away. The above pic's are of the aftermath in Woolwich and Lewisham, but, the riots also brought some good things. How about these (below) riot inspired custom finger nails from an art exhibition in Peckham?

Finally, here's a round up of links to some of the numerous 'Pictures of the Year' out there:

Tom Jenkins of The Guardian, AFP's Leon NealTime, The Guardian, BBC, Greenpeace, The New York TimesThe Telegraph, MSNBC, The Big Picture parts I, II and III, Reuters UK and global, Flickr, The Daily Beast, British Red Cross, to name but a few, and of course the pictures of the year in LEGO.

Happy New Year to all of you!

Friday, 23 December 2011

A heathen message

Darryll (above) is helping me with a photo story on how a young boxer is about to turn pro. He is having his first professional bout next month and I'm hoping to be there with him for his first of many victories.

More to follow next year, but right now, 'Christmas' is upon us, so I bid all and sundry a nice break from the working life. I am not a religious person, but spare a thought for the less fortunate, eat and be merry, just like the heathens did long before those Christians arrived! ;)

See you all in 2012!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Behind the scenes

Daredevil Danny riding shotgun. © Magnus Andersson

Just a little heads up that on this Friday there will be another free screening of our documentary The Best Seat In The World and you're invited! Its at Look Mum No Hands at 7pm, but before you go, check out our daredevil Danny (above) as he mounts a motorcycle reverse in order to film some track action.

If you happen to live somewhere else than London and still want to watch it, perhaps you know of a cool venue that might want to host it? If so, do get in touch in the comments.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Stiff upper lip

The Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker-Bowles, paid a visit to the Ebony Horse Club in Brixton a few days ago and as always with a Royal visit, you never take your eye off the target and pray that magic will happen. I cant say that this visit presented vintage opportunities, but at least it gave the subs a chance to roll out old clichés like 'Saddle do nicely', 'Stiff upper lip', 'Why the long face?', 'Feeling a bit hoarse' etc.

In all fairness, Camilla was great, but I suppose a girl like her will always feel at home around horsey people, even though it is in deepest Brixton. The Ebony initiative itself is amazing though, and the kids that come here clearly benefit from the place. The fact that horse riding can be found in the midst of this urban jungle is no mean feat, so stand up and be proud, Ebony Horse Club, and keep on saying yay in the (long) face of the neigh sayers...

Friday, 14 October 2011

Full house

Standing room only (+serious face) at our second screening.

Here's some pix from last Saturday when we did the second screening of our documentary The Best Seat In The World at Look Mum No Hands.

Danny does his bike imitation while setting up.

We knew that we we were preaching to the converted when we accepted a viewing at the bicycle Mecca of London. We thought that a few people might turn up, but we didn't expect a full house. The extended applause at the end made it all worth it!

Full house.

If you were there, thank you for taking time out of your weekend to check our work, and if you missed it, there will be more screenings soon.

In other good news, Herne Hill Velodrome received a whooping £400k to safeguard its future!

 Thank you to Look Mum No Hands for the screening!

 We are nearly at 6000 views for the trailer and we appreciate the sharing! As always, stay tuned on twitter and the blog. Merci beau coup.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Welcome to the cheap seats

The bike-powered première screening of The Best Seat In The World at Herne Hill Velodrome, Sunday 11 Sep, 2011.

Last month I invited you to the sneak-première of a documentary that I have been involved in with some friends. That première day here in London started out a little bit wetter than we had hoped, which was especially bad since it was an outdoor screening....but the weather gods stayed on our side! If you stayed at home, you missed a belter!

And I'm not just saying this because it was a film that I was involved in. The rain was solid for most of the day but by sunset there were clear blue skies over London, including a nice big moon on the rise.

This was a bike powered screening held inside the very subject of our documentary - the Herne Hill Velodrome - and I would guesstimate that we had around 40-60 brave souls in attendance. Judging by their reactions it was a success, but if you missed it, why don't you judge for yourself this weekend?

Yes, there will be another free screening at Look Mum No Hands! here in London this Saturday (8th Oct 2011) at 7pm. Address: 49 Old Street, London EC1V 9HX.

Here's the trailer, hope to see you there!

The Best Seat In The World TRAILER from The Best Seat In The World on Vimeo.
A documentary about Herne Hill Velodrome. The track has known some hard times with its main building now closed-down due to deterioration and political feuds that stopped any long term redevelopment. This is the back drop to a series of moving interviews with cycling enthusiasts that range from a 1948 Olympic medallist to eight-year-old track users who all want the track to stay open.

You can also check out our tumblr for updates on future screenings and perhaps some behind-the-scenes footage from The Best Seat In The World.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011


 Marcus, Mattias and fellow visitor.
Now that the cuts and bruises that I got at Visa Pour L'Image are starting to go away, I thought I'd briefly take you through the trip to Perpignan in Aug/Sep. I stayed with my friend Mattias Johansson and his mate Marcus Funke in a swanky new hotel, much closer to the town centre than in previous years, meaning that we managed to walk a lot less and drink a lot more than usual. Bad tings.

Perpignan street.

Anyway, the streets of Perpignan are beautiful and in previous years my go-to-camera has always been the LX3 but it now sits in the most-boring-camera-ever category and therefore most of these are iPhone pictures using mainly Hipstamatic (Nick Turpin is excused from looking at this post*).

Mmm, wine.

This being my third year, I was determined to actually see ALL the exhibitions on show, something we hadn't managed previously. You'd think in a small town like Perpignan it isn't a big problem, but when you factor in 1) we're on holiday, 2) its south of France and full of restaurants and cafes and 3) phojofatigue** and 4) all the free drinks, etc, it becomes a problem. In theory you can probably see all the exhibitions in one day, but for the above stated reasons, we paced ourselves and tried to make the most of it.

Dedicated photojournalists as we are, we always start the week with a champagne breakfast and this year was no different. I flew straight from London to Perpignan while the rest of the 100 or so Scandinavian PJ's flew to Barcelona and then caught a bus to Perpignan, leaving me to do the shopping for my room mates, below.

The traditional champagne breakfast.

When it comes to the exhibitions, the one that really stuck with me was Martina Bacigalupo's 'My Name Is Filda Adoch'. An essay about one woman's daily experiences of life in the Ugandan civil war. Heartbreaking yet tender, not to mention humbling, but what set this work apart from everything else on show was the handwritten captions on the frames, direct quotes from Filda herself, with short succinct sentences about her daily struggle, making an immediate impact and giving a strong voice to the person depicted, something that felt distinctly lacking in almost every other exhibition; the voice of the subject/s.

My Name Is Filda Adoch exhibition.

My second favourite was LA Times Barbara Davidson and her work of Los Angeles residents who have been caught in the crossfire of gang warfare. Again, low key and intimate photography with lots of voices from the people affected by stray bullets.

It comes as no surprise that the two best exhibitions are by female photographers with stories away from breaking news, instead focusing on long-term projects, Davidson spending over four years on hers, initially in her own time, then having to nag her editors to let her continue.

Caught In The Crossfire exhibition.

We of course wanted more of the same and, against better reasoning, got up early one morning to see Brian Storm and hear more about the multimedia converts in our business. It wasn't until about 50 minutes of watching slide show after slide show that we realised that we had misread the schedule, today was only a showcase of MediaStorm's work, yesterday was the actual talk. Brian was only in the room to cue up the projects, one after the other. Photojournalism 0 - 1 Alcohol. :(
Some of the drinkers.

Also worth a mention was Joceylyn Bain Hogg and his work about the London underworld families who are now slowly fading away, a continuation of his work The Firm from 2001.

Again, we never made it to Campo Santo, the place where they do amazing outdoor screenings, but the screen in the main square; Place de la Republique, where you have the added benefit of eating and drinking at the same time, is just as good. Its even better if you can view it from a rooftop overlooking the square, with some champagne and nibbles. Thank you Christina!

The view from Christina's  rooftop.

My friend Maciej Dakowicz also had his 'Cardiff After Dark' series shown at the big screen (the day before we arrived) and when we bumped into each other outside Cafe de la Poste where he told me that it had gone down really well. Last week The Daily Mail decided to run a series of the pictures with bad crops (their own, not Maciej's crops), misleading caption information and of course the word 'foreign' in the headline, cue a shit storm. To date there are over 2200 comments from 'outraged' readers, and Maciej apparently saw a spike of more than 500.000 hits in one day on his flickr pages. His work is great, just sad to see the Daily Fail use it for its own scaremongering purposes. Luckily The New York Times and The Guardian took a more measured approach.

A lone musician on a corner on the last evening.

All in all a great week but slightly exhausting, luckily we made it to the beach on the last day for some much needed frolicking in the sea. A special thank you to the Scandinavian organisers Christina (SFF), Per (Canon Sweden) and Jamil (Canon Denmark) for pulling out all the stops, especially on the last dinner at L'Arago! :)

The beach.

* to be fair, Nick was talking about not sending Hipstamatic shots to his in-public mag, his tweet here
** the feeling of deja vu after each new image, and/or succumbing to depression of seeing too much photojournalism in one day.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Red carpet time

You are all hereby invited to the première of our first documentary film - The Best Seat In The World. This Sunday at 8pm you can be among the very first to see our 30-minute documentary about the Herne Hill Velodrome; a fantastic cycling venue dating back to 1892.

The 1948 Olympics were held there but it gradually fell into disrepair. Last year it was on the brink of closure, so we started following the story. This Sunday you can see the results of several months of hard work. Its free and its a bike-powered outdoor screening, and it is of course held at Herne Hill Velodrome. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Back to blogging

For those of you that have asked, no, I havent stopped blogging, I've just had a little break while the planning of my wedding was taking priority, but now that I'm a married man, I will start posting in earnest again.

At the end of this month we're returning to Visa Pour l'Image in Perpignan, and although it tends to be a very hectic week with talks, screenings, photography fatigue etc, some Mediterranean sun and food wont go amiss in the beautiful Catalan city. Here's some pictures from last year.

Saturday, 4 June 2011


Completely unrelated picture of a dead rat with an ant in its mouth.

As I walked towards the shore to get closer to the windsurfers in Apelviken, I remember checking my pockets. Should I zip them up in case my LX3 falls out? I patted down my side pocket and felt that it was secure. No way that my iPhone could jump out of my chest pocket with its deep lining. Right.

Last week I was in Sweden to oversee the final preparations for our impending wedding there next month and I dropped my iPhone into the sea. I try to keep things in perspective, but it had started badly, my fiancée missed our flight because the Swedish Embassy hadn't cleared her visa as promised, and so we couldn't apply for the marriage license. No wedding at this stage.

The plan was to secure the wedding license and a band. I tried every band in the region, with no luck, and then some more bands on the other side of the country, and they were all booked. Silent wedding, great. And then I dropped my phone in the sea. Rats.

It was a small skip - not even a jump - between two rocks that caused it, one of those moments that seemed to happen in slow motion. Somehow the phone must have been lodged just SO because it projectiled out of my pocket, up under my nose and away from me, my hand nearly caught it but the phone evaded my grasp perfectly, bounced on another rock and then into the sea.

Luckily the water was fairly shallow where it landed and I stepped in immediately to retrieve it. I got soaked, sure, but at least I had my phone again. The strange thing was that it still worked! I could not believe it. It had only been in the sea a few seconds, but it worked.

I hurriedly walked back to the car, hoping that no one had seen the idiot walking into the sea and quickly putting a soaking wet phone back into the pocket where it had jumped out of. Back in the car I checked the phone. I could swipe to unlock it, tried an app but then it locked up again. I started shaking out water, lots of it, but it still worked.

Then it began to flicker. Then the bottom half of the screen went white. It started vibrating non stop. After a few minutes it finally went dead. I placed it on a radiator overnight in the vain hope of it drying out and working again. I hardly slept that night, all those images, notes, emails, work, heck - all of my life was on that phone!

Of course it didn't work the next day. I was in grieving. Disconnected from the world. I remember working as a mobile telecomms researcher in the 90's, working for O2 and Vodafone, telling my director that one day our phones will handle everything, and him telling me that will never happen. He is still in his old job.

But traumatic it was, as Yoda might've said. I lost a handful of images taken during the trip, that's all, and the only thing I've gained is a question: how-did-we-do-it-before-internet-phones?

The submerged phone has now been jiffy bagged and sent off to the insurers and I've kindly been lent a spare 3GS from a colleague, and the wedding is still on! My fiancee got another flight the next day and the above mentioned colleague has also accepted DJ'ing at our wedding. Woot!

Thanks to my colleague Valroy, thanks to the the Visa handler at the Swedish Embassy for sorting my fiancées papers in London and thanks to my hometown's bureaucracy for being so considerate with our missed appointment.

In other news, get some some visual pleasure, watch Henri Cartier-Bresson and pay close attention, photographers.

Oh, and check out my website at, its gone live. Constructive comments only, if any, please.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Rolan Adams & Stephen Lawrence

20th anniversary march for Rolan Adams in February, 2011.

"It's been a long time in coming but we still have a long way to go, and so at this moment in time, all I can think about is Stephen. Perhaps somewhere down the line we will finally get justice for him, because everything has just been a long time for us to get to this position." Doreen Lawrence, May 18, 2011

hese pic's come from the Thamesmead Housing Estate, south east London (where parts of one my all time favourite movies A Clockwork Orange was filmed). I first visited in 1997 when a friend lived there and I will always remember it as a bleak and desolate place. It was bad back then and it is bad now, one of the poorest parts of London.

On a grey February day, along with fellow photographer David Hoffman, I attended the 20th anniversary memorial to the little-publicised racist murder of Rolan Adams, 15, which happened only a stone's throw away from these pictures.

I had arrived a bit early for the job and had time to wander around the estate again for the first time in nearly 14 years since my first (and only) visit.

People at the memorial told me about their stories from 20 years ago, how the racist BNP had moved in and how scared they were. Nobody of colour could visit the pub - if you did it was a gamble with your own life, and Rolan's peers all had a story to tell on how, once, perhaps to watch a football match, or simply try to have a drink with a friend, they bravely ventured to the pub only to be chased away by white youths wielding knives, bats and chains.

In Rolan's case it was to be fatal, just like Stephen Lawrence, 18, two miles away and two years later.

On the day before Rolan's murder, anti-racist organiser Dev Barrah, still active in the community, said on Thames TV that it was 'only a matter of time before someone got murdered'. His ominous prediction proved true within 24 hours. Rolan was outnumbered by 15 white youths and slashed in the throat, as he and his brother walked home from a youth club.

If you have the stomach, read this 1991 Guardian article by Jocelyn Targett via London Street Gangs. Its colourful language at first, but nevertheless a good read.

Rolan's murderer, Mark Thornburrow, has recently been freed but Stephen's killers never served time in the first place. There has been trials before, but the amount of injustice in his case is unbelievable. When an institutionally racist police force handles a racially motivated murder, this is what happens.

Today though, there were at last some good news: two men are to be tried for Stephen's murder which happened 18 years ago. Justice for dead young black men in this country turns slowly.

Rolan would have been 35, Stephen would have been 36. Rest in peace.