I’ve neglected my site massively the past nine months – but there’s a good reason for it. I’ve been on maternity leave and enjoying some time out, getting to know my son Lukas. Plus the small matter of buying and moving into a new house.
I used some of my return to work days to continue writing a few bits and pieces for The Big Issue in the North, and to design a newspaper to display some work produced for the Roma Matrix project that I was involved in last year. I’m told that went down a storm at some European Commission events.
I am now working again so please get in touch if I can help you. As well as taking writing and photography commissions, I will be doing some lecturing from September and will have a small exhibition of my Greater Manchester Roma work at Salford Art Gallery from December.
I’ve got a piece in this week’s Big Issue in the North highlighting the case of the Linfoots, a Romani Gypsy family from Chorley, who have spent the past four years fighting to stay on a piece of (greenbelt) land that they own. To read, click on the image above.
I don’t often get really excited about stories these days but when I was asked this summer to attend the Light and Life Gypsy church convention I definitely did. The rise of Evangelical Christianity among both English Gypsies and migrant Roma communities has not escaped my notice – I even attended a Romanian Romani Pentecostal church service near my home when I was first trying to make contacts within this community in 2009/10. To be handed access to this event as a photographer made this a dream commission for me. I was also excited to be working with the writer Katharine Quarmby, who published a cracking book on the eviction of Dale Farm last year, and to be asked to work for Newsweek was also fantastic. Thanks to Katharine for putting in a special request that I do the photos. Please click through to read her fascinating article and to see my photo gallery or download the PDF here.
A piece about the excellent work of the Salford Prison Project from the Guardian earlier this week.
Some good news regarding the London Roma exhibition some of my work appeared in recently. The Roma – from Extra to Ordinary was picked up by the United Nations in Geneva and parts of it (including the photographs of Artur Conka and myself) will be on show during the 27th Human Rights Council meeting next month. I’ve also recently been selected to show some of my Roma work in a small solo exhibition in Greater Manchester late in 2015, which is exciting since so much of the project was shot in and around Manchester and Salford. More info on this in due course.
Two exhibitions at once.. this never happens. But next month a small selection of my Roma images will be on display at the Romanian Cultural Centre in London, in a show which highlights Romani culture and representation in the arts. My friend Artur Conka, a Romani photographer and filmmaker who has featured in my Roma project, also has work in the exhibition. I unfortunately won’t make the opening as I’ll be away but I’ll see it before it ends. I just showed Latifa, Ramona’s little girl, the poster with her photo on and she was very pleased. The work on show is from my Ramona/Elvira project and also from my Side Gallery commission in Middlesbrough (see them both here) . To find out more about the exhibition and associated events click here.
My second exhibition is in Liverpool – more info over here.
I was lucky enough recently to be asked to shoot two portraits for a DaDaFest commission and exhibition celebrating the contribution disabled people make to their workplaces, which opens next month in Liverpool (preview 11 June). My participants were Ashish Prabhu, a young freelance journalist, and Laurence Clarke, a stand up comedian who is very funny and well worth checking out on YouTube. Click on the image below for the full press release.
I’ve not been posting much on here recently, in part because I’m having my website redeveloped at some point in the not-too-distant future. It’s not that I’ve given up work.
I had a small case study piece published on the Guardian website today, on prison leavers and mental health. Click on the image to read. Other recent work for the Guardian can be seen by clicking here
It was one of those throwaway kind of comments which comes back at you like a boomerang. In June 2012 I was invited to a event in Manchester where the life stories of some local Irish Travellers had been turned into a small spoken-word piece of theatre. The tales had been collected by Sister Carmel, a Manchester nun who works with Gypsy and Traveller communities, and I told her I thought they deserved to be collected in one place after the play – a book or an ebook. I thought nothing more of it but a few months later Carmel came back to me and since then we’ve been working on turning her stories into a book. She collected a few more to get a better balance between men and women and a broader range of ages, and I then edited them, designed a book, contributed photos, came up with ideas and research, asked organisations for advice, applied for some funding, got turned down, wrote a more successful proposal, arranged printing, designed a flyer, printed the flyer, drew up an email mailing list and a list for promo copies and posted these all out. At times we both lost faith that we’d ever get this thing finished but thankfully it’s now out there. The ultimate aim is simply to challenge some stereotypes. Carmel was keen to get copies into prisons and police stations so we targeted various figures within Greater Manchester Police (including the diversity team, who were very grateful and promised to share) and 40 copies have been ordered already – two days after launch – to go into prisons. Other copies were sent to figures within councils who may come into contact with Gypsies and Travellers. And the response from within the community too has been great so far. Hard copies cost £2.50 each plus postage and it is also available online for free using the link below. Please email me at email@example.com if you’d like to order one.