This is certainly the most involved story I’ve worked on to date… involved in a different way to my documentary photography projects, anyway. It took around five solid weeks of work, loads of interviews and cross checking of information, persuading people they could trust me and keeping them on board through the process. And working hand in hand with a media lawyer after receiving threats to sue me personally for libel and a pre-publication warning letter from a solicitor demanding that we drop the story. Oh and staff being threatened with legal action by the company if they spoke to me.
Last year I was lucky enough to get involved in a local arts project, in which we re-ran a collaborative project from about 20 years ago. A school near where I live, Alma Park, is a specialist centre for deaf children – with pupils travelling from across Manchester to get support with their communication needs. They spend some time in mainstream classes as well and all children in the school learn some sign language. Years ago the school was involved in a community arts project in which photographs of children’s hands signing out the name of our neighbourhood – Levenshulme – were displayed at the local train station. These were up when I moved here in 2004, but the posters were eventually taken down after suffering water damage.
In 2019 the Friends of Levenshulme Station group decided to re-run the project and invited me to take part. We decided to involve only hearing-impaired children this time and in the summer term I spent a morning shooting 11 pupils’ hands. It then took a long time to get the funding from Northern Rail and other partners which we needed to print the images onto aluminium and there have been other delays while we’ve waited for permission to get onto the platforms and install the images. But now they’re there, along with a text celebrating the existence of Alma Park School’s deaf community, which mainly local people don’t know about.
Winston Brown was refused re-entry to the UK in 2006, when he tried to board a plane at the end of a trip to Jamaica. It took his family 13 years to get him back into the country. He is one of thousands of people affected by what has become known as the Windrush Scandal – well before the creation of the so-called Hostile Environment.
Click on the image to read the story on the Big Issue North website.
A piece I wrote for Big Issue North.
This is one of the saddest features I’ve written for ages. Mandy Jamieson lost her 16-year-old son Daniel to knife crime last year. Today she is trying to raise awareness of the problem through a grassroots campaign in Liverpool, Platform 4 Change. Click on the image above for the feature from this week’s Big Issue North.
“This place offers a level of stability that many of us wouldn’t otherwise have. There are people in here who are willing and capable, they just haven’t been given the opportunities, for various reasons.
“We’ve got a lad in here who has been working full-time since Christmas, and he’s been able to hold that job down because of having somewhere to stay. Another resident has just found a local labouring job.
“We’ve got people who arrived, straight out of the doorways, holding a single plastic bag but now, thanks to donations from the public, they have managed to get some belongings – a few pairs of jeans, shoes and boxer shorts. These things make them feel a bit more human again. It doesn’t feel fair to strip them of their humanity all over again.” Stacey Martindale
Inside the hunger strike happening at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre.
I’ve recently looked into the rise in dependency on opioid painkillers among patients who have been prescribed them by GPs for Big Issue North. Click below to read the story on the magazine’s website.
I wrote a piece about the calculated cruelty that is the new Universal Credit system for Big Issue North.