Working on location I create environmental portraits of people in their home or workplace, both indoors and outdoors. These photographic portraits give the people a sense of place and help to tell their unique story, and I often light them to highlight key aspects of their life or environment.
My subjects include artisans, craftsmen and craftswomen, artists who hand make all sorts of things including fashion items, paintings, ceramics, crafts, ironmongery and even beautiful wooden boats.
Many of the people I photograph are hugely interesting characters who have often lived full, varied and fascinating lives - there’s a hat maker who also plays the Ngoni (a stringed instrument) in a band that had recently released an album; a bellringer who was called to inspect Big Ben after a suspected IRA bombing; a chef turned knife maker who makes handles for his knives from plastic collected from the River Thames; and another bell ringer who had been a prisoner of war at Dresden in the Second World War, whose guards thought he was a spy as they found some paper with bell ringing peels written on them, who escaped as the RAF were bombing Dresden, and who returned to bell ringing, was awarded the British Empire Medal, and finally packed up driving at the age of 100 years old!
As an environmental portrait photographer personal work is extremely important to me, and I spend a great deal of time in searching my local area uncovering all sorts of characters who have appeared in my projects such as The 28 Days Of February, where I photographed a different local person every day through the month; Portraits Of Runnymede photographs of residents of Runnymede for an exhibition at Chertsey Museum, and capturing 175 portraits over two days at the Chertsey Agricultural show for their 175th anniversary. I sometimes use just daylight to light my portraits and other times I use a mix of daylight and flash, although I try to blend the flash in so that it enhances the photograph rather than takes over it.
I am often asked why I am interested in photographing people going about their day to day lives, and my answer is always the same:
“Today is tomorrow’s history.”