Essays

From time to time I feel the need to write about photography. Most of the words end up in my blog but every once-in-a-while I pull one of the pieces out and repost it here...


 

Almost everyone remembers their head teacher. If they don't then they will probably remember the Principal, Headmistress, Headmaster, High Master, High Mistress, Direktor or whatever other title the person who led their schools went by. Since 1986 I have photographed hundreds of these people and I have made the journey from being a little bit scared of them through accepting them to being impressed by the work that they do and the huge difference that their being good at their job makes to children and young adults.... ::More>>


 

Photography is a powerful medium. As a reader of a newspaper, a viewer of websites or someone looking at images on a gallery wall there can be no mistaking the ability of good pictures to make you think, make you want to know more and create empathy with the scene before you. If you were there and actually took the picture it can be even more true. I have been going back through some very old images of mine and I have been transported all over the world by transparencies and negatives. I remember details of stories that I had otherwise forgotten and its the small stories rather than the big news events that have caught my imagination... ::More>>


 

What does undertaking an assignment really mean? That was the question e-mailed to me by a third year photography degree student a while ago. At first I was shocked by her ignorance, but then I realised that nobody had really prepared me for my first one either. Some of what needs to be done is common sense and some is just experience. No two photographers work the same way, but here's my approach... ::More>>


 

Yesterday morning, The BBC presenter and former Economics Editor Evan Davis was sharing his approach to interviewing senior business people. He said that he wanted to relax them, tempt them into talking more openly and frankly than they might want to and because so few of them are media professionals he has a form of words that he uses to let them know what his role is. He says to them "I'm not here to make you look stupid but if you decide to make yourself look stupid it isn't my job to stop you". That, my friends, should be the mission statement of every editorial and news photographer working right across the world. And that got me thinking about some equally succinct statements for other kinds of photography and that in turn got me thinking about definitions of types of photography... ::More>>


 

The great challenge in photography for me is to keep shooting pictures without keeping shooting the same picture. There are thousands of ways of taking a photograph - let's say that the number is, for argument's sake, twenty-five thousand. What happens when you have shot two hundred and fifty thousand pictures... ::More>>


 

If you talk to any photographer they will almost certainly tell you about the catalogue of bags, cases and pouches that they have bought thinking and hoping in equal part that their lives would be made better by owning and using the perfect holdall. We all know it's a myth but we all keep buying in the hope that one day that elusive bag will be made and that it will (somehow) save our poor battered spines... ::More>>


 

When I left the staff at The Times Educational Supplements in 2008 I imagined that I would spend very little time doing news photography, let alone real documentary photography and photojournalism. I am delighted to say that my imagination failed me and I have shot quite a few stories for news and specialist magazines that have taken me to some of those places that make doing my job as much a privilege as it is a vocation. Headley Court in Surrey is one such place... ::More>>


 
 

 

 
 

 
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