I am fascinated by people and cultures. I graduated in English with Cultural & Community Studies and became a technical author. I moved to Amsterdam to work for 6 months and I did a lot of travelling in the 1980's, always taking a camera to capture the experience. One of my favourite memories was in Egypt when a driver took me to his home and village and I was able to photograph women and children baking bread in the village oven. This is what I love to photograph - the everyday life of people from different cultures. I like to connect to people. I frequently chat to strangers and overcome language barriers by showing my emotions. This willingness to show my feelings encourages people to reveal something of themselves in return, something that I look to capture in my photographic work.
I enjoy an adventure and in 2015 took my first trip to the arctic with Daryl. This trip was followed by longer, more adventurous trips. Dog sledding between mountain cabins in Norway took me right out of my comfort zone and gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. We subsequently travelled to Iceland, Finland, Sweden, France, Germany and Croatia.
In 2018 I found a photographic tour that would give us the opportunity to expand our portfolio and improve our skills. What followed, in 2019, was a trip to rural Romania to visit one of the last remaining European peasant communities. This was a life changing trip, it gave me a focus for my photography and the drive to progress. Here was a disappearing culture of people living a traditional lifestyle with very little support. The complex history of Romania is told through their life stories. I wanted to help them, but failing to find a way of doing this, I decided to use photography to produce a record of their lives, their circumstances and values. Something that their families could access and something that may hold lessons for those living a Western lifestyle.
Returning from this trip, I studied extensively with the Open University, the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) and used many other talks, books and workshops to gain a better understanding of the craft of photography, the documentary genre and the background of of this culture. I have also studied with the award winning documentary photographer and sociologist Sebastian Liste. In addition to completing his Photographic Storytelling course, I benefitted from 3 months mentorship with Sebastian last year and have committed to 6 months mentorship in 2022.
Romania is now the main focus of my work. The passion for this project led to a successful application for the Joan Wakelin Bursary, administered by The Guardian & the RPS. To read about my bursary project please click here. It is great to have a found a positive outlet for my drive and creativity.
Below are some images of me with the some of the people I met on my first trip to Romania.