As some followers of this blog will be aware, for several years I’ve been documenting trips to Northern France with London-based charity Just Shelter, who raise money, collect necessary items and organise educational activities for displaced children in France. For others, it might come as a surprise to hear that people are still living precariously in Calais and Dunkirk. The well-publicised Jungle closed in 2016 but families and individuals have continued to arrive in the area and many are existing without any of the basics most of us take for granted.
Donated toys are washed and books sorted in a warehouse in Calais before being given to children and families. Another warehouse nearby continues to provide food for people in need. (2020)
Over the last few years, I have focused on landscapes which aim to mark the passing of time, as well as the Just Shelter’s activities, and when appropriate I’ve photographed people we met. Cameras and displaced individuals are not a great mix, but one of Just Shelter’s aims is to remind people that there are still many in need as well as busy, underfunded, volunteer organisations providing support.
This weekend was the first time I accompanied Just Shelter after a break of several months, and it was distressing to see that, although some things have shifted, the situation is not improving. One is left wondering if it ever will. Today, as we remember some of the worst events from of our history, we can reflect on the way people are being treated in the US and across Europe, and consider the lack of empathy evidenced by Parliamentarians recently who voted not to reunite refugee children with family members in the UK.
Images of a workshop run by teachers with Just Shelter and volunteers from Project Play this weekend with children who really enjoyed the games and maths lessons provided. (2020)
All images (c)SJField2016-20
We love a winter walk and are fortunate enough to live close to several open spaces in or very near to South London. Just before sunset this afternoon, we traipsed about Richmond Park and almost ended up being locked in! Worth it though for these images. Incidentally, the yellow gloves were for magnet fishing – it’s a thing, apparently! (c)SJField2019 (click on individual images)
It’s been a busy year and I’ve had lots of super successful moments. My work has been chosen and published in more places than ever before. I was offered a bursary to complete the part-time art degree which I’ve been doing with The Open College of Arts, and I received a 90% grade for the last module I completed. (I hope to complete the degree this year if I can.) I also took part in several exhibitions and met lots of new people. And I finally got around to publishing a new website.
Here are a handful of images that will sum-up 2019 for me. I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings. To celebrate the New Year, I’m currently offering 5% off all shoots completed by the end of January 2020 (T&Cs apply). Get in touch on 07581 694934 or drop me a line at email@example.com to find out more.
But most of all – Happy New Year! x
I enjoyed photographing this! I could have stayed and watched it all day long.
As another youth-strike took place yesterday across the world, I continued my long-term project of documenting protests, which we have seen more and more of in recent months. Here are a few images from the march in London. Although climate was the focus of Friday’s international gathering, some protesters used the opportunity to express their thoughts about alternative or unrelated issues.
This Summer I ran away. I spent as long as was feasibly possible in Europe. Huge thanks to my mother for going to the trouble of breaking her ankle and giving us the excuse to escape the UK, and for facilitating it all too. I can’t begin to say how much I appreciated the time and the rest. Even so, I didn’t sit around doing bugger all. (Mostly…) I took my work with me and did my best to keep up with it. I wrote essays and I read a great deal. I caught up with books I’d been meaning to read and found new ones. And now back to reality.
But before that, here is a visual poem expressing something about my time in Umbria this summer.
Do get in touch for event or portrait photography on 07581694934 – 5% off the advertised price on my website for family shoots and events if booked before 30th September 2019. (Term & Conditions, as ever, apply.)
All images (c)SJField 2019
I was really impressed with Dr. Bella Smith, AKA, the Digital GP, and Baz Moffat of Strong to the Core, when I photographed their event in Putney last week. It was conceived to share vital information about the menopause, and both women are incredibly passionate about getting the message out.
Dr. Bella and Baz put on an amazing event while also raising money for the Get Lippy Campaign managed by Eve Appeal which encourages open and frank discussions related to gynaecological health.
We’ve all heard about hot flushes and mood swings but I had no idea forgetfulness could be a sign of the menopause. Attendees were reassured with tales about women visiting the surgery, wondering if they were experiencing early signs of dementia only to discover that they are, in fact, peri-menopausal. I can’t tell you how glad I was to hear that one. Any confusion or misaprehension related to HRT was also cleared up which could be so useful for some women.
There were some really generous speakers invited to share their stories too. All in all, a fantastic event and it would be well worth looking out for future dates. I only wish a greater number of people could hear talks like this.
Do visit the links below the photographs to find out more.
Baz Moffat Strong to the Core (See some of my previous photographs for Baz here too)
Dr. Bella Smith The Digital GP
I was thrilled to be invited back to photograph a family I worked with a couple of years ago. We’d all had such a lovely time before and ended up with a great collection of images. It was no different this weekend, and I hope everyone loves these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them. And what an amazing bunch of stylists everyone in this family seems to be – I might need to borrow their terrific style for all my shoots.
Get in touch for information on family shoots and event photography at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07581694934.
All images (c)SJField2019
I took these images on Monday evening at the end of the bank holiday during one of my visits to the Extinction Rebellion protests (see previous blogs). There might have been a further image here; one of a policeman who was sitting, clearly exhausted in the evening sunshine, arms crossed and alone against some hoarding on Park Lane just before Marble Arch. Diane Arbus whose work you can currently see at the Hayward Gallery said taking photographs can feel ‘naughty’ – and yes, it is when we steal pictures of people in the street. The ethics of street photography seem more complex than ever as the structures of our culture emerge, perhaps in part, due to the internet which acts as a mirror and as ubiquitous smartphone-cameras make everyone a potential photographer/voyeur. Although I had asked most (but not all) the people in my images for their permission, I hoped to take an image of this lone policeman who seemed to represent authority, exhaustion, and isolation so well. Perhaps, in the end, it would have been a clichéd shot that would never have made it passed an initial edit. However, I never got the chance to take my ‘naughty’ picture as he saw me, got up, then walked towards me to call me an idiot. I must stress this was not the behaviour of most police-people I saw, who seemed immensely patient despite what must have been a testing and exhausting week for them.
What are you doing, bloody idiots, costing a fortune, we’ve not seen our families in days, you’re all idiots …. I attempted to explain I was documenting this fantastically interesting period of change in our history … documenting what, there’s nothing to document? You’re all idiots. History is happening in front of us, I said. It’s not history; idiots the lot of you, he’d insisted. I understand he must have had his patience tested. I’d loved to have been able to explain my enthusiasm for witnessing everything I’d been reading about for the last few years emerge so vibrantly, just as the authors had predicted. To see, in front of us, the way we have internalised new ways of understanding and being – in helpful and not so helpful ways – coming to fruition, to see clear evidence of a system changing, to view power evolving. I could have bored the poor exhausted policeman to death with my childlike excitement! Next time, he ranted as he followed me, we won’t …. I never heard what he said about next time as I was too far away from him by then.
I walked on and as I reached the end of the cordoned-off area, another policeman got out of his van. Perhaps his colleague had radioed him about the idiot with the camera coming his way. Nice pictures? he asked. Maybe, I shrugged and smiled at him. It was a beautiful evening. At the bottom of Park Lane tourists stood taking pictures of a golden sun setting over London. Parked outside the Lanesborough Hotel were two super-cars and guests milling about on the steps. And around the corner, yet another sign of homelessness which we see everywhere and far, far too often nowadays.