People always used to ask me, what do you want to specialise in with photography? Really I didn’t know, anything that I could get work in really. I wanted to make my website available for any opportunity. Fashion perhaps, it’s creative and I knew that photographing people was/is still a definite interest. Food, not really. Landscapes, no, I grew up in the Lake District and although very beautiful for me it missed some key components- eyes, nose and a mouth. In other words, a living being. Therefore portraits became my interest. People: old, young, fat, thin, boys, girls, men, women. Anyone with expression and my enthusiasm would ignite!
In 2006 I lived in Mexico for five months. My purpose there was to work in an orphanage in Guadalajara. Working with children was magical. I felt like I was doing something, even if it was a small contribution, for humanity. If I had been ten years older I would have adopted one of them, David, not a very Mexican name (he also had blonde hair) but he was wonderful. I would sit for hours with him trying to make him eat or holding his hand as he cried and cried while sitting on the toilet. It was very hard to leave in the end.
Therefore my recent sejour in Cambodia reopened my eyes to the magical fun of children and confirmed my suspicions. Yes, this is who I want to capture, children. I want to have fun with these innocent, ethereal and divine creatures!
January, a typically quiet month, it’s raining, snowing and too cold to be outside doing photography! This year I decided to explore a new corner of the world and I got in touch with ADB (Asian Development Bank). This Core Environment Program is helping countries to address key environmental issues and achieve sustainable development. My job was to fill the gaps in their photo library by travelling to a region in Cambodia called the Koh Kong. Here I visited different communities deep in the jungle, flooded villages in a mangrove plantation and families living on the banks of the river Ta Tai.
My subject was biodiversity landscapes, livelihoods of families, climate change and building capacity. How could I portray these different concepts?
On a personal level my interest was the people, how could I adapt and communicate to get a more interesting portrait? I couldn’t speak the same language and we were cultures apart. However my worries were unfounded. I arrived at the first village, Koh Kang, and a multitude of children greeted me with hello, hello! I was led around the village exploring mussel nets, and baskets of crabs and introduced to men untangling endless fishing nets. The continuing richness of the environment was unbroken. The thirty five families in this community had lived here for years, cut off to the outside world but completely self contained. The ceaseless possibilities for photographs was unbounded.
I have come away from my explorations in Cambodia with a freshness and purpose with my photography, particularly my portraiture and couldn’t be more excited for the coming season of wedding and portrait photography.
*more portraits can be viewed on my facebook page