‘Hear my voice’ campaign, piglets and dogs…….April 2014


Between various universities, MENCAP and Modern Farmer magazine I am out and about shooting pretty much every day this month.

A very pleasant week is spent in the company of the good people at MENCAP.

We are shooting for their ‘Hear my voice’ campaign. As you are probably aware (from previous posts) my daughter has Down’s syndrome, so this shoot and the work Mencap do is especially important to me.

In the run up to next years general election, this campaign aims to give people with a learning difficulty a voice, so that their concerns can be heard. Along for the ride is the delightful and talented videographer Chantal Scurr who is making the films, which can be seen here: ‘HEAR MY VOICE’

Again I am playing catch up on this blog…….but,

Modern farmer, modern farmer, I do love modern farmer!

Although this month it has been all about the dogs, here are the pigs from earlier on in the year…..

(Wait till you see the cover of the ‘dog issue’!)

Oh, and they are winning awards…

Only one year old and it has already beaten famous titles like Vanity Fair and GQ at the National Magazine Awards, held in New York, to win one of the United States most prestigious print media awards. And the category they won in, just happened to be the section with all my ‘animal portraits’ in.

Very nice too……..

And if you want to see me scrabbling about in a pig pen (sort of) there is a funny little film at the bottom of the page if you click HERE.

Landrace pig

Modern farmer winner article

Modern farmer titles

Tamworth pig

Tamworth pig

Oxford & Sandy Piglet

Tokyo, Tokyo, Tokyo…….March 2014


Another busy, busy month…….

It was ALL about Tokyo, but before that……..

There was a trip to the Wellcome Trust Awards private view.

Some of my images, which are in their library, were up for the awards. The winning images are quite extraordinary close-ups of such things like flower stamen and a kidney stone…ouch! You can see the images here: WELLCOME IMAGE AWARDS

Still on the medical front, I had the pleasure of photographing Professor Dame Carol Black. She is a family friend and I have been taking photographs of her over the last decade or so. I am always in awe of the good work she has done and what she has achieved in her life.

Another trip to Parliament, this time for Sheffield University. Walking past statues of Cromwell, Disraeli, Galdstone etc the feeling of history pervades the place and even though this country has it’s many faults, I can’t help but feel it is a privilege to live in such a democratic country.

Another exhibition and Private View, this time to Suzie Moffat’s – Heart & Sold.

Suzie has curated a body of work by people who have Down’s syndrome and has produced a quite wonderful exhibition. The work is of the highest standard and she has created an exhibition that shows off the talent well. Here is a short film from the opening night by the young film maker Agi k : OPENING NIGHT FILM 

And THEN it was off to…………..Tokyo baby!

Last March, the wonderful Maiko Watanabe asked me to send over a small Shifting Perspectives exhibition to Osaka. I designed some boards, we had the text translated into Japanese and the exhibition was received so well that the Japanese Down Syndrome Society asked if they could have a larger exhibition in Tokyo.

And then they invited me out to give a few talks…which was nice. (Fiona decided that she ought to accompany me, so off we went to Tokyo.)

A lot of work went in to preparing the prints and (virtually) working out which work should be what size and hang where on the gallery wall, so moments after an eventful and delayed flight, I was very happy to walk in to the  Itochu Art Gallery to see the work brilliantly printed and hung perfectly.

And then it was a whirlwind of talks and engagements and interviews. The highlight was a Q & A session at the gallery, with the internationally acclaimed photographer and all round very decent man, Joji Hashiguchi. It was a real honour to meet ‘George’ as I have been aware of his work for many years.

We met so many people and were treated like royalty.

From visits to the fish market and sushi breakfasts, to visiting one of our hosts grandparent’s house and more sushi, to very fancy BBQ restaurants, to the oddness of Shubaya crossing, to a golf driving range on three floors in the middle of the city at 10pm, to taxi doors that open automatically, to the general politeness and cleanliness………..to the great fashion sense, to all the bowing and handing over of business cards, to the sense of excitement that grips the whole city at the imminence of the cherry blossom, to the sense of tradition………..I could go on, but I think that you can tell……. I LOVE Tokyo!

And, of course, the exhibition was a great success!

One of my works is a series called ‘365’. The Japanese had asked if they could do their own ‘365’ and of course I said yes. The brilliant photographer Eri Takahashi took the photographs and was so happy with being part of the whole ‘project’, that she is going to carry on working with JDS to create their own photographic work.

A huge, massive thank you to all the many people who were involved in the exhibition and who all made it such great success and such a memorable trip.

And here are a few photos!

Shubaya Crossing

Shubaya Crossing

Shubaya Crossing (1)

Shubaya Crossing

Shubaya Crossing


Shubaya Crossing

Shifting Perspectives exhibition Tokyo

Shifting Perspectives exhibition, Itochu Aoyama Art Square

Shifting Perspectives exhibition Tokyo (7)

Kazuhiro Takemura, Richard Bailey, Joji Hashiguchi, Maiko Watanabe

Shifting Perspectives exhibition Tokyo (6)

Shifting Perspectives exhibition Tokyo (5)

Shifting Perspectives exhibition Tokyo (4)

Sp Exhibition

Shifting Perspectives exhibition Tokyo (2)

The film director – Takashi Tokida, Kazuhiro Takemura

Shifting Perspectives exhibition Tokyo (1)

Mr Junko Nakanishi, Director of JDS.

Fish Market Breakfast

Very early fish market breakfast…

Tokyo Fish Market

Tokyo Fish Market (2)

DSC_6857 copy

Tokyo Fish Market (1)

Only Mrs B at Shubaya Crossing!

Pigeons going viral, very bright kids and Siadwell…….February 2014


It’s my birthday and as a little treat my Darwin’s Pigeons pop-up in The Guardian and then in The Daily Mail online………..and THEN it goes mental and they are EVERYWHERE.

Sites like lostininternet and KickassThings picked it up and suddenly the article is all over the internet. Quite nice really!

I do a lot of work for various Universities, including the School of Oriental and African Studies and I’m used to taking photographs of students, but the kids at SOAS are SUPER bright. Only just into their twenties and already they have achieved an awful lot.

One young chap from Romania had already spent a year volunteering in Denmark and half a year in Egypt learning arabic and arabic instruments. One young lady was studying Korean and Chinese and had spent a year in China. Whilst there she had appeared as a contestant on Chinese X factor, singing in Mandarin, as well as presenting programmes on Beijing television.

Very bright kids and a pleasure to be around.

And then there was Siadwell!

You may remember Siadwell from the mid-eighties programmes Naked Video and Absolutely. Siadwell would sit on the end of his bed, in his green parka, sniffing and telling us about the woes of his day, reciting a poem or talking about his biro collection.

Well Siadwell (aka John Sparkes) is making a comeback and I was on hand to stand him in a puddle and take some gloriously daft photographs of him.

Still making me chuckle now.

Darwin's Pigeons, The Guardian

Darwin’s Pigeon’s in The Guardian

Students:RB:13 (187)

Students:RB:13 (121)

Aishah Piprawala:Choose MDX:RB:14 (27)

Semhar Haile:RB:14 (30)

Selja Annikki Ryoppy:RB:14 (9)


Siadwell_Absolutely_RB_14 (55)


Siadwell_Absolutely_RB_14 (60) copy


Siadwell_Absolutely_RB_14 (199) copy

Siadwell in a puddle

Memory, Loss and 100 year old’s…….January 2014


So this is the year that I am going to make real progress in my personal projects.

I am doing pretty well, but need some help in finding more subjects……..I need you.


This is a project I started a couple of years ago based around the theme of memory and loss.

I had been working with the NHS on an End of Life project, which entailed talking to people who were near the end of their life and asking them the best way to make things as easy as possible for them. This included what they would like to happen to their bodies after they had passed away.

This got me thinking about where I might like my ashes scattered, but also how and why and where people scatter the ashes of loved ones.

I put out an ‘advert’ asking for some ‘stories’ telling me the reason why people had scattered the ashes of their loved ones in a specific place and the responses that I got back were heart-warming, emotional, funny and poignant.

I have been taking photographs of the locations, which are accompanied by the stories sent in, but I need more.

Have you scattered the ashes of a loved one in a particular place for a particular reason?

Do you know of someone whose ashes were scattered in a particular place for a particular reason?

Please do tell or spread the word.


Working for the RNIB at the end of last year I photographed two wonderful ladies who were 104 & 105 respectively. I know we are an ageing population, but I didn’t know quite how many 100+ year olds were living in England and I naively thought I would photograph all the 100 year olds in the UK.

Turns out there are……..over 12’000 in England and Wales.

So, maybe I won’t photograph all of them, but I have set myself a 100, 100 year olds. (I know there are other people out there photographing 100 year old’s…..but I want to do it as well!)

Do you have a Grandma or Grandpa, mum or dad, who wouldn’t mind being photographed and interviewed?

Please do tell or spread the word.

Here I Am_The Mendips

Here I Am_The Mendips

Here I Am_Holkam Beach

Here I Am_Holkam beach

Here I Am_Brighton Nudist Beach

Here I Am_Brighton Nudist beach


Gwen – 104 years old

DSC_4957 copy

Marie – 102 years old

Pigs and Parties…….December 2013


Oh Dear into February and I’m already late.

Note to self….Must keep blog up to date, must keep blog up to date!

Well….Goats, Sheep, Chickens………forget about all of them, it’s now all about the pig!

Those good people at Modern Farmer have got me photographing the wonderful pig, in all it’s variety of sizes and shapes. Clare and Robin, at Oakland Pigs, open their farm gate to me and we spend a lovely day photographing their prize pigs.

It was a real treat to visit their farm and see how well looked after their animals are. We photographed British Saddleback’s, Tamworth’s, Gloucestershire Old Spots and lots of little piglets. The very noisy Tamworth was my favourite, not least because it’s ears don’t fall over it’s face.

Can’t show you any just yet as the magazine hasn’t gone to print, but below is my assistant for the day (school holidays) holding a baby British Saddleback.

After the success of the Shifting Perspectives exhibition in Osaka last year, the Japanese Down Syndrome Association have asked for a larger exhibition to travel out to Tokyo……and they have invited me out there as well…….which is nice! I have spent a lot of time organising the exhibition, designing posters etc, but am ahead of the game and can now just get excited about going!

They are publicising the exhibition really well and have shot and produced a ‘365’ using Japanese children, which is quite wonderful and also a little film, with a bit of me and some ‘interesting’ music.

YOUYOU Mentoring host a small Christmas party at The Premises Studios in the East End. The more than wonderful Laura Pradelska, from Game of Thrones, comes along to lend her support and to read a Christmassy poem, beautifully! Our young Poetry Mentees are there as well and also read a Christmassy poem. (Stuff about that here.)

And then, long-time friend of YOUYOU, Dan Gillespie-Sells from The Feeling , gets up to perform a solo acoustic set, which is just AMAZING and gets us all in the mood for a VERY MERRY XMAS!

Daniel & Pig

Daniel and a Saddleback piglet.

Dan Gillespie Sells.Premises Studios

Dan Gillespie-Sells, acoustic set at the Premises Studios. (Photo: Susannah Altimes)

Shifting Perspectives in Japan

Japanese Down Syndrome Association poster for the Shifting Perspectives exhibition in Tokyo.

I Don’t Care…….November 2013



Our good friend Carolina Giammetta wrote and directed a short film ‘about’ Down’s syndrome and the choices people make, called ‘I Don’t Care’, which she shot at our house earlier in the year.  The film isn’t about us, but more about how she has come to see Down’s syndrome through her relationship with us and other people she knows who have children with Down’s syndrome. In fact, her main inspiration was the Shifting Perspectives exhibition.

Our daughter Billie-Jo was one of the actors and it is a VERY moving, beautifully shot and directed film, with wonderful acting.

There was a cast and crew screening at the Warner Bros. offices in Soho, where we got to see it on a big screen and it really is beautiful!

She is taking it to all the festivals, so it can’t be seen online at the moment, but here is a link to a snippet of behind the scenes.

I Don’t Care snippet of behind the scenes!

My pigeons are making a come back, with quite a lot of interest, in articles and print sales, so I have decided to have a look at ‘crowd-funding’ to get the book published.

I have it all ready to go, but will wait until the New Year, before ‘going for it’!!

Watch this space.

Here they are hanging at This is Dare, an ad agency in Soho.

The kids are swimming and then swimming a bit more. We are gala’s and more gala’s and then another gala…..sweltering on the side of the pool, for a race that lasts a couple of minutes……. but you know we wouldn’t miss it for the world.

IDC POSTER V 2 medium

Pigeons at thisisdare

Sheep, sheep and more sheep……and Vivienne Westwood…….October 2013


Modern Farmer magazine have got me taking photographs of sheep and I am enjoying running around the country seeing these quite lovely creatures. They gave me the front cover again, which was nice!

In between doing work for the wonderful RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind) and a visit to Cheltenham for the University of Gloucester, there was a visit to Buckingham Palace to see Prince Philip (who was delightful!) and a trip to Keats House where Dame Vivienne Westwood graced us with her presence. (She was not quite so delightful!)

I know I go on about the RNIB, but they are brilliant. This was a quick trip to a school they run in Coventry, where children of various special needs are looked after and educated with great care and attention.

A lovely week was spent in Cheltenham for the University of Gloucester, taking photographs for their new prospectus. Always great fun and a really nice vibe there.

A friend of mine has just taken over as Chief Exec. of The Lord’s Taverners. He has been involved with them for a long time and is a mad cricket fan, so it his perfect job. The Taverners do a great job raising money for the underprivileged and I know that he will take them onto bigger and better projects. Every so often he has called me along to take a few snaps for him and this time it was a trip to Buck Palace for a ‘do’ hosted by Prince Phillip. I’m not a great royalist, but there was something quite nice about wandering through the gates at the front, into the inner courtyard and then into The Palace proper. It is ‘rather splendid’ inside and not a spot of dust to be seen! Prince Phillip was on good form too, considering he wasn’t long out of hospital.

And then there was Dame Vivienne Westwood…..hmmmmm.

I am a trustee of a very small non-for-profit scheme called YouYou mentoring. This year we had the opportunity to partner with the fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood and her ‘Climate Revolution’ project, by giving five young poets the chance to develop their poetry and create a collection of poems to inspire others to consider their own relationship to the environment.

Climate Revolution is an inspiring project that Dame Vivienne founded and is doing great work in keeping this issue in the public domain.

As part of the poets development they had their photographs taken with Dame Vivienne at Holborn Studios, (see August post) and recorded their poems at a solar powered studio and had their poems published, by Dame Vivienne, in a little poetry book .

The poets also gained guidance from a leading literary editor of a top magazine and were voice coached. All this was to climax in a special event at Keats House in Hampstead, where they would read out their poems, alongside YOUYOU’s supporter, BAFTA  Rising Star Award-winning actress Juno Temple (premiered here on iD magazine) and to an invited VIP audience, including the poets mums and dads.

Dame Vivienne was invited along to say a few words about the ‘Climate Revolution’ project, a few words about YouYou Mentoring and then to have a nice evening….or so we thought.

So, after the young poets, who are aged 17-21, had finished reading their poems in front of the audience, Vivienne gets up to host a Q &A discussion with them.

Her first words were: “Well, people keep talking about talent, but I don’t see any here…..”

… she then told one of the 18 year old’s, that she didn’t think her poem was any good and she didn’t understand a word of it!

Vivienne’s staff and her guests were sniggering and chuckling, obviously thinking this was hilarious. Eventually a few people in the audience, including myself, decided to stand up for the poets, and she started to be a bit more pleasant.

Although there seemed to be an attempt to humiliate them publicly, each of the poets were dignified and were able to talk about the poems and the story behind them with great passion.

(Remember that Dame Vivienne’s company was a partner in the project, she took part in the official photo shoot and media, had very kindly printed the poems in a little booklet, with its ‘Climate Revolution’ branding on the cover and on the night she had her photograph taken with the young poets for the press. )

I don’t know, maybe Ms Westwood, thought this was good fun, maybe she thought this was the right thing to do, maybe that is a normal Saturday night out, maybe trying to make people feel small is something that occurs regularly in her world…?

What I do know, is that YouYou Mentoring has very strong values and strives to develop and encourage young people to get on to the first rung of their chosen career. With high youth unemployment it is schemes like YOUYOU that are helping to make a real difference and we always offer POSITIVE encouragement.

The journey of the poets development and other creative mentee’s involved in the project was documented by YOUYOU Mentoring. You can view the promo films, stills and read the poets poems here on the designated Facebook page.


As I say…..And then there was Dame Vivienne Westwood…..hmmmmm.

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