BONFIRE NIGHT, YOUYOU MENTORING AND SWIMMING GALAS
Earlier in the year I became a trustee of YOUYOU Mentoring a small mentoring charity that I have been involved in. This month we had a small fundraising event and quiz at the Paradise bar in Kensal Green. The wonderful Amal Fashanu and Gordon Kennedy were the comperes, Guy Chambers came along with his mentee Farhan to do a short set, as did Tim Arnold – ‘The Soho Hobo’. Both did great sets and a big thank you to everyone who turned up.
The Paradise Bar is very intimate venue and the last I saw of Guy Chambers was of him carrying his own equipment down the stairs with Farhan. The very next evening, at the O2, he was on stage in front of thousands with Robbie Williams….! That’s a good man, right there!
HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT, ROCK AND ROLL AND STUDENTS
So, earlier in the year the MP for Oxfordshire, Ed Vaizey, happened to visit the Shifting Perspectives exhibition at The Cornerstone Arts Centre in Didcot. He said why don’t we have an exhibition at Parliament and we took him up on it. Hywel Francis sponsored the Early Day Motion and we popped the exhibition up in the Upper Waiting Lobby. I have taken many photographs at Parliament over the years and it really is a fascinating and beautiful building. A real privilege to wander the corridors and look up at the stonework and paintings and to think of all the people like Disraeli, Gladstone, Kings and Queens, who have similarly walked those corridors. It all seemed very easy getting the exhibition, but I am aware that it was a real coup.
I took a few snaps of my good friend Damon Wilson’s band The Temperance Movement. They have been playing a few low key gigs at places like The Water Rats in Kings Cross, but I have no doubt that in 2013 they will be playing arenas! They have already played a couple of numbers at The Royal Albert Hall for the Sunshine Jam.
The shoot at the beginning of the month at Uni of Gloucester was great fun and another week’s shoot at Middlesex University proves to be great as well.
That would be me…..
Back to School, Ohio, The Temperance Movement, Mayoral Proclamations and much much more…….September 2012Posted: December 11, 2012
BACK TO SCHOOL, OHIO, THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT, MAYORAL PROCLAMATIONS AND MUCH MUCH MORE………….
Last September the Dublin Arts Council in Ohio invited me and the Shifting Perspectives exhibition to show in their gallery. We shipped the work out there and they said that it was the best attended and most successful exhibition they had had. So….they invited me out again. This time though, I suggested that local photographers should produce some work to cut down on costs. This they organised and local photographers, Barb Schwartz, Jim Langman, Katie Shannon and Hosanna Tekie worked with the local Down syndrome community and produced some beautiful imagery!
I was out there for 10 days and was spoilt rotten by David Guion and his team at the Dublin Arts Council. There were VIP receptions, Private Views and artist talks, I visited and spoke at elementary and high schools, we went on the Columbus Buddy Walk and I saw myself talking on the Jumbotron and did another workshop with young adults with Down syndrome……..
We even visited the Dublin Mayor who again honoured Shifting Perspectives with a proclamation. They film each city council meeting, so for a slice of small town Americana and me saying a few words click HERE and start about 24 minutes in.
David and his team really are quite wonderful and produced another fantastic exhibition, getting it out into the community. A couple of interesting things happened at the elementary schools. I was showing the kids my website and the pigeons came up. A little hand went up..”Does that pigeon have Down syndrome?” A very good question say I and one that I can’t answer right now, but I suppose there is a possibility….
The next day whilst I am at the gallery a Grandad comes in, whose son has just had a child with Down syndrome. He is visibly moved and comforted by what he sees. But, even nicer, a ten year old boy comes in with his mother. He had been in the class that I spoke to the day before and had asked his mum if he could come along…….
Fly back on the Monday early morning and then drive down to Cheltenham for a week long shoot at the University of Gloucestershire. The team down there are great fun and the week whizzes by.
But……at the beginning of the week I go and see The Temperance Movement at The Water Rats in Kings Cross. They really are too good and will be playing arenas before we know it. Watch videos of them HERE.
This is a note from David Guion the Chief Executive at the Dublin Arts Council. Excuse me for posting it, but it does say more about Shifting Perspectives than the photograph of the gallery above:
Hi Richard – this note is long overdue. I wanted to thank you for everything that you have done to make this exhibition such a success and for the gracious way you have allowed your ideas to continue here in Dublin. We have a steady stream of visitors with larger groups of all ages scheduled throughout the exhibition. It is really having such an amazing impact – just like last year.
We had a workshop this week entitled “Trisomy 21 and You.” We had four doctors in the room and some parents of children and adults with Down syndrome and people grappling with DS as parents with newborns. I wanted to share some thoughts that one of the doctors made.
The group talked about the changes in attitudes about Down syndrome. Individuals can now live better lives, both physically and emotionally. With advances in medicine and early mental/psychological/ developmental testing, a person with DS can really see a brighter future. The parents can see the potential.
The doctors talked about how 20-30 years ago, people with DS would be relegated to an institution or some other place that they would remain separate. They would be told (as well as their parents) that they have no potential, and so in turn they would not be challenged, perpetuating a downward spiral. One of the doctors stated that this exhibition is marking that time beyond when DS individuals were “discarded.” Now this exhibition demonstrates the unimaginable capabilities that can be achieved. Now because of these photos, 15 years from now there will be even more acceptance. This exhibition will be a springboard for future generations and the cycle of acceptance and potential.
I am paraphrasing, but you get the idea of the progression of time and perception as well as breakthroughs on multiple levels. So, I hope you know that this exhibition and all of your work, continues to impact now, and will have even greater impact in the future – it is cumulative!
My very best to you and the family,
GREAT WHITE SHARKS AND MISSED REUNIONS
Well, this turned out to be an interesting month.
Headed off to Cape Town for four days to put up the Shifting Perspectives exhibition in time for the Down Syndrome International conference. All the work was delayed in customs and then we found that the printers, Colorset UVI, got the order wrong, so I ended up with half an exhibition! Very annoying and very embarrassing.
The delay did mean that we could climb (long walk) up Table Mountain AND go Great White Cage Diving, both of which were fab.
Quite a few years ago a friend of mine died after a long and terrible battle with cancer. Growing up in Weston-Super-Mare during the early eighties we all had silly hair and went to see all the punk bands and generally had a good time. I took photographs then as I do now and put them on a Facebook site as a nice way to remember Adam.. The page now has lots of greatphotographs from the time, not all mine. Alternative Weston-Super-Mare! There was supposed to be a reunion of sorts, but I was watching Great White Sharks glide casually past.
Also did a nice shoot for a company called PPR, who own pretty much every high class brand you can imagine. Marie Georges came over from Paris and we went to Holborn Studios for the shoot. Three delightful models turned up from Louise Dyson’s VisAble model agency, we shot had lunch and everything was ‘Tres agreable’!
The campaign, I liked, as it was talking about getting people with disabilities into the workplace.
And couldn’t resist putting in a shark……..We’re in that cage bottom right, covered in chum……
SUMMER HOLIDAYS AND THE OLYMPICS
The greatest show on earth rolls into town and does not disappoint. Right from Danny Boyle’s electrifying opening ceremony through to Super Saturday and the three golds we were all riveted to the TV and newspapers. London really showed the world how to do it and what with Boris telling everyone it would be too busy, London was in fact quiet…..
The previous Saturday we had our own little Olympics, with an ‘icandance’ show followed by a Cub Scout show. The short film below is of my daughter Billie-Jo dancing with Claire from ‘icandance’ and photographed by our good friend Tim Hoy.
Try to fit in a bit of work whilst the Olympics is on and do go up to Leeds to put up a Shifting Perspectives show at the University. This is the third time we have been invited up, so big thanks to Louise Bryant and Gill Rizello. This also spins off into a beautiful display of ‘365’ at the First Direct Bank HQ in Leeds.
Oh, and I have nearly finished the design of The Shifting Perspectives book which is a collation of all the work over the last eight years. It will be available to buy HERE! Get your copy now….
SOGGY BUNTING AND WET FOOTBALL
The bunting went up at the beginning of the month and straddled the road in huge anticipation of our second street party. Last year’s party was a hot neighbourly love-fest. Tables went down the road, lots of food came out, gazebos were up, all the cars disappeared, kids were playing on the street, Zumba Sandra turned up and got the firemen and the rest of the street dancing, face painters painted faces, the sound system was rocking and Kings Road NW10 had the best party in the area.
This year it rained………….but……was still fun!
A massive summer of sport started with Euro 2012. Nobody had high hopes for England and the players didn’t disappoint going out on penalties to Italy in the quarter finals. Now that was a damp squib.
The Blenheim Triathlon came and went with everyone taking off time from last years finish and then the last of our events was the Great East Swim in Ipswich. It was too wet, windy and cold so was cancelled and we headed off to Parliament Hill Lido instead and swam our mile there. 12 degrees and cold, but a beautiful place to swim.
I have many clients who are Universities and one I have been working for, for many many years, is Middlesex University. They kept me busy this month and we had fun producing some quite striking images.
GALLERIES, OPENINGS, AND OUTDOOR SWIMMING….
I used to love going to the Saatchi gallery when it was just down the road from us in St. John’s Wood. A special treat was the room that housed Richard Wilson’s ’20:50′ which is basically a room full of sump oil. It is now the only permanent installation at the new Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea and it is quite the most transfixing and beautiful room you can imagine: – ‘Viewed from the entrance platform 20:50 appears as a holographic field: simultaneously a polished floor, infinite clear pool, an expansive and indefinable virtual space that clinically absorbs and mirrors the gallery architecture. The room is in fact entirely flooded in oil.’ Well worth a visit just for that.
One balmy Tuesday evening we went to the opening of the ‘Out of Focus’ photography exhibition. It was a lovely evening out made better by the presence of good friends and friends I hadn’t seen for a long time. On the photography front Katy Grannan’s work was particularly notable.
GlaxoSmithKline have been generously supporting the Shifting Perspectives touring exhibition for the last eight years. They give a lot of money to good causes and I got to se some of these projects at the annual GSK Impact Awards, held at the Science Museum. There really are some very good people out their, doing some amazing things, day in day out, and really changing people’s lives-for the better. GSK are allowing them to do these things and this event, quite rightly, sing their praises. A mention to the wonderful Katie Pinnock, Director of UK Corporate Contributions for her continued support of Shifting Perspectives.
And we went swimming. Have been doing a few outdoor swims in the run-up to The Great British Gas London swim, which is held annually in The Royal Victoria Docks next to the ExCel centre. A mile swim and actually a good day out. This is the first of three events to raise money for ‘icandance’, a lovely charity that runs ballet and dance classes for youngsters with Special Needs. My daughter Billie-Jo goes and loves it.
THE CEDARS, GUY CHAMBERS AND TENNIS
Go to see The Cedars at The Green Note in Camden.
They are really great slice of UK Americana and with the wonderful Chantal Hill leading the way, with her beautiful voice and stage presence, they are a perfect night out and one that will stay long in the memory. (Accompanying them was ‘Stompin Dave Allen’ who was again brilliant and quite extraordinary.)
YOUYOU Mentoring are picking up some big names and giving young people really amazing opportunities. This month sees a group of youngsters turning up at Guy Chambers studio in Primrose Hill for a masterclass in songwriting and the music business, from not only Guy Chambers, but also Paul Rees, editor of Q Magazine. One of my young photography mentees comes along to document the process. A very big thank you to Guy and Paul for their time.
Oh, and am playing a lot of tennis at the moment. Would be on the court everyday if I could!
THE SOUTH BANK AND PARALYMPIANS
For the past eight years we have been showing the Shifting Perspectives exhibition at the gallery@oxo on the South Bank in London. It is a great gallery just next to Gabriel’s Wharf in the OXO building and pulls in a lot of passing walkers with it’s glass frontage.
This years exhibition was brilliant and the private view was as always a great’do’!
The exhibitors involved were: Eva Snoijink, Fiona Yaron-Field, Marc Rochette, David Cormack, Emer Gillespie, Paul Moffat and myself. Eva’s work is well known around the world already having been exhibited at The Hague. Marc’s work is black and white reportage which contrasted to Paul’s images which were incredible high quality portraits. Fiona carried on her work photographing teenagers and Emer’s was a continuation of her ‘Picture you, Picture me’ series. I concentrated on taking portraits of young adults with DS who were in the workplace, to back-up the DSA’s WorkFit campaign.
Quite busy with a few nice jobs, including one for REMAP, which is my favourite small charity. Photographed Derek Derenalagi who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan in 2007. He is a medal hopeful for the Paralympics this summer in the discus and I am sure he will do well.
Did a radio interview with BBC Radio Oxford and went out to see a couple of friends at play.
My friend Damon Wilson played his first gig in London with his band The Temperance Movement at The Water Rats in Kings Cross. These boys REALLY know what they are doing and make a fantastic noise! Get in their quick because they are going to be BIG.
It’s cold and miserable but……..I head up to Didcot in Oxfordshire to put up another Shifting Perspectives exhibition, at the Cornerstone Arts Centre. The space is really nice and airy and the show looks fab. A couple of days later I return to give a talk and presentation to a conference of health professionals, for the Oxfordshire Learning Disability NHS Trust.
This exhibition is seen by the local MP who offers to sponsor an exhibition of the images at the Upper Waiting Lobby in the House of Commons later in the year.
Vinay Kapoor who works at the Down’s Syndrome Association comes along and says a few words as well. Vinay has Down’s syndrome and has had his worked exhibited in the Shifting Perspectives exhibitions, so it was great for him to get up and let people know what he does.
Some nice shoots for the great people at RNIB and St.Mungo’s. I’ve taken photographs for the RNIB and St.Mungo’s for many many years now and the level of care at the RNIB centre’s is quite outstanding and never ceases to amaze me. The work St.Mungo’s continues to do for the homeless is also quite brilliant.
We do have lots of good people in the world!