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.

Blue-Faced Leicester Blue Faced Leicester Blue-Faced Leicester sheep Blue Faced Leicester Dorset sheep Dorset Ewe Friesland sheep Friesland Ewe Friesland lamb Friesland Lamb Merino Ram Merino Ram Suffolk Ewe Suffolk Ewe Suffolk Ram Suffolk Ram Wiltshire Long horn ram Wiltshire Longhorn Ram Modern farmer covers

Mayoral Proclamations, 100 year old’s and lots of sheep…….September 2013


Earlier on in the year David Guion from the Dublin Arts Council  called up to talk about another Shifting Perspectives exhibition. We thought the way ahead might be to team up local photographers, with a member of the local Down syndrome community, and for each to each produce a body of work.

So, DAC working with DSACO (Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio) organised for Columbus photographer Shellee Fisher to work with Jennifer Cunningham Fox, Keo Khim to partner with Kyle McKay and Cameron Sharp to create artwork with Shane Roussi and Jeremy Engberg.

He also suggested that I might like to visit Dublin, Ohio again and that…. perhaps…. I could bring my daughter Billie-Jo along. Guess what..I said yes!

I took some portraits of Billie-Jo, and on a day trip to Dungeness, Billie-Jo produced some great shots, which you can see below. We spent a week in Dublin, being spoilt rotten…. again! David and his team are so generous and such great company that it is always easy to visit them and hard to leave. They really have taken Shifting Perspectives to heart, and to see them taking it out into their community, is a wonderful thing for me to see. There were parties for Bill, VIP receptions and the Columbus Buddy Walk, where the gallery staff were ‘Team Billie-Jo’.

The Columbus buddy walk attracts 5’000 people and raises around $300’000 in one day. I facilitated another workshop for a group of young adults who have Down syndrome, but this time they all took photographs of each other and did a great job of it too. We visited Mayor Lecklighter again, at Dublin City Council. He honoured us with another proclamation and as they film each council meeting you can see Billie-Jo (and me) thanking the mayor, at about 5mins 40secs in, HERE.

Last year, the day after flying back I drove down to Cheltenham for a week of Post-Grad brochure shooting, at the University of Gloucestershire. This time it was the week before. They are such good fun down there, we get some great shots and the days rush past. Looking forward to going back again in November.

The day after flying back, the kids are at Hever Castle for their first triathlon. In fact seven cousins take part and really enjoy it. Even the freezing cold open water of the lake doesn’t put them off.  Very proud of our little nine and ten year old.

Whilst in Columbus cafe I spot a Modern Farmer on the magazine rack, with my goat on the front cover. Well………forget the goats, it’s all about the sheep!! Am driving all over the country shooting sheep, but you will have to wait and see.

Oh, and do you know any 100 year old’s? I was shooting for the RNIB at one of their care homes and took some portraits of a 105 year old. I am now taking portraits of people over 100 and am looking for one hundred, 100 year old’s… if you have a grandma or aunt who have hit the century…….do tell!

Billie-Jo and friend at schoolBill and friend at school.

Billie-Jo at school

Bill at school

Billie-Jo at karate.

Bill at karate

Bill's Ohio Artwork artworkBill’s photographs for the Ohio exhibition.

DAC Workshop groupDAC Workshop group

University of Gloucestershire

University of Gloucestershire

University of Gloucestershire

University of Gloucestershire

University of Gloucestershire

University of Gloucestershire

University of Gloucestershire

University of Gloucestershire

University of Gloucestershire

University of Gloucestershire

University of Gloucestershire

University of Gloucestershire

Climate Revolution, Vivienne Westwood and YouYou Mentoring…….August 2013


Summer’s still here and is quite brilliant.

Lots of swimming in Lido’s and general running around with the kids.

YOUYOU Mentoring have started a new project with a group of young poets.

We have teamed up with Vivienne Westwood and the Climate Revolution. Five young poets head off to Holborn Studios where they have a poetry masterclass and meet up with Ms Westwood.

Now they go away to work on their poems and it all culminates in a poetry reading event at Keats House in Hampstead at the end of October.

Below is a shot of Vivienne and the young poets, taken by YOUYOU mentee Chloe Thacker assisted and aided by YOUYOU Mentor, and my good friend Adam Lawrence.

On the YOUYOU front, I have Just re-visited this lovely video portrait of Fergus Henderson, shot by Joseph Turpin. Only a minute long, but really very special.

Watch it HERE.     

Climate Revolution Poets

Poppy Turner, Danien Charles, Phil Coales, Pheobe Thomas, Laura O’Driscoll with Dame Vivienne Westwood. Photo by Chloe Thacker.

Pigeons, Summer and Outdoor exhibitions…….July 2013


Got a call from the Independent on Sunday, saying they would like to show some of my pigeon images in their New Review magazine, in the Portfolio section.

Double-page spread and it looks great!

There is no funding, but I am carrying on with Shifting Perspectives.

Get a call from a wonderfully passionate lady called Sherone who works at Luton Council. She wants to show Shifting Perspectives. So, I pull in a mate to build a new outdoor exhibition and take it up to Luton for their Disability week. It looks great at Stockwood Park and also at Luton library.

Summer’s here!

Inependent on Sunday Pigeon spread

Independent on Sunday, New Review

Luton Disability week

Learning Disability week, Stockwood Park, Luton

Luton Disability week.

Learning Disability week, Stockwood Park, Luton

Triathlons, Tennis and Goats…….June 2013


I’ve moved on from chickens and pigeons…………..and now it’s all about the goats….!

Modern Farmer were so happy with the chickens, they asked me to shoot a variety of different goats for their second issue.

So, there was a lot of fun driving around the country taking photos of all kinds of goats.

We arrived at a small holding in Lincolnshire, where the ‘goat farmers’ told us that there was a kid being born. And there it was, all tiny and gooey, being licked by it’s mother. And then, ten minutes later another one popped out! My assistant, said “well you know what to call them….Richard & Andy”

A few weeks later I received an email from the lovely couple who owned the goats, attaching a few snaps of Richard & Andy, to let me know they were doing remarkably well!

Front cover of Modern Farmer magazine is of a Boer Goat, which reminded me of a gentle Dutch lady during the time of the Renaissance. The Arawapa goat from New Zealand, on the other hand, just looks mental!

We are only doing one triathlon this year and it was at Blenheim palace where we got around relatively quickly, considering the lack of training. It was a good day with lots of money being raised for the brilliant ‘I Can Dance’.

Tennis, well I can’t get enough of it!


Modern Farmer magazine cover

Arawapa Goat

Arawapa Goat

Angora Goat

Angora Goat

Dwarf Nubian Goat - kid

Nigerian Dwarf Goat – kid

Dwarf Nubian Goat - kid

Nigerian Dwarf Goat – kid

Boer Ram Goat

Boer Ram Goat

Instagram exhibitions….and parties!…….May 2013


My very clever wife Fiona, has an exhibition at the Artisan Gallery, at the end of our road. We got together 26 years ago, whilst studying for a degree in Photography at Westminster University. (or as it was known then, Harrow College of Higher Education).

Our year was pretty impressive, with some VERY talented photographers and film makers emerging.

Zed Nelson, Dan Burn-Forti, Lewis Mulatero, David Harrison, Adam Lawrence on the photography side and Mark Payne Gill  (wildlife film maker) Anand Tucker (Hollywood Director baby!!) and Jonathon Teplitsky on the film making side, to name just a few, with many others in the industry.

And that includes Fiona who has always been involved with photography and works as a freelance Art Buyer at Ad agencies. Last year she re-ignited her passion for photography, by taking a photo a day on her iPhone and uploading the results to Instagram. She really does have something and you can see the results HERE: Fiona’s 366

The exhibition was a good excuse for a  Private View and party, with everyone back to ours for more drinks! Can’t say fairer than that…..

Dungeness train

Me & Cyd



Easter, Hillingdon

Daniel Diving

Cyd Jumping

Ceiling Helicopter


Cyd & Dan on way to school

All Sorts of Special Stuff…….April 2013


All sorts of ‘Special’ stuff happening this month.

First off was a little shoot for Special Olympics Ireland. We headed off to Holborn Studios and met up with our model for the shoot, Max. I have known Max for many years. He has Down’s syndrome and is on the books of the VisAble People model agency. He also appeared in the Oscar nominated film ‘Notes on a Scandal’. We had lots of fun shooting and you can see Max here: Special Olympics Ireland

As I mentioned before funding for Shifting Perspectives has stopped, but people are still asking to show the work, so I have set up a Community Interest Company (CIC) and will be actively looking for funding soon.

In the meantime, I head down to Cardiff and put up a small exhibition at the Welsh Sennedd. The Welsh Sennedd is the democratically elected body that represents the interests of Wales and its people, makes laws for Wales, and holds the Welsh Government to account.

This is in the newly ‘re-born’ docks area of Cardiff, which is really very nice, with some great buildings.

More photography for the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) and REMAP.

For REMAP I went down to meet Abby, who is training for the Paralympic Games in Rio. She has Cerebral Palsy and the good people of REMAP have made her a specially designed chair. Took some photographs and also did a little ‘video-portrait’ of her, which was great fun

If you could condense determination, joyfulness and inspiration, it would take the form of Abby!

I have been known to collect things, especially photography books. The photographer James Mulkeen has just finished an Arts Council funded project on Collectors. He got in touch a little while a go to see if I would ‘mentor’ him on his project. I popped up to Doncaster to have a look at the final project on the walls of The Point in Doncaster. James has done a great job and the images looked fantastic. I hope he carries it on, as I can see a book in the making. Have a look here:  James Mulkeen Collections.

And here is the first and very special issue of Modern Farmer magazine, with one of my images on the front cover.


Modern Farmer Magazine

Modern Farmer magazine

Shifting Perspectives at the Welsh Assembly

Shifting Perspectives exhibition at The Welsh Senned

Exhibitions On The South Bank and Rough Sleeping……March 2013


It’s no good, I need to keep the update of this blog… up to date!

March was mad, (of course it was), but I’ll try to keep it all brief.

It was (possibly) the last ever Shifting Perspectives exhibition at thegallery@oxo on the SouthBank. And it was BIG, and I mean capital letters BIG! We had the main gallery and the outdoor space and THREE floors of The Bargehouse.

The opening night was great and everyone was completely loved up as usual. At the same time, thanks to Maiko Watanabe, there was a Shifting Perspectives exhibition held in Osaka, Japan.

I have spent eight years on this project, so it REALLY was quite emotional to see the majority of the work on display in the same place, AND to think that it could all come to an end as the funding from GlaxoSmithKline has finished. But…. people are still calling up and wanting to show the work, so I have decided to form a Community Interest Company and go looking for funding. We shall see.

If you scroll down a bit you will see a short little video which gives you a speeded up view of the size and scope  of the exhibition.

St.Mungo’s are great at helping the homeless and I always enjoy working with them. We spent a day walking the streets of London shooting for a rough sleepers campaign. The chaps who ‘modelled’ for us were great and the images proved to be very powerful.

And, this month I have been with my wonderful, beautiful and talented wife…… for 26 years. Just saying.

St.Mungo's Rough Sleepers Campaign

St.Mungo's Rough Sleepers Campaign