Biography




    Home

 

I practised as a lawyer specialising in human rights and civil liberties before turning to photography in 2003. Since then I’ve been concerned with issues of deprivation and social injustice and their psychological costs. I’ve usually, though not always, accompanied my pictures with interviews with my subjects, with the result that my work has been used as a form of consultation with groups that are hard to reach and whose voices are rarely heard. My work has appeared in newspapers and magazines both in this country and abroad as well as being exhibited widely around Britain. Often it has been used to highlight and raise awareness of particular areas of social injustice or need. It has been used by organisations such as the Home Office and the National Health Service to inform policy and to encourage debate.


My first series of pictures, entitled ‘Framed’, was of those who had served long prison sentences for crimes of which they were innnocent. Then from 2004 to 2007, in a partnership with the County Durham Drug and Alcohol Action Team, I photographed a community of abusers of drugs and alcohol in the North East of England, focusing not just on the users themselves but also on their families and carers. The project resulted in the publication of the book ‘Gary’s Friends’. The pictures were exhibited at the Durham Art Gallery, the Institute for Advanced Study at Durham University, and as part of the 2005 Home Office Drug Strategy, at the Saatchi Gallery, Westminster Central Hall, and other venues around England. A video montage was projected at the Gala Theatre in Durham in summer 2008. The montage is being made available in GP surgeries and prison visiting areas in the North East of England.


A set of the pictures was published in the Guardian Weekend magazine, including the front cover, and in the portfolio section of the Italian magazine Internazionale as well as elsewhere.


In 2008 I completed a set of portraits of inhabitants of South Bank, a troubled area of housing between Middlesbrough and Redcar and, also, a series of pictures of mothers who gave birth to their first child whilst still teenagers.


In April 2009 I was commissioned by the North East Offender Health Unit to conduct a survey of women who have spent time in prison, with the aim of casting light on the relationship between their offending behaviour and their health needs. The project, entitled The Road to Low Newton, was exhibited in Durham Cathedral during June 2010. A set of the pictures and interviews appeared in the Spring edition of the New York based Paris Review. A book of the project was published also in June 2010.