Saturday, 25 October 2014

Eddie Adams Workshop XXVII 2014

I was lucky enough to attend the 27th Eddie Adams Workshop in New York - October 2014.

It was truly a fantastic and inspiring event. I attended talks by many photographic giants, including James Nachtwey, Eugine Richards and John White, and many other industry people and photo editors.
The huge range of subjects I learned about was eye opening, I found Al Bello's talk one of the most interesting and it gave me a new interest  and respect for sports photography, something which I haven't tried before. I also particularly enjoyed Phil Toledano's talk, who I worked with closely during my assignment. His style of photographing is very different to mine but he gave me great new ideas to try to experiment with. The talk that reached out to me the most was Barbara Davidson's talk about her work to do with LA gang violence and its affects on the local citizens. It is very moving project and is of a similar style to my next piece of work to be carried out in Oldham.

The night time portfolio reviews were a massive boost to my development. I got to meet a range of editors and photographers who helped me identify areas in my photographic process I needed to improve. They also let me know what I am doing right and it was encouraging and constructive on so many levels.

The event was so fast and jam packed that there is just not the time for much sleeping. After a couple of days you start to feel fairly deranged.

Photos from my new friend Eman Mohammed

As part of the workshop all students are given an assignment for which they have a total of 10 hours to shoot. As a proud member of the Pink Team my assignment had the theme of 'Generations'. I was lucky enough to of been assigned to photograph Susan Brown, an international tax accountant who is living in the local area and working out of her parents disused dairy farm. Susan was very accepting of the project and allowed me free range to photograph what I needed. She was kind enough to show me around her area, take me into her home and bring me to a local community dinner and I am very grateful to her and her friends/ families help with this project. It was seriously good fun.

Our team leaders - Colin Crawford, Melanie McLean, Phil Toledano and Mark D. Faram where hugely supportive and happy to help with our projects but also did not hold back on letting us know what we were doing wrong, which was very helpful. I learnt so much about my work and process and this was facilitated by working closely with these people.

We were challenged to fail with our assignments, and fail I did. They wanted us to try a new way of shooting our projects and to really try stretch how we approach a story. Without telling her I tried to portray Susan without ever showing her face. This was an experiment as usually I am all about faces in my people shots. It forced me to look elsewhere in my pictures and style to tell the story of Susan and her personality. I did this by looking for close up details, looking at her body language, showing her surroundings, her politics, her occupation and her general activities. I also wanted to show the people in her life and their reactions to her.

This is my final long edit. My editor Colin Crawford from the LA times along with the other faculty members spent time editing my photos themselves and that edit along with the other work created by my wonderful team can be seen here - - it's interesting for me to compare the two.

Recommended to anyone who wants to work in this industry - for more info.

New Website -

I haven't used this blog in a while and thats due to me building a proper website/ portfolio and its here you can see all my recent work and publications. I will still be using this blog but for more personal stuff.


Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Dal Lake Kashmir

Here are some pictures I took at the Dal Lake, Kashmir in Northern India. Kashmiri people live on the lake in houseboats. There is a weekly early morning floating fruit and veg market. These pictures are from my visit to the market.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

The Widows of Vrindavan - Breaking Tradition

Vrindavan, a town with an ancient history is regarded as one of the most sacred places in many prominent religions, such as Hinduism and the Hare Krishna Movement. The town is also home to thousands of widows who traditionally spend their remaining days without a family leading a life of religious dedication. Living communally in ashram temples, they fill their time praying and chanting to Krishna in exchange for small amounts of rice, water and a bed. They also beg on the streets to eke out a living. In recent years, traditions have been broken as NGOs, along with international fashion designers, are training women in textile and other craft production, which they are paid for. The widows are provided with lessons in Bengali, English and Hindi literacy, as well as financial and healthcare support. They are often sent to Vrindavan by their families, rejected as inauspicious and seen as a burden. Living together with a sense of solidarity, this community of widows lead a simple and poverty-stricken life but with dignity and purpose.

Please click on the pictures to make it bigger

Also there is an audio slideshow to accompany the pictures, please have a look as it is a bigger edit, also watch it in HD to get the full quality You can see it at -

A woman walking in the Vrindavan province. 

A widow enters an ashram in Radhakund where Maitri, an Indian NGO,  is providing a one day free health service to widows.

Widows wash plates and cutlery together in Meera Sahabhagini ashram, Vrindavan.

A widow in Meera Sahabhagini ashram, Vrindavan.

A widow in the Radha Kunj ashram, Vrindavan.

Each widow has a small personal shrine and also keeps a small statue of Krishna. Everyday the statue is washed, its clothes are changed and prayers to Krisnha are chanted.

An effigy of Krishna.

Widows chanting the Hare Krishna mantra in Meera Sahabhagini ashram. The women congregate twice a day to worship Krishna.

A widow adorns herself with the Tilak, symbolising eternal dedication to Krishna. 

With the help of Indian NGO Sulabh, widows work on textiles that will later be sold on local markets.  The women are also being trained by Kopal, a New York-based fashion designer.

Widows also make other crafts such an incense sticks to be sold at local markets. The women are paid a cut for the items sold. 

In a move that breaks regular tradition, women are now being taught literacy in Bengali, English and Hindi in an attempt to give develop their skills and education.

The language training is provided by NGO Sulabh.

Widows often have to beg in the streets to raise more money for food.

A widow sits in the doorway of her government-run ashram.

Women cook inside their quarters of the Swadhar Matila Ashram.

A widow holds picture of her self and deceased husband from a past time.

A flower pot, old but still beautiful stands in Meera Sahabhagini ashram.

A widow feeds a monkey scraps outside Radha Kunj ashram, Vrindavan.

Usha Dasi, 65, cleans an old portrait of her own mother.

Basanti Dasi, 70, sits in her quarters at Radha Kunj ashram