• Daily (weekly, monthly...) Politics

    The post-Brexit aftermath of political movements was pretty mad to say the least. Running around town as one development led to another i've never known anything quite like it. As many people said 'there's literally too much news'. The fallout of Brexit, resignation of Cameron, the Leadsom-May-Gove leadership bids, May's installation at number 10, Labour leadership battles and the publishing of the Chilcot Report all swiftly mixed in together. Here's a few pics:

  • Turkey Coup

    Last Saturday whilst in the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street I got a call asking me to head to Istanbul after Friday's failed coup in which at least 232 people were killed... I was on the first plane in after the airspace opened again the next day but the big action was over. So my week was mostly spent photographing the endless pro-Erdogan rallies as he solidified his control on the state:

  • Pomp and Ceremony: State Opening of Parliament

    This week I was lucky enough to be in a pool position (out of the rain..) in the Royal Gallery within the Houses of Parliament for the State Opening of Parliament. The Opening marks the formal start of the parliamentary year and the Queen's Speech sets out the government’s agenda for the coming session, outlining proposed policies and legislation. My position was up in a corner of one room through which the Queen would walk through (and later out of) before making her speech in the chamber. The event itself was over rather quickly - about 30 minutes from beginning to end - which was notably quicker than filling in all the forms for a security pass to Parliament which was so thorough I thought they might ask what my Mother's favourite cereal, aged 11, was. Here's a few pics from the day....

    Good old Henry..

    Compulsary hairstyles?

  • London

    Having finally left the leafy chilled out confines of the West Country i've recently relocated to the big city lights of London... here's a few pics from the first few weeks:

  • Brain Surgery

    Last week I was giving a unique opportunity - to go and photograph brain surgery at Bristol Children's Hospital. The surgery team there had, in a previous operation, used pioneering robot technology to map the brain of an epilepsy sufferer in order to work out which part of the brain was causing the epilepsy. The subsequent operation which I witnessed was intended to treat the identified area, hopefully curing the condition.

    Once scrubbed up I watched at close hand Consultant Neurosurgeon Michael Carter and his team perform the surgery on 15 year old Billy Whittaker, who was under general anaesthetic. Truly incredible work to witness -  the care and professionalism of the medical team was brilliant at every stage.

    Billy came out of the operation well and it is hoped that this operation will be the cure of his troubles. Time will tell. If ultimately successfull this will pave the way for him to live life to the full - to drive, to play sport, all of the normal things we take for granted.

    The experience only reaffirmed my belief that the NHS really is one of the best things that this country has ever produced - we're extremely lucky to have it.

    Here's an edit of my photographs taking during an hour of the operation:

  • Living in squalor - Migrants in Dunkirk and The Jungle

    Whilst most people may have heard of 'The Jungle' refugee camp in Calais, France, less is known of another camp only 28 miles to the east in Dunkirk. With vastly increased police activity and security in Calais many migrants have relocated / come searching for easier ways to cross into the UK, with Dunkirk becoming a new centre of activity. The camp itself held only a couple of hundred people until the last couple of months which have seen its numbers rapidly expand to roughly 3,000. At the same time the harshening of winter has brought torrential rains, creating a quagmire in which families are trying to live. As strange as it may sound the only thing I could compare it to was Glastonbury Festival on a muddy year. Except these people are trying to live, cook and clean in these conditions for weeks (and for many, probably months) on end. Incredible to think that this is all just 17 miles from the UK. Volunteer organisations are trying to help but resistance from the French government means that the help network is nothing like that in place at The Jungle.     

    I also visited the 'Jungle' in Calais for the first time before heading back to the UK:

  • 2015: a year in review

    Now i'm sat at home with my feet up for Christmas it's as good a time as any to post my favourite pictures of 2015, and quite a year it was...

    The early part of the year saw the various political parties visiting various places (read: positive photo opportunities) to try and garner support for the General Election, which ultimately resulted in the boys in blue gaining power.

    Glastonbury festival managed to surpass itself once again, the highlight being c.100,000 people sing Happy Birthday to the Daiai Lama on the Pyramid Stage. Incredible. Kanye's 'love him or hate him' gig was lighted in a way that moody silhouette's were the only option. Pretty happy with the pic and i'm sure it looked cool to the first 20 rows but beyond that the whole effect was largely lost on the crowd.

    A stunning morning ensured Bristol's International Balloon Fiesta created plenty of pretty pictures:

    The annual Perseid meteor shower was spent inside the ruins of Tintern Abbey:

    Banksy made Weston-super-Mare the centre of the art world for a several summer weeks with his brilliant Dismaland show.

    The defining story of 2015 was undoubtedly the 'Migrant Crisis'. After convincing the bosses to let me go I flew to Budapest and subsequently covered the story in Hungary, Austria and Serbia. It was undoubtedly the most profound personal and professional experience in my life.

    The picture above is probably the favourite of all the pictures i've ever taken. It's of an incredibly photogenic three year old Afghan girl called Asal Habibi who was travelling across the Serbian-Hungarian border with her family. I met many people on the border but I was to end up knowing more personally about her family than anyone else.

    Sadullha and Asal in Germany, ready to start their new life

    I'll share more of my trip to Germany to meet the Habibi family in the New Year..... if you'd like to view more of my migrant crisis photos click here: migrant crisis

    ..... Later in the year I travelled to Bath Rugby's Farleigh house to photograph their winger / British army tank driver Semesa Rokoduguni

    Before rounding things off with a visit by the Duchess of Cambridge to an addiction centre in Warminster:

    Here's to 2016 and everything that it may involve!

  • balloons, banksy and more..

    The last month has thrown up some interesting photo opportunities..

    First up was UpFest, Europe's largest street art festival. Watching the ridiculously talented artists work first hand was a pleasure as always:

    The annual Bristol International Balloon Fiesta was an absolute treat this year with both the press preview and mass ascent flights taking part on gorgeous summer mornings:

    Farmers were suitably angry at the price of milk (which has since seen some action taken). This group were the originator's of the Milk Trolley Challenge, whereby young farmers dressed in cow onesies and emptied all the milk off an Asda supermarket shelves much to the bemusement of shoppers:

    The annual Perseids meteor showers ('the best in decades' - as they say every year!) were an amazing sight to watch two nights in a row at a completely deserted Tintern Abbey. Quite an experience sat inside it alone watching meteors fly by overhead (and quite a challenge to stop lens's fogging one of the nights).

    I photographed Ian Gorham, Chief Executive of Hargreaves Lansdown, at their offices in Bristol for the City Interview in the Daily Mail. Such a lovely down to earth chap - you wouldn't realise he's one of the top ten paid Chief Exec's in the country. Northern Roots you see..

    Last up was a visit to Dismaland - Banksy's latest (not-so-top-secret) project which has seen him transform the old Tropicana swimming pool in Weston super Mare into a 'Bemusement park'. I'll let people go and make their own minds up on the place and try not to give too much away but suffice to say I thought it was brilliant. Well worth a visit. Trying to crack a smile out of the purposefully dour staff is fun in its own right.

  • Election Time

    Five years ago when I started as a press photographer one of the first big events I covered was the 2010 General Election in the North East... fast forward five years and it was that time again but this time I was covering the events in the South West and beyond. The most noticeable difference this time was just how stage managed the whole process was - with everybody expecting the results to be extremely tight nobody wanted a Gillian Duffy moment. This meant that interaction between the leaders and the actual public was kept at a minimum, with the vast majority of events being held in safe spaces filled with doting supporters. Press officers weren't exactly forthcoming with news of events (a problem all over the country by the sounds of it), which meant that actual photo opportunities were kept at a minimum. That said, I still managed to get a few shots I liked during that time, mostly thanks to the force of nature that is Boris Johnson.....

    1) International Man of Rescue:

    2) Ladies / Babies man

    3) A man not afraid to tackle a piece of food

    The Chancellor George Osborne enjoyed a trip to a vacuum cleaner factory and happily got pictured with his namesake hoover George:

    Before which he got into the West Country vibes by enjoying a Stowford Press cider (he timidly drank about a quarter)

    A job for the London Evening Standard provided me with a couple of minutes with Nick Clegg on the Liberal Democrat battle bus:

    Which brought us to election day. Early on I decided that I wanted to cover David Cameron's actions on this day so with a 5am start I set off to Oxfordshire to photograph David and Sam turning up to cast their votes at their local polling station. A woman dressed as Elmo and a few other protestors made events interesting..

    On the way back to Bristol I photographed the obligatory quirky polling station, this one in a launderette in Oxford:

    As we were not allowed in to cover David Cameron in Witney during the count (along with several other agencies due to 'space restrictions'...) I headed back to Bristol to cover the Bristol West / North West count at night. In what can only be described as one of the longest nights of my life the results were finally announced at around 7am for the key marginal Bristol West seat, which as predicted went to Labour's Thangam Debbonaire, having previously been held by Liberal Democrat Stephen Williams. Also noteworthy was the amounts of votes that the Green candidate Darren Hall managed in second place - in keeping with the Green's huge surge in popularity across the country.

    Ending with a real genuine moment in the election as Stephen William's was consoled by supporters as his ten year political career came to an end:

    With the nation awaking to the shock news of a Conservative majority on Friday morning, I was still wide awake pretty pleased with securing the front page of that days Sun newspaper. Until the next time...

  • the week

    People often ask what do I do with my week, alot of the time it can all blend into one and it can be hard to pick out significant moments on the spot. This week however was memorable after the awful fatal tipper truck accident in Bath which killed four and the moving community response afterwards. 

    The job can also throw up particularly interesting people - on Thursday I met and photographed a married couple with a slightly different past to the norm. Friends as school girls originally, Toni and Sian then grew apart before reuniting, marrying and now have a baby boy on the way. Sian, now known as Sean, has had a sex change and is now living as a man. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the story was splashed on the Daily Mirro the next day. 

    I also photographed the ever accomodating Caroline Quentin of Men Behaving Badly fame, who is now playing the role of Fanny Hill at the Bristol Old Vic. Slightly before this week I headed down to Millenium Square in Bristol to see how the UK's first voluntary smoking ban was working out (it wasn't, probably because the signs are incongruous and pretty small), however a passing Portugese tourist was happy to oblige for a photo. Anyway, here's a few pics: