April 2016



On my recent trip to California I wrote a little about a number of incidents that I had became aware of where photographers, film makers and tourists became victims of crime where there equipment and valuables. These sorts of incidents can range in intensity, at best they are a minor annoyance, at worst they can and do lead to serious injury and even death.

There is an irony then, in the fact that I too was targeted on the last few days of my trip. Taken unawares from behind, a man snatched at my camera that was on my shoulder and attempted to run off with it. I hung onto it for a while and we had a bit of tug of war, but as I'd been taken unawares I never managed to fully gain my balance and was eventually pulled over to the ground. The camera we were fighting over sailed through the air and hit the ground with a nasty crunch. My assailant also fell over but was up faster than me, grabbing the camera from the ground and running away at considerable pace.


There were no witnesses, despite this taking place on a public street in San Francisco, in the middle of the afternoon, there was no one around. The police arrived quickly, but there was little that could be done. My injuries were fairly minor, cut arms and hands where I had hit the ground and a very sore neck and shoulders that are still not entirely right now, but will be fine, eventually.

The sad thing is, one of my new Nikon D810 cameras was probably damaged beyond repair. What a waste. The top of the camera obviously took a real bash, and the eye piece cover was torn off. Attached to the camera was my much loved and well used Nikon 80-200 F2.8 lens that I bought way back in 1995 and has done brilliant service ever since. It had a relatively low value as it was so old, but it's cost quite a bit to replace it with an admittedly upgraded modern day version with vibration reduction. The lens hood of this lens was also shattered and torn from the lens when it hit the ground, but I suspect the breaking of the lens hood would have protected the lens and it's probably still working reasonably well somewhere, it was a tough bit of equipment.

All in all, a troubling moment, but it could have been a lot worse. I'm fine, and pretty much over this event now, but will definitely think twice about what equipment I take out on the streets for general travel work from now on. There are some parts of the world where the rewards just do not justify the risks these days.

One of the more interesting photographs of the year

Social Services Photography

The original brief for the job was to create images that were to go with the line "Child Social Services, How Far Would You Go?" in a campaign that was to attract specialist child social workers to the south coast county of East Sussex in England, UK. The idea was that they wanted to attract people who would go the extra mile for their job, as well as suggesting to people that moving to East Sussex was worth thinking about if they wanted to progress their career. To this end, the client came up with the idea of showing a social worker in a space suit, to illustrate both ideas - dressing up in a costume to bridge the gap between a professional and a child, and also as a visual representation of someone who's willing to travel to get the job done. The pictures were also required to show the area as a desirable place to live for people who might be thinking of relocating. I liked the concept a lot. The location was to be Hastings, and a group of real social workers were pressed into service for a few hours and a selection of children were rustled up from various places. For images such as this, it's never possible to use children who are actually under the care of social services because of all the issues relating to confidentiality and consent, so in the pictures for this series, the children were played by "models".
We didn't have a lot of time, and the was a need for a quite a range of different images to tell the story. The lead image for the campaign was to be a simple image of a child running towards a social worker in a space suit with as little distracting detail as possible with lots of space for copy around the image. It took a while to set everything up and we pretty much had the shot, and then I thought it would be fun to try some with the child leaping into the arms of the spaceman. We tried it four times, before stopping, as we had other things to do. The shots were quite successful, and this was my favourite image of the four:

SpacemanOne0284 copy

However, although the client was pretty pleased with the image, I was unhappy with the way the child's hand was lost behind the spaceman's glove. Without discussing it first with the client, I made some adjustments to the image and also sent them this improved version. I think it's so much better, and it's pleasing that this is the image that they decided to use.

SpacemanTWO0284 copy

The replacement arm was borrowed from one of the other images. It had to be adjusted to make it look real, but the result is quite satisfactory I think.

The image in use can be seen here on the clients website, along with some other images taken on the same day.

East Sussex Music Photography

East Sussex Music Service Photography.

I just stumbled across a document using my images from last year's job for East Sussex Music Service. You can download the whole pdf document here: Download