Why the website?
Some magazines I work for have no stomach for more serious photography, or will show it in, um, let's be tactful here, less than ideal ways. The web is a great place to show pictures with no editorial constraints. Anything goes. It's like a gallery, only you don't need to worry about breaking picture frames.
How did you get into photography?
My cousin taught me to use a Nikon
when I was at school. I partied too much back then and messed up my
exams, so I eneded up at university in Belfast. I took a few pictures
there. Nothing of the polical situation, what struck me about
it all was how easy it was to ignore. I made some friends, and I lost
Then I didn't
touch a camera for several years. I had a series of boring office jobs.
I went back to college in my late 20s and started doing photography
seriously. Some of my stuff since has been about trying to find the
pictures I never took in my early 20s.
Why the Middle East?
It's on Europe's doorstep. I've been discovering the area since my early 20s, and the way it's
played a role in shaping Europe. Once you get past the unfamiliarity, the Middle East is really
welcoming. You see things that have died out back home, but also things which are yet to come.
Where do you stand on...?
What's it like to live there?
Sometimes exhausting, sometimes exhilerating. Not having a ticket home gives you a different
perspective on it.
Why black and white?
Some stories need it. It's not a big
esthetic thing, it's just that a lot of places have no idea of colour
co-ordination. There are more important things to worry about in life than pink curtains, mauve cushions and fluorescent lighting. Or beige.
What is your favourite picture and why?
I don't have one.
Photography is about a process to me, not a finished thing. And the finished product never exactly
does justice to the process, never really describes everything you felt, you saw, the people you met
and the moments you
So you keep on looking. You look for metaphors and juxtapositions to tell you
not just about the people, but the situation, but it's just never quite there.
What camera do you use?
Usually a Leica with a standard lens. I like the feel of the pictures, the grain, the depth of field, the way stuff unfolds across a contact sheet. For specific purposes, like macro, underwater, portraits, or commercial work, I'll use something else. For assignments, I have a digital camera.
What are your influences?
Probably film and fiction more than photography. But lately I've seen some good photography
books. I like some photographers from the 1930s, but there's not much point comparing yourself to
someone who died years ago. The world has changed since then.
How do I get high-res images?
Currently I'm not with an agency and am distributing my own work.
Is there a portfolio section in this site?
No, this site is meant for the general public, not picture editors. I'd prefer if each picture is
seen in context, with other pictures from the same story.
Do you do corporate work?
Yes. Contact me directly for more information.
Do you have text for these stories?
I have extensive notes and diaries, and some stories have complete text, but genereally no.
How do I become a photographer?
Take photographs of stories no one else is telling. Sell them. The second part is probably harder than the first. It's pretty hard to make a living from doing good work. Bad work pays much better.
How do I take better pictures?
When I started with photography, I was very interested in that question. I learned to use a light meter. Now though,
with my experience,
I think the more interesting question is not how, but why.
How important are awards?
The more you win, the harder it is to go back to working 9 till 5. Though I'm not always sure if
What is the closest that you've been to death ?
Falling off my bike aged 10.
How do you get funding for difficult projects?
Beg until someone says yes. Or get a job that pays well for a while. I've either done projects
for, or sponsored by Kodak, Sony, Coca Cola, Open Society Institute & Metro Imaging. If you know what you want, and
they know what they want, it can work out.
Can I do work experience/assist?
Any more career advice?
Get a good
accountant. A very good accountant.