Image of the week... ongoing

“How long until you finish the project?” She quizzes as I sip my wine, realising I’m drunk.

“ I don’t really have ends to projects “ I explain.

Perhaps it is the relentless lack of satiety I feel or maybe just a general absence of closure. It has taken me 7 years to form the relationship I have with Devorah and her family. I haven’t even scratched the surface of all of the people I want to meet and experiences I want to explore within the Jewish community. I have no idea why I started and not a clue as to when I’ll stop. I ve also discovered that I seem to be shooting the same shots over and over which is depressing.

I was aware from the beginning of the project that it would lead to an infinite and unattainable chase; a quest to learn how to portray the world I am exploring. However the experiences have kept me hooked. I decided I am simply responding to the people I meet and the conversations I have. I am interested in the tradition, the community and the daily life. In essence the people.  I quickly realised there is too much to learn. 

As I sit here soaking every ounce of vitamin D I can extract I think how strange it was that only a few months ago I was heaving my stupid leg cast through the snow in Stamford hill. Even if it’s only for a few hours I can’t resist poking my head out to witness the celebrations; they are infectiously energising.

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Just behind the kitchen table straddling the stack of chairs and the fridge freezer, blinds open. That’s the position I find myself assuming nearly every time I visit. At first I resist it’s seduction, defiantly I adopt new positions, dance around the rooms to explore a new angle. But eventually every time I resign to that spot. The best view in the room. Here’s my attempt an alternative

 

OAO x

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Image of the week...tease

I've just finished writing my blog post for today but I don't have an image yet. Plus, my eyes are drooping.

To behave I'll post an image from the BBC shoot. I'm planning an aligned project this year and revisiting the images for ideas. I am reminded how infectiously entertaining the group were. I can't wait to get started... OAO x

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Image of the week... baby steps

The tinted windows made me anxious the light would fade. I loaded a roll of film occasionally looking up to trick my car sickness. Gently climbing out of the cab I enjoyed the smack of a cold snowy breeze. The park was quite empty and looked alien covered in a white blanket. I was there to test my foot with a camera for company. According to google, the sun would set at 530 so I had an hour until I hoped a purple haze would hit the sky.

After 30 minutes of walking like a pensioner, the scene was yet to impress when suddenly out of nowhere a blizzard hit. The sky turned in a matter of seconds and the parted trees and windy path transformed into a painting. I felt joy. Not only for having two feet on the ground in a peaceful place but for the gift of artic ambiance. I fired off a few frames as a group of girls filled the space between myself and a translucent pavilion.

The counter said 8 as I fought against the wind towards the tall arched trees. Every passer-by was a questionable opportunity. A boy of about 10 rejected my offer when I explained my reasoning was to test a new camera for college. He looked at my 32-year-old face and suspiciously declined. I am getting old and fooling no one – that blag has expired.

A desaturated yellow bag and a blue coat hid a man walking towards me. I waited until he was close but pressed too soon. The shot was crap and as if to mock my attempt he lifted his beautifully animated face and smiled as he passed me in slow motion. His eyebrows and thick mustache were buried under an avalanche of snow and I could have sworn his green eyes twinkled as they locked to mine. He had worn leather skin with deep lines painted perfectly around his features. Damn. That was a shot missed.

My hands were uselessly cold which meant my camera was now redundant. My attention quickly shifted back to reality and the pain in my feet began to chant loudly. I looked down at my fur coat and boots sprinkled with snowflakes and remembered that I was not immune to the weather. I often forget when I am shooting that I am also there; that the snow hits me too.

After ten minutes I was ready for a second bath of the day and fought on to find the exit and take refuge in a newsagent whilst I figured my route home.

Walk one complete. Damn cold baby steps.

This image is from a trip to Romania years ago when the snow storm took us by surprise. Andrei guided me to a spot he recalled from his childhood. It's the last time I remember feeling as cold as I did today. The other makes reminds me how much I need some vitamin D x

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Image of the week...never forget twice...

I am secretly a creature of habit. I need wild unpredictability blended with a nourishing amount of consistent routine. This blog keeps me safe. It's a window to vent each week and I've tried never to miss two weeks in a row. Once is forgivable under the circumstances of failed technology or dreamy remoteness but twice is just silly. I often find myself typing with drooping eyes or reflecting on old imagery.

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The picture I wanted to talk about will have to wait, as it's not yet released. So instead I'll revisit some older scans. With my frustration levels beyond explanation, I am dreaming of travelling more than my head can handle. To remind me of this I decided to punish myself by delving through my scans from last year.

I would give a lot to be strolling around Romania or Albania again...oao x

 

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Image of the week...next...

A teeny incoherent post before I pass out...

Tied to my crutches I am frustrated beyond words . To keep me sane and rested I'm trying to focus my efforts on research. With a few exciting projects in motion, I decided to revisit the images I shot for the BBC for some productive reflection.

When shooting this I was reminded of how much time I spent in Wolworths , my love of Babybels and the joy of that after school freedom.

I'm acutely aware that my teen years were so long ago, time seems to move quicker than ever. I'll be continuing this work and no doubt triggering more nostalgia.

OAO x

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Image of the week...Familiar strangers

I need to have as much mystery as possible when I shoot a portrait. Endless narratives and infinite outcomes keep the tension alive and maintain my curiosity. So shooting someone I know is dull, almost pointless. A present I have already unwrapped. Like a gorgeous sunset, you know you can never do them justice. They are more than flesh and light.

I can't shoot my mother, she s too close. My sister I can manage occasionally at a distance; because she evolves so rapidly and despises being photographed which is always a tease.

Hin has appeared in numerous images over the years. But as a prop, a figure and never as Hin.

Shooting him is equally challenging and daunting. I value his artistic critique but know him too well to find him a potential subject. For this I also had a brief- to make him as alluring as possible.

We surrendered for a local spot with little choice due to my blasted foot. Hin and I have walked together for years. The most fitting scenario would clearly be to grab a portrait on a random walk. In the mean time this will have to do. 

 

OAO x

 

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Image of the week... for foose sake

(A late post - my baddddd.)

I think any injury to the body is more painful on the mind. The only cure is good friends, inspiring conversations, books, films and as much work as possible to keep you occupied.

This recent shoot for the Guardian weekend was about polyamory.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jan/20/why-i-chose-polyamory-anita-cassidy

What I love about editorial assignments are the themes that rev the mind into a stream of questions. I was keen to meet Anita and see how the family dynamics work. How do you manage the jealousy? parenting? in-laws? ...

Anita and the entire family were instantly welcoming. She talked openly and with strength. Monogamous relationships are challenging enough, so I was curious as to how she had overcome the complex hurdles of her decision. It was a sensitive shoot so I made some sketches beforehand of potential ideas. Thankfully everyone was keen, helpful and enthusiastic, especially Anita's kids who took the best pictures of the day by far.

OAO x

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Image of the week...old skool

Usually, when you revisit your old school the chairs seem tiny and the nostalgic smells creep back in; reawakening distant memories of friendship and education. But when I arrived at Saint Martin's a shiny new building replaced the dank and crumbling walls that housed us in Farringdon. The upgrade was incomparable but the tradition of hyperbolic creative students was just the same. It felt like accidentally stepping onto a catwalk. I immediately felt boring.

On assignment for GQ myself and the writer met and shot several recent graduates; dashing from one meeting to the next in lightening speed. 

Mustapha Boga was being highlighted as an unusual talent amongst the graduates and his piece was a great opportunity to be a bit playful.

OAO x

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Image of the week... Fam

 

 

"NO . LET ME OUT ...LET ME OUUUUT NOW!!! NOW!"

My mum squeals as the Mule balances on a ridge overlooking a mighty ditch. My sister revs the engine and shoots me a daring smile. She raises her eyebrows looking for my support as I thrillfully chant for her to risk the jump. It had been done before. Could she navigate this ditch or would we capsize?

Mum furiously clambers across me, almost slipping out of her wellies.

Still reluctantly emerging from the holiday period I thought it would be apt to post a family pic. My beaut of a sister has decided to get married next year and her dashing prince's family have an epic woodland to accommodate the big day. Our joint family get-togethers now often involve walking around the gorgeous woodland whilst fending off the little hounds.

In the brutal cold of winter I managed to persuade them to pose for a family snap. They patiently let me play with my 5x4 and Hassey until my fingers jammed and we all retreated to defrost. 

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The next frame is an out take from the Felicity Jones shoot I stumbled across the other day.

 

Happy new year all OAO x

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Image of the week...dillute

I've always been bad at maths. This time my skills failed me when attempting to mix a dev solution with Dad. Despite many attempts, the magical image failed to appear on the paper but the atmosphere of the darkroom and the joy of the craft all came flooding back. Here s a contact sheet I managed to scan from our time tipping tanks a while back.

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This weeks post is a random delve into the archive. I feel like I haven't shot in ages which is slightly driving me insane. I stumbled across these negs from last Purim.

 

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It's always overwhelming and the visual tsunami that erupts over the celebratory two day period is always exhausting but worth attending. I've learned to relax and step back, maybe only head out for a few hours as I find it a bit intense. 

Hope the festive period was kind...oao x

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Image of the week...back in the room

“Sorry, I just switched my phone on and got my emails. I cant do tomorrow, can we do Friday?”

The email arrives almost a week after the shoot. I smile and roll my eyes. Nailing Stef down was like chasing a chicken on ecstasy. When we eventually committed to a time and a place I anticipated it would be a rush. What I didn’t expect was how much I liked her. Stef is infectiously energetic, fun and sweet.

“My house is crazy” she messages me before we pull up to the warehouse and enter through a labyrinth of rooms to her little sanctuary. We gather a few bits to take to the skate park. Most essentially her 'Hello Kitty' contact lenses. Her long painted nails pop them in and we’re off.

(This shoot was for the latest HUCK fantasy issue) http://www.huckmagazine.com/

 As promised due to my site being dormant for a few weeks here s a few more images/tales to fill the space.  The snow today knocked me sideways and I began to reminisce about a time in Romania when the weather turned from T-shirt sporting 23 degrees to snowstorm bliss in a matter of 12 hours. I am beginning to realize my addiction to extremes.  A romantic landscape filled every scene and as we drove up the mountain in a hefty 4x4 I felt like an excited child. These trees seemed infinite as we climbed and I searched for the 'best' spot; before eventually realizing there wasn't one.  After a few tenacious attempts at facing the landscape by foot we realized the truck reaching it's limit was for a purpose- the snow had defeated us.

As promised due to my site being dormant for a few weeks here s a few more images/tales to fill the space.

The snow today knocked me sideways and I began to reminisce about a time in Romania when the weather turned from T-shirt sporting 23 degrees to snowstorm bliss in a matter of 12 hours. I am beginning to realize my addiction to extremes.

A romantic landscape filled every scene and as we drove up the mountain in a hefty 4x4 I felt like an excited child. These trees seemed infinite as we climbed and I searched for the 'best' spot; before eventually realizing there wasn't one.

After a few tenacious attempts at facing the landscape by foot we realized the truck reaching it's limit was for a purpose- the snow had defeated us.

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The icy wind pierced my bones as we balanced on the tip of a view point. My Hasselblad kept jamming. The snow drops peeking through on our climb took my breath away.

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 Weirdly I don't recall much about this day. It was summer and the heat was overbearing. We escaped inside the cool house and Andrei pointed out the dead moths by the window sill. I think it was Easter.

Weirdly I don't recall much about this day. It was summer and the heat was overbearing. We escaped inside the cool house and Andrei pointed out the dead moths by the window sill. I think it was Easter.

 I remember staring at the moths thinking how much they looked like sunflower seeds. I could nt imagine them alive.  Now that the blog is up and running Ill be back to my weekly posts as of Thursday OAO X

I remember staring at the moths thinking how much they looked like sunflower seeds. I could nt imagine them alive.

Now that the blog is up and running Ill be back to my weekly posts as of Thursday OAO X