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

Image of the week... hup

This week brought with it some annoying and disappointing work news. So after drowning my face in Sauvignon Blanc,I reached out to a few oracle voices for some much-needed life coaching and inspiration.

This is, of course, no excuse as I can't even recall why I failed to post on Thursday. So I shall indeed share a few for my sins.

This was one of the most expensive pens I have ever bought. I was in Istanbul and this chap caught my eye. I am always curious as to people that just seem stationary. When I was teaching in Napoli I remember there was a man always to be found draped from his window between two plant pots. Ay time of day or night, that's where he would be, just watching the world.

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The second is another one from the Inside Out test I did a few weeks back. This lady's eyes look so painful. It's strange as she was so at ease, confident and full of enthusiasm. As we shot she talked about recent fashion shoots she had done but I this frame was when we were discussing something else. I find it so fascinating how a moment captured can reveal or portray a completely different emotion or side of someone. The perception of truth is mind-boggling.

oao x

 

 

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Image of the week...itching for a stroll

I need an adventure. Sunshine wouldn't hurt either. As I can feel the mighty chill of winter creep I'm itching more than ever to hit some foreign soil. It seems like too long since I have run away.Maybe that's a lazy response to feeling stuck or bored but why not give in to the urge?

This is from a fleeting trip I took to the seaside and continued playing with film. This was one of the most open young people I've met in years. Bursting with chat and energy she excitedly spoke at lightning speed swaying from one foot to the next. We stood by the tidal pool both paddling our feet in the warm water (that's how long it has been).

Even those few hours of escaping London seem so alien... I think it is time.

 

OAO xx

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Image of the week...somewhere in the Wild West

There was a football game on. I feel like a lot of our stop offs were spent simply testing a town and treating it like a speed date. Are you interesting? Any great memories to offer me?

This little fling disappointed.

I spent my hour with my back against the glass wall of a rammed sports bar. The passionate fans fixated on the screens. The eldest boy was about seventeen and he cradled his youngest sister.

I photographed them for a while before leaving the noisy din of the bar to head back into the beautiful heat. Looking back it makes me realize how much I am itching for a walk in a foreign world with the sun on my skin.

It wasn't long until we circled back to the car to climb back in and test the next town we met.

OAO x

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Image of the week...rhythm

I'm always curious when meeting an individual with unfathomable talent;, especially children. I sat in awe on the wooden dining room floor whilst Alma danced with the keys of the piano with total passion and fluidity that it made the room sparkle. The 5 of us remained dazzled as she effortlessly played self-composed masterpieces. Warm smiles of admiration and pride gleamed back at her. 

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Despite this unimaginable maturity she was 11, eager to play and would get bored and tired quickly so I knew I needed to make the shoot swift and preferably outdoors. I asked her if she had anything that inspired her that she wanted to include. She picked up what I can only describe as a skipping rope and explained that when composing new pieces she often swung it to an instinctive rhythm to help her grasp the thoughts into a coherent piece.

This Brucey bonus for my late post reminds me how much I am itching to whisk off and stroll a little...oao x

This Brucey bonus for my late post reminds me how much I am itching to whisk off and stroll a little...oao x

Image of the week....magic tricks

There's nothing like a deadline and a bit of cash to propel a project forward in a short space of time and luckily for me, I had the great support around me I needed to embark on some very last minute tests. These ideas are still in motion but I wanted to share them anyway. 'Work in progress' seems to be an ever attached subtitle to any project. I'm not great at commitment and rarely feel saiety as ideas and concepts continue to whirlwind and the results remain inadequate.

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I'm learning a lot but it constantly surprises me is how I often make the same mistakes over and over. For example, I refuse to use a light meter and instead childishly enjoy the game of 'guess the exposure'. This hunch comes from a nostalgic vivid childhood memory I have of my dad.

We were sitting at his kitchen table surrounded by about 16 kittens and 4 cats and doing some kind of arts and crafts. We began to talk about photography and I asked him questions about how things worked. He explained that it was just painting with light and said that after a while his perception of the world shifted. He pointed to my cheek to demonstrate how he sees things in stops of light. 

" This side is 2 stops darker than this side"

I remember feeling frustrated that I couldn't see what he saw; I didn't understand this concept and it remained an unattainable superpower until after years of trying to get my head around it; the concept of aperture and shutter speed clicked. 

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Although this lovely memory remains I still need to use a bloody light meter as after ten years I still haven't perfected the art of the game.

 

The last image is of Jon...a favourite subject of mine..you may recognise that beautiful face ..

 

oao xx

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Image of the week...bumper issue

I hang my head in shame as I 've missed a week so here's a bumper post for my crapness

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I’ve been shooting my local neighbourhood for what seems like years now but as Liberty and I sit amongst a sea of archive boxes I notice only a few are marked ‘Purity’.

7 years? Why so little images? The pile stands coyly next to the immense proud Jenga tower marked YWALWD and I begin to analyse why I have so little to show.

I first began the project when I moved to Clapton about 7 years ago. The area is densely populated with Hassidic Jewish families lining the streets of Stamford Hill. As the buses pass through the shift in demographic is hard to ignore. It is like stepping back in time for part of your journey. After living there for a few months I began to feel extremely isolated from the Jewish community. I felt negated and ignored as the prams whizzed passed me and the busy roads tested my patience. I am Jewish, why do I feel like an outsider?

 I wanted redefine my initial prejudice and speak to people. After years of stopping people on the street, attending groups, classes and festivals I began to feel connected to a handful of people I had met. They welcomed me into their homes with warmth and generosity. They were patient and tolerant of my ignorance. I knew when I am embarked on this journey it would be full of rejection, frustration and failure but I also knew it was an unsolvable puzzle I was strangely committed to. Despite not having the access to photograph I would share meals with families, play with their children and volunteer at festival events. Patience has never been a natural characteristic I possess but in order to explore this project further it was the only way I also knew I didn’t have the time to commit to lots of families. I needed to dedicate my time to one or two in order to build that relationship.

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This is turning into an essay which is not what I intended but I wanted to reveal a little more about this in the hope that I can understand more about why I am still shooting this without an end in sight. It has also taken me to parts of Israel and NY that I haven’t even began to touch.  Here’s an image from a family who I have worked with them most closely.

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Photographing Dad is still a little activity when we meet up and each time I am reminded of his patience and creativity. He is a curious soul and it’s wonderful to spend time with him and see how he sees the world.

oao x

oao x

Image of the week...making up for it

A double whammy for my epic failure to post last week...

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I could feel the cobbles through my plimsolls and each corner offered a potential new scene but resulted in disappointment. We had been walking for a few hours and my role of the pied piper began to make me anxious. I felt pressurized to deliver some excitement.

The concoction of noise pollution rolled into a vibrant din and the constant threat of a speeding moped kept me on my toes. Napoli was so much more beautiful than I had imagined. The windy narrow streets in the old town were perfect for us to explore.

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However, forcing an image is like thinking of what to draw on a blank canvas. It is mind - numbingly frustrating and for one of my students, it definitely felt like torture. I asked her to sit down. We practiced some shots; playing with shadows and light and as I took her picture she said her pose reflected her feeling of defeat.

After some incredible pasta and meatballs, we wandered further up the hill and stumbled across a wedding. It was the boost she needed. Plenty of characters filled with wine and enthusiasm. It' s funny how one moment or person can simply transform the feeling of failure or misfortune into a high of clarity and excitement.

Image of the week...before the storm

The sun was harsh, I walked passed two strip bars and crossed the road. The hood of an old truck was up. A dazzling red bomber jacket and a cowboy hat clung to a skinny frame peering in.

I stopped and asked the time.

His scarecrow limbs swung around and a toothy grin asked my name. We chatted for a while. He asked me in for a beer. I politely declined. He insisted and I said maybe later. It was then that he gave me the tip off of the best bar in town. "Where?" I asked with genuine curiosity.

"That one right over there!" he said pointing to a boarded up strip bar.

"That's the best one. Karaoke at 9 tonight. See you there later?"

Unfortunately, we were too early for the Karaoke but we sat for a good hour people watching the locals as they necked back shots with ease. It was a weekday early evening but these folks needed no excuse to celebrate. They were giggling and enjoying the sanctuary of this very local bar.

We wandered out into the darkening sky and made our way back to the motel sorry to have missed him.

Wishing love and support to all those in Texas xx

 

OAO x

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image of the week...stumbling

One from my All fo Nuthin archive as I ponder over some recent shots I’m not yet ready to share. This soft hotel mattress has swallowed me up and I am full of Rooibos tea and ready to sleep so Ill write whilst I am still half lucid.

Trawling around Texas brought so many memorable random encounters. I was a constant nosey wanderer and often peeked into cafes, shops or buildings exploring with wide eyes in my full tourist uniform of shorts, backpack and camera. Nearly everyone I encountered demanded a conversation and greeted me with warmth and curiosity. All except the owners of this cafe. After attempting a conversation with the women stood firmly behind the food counter I was met with coldness and impatience. I took my hint but couldn't resist a last scope around the memorabilia lined walls and random nik nak furniture. 

A bell rang as an elderly gentleman entered through the beaten wooden panel door. He looked at me dismissively. Before I left I attempted one last conversation. The gent was a little friendlier. He recited a tale about the alligator hunters of the area and showed me a few pictures. Just as I felt the atmosphere relaxing I realized the time, I was, as ever, late. I made my excuses but asked for a quick snap, he coyly declined so I took this instead to remind myself of this surreal cafe.

 

OAO x

 

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Image of the week...trial and error

I need little persuasion to hit the seaside when the sun is shining and I have a few hours to kill. With a camera as light as a match box I was eager to see what images may emerge so I went to Margate to find out.

After a mere five minutes of strolling towards Dreamland a couple seated on the pavement caught my eye. I asked for their time and they were patient and eager with a dash of shyness.

It was tricky to see through the tiny dust ridden viewfinder so when I got the film back I was surprised to discover the horizon was straight . The crop was just enough to leave some mystery to a hint of their relationship.

The next one is from later in the day when we stumbled across a chatty and down to earth 11 year old. Zana was bright and instantly friendly. She answered my questions with no hesitation and a beautiful confidence that was determined and innocent.

For those of you who religiously follow this blog (Hi mum) you'll notice I missed a post last week. I'll blame business and technology as ever and vow to post an epic story hopefully one day soon. Night y'all oao xxx

 

Image of the week...summer times

I've just sobbed to the end of 'The Karate Kid' so I should really take that as a sign to go to bed. A quick post to remind me that summer should still be here. I have faith that soon any piece of grass in London will be a blanket of boozy faced smiles. An image from one of the hottest days of the year. It's from the same day that I shot the paddling pools in East Tilbury and we took refuge in a post office for the air conditioning.

This coy beauty let me take her portrait before the group erupted into a display of gymnastics (including 2 gym mats being dragged out onto the street within seconds.) I recall feeling keen to practice my headstand before Rhiannon played my warden and thankfully dissuaded me. Hopefully this weekend will be a surprise scorcher and we can head back to Essex!

oao x