I couldn't post last week, as the tale I had to tell isn't due to print for a while so instead I'll include a few extras this week.
I'm writing this having just returned from a short trip to Hamburg and Berlin. Whilst in Berlin I ran a workshop for 5 days but also managed to squeeze in a few meetings with my folio. Prior to my trip, one of the editors I was due to meet called and asked if I wanted an assignment.... of course!
The German writer explained to me that the story was on a family of 13 who despite the lack of opportunity were finding a way to survive in a small town near Manchester. He had been following their story for 15 years and wanted to show an update on how the family had grown and found their feet.
Before I set off to Germany in haste I managed to reach 'Mother Hen' aka Sue.
Sue is tough as nails but soft as butter. She nurtures, protects and caters her clan I was relieved to have her on my side. She assured me if I took the train down I could come and shoot at least half of the fam.
The following days she watched me as dazedly searched for her house, chuckling and then greeted me with a hug. I was instantly overcome by her warmth and down to earth attitude- she was a perfect wing man in what was to be a busy 2 days of shooting.
She explained that there were certain family members that would refuse to be photographed. We talked about her two sons who were both now missing sight in one eye due to fighting each other (one of them now only has one eye) and her 7-year-old grand daughter who is a bit of an expert in Dinosaurs.
Over the next few days I was treated with kindness and generosity and it reminded me that the bond of family ties is not only unique but also beautiful. The varied and interesting characters and the way in which their lives intertwine was fun to untangle. I can only imagine what Christmas day at Sues would be like!