My new project is entitled, 'Pleasure Beached' and concentrates on the decline and humour found on the streets of a tourist resort in the North of England, a town called Blackpool. My intention is to make several visits in the next year.
My memories of this unique resort stretch back to my childhood. Blackpool was my grandmother's favourite holiday destination, A short drive or train journey from Manchester. Traditionally it was a popular vacation for Northerners and Scots. Family snapshots from the 1960's and 1970's will be part of the series. In an age when long haul travel to exotic destinations is the accepted norm, Blackpool has struggled through recent decades, absorbing the influx of 'Permanent Tourists on Benefits' and drunken revellers on Stag and Hen parties. I am presently considering whether or not to include contemporary portraits in the project. Perhaps it's more poignant to include only family snapshots, symbolising the fact that we as a family never even consider 'going to Blackpool" anymore. Some of my strongest memories lie here in this Northern town and this project will be a nostalgic rollercoaster ride for me.
There is a lot of investment proposed for the Pleasure Beach area, including a new hotel costing £12 million. The Star Pub was a listed building. However Blackpool council deliberated on it's future and on my latest visit I watched it being demolished.
Way back in April of this year, I was contacted by Ina Lorenz from Wallstein-Verlag: a publishing company based in Gottingen, Germany. Ina was interested in using one of my Bergen-Belsen images as a cover for one of their upcoming releases. Well actually, it is an image of a remodelled sculpture of a Grieving Woman at the Soviet Prisoners of War Cemetery, Hörsten, Germany, which lies adjacent to the Bergen-Belsen site.
Ukrainian sculptor Mykola Mukhin created the “Grieving Woman” relief sculpture for the monument, which was dedicated in November 1945. Unknown vandals destroyed the original in 1980. It has been reassembled and is on display inside the New Documents House at the Bergen-Belsen Memorial site.
The work written by Silke Petry und Rolf Keller is entitled: 'Ruhet in Frieden, teure Genossen. Der Friedhof de Kriegsgefangenenlagers Bergen-Belsen - Geschichte und Erinnerungskultur.'
The book is now published and I am very grateful to Ina for using my photograph on the cover and kindly providing me with a copy of the book.
I recall that I shot the photograph on a Hasselblad H3D and the mixed light coming through the trees was a challenge. I was cursing the fact that I'd left my tripod in the boot of the car which was parked at least a forty minute walk away, so I went ahead and shot it handheld.
Whilst holidaying in Spain in August, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had been nominated and invited to accept a fellowship with the Royal Society of Arts for my photographic work. Having always believed in the 'manifesto', and aims of the RSA I was delighted to accept the invitation. In due course, I was informed that my invitation was deemed to be successful after being considered by the admissions panel.
As a Fellow of the RSA, I intend to apply photography and art to projects, events, discussions and ideas concerned with improving the lives of people, environments, lifestyles, communities and cultures with the intention of (even if only in a small way) affecting social change. I hope to begin collaborating with likeminded people.
I will be working primarily in Cumbria, Manchester, Birmingham and London. I will also be continuing my project, 'New World', in Ras Al Khaimah(UAE) in October 2016:
If you are available in any of these areas and/or have any ideas for projects, collaborations, etc, please feel free to contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or use the comment section below.