One of the great things about being a photography student back in the 1980's is that you could get access to places that would be near impossible these days. It's strange how the world is a lot less transparent these days. I took full advantage of this and gained access to several factories. It was part of a project about working lives of people in heavy industries. These seemed to be an area of UK life that was fast disappearing.
Picket Lines and Demo’s.
During my student days I went along to lots of demonstrations and picket lines. It was the early years for Thatcher and the government put itself on a collision course with the unions and manufacturing.
Whilst I was a student I went to stay with some friends at the Hulme estate in Manchester. I was interested in recording the live a a young family living there. The estate was being rundown by the council and was in a very poor state of repair
South America
In September 1990 I was commissioned by Action Aid to travel to South America for a month. We visited Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. It was one of the most memorable trip I've done.
Kurdish Refugee Crisis 1991
At the end of the first Gulf War the Kurds in the north of the country rebelled against the rule of Saddam Hussein. Hussein sent the elite Revolutionary Guards north to brutelly crush the uprising. This forced the Kurds to flee to Iran and Turkey. I decided to try to get into Iran with a colleague to record the events.
On Christmas day 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed. Suddenly the ex Soviet republics started to declare independence from Moscow. I'd studied Soviet politics at college and was very keen to see the changes happening first hand.
Got a commission from the Daily Telegraph to visit Cuba in the spring of 1992. I was there with a journalist to report on the visit
of a flying eye hospital and the general condition of the country. This was just after the collapse of the Soviet Union and along with it nearly 80% of Cuba’s export income. It was the start of what the cuban government called the ’Special Period’ when basic goods were in very short supply.
After my project in Ukraine I decided to continue working in the former USSR. I travelled to Baku in Azerbaijan to start a project on the oil workers of the city.
Whist there I also visited a make-shift refugee camp set up in old railway freight carriages. The refugees were Azeri’s fleeing the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.
In 1996 I approached the NGO Survival International about producing a couple of photographic documentaries focused on two of the indigenous communities they work with. I wanted to show two diverse communities living u
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