What does the word living mean to you?
Sunday afternoon in a small town near Leeds, UK during winter.
A family returns from the park. An inquisitive baby explores the world from its pram. A toddler too tired to ride his scooter home (“thanks for carrying my scooter Dad”). A reliable mum pushing the pram; her bag reads "I KNOW MY ONIONS". A distracted father checks his phone (most likely the football scores).
Chapel Allerton, UK, January 2019
Living on the street
A stark contrast between those that 'have' and those that 'have not'. A homeless person, most likely a man (2019 research suggests that 15% of rough sleepers are female), seeks refuge in the covered entrance of a popular high-street store. Taken in the depths of winter and with one's worldly possessions in a single 'emergency bag', the enticing bright and heated interior (and promise of discounts) exacerbate the contrasting realities.
York, UK, January 2019
Growth and pain is living
A knowing and empathetic grandmother compassionately helping her 9 year old granddaughter (Analiese) wiggle a wobbly tooth free. Out of shot, Analiese has her hand gently resting on her grandmothers shoulder; a simple gesture to reassure herself that she is safe. Without a little discomfort and pain in life, there is no room for growth (or new teeth). The tooth fairy (most likely the same grandmother) will be visiting this little girl tonight as she sleeps.
Australia, April 2019
Living on the edge
A skater doing an ollie over a rubbish bin at Undercroft, an unofficial skateboarding venue at the London Southbank Centre which dates back to the 1970s and is claimed to be the “world’s longest continually used skate spot” – a community of skaters rallied to form Long Live Southbank to successfully save the space and gain a legal guarantee for its long term future.
This skater attempted the trick at least 5 times while his friends watched and cheered him on. It was on this final attempt, the one captured here, that he cleared the bin, and landed the ollie, returning to handshakes, pats on the back and hugs from his mate. What you cannot see in the shot (as the torso of the skateboarder is hiding it) is a sign that reads, “NO PHOTOGRAPHS”. Knowing this, I crouched down and set up for the shot anyway. My version of ‘living on the edge’.
London, UK, October 2019
Scanned 35mm negative (expired film)
The reality of living
An alley behind retail and hospitality shopfronts in Glasgow.
The necessities and realities of living in a western world; some we take for granted (refuse collection, crowd control, parking, air conditioning, light, road markings, safety, and manholes covering the underground infrastructure that provides gas, water and electricity to businesses and people) and some we could do without (litter, waste).
Parallels can be drawn between these back-alleys and those that hide the less ‘perfect’ and unconscious elements of the shopfronts of our personalities. Out of sight, out of mind.
Glasgow, UK, July 2018
Scanned 35mm monochromatic negative (the white strip across the bottom of the shot is the beginning of the film)