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Project Portrait: Day 77

Next up we have Dikson Slamajamjar – a poet and comedian from Zimbabwe. I met Dikson this week at The Hatch. We got talking and it turns out Dikson produces a comedy show about Zimbabwe, filmed and shot in Zimbabwe. I was absolutely fascinated by this. From my limited knowledge, Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe is notoriously opposed to any kind of press freedom or dissent – not even the BBC can report from the country. So the idea that Dikson and his colleagues can produce a show that lampoons Zimbabwe and its political overlords is a brave stand against the tyranny that has gripped the country for way too long. For the photo I wanted to lean on the rich photographic history documenting struggle across the world. This incredible photo from Eddie Adams shot during the Vietnam war immediately came to mind. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Adams_(photographer)…) I tried to play with that idea slightly by using a toy gun instead of a real one to highlight Dikson’s comedic mission while still reminding the viewer of the potential for danger.

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Project Portrait: Day 76

Day 76 of Project Portrait. Next up we have Sophie Labrey, who is the community manager for TrueView. She is also I’ve been told, a pretty awesome drummer. I had a whole set-up planned for Sophie and we were happily chatting while I found my angle, until she showed me her hands. Having tattoos on the palms of your hands is unusual, but I was drawn to the broken line on her left (your right). Sophie explained that because she drums so often the tattoo wasn’t given enough time to heal and so was worn away. I asked if she would ever fill the line in and she said she’d grown attached to it. Over these past few months I’ve learned that a portrait doesn’t necessarily have to be of someone’s face. You can get a sense of someone from the things they wear, their environment or even a part of their anatomy. When I saw Sophie’s hands I immediately felt this told more about her than a picture of her face ever could.

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Project Portrait: Day 75

Day 75 of Project Portrait. Next up we have Damian Mitchell – another member of The Hatch London. Damian works with Andrew Ibbotson and Matt Verity at TrueView. Recently I’ve been starting to explore the idea that when I photograph people I’m saying just as much about myself as I am the people I take pictures of. With Damian that idea feels stronger than ever. Damian is actually a very warm and lovely person to have around in the office. He’s also a big fan of Roux and spends a significant part of his day playing with him. But with this image what came out was a very different picture. It’s dark, it’s moody, it’s heavy with detail. I had pictures of Damian smiling, but for some reason I wanted to bring out a different side of the character I saw. One of the biggest lessons I’ve been taught recently is don’t take photos OF people, take pictures ABOUT people. In this instance I appear to have taken a picture about me.

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Project Portrait: Day 74

Day 73 of Project Portrait. Next up we have Sarah. Sarah was someone I met the last time I was in New York. I can’t remember much about her, but what I do remember is we had one of those epic talks that last for hours and shine a light on every part of your life. At the end of it I remember grabbing my camera and snapping this picture. What it seemed to bring out was a sense of deep sadness and melancholy that I hadn’t seen before. The lights behind have been beautifully blurred but it’s Sarah’s eyes that say more about what’s going on. I directed the flash away from her face which made her look even more isolated. I don’t know what happened to Sarah, but I hope she’s got through whatever it was that seemed to trouble her so much.