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Project Portrait: Day 73

Day 73 of Project Portrait. Next up we have the mighty Lauren Gilmore – who works at The Next Web’s Amsterdam office. Lauren was originally working in another part of the company but after my minor meltdown to Rey Caacbay, Gilmore was assigned to help with my workload. Since then she’s singlehandedly managed to work across three teams simultaneously without so much as a peep of protest (at least in public). I owe Lauren a huge debt, because without her I wouldn’t be working at this company. Despite being from Texas she’s actually a sensitive soul so I wanted to try and tease that out of her. I think I got it ;).

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Project Portrait: Day 72

Day 71 of Project Portrait. Next up we have Victoria Anne Bull, a fellow alumni of the Magazine Journalism Masters at City. Victoria got in touch after following these photos over the last few months. We hadn’t seen each other since we both graduated in 2007 so I was really curious to see what she’d been upto over the years. As it turns out, she’s had the same struggles with journalism that I’ve had, and has tried multiple times to find a different career path. But, like me, she always found herself being pulled back in. We’d both changed a lot since we were students and we spent a good hour talking about those changes. I also have to add that Victoria hates having her picture taken so I applaud her bravery in coming down to see me. Jess Holland was another unwilling subject but I think that came out quite nicely wink emoticon. I spent a good 90 minutes shooting Victoria – I never normally spend that long – as I wanted her to get used to the idea of having her photo taken. We had a few false starts, but when she did relax she had this fantastic smile which just lights up her entire face. When I saw this photo in the edit it immediately jumped out at me.

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Project Portrait: Day 71

Day 71 of Project Portrait. Still managing to find more gems from Gambia. This one was taken while at the fish market in Bakau. They smoke a huge amount of fish there as refrigeration is still an expensive luxury for many. I never caught this man’s name and while it looks fairly clear in this image, the room was full of acrid wood smoke which burns your eyes and makes it incredibly difficult to breath. This guy seemed completely unfazed by it. One of the big themes I learned from my time in Gambia is how labour intensive the vast majority of work was. Bakau itself, while being the country’s biggest fishing port doesn’t actually have any docks to unload ships. Instead, giant rowing boats are hand carved on the beach, launched on logs and when they return, they’re driven up the beach and unloaded by hand. Middlemen grab handfulls of fish, drop them into buckets and then run up the beach to sell them to clients and families who have pre-ordered. It was fascinating but a stark reminder of the contrast between the division of labour in post-industrialised nations and pre-industrialised ones. Gambia’s economy is still dominated by subsistence farming and has yet to establish any kind of heavy industry.

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Project Portrait: Day 70

Day 70 of Project Portrait. Next up we have Oharu the tortoise. He was sat by the side of the road in Senegal, which no one else around us seemed to think that was all that impressive. He had found a water sprinkler nearby to keep him cool in the intense midday sun. It’s not every day you get to be six inches away from a tortoise and the longer I sat there and stared at him the more fascinating his face became. There was something just so prehistoric that I don’t think I appreciated or even thought about before.