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Project Portrait: Day 65

Day 65 of Project Portrait. Another Gambian shot. This time it was on the way to Barra market from the ferry across the Gambian river. There are a number of preconceived ideas we have about people’s lives in Africa. Images of women day laden with food, water and children is definitely one of them. It’s nearly a cliche. But when I saw this child looking up at me, it just struck me as a beautiful moment that needed to be captured. I was struggling with the idea of posting this as a portrait. Was it consensual, would his mother have approved? It’s debatable. But I’ve been starting to learn more about photography in greater detail and a portrait isn’t necessarily about an agreement between sitter and photographer to portray the former in the best light. It can be used to explore wider ideas about humanity and the world we live in. I think this photo fits in with that description and that’s why it’s my day 65.

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Project Portrait: Day 64

Day 64 of Project Portrait, this week I’ll be using images taken while in Gambia. First up is a guy I’ve called “Market Man”. This picture was taken while at the Barra market on the north side of the Gambia river. The markets in Gambia are intense experiences. Hundreds of stalls packed tightly together sell everything from knock-off Beats headphones to livestock and everything in between. It’s noisy, full of people and photography is something Gambians are deeply wary of. However, afterwards I saw this man waiting for the boat back across the river with what I can only imagine was a week’s shop. I raised my camera and he didn’t seem to mind so I grabbed two shots and this is one of them. For me it summed up the experience of Barra market: exhausting but productive.

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Project Portrait: Day 63

Day 63 of Project Portrait. This one is a week over due thanks to West Africa not being built for uploading images from a laptop to Facebook. Separate apology for not replying to people while I’ve been away. I haven’t forgotten! So this one is probably going to be the most significant of the lot. On Thursday last week I asked my best friend to marry me. It was sunset, we were on a beach in Gambia and we were about four cocktails deep – never ever try a pina colada, they are just bloody awful. We were both pretty spaced out on anti-malarial tablets – thanks medicine! – but it still turned out just the way I hoped. This was about three minutes after I popped the question when Emily finally stopped saying, “are you real?” We are both immensely happy and I’m the luckiest man alive to be able to call Emily Mags my fiancé. She’s brilliant in every single way.

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Project Portrait: Day 62

Day 62 of Project Portrait, this time we have Maureen, Emily’s auntie – on her dad’s side. But first I’d like to apologise for not getting this out to you yesterday. I’m in Gambia right now and the internet here is nothing short of terrible, so finding a reliable connection has been a struggle. But hopefully I’ve found a fix and you should see some of my work out here. I’ve met Maureen a few times and each time she’s always had a house full of people be they friends, family or a mix of the two. She’s always been very kind to me and I think that shows in this picture. From the stories I’ve heard she’s someone who has always chosen to have an interesting life above a simple one, something I have always tried to do. This photo was taken at her home in De Beauvoir, Islington.