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Project Portrait: Day 119

Day 118 of Project Portrait. Next up we have Adah Parris. Now, where do I start? Adah is as close as I’ll ever probably get to meeting a polymath. She has a degree in maths, is a performance coach, a Reiki practitioner, a marketing expert, a head dress maker (she’s wearing one of her creations in the photo), a networking genius and currently helps people and businesses find their purpose and direction as well as running a youth programme for young minds. We actually met while I was working on my startup, Provenance and she was brought in as a mentor. But we spent most of our time moaning about the flaws in the accelerator programme we were both part of. We don’t meet up that often, but Adah has always been someone I wanted to photograph. Why? Because she’s one of those people that wears so many different hats in her life it’s very difficult to say what Adah ‘is’. So for this photo I wanted to try and convey that. I wanted to use an old physics trick to show how light separates to create this explosion of colour behind her to signify all the different things Adah is and does. She’s always smiling and always positive, but I wanted something a bit quieter to hopefully say something more about what I see. There’s more to Adah, and to anyone than what we see at first glance. If you’re interested in being part of this project, get in touch!

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Project Portrait: Day 118

Next up we have Nick Duxbury – a journalist currently working at Inside Housing. He was in my journalism class way back when in 2006, when we were all hopeful about the awesome jobs we were all going to get – and then the 2008 financial collapse happened. Since then he’s managed to stay in this super turbulent industry of ours, but has still found it a struggle. We probably haven’t seen each other since we graduated, but it was amazing to hear how we’d both had similar stories – Nick also tried to break out of journalism and start his own company, we’ve both worked for absolute peanuts as freelancers, we’ve both felt the pull of regular, stable work as opposed to the swashbuckling irregularity of freelancing. Still, it was amazing to spend an afternoon catching up on a gorgeous afternoon in Canary Wharf. For this photo I wanted to try and capture Nick in an environment that he’s been working in for six years (Canary Wharf) but without it being too dominant, as I know Nick’s really a country boy at heart.

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Project Portrait: Day 117

Day 116 of project portrait. Next up we have a very dear friend of mine, Gill, who is a screen printer and artist. We actually met while we were both training to be psychotherapists. She was the first person I sat next to and we formed a very close friendship during some of the emotional gymnastics we had to perform in order to be able to handle listening to others. Gill was going through a particularly nasty divorce during our training and we formed a bond over my experiences watching my parents do the same. We’ve continued to be friends ever since and she very kindly came to sit for me and help kick start this photo project that I’ve got so much from. While Gill has come through that dark period of her life, and she’s a very happy, smiley and engaging person, this photo jumped out at me because it captured the emotional scars that are left when you go through something as traumatic as a divorce. That’s not to say you never recover from something like that, but it does leave its mark, and I felt this picture leant itself to that idea. It’s a very quiet, still image, that manages to speak volumes. For me at least.

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Project Portrait: Day 116

Day 115 of project portrait. Next up we have someone who has already been in this series before – my sister Francesca. But the last time I shot her, it was outside and it was a headshot for the work that she does. This image below was shot for a competition I’m entering. Portrait of Britain (http://www.portraitofbritain.uk) is a photography competition asking people to submit portraits that they feel sum up what Britain is today. I felt my sister’s story, and that of her two girls perfectly encapsulated this idea. She was born a Christian but has since converted to Islam. She was a high school drop out. She was a teenage mum. She’s a single mother. She’s had some pretty dark moments along the way. But in spite of that, she has come out the other end this incredibly strong, peaceful, and above all happy individual. I’m incredibly proud to call her my sister. This image was an ode to the journey she’s been on, but also, how despite the trends you see in the news (people quitting school, girls getting pregnant in their teenage years, the rise of Islam and Islamophobia) the people these stories are about are not failures as some would like to portray them. They are just people at one particular stage in their own journey and shouldn’t be written off because of that. My sister is an incredible woman and I hope this picture goes some way to showing that.