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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.

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Project Portrait: Day 61

Day 61 of Project Portrait. Next up we have Gill and David, who are Emily Mags’ parents. I managed to grab these two in among the celebrations of Emily’s birthday weekend/week/month to come and sit for me. Gill and David have been together for nearly three decades now (correct me if I’m wrong, Emily) and are one of the very few parents of my generation who are still together – and happily so. Since doing this project I’ve had the opportunity to sit with people and learn a bit more about them as a way to try and take a better picture. At the same time I think I’ve been learning a few things about life more generally. With Gill and David, it was all about keeping things simple, both in life and with this photo.

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Project Portrait: Day 60

Day 60 of Project Portrait. Today we go back in time with an old friend of mine, Katja. This photo was taken from a press trip we both went on to cover the lesser known parts of Denmark. I can safely say most of the bits we saw did in fact look like this. Katja runs Travelettes and lives in Berlin. We haven’t seen or really spoken in years and we caught up a little bit this week, so I wanted to bring this photo out from my Dropbox archive in celebration of that fact. This was taken on the sandy beaches of Hvide Sande at sunset.

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Project Portrait: Day 59

Day 59 of Project Portrait. Today’s a special occasion. It’s Emily Mags birthday. Now I was going to write a long description about how much this woman means to me, but I’ve decided not to. If you know me then you already know how I feel. If you don’t, well, ask me about it sometime, I’ll be more than happy to tell you.

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Project Portrait: Day 58

Day 58 of Project Portrait. Next up we have the very talented Kirsty Styles – the newest member of team The Next Web. Kirsty has been working for three days in our London offices and has probably spent more time playing with Roux than speaking to me or Ben Woods, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Kirsty wasn’t a big fan of having her photo taken, but thankfully her new shadow was on hand to help make things a bit easier. This was shot at The Hatch.

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Project Portrait: Day 57

Day 57 of Project Portrait. Next up we have Jonatan Staniec. Jonaten is the founder of MES leather – an artisanal leather craft company in which he creates anything by hand. I had a chance to meet Jonaten a few years ago while I was just starting out with Provenance. The thing I was most drawn to about Jonatan was the idea that he could have easily brought machines in to help him produce more goods faster. Yet, he chooses the long way round, and taught himself the incredibly long and drawn out process of saddle-stitching. I tried carpentry once and found I didn’t have the patience. Jonaten however has found a way of accepting that some things just take a lot of time. This photo was shot in his home/workshop in Wood Green, north London.

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Project Portrait: Day 56

Day 56 of Project Portrait. This week has been a real struggle to get my camera out. I was meant to be in New York but after Paris transport in London has been in absolute chaos. I was looking forward to capturing a large chunk of people from The Next Web of whom I only get to see once a year. But nay bother. The project must go on. Today I wanted to grab another family shot from the archives and this time its my niece, Zahra. This shot was captured just after she’d done something deeply mischievous. From memory, I think it was the moment she threw my shoes in the paddling pool after I refused to get in fully clothed. My niece has always been fiercely independent, and when you first meet her she often ignores you. But, if you stick around, and prove you’re not just another fleeting stranger in her life, she totally melts, as I think this picture shows.