Shutter Hub OPEN 2018

18 September 18

Posted at 4:14

Whilst documenting Riga in Latvia for Project 28 one of my most memorable experiences was a visit to the Salaspils Memorial.

Whilst in Riga I read about the Salaspils Concentration Camp  which is located just beyond the boundary of Riga. The concentration camp was run by the Nazis during WW2. The camp housed thousands of German Jews, Soviet POWs and left wing Latvians. The Salaspils Memorial on the site of the concentration camp can be reached by train to Darzini and then a walk of two or three kilometres. I took the train to Darzini and disembarked on to a lonely platform with a brick shelter and nothing else in sight apart from trees. Paths led in all directions through the woods. It took me a while to spot a tiny sign on a tree identifying the correct path to take. After a walk through the dense woods with just a couple of small signs confirming I was on the correct route I came a cross Salaspils and it was quite a shock.

At the entrance there is a concrete block housing a walkway it is a 100 metre long ramp signifying a stairway to heaven. On the front of it are inscribed the words in Latvian “AIZ SIEM VARTIEM VAID ZEME” English translation “Beyond this Gate, the Earth Moans”. As you proceed past the ramp to the left is a large black marble block which houses a metronome, the block is called the "Reminding Heart", the constant heart beat from the metronome breaks the eery silence, echoing throughout the vast area of the memorial. Ahead is a clearing in the forest, around the edges stone memorials and concreted slabs. In the centre there are massive stone sculptures built and left by the Soviets as a memorial. They stand in groups, square-jawed and arms outstretched, holding each other up in support, kneeling or stretching out in exhaustion across the grass.

MotherMother - Salaspils Memorial Ensemble


This image of one of the stone sculptures, Mother, has been selected for Shutter Hub's OPEN 2018 Exibition.

I have visited many war memorials around the world but have seen nothing on this scale. Being there alone with the heartbeat constantly booming is quite daunting. It creates an atmosphere provoking thoughts of what this camp meant to those imprisoned and in many cases dying there.




Liege and Book Progress

29 May 18

Posted at 7:52

Statue Le PlongeurStatue Le Plongeur

Liege is the project28 town for Belgium. With today's news of terrorist killings in Liege my mind goes back to November 2016 when I visited and documented the town. I enjoyed my stay in Liege. This image captures at least some of the diverse architecture in this most diverse of towns. I have for some reason an emotional attachment to this image so it proved tough for me when it did not make the final edit for the book.

Gare des Guillemins 1Gare de Guilliems

I arrived in Liege by train so like many visitors I was amazed whan I arrived at the futuristic Gare de Guillimens. The steel and glass structure is somewhat out of place. It looks as though an alien spacecraft has landed in Liege. This is another image that brings back happy memories and another that did not survive the edit. Liege will though be represented by an image of the Guillimemns architecture.

I've mentioned the book edit a couple of times. I'm pleased to report the edit and proofing are complete, a torturous execise. Torturous but a necessity! There have been many changes and rethinks along the way but now I am ready for the printer. I have decided that printing and binding will be undertaken by professionals as opposed to my fanciful ideas of late that I might make the books by hand. I am talking with two potential suppliers. A company in London with whom I have worked before and in whom I have a lot of confidence. Printing and bookbinding in the UK is notoriously expensive so I am also talking with a specialist company in Lithuania. I am about to take a short break. I hope by the time I return I will have chosen my preferred supplier and have an idea of when I will take receipt of the finished books.

As of today, other than choosing the supplier, the only outstanding piece of work was the cover design. I have been playing with an idea to have a washed out version of the now 'iconic' Project 28 EU Montage with 28 written over it. The 28 slipping off the cover on both front and back. This signifies the fact that 28 will by March next year have slipped down to 27.

What do you think?

UntitledFront Cover




17 May 18

Posted at 9:23

Welcome to my new Project 28 website and blog.

Project 28 has occupied me for the best part of the last two years. Soon after the UK's EU referendum my thoughts turned to the loss of freedom of movement and the gloomy predictions about unprecedented difficulties for UK citizens to even travel throughout the EU. No doubt wild predictions but never the less it got me thinking about travelling to and documenting a town in each of the then 28 EU member states. By August 2016 I was embarking on the first of eleven journeys required to visit my allocated town in each country. A year later I had completed the journeys and ready to progress to creating some output. I planned a photobook, something that has proved more difficult than I envisaged.

In November 2017 I created the montage below, made up of a single image from each of the 28 states. My friends at Bayeux Ltd printed and mounted a 60cm by 70cm version. I entered it for the Shutterhub Borders exhibition. After being selected for the online exhibition Shutterhub approached me with a view to doing a 'Close Up' on my project. It has been live for over three months now and has generated a lot of interest.

Project28 MontageProject 28 EU Montage


In early May this year the print was auctioned at a charity ball and raised £700 for GRITcharity

Having stalled for a few months struggling to settle on a book design, also struggling to arouse much interest from either publishers or investment in the project (so far I have self funded) I have now decided to initially produce an edition of handmade books. That will be a new experience for me that I am finding both exciting and motivating. The book will be a simple affair with just a single image from each town. Contrary to my initial intention I will not be documenting in the book details of my experiences and perceptions when travelling to the 28 towns. Instead once the book is published, well I should say self published, I will create a series of zines, either one for each town or journey. The zines will contain multiple images and recount my experiences along the way. Each will also be the subject of a blog post here