Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Now my MA project is finished, I am pleased with the results.  I have learned a great deal on this course and by getting involved in the photography projects over the past eighteen months.

I would like to thank all the nightworkers who participated in this project.  It showed a great deal of trust on their part, allowing me into their workplaces and homes and letting me photograph them in the way I did. I always wonder if I would let a stranger come into my place of work and spend half an hour of my work-time taking snaps of them.  I think I would, as I know the effort that is required in locating and persuading companies to participate. 

I have found this project hugely enjoyable, although it was exhausting and frustrating at times, and have met extremely interesting people in the process.  I would like to carry on this style of photography, as I am very interested in people, their opinions and what they do.  I have gained invaluable experience in documentary photography and photojournalism and have a couple of projects in mind that I am thinking of pursuing which are also social documentary/photojournalistic in nature.

Friday, 23 April 2010

I had to remove one of my Nightworkers from my website and this blog as they have decided not to participate for personal reasons.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

So far, so good …?

I am satisfied with the images for this project.  Some work better than others and I may drop some for the book if the flow isn't right.  I like the fact that there are clues to the work these people do in the photographs, without being too obvious (apart from policeman, fireman, etc), which makes you wonder what sort of jobs they do without being told outright.  I am awaiting a couple of interview responses and one model release form from a nurse (although we have a verbal agreement that the image could be used).

More Night Images

My attempt at startrails was unsuccessful and I will  have to wait for another clear, dry night and the chances of that may be very small, so I have taken a few abstract images for the chapter headings of the book.  I have decided to use the first two as they are suitably intriguing. They don’t much show  a sense  of time, but rather a sense of timelessness.  I like them within the book, but are they suitable?



Saturday, 10 April 2010

The Hospital Site Manager

Decided on a change of scene for the Hospital Site Manager.  He was able to pose a bit longer for me.  I photographed him in the reception area to begin with, as his construction staff were fitting a new floor, but it wasn’t successful.  I took him outside the hospital main entrance and used the construction workers’ barriers as a backdrop.  It doesn’t exactly say ‘hospital’, but this is the area where he was working.


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The Hospital Porter

Photographed a hospital porter too, another person who plays an important role in hospital life.    I like the wheelchair in the background which also provides a splash of colour.



I was also delighted to discover that he is the lead singer in Wigan’s Ovation:

The Hospital Domestic Supervisor

Visited Royal Bolton Hospital on Thursday night and photographed four people.  A doctor and nurse practitioner said they would participate, but work became very busy for them, but I am more than happy about getting four.  I was given a room to photograph in which had low ceilings, which wasn’t ideal, but I understand the difficulties with photographing in hospitals – confidentiality and contamination, so it was fine.

I am satisfied with this picture, but as I already have a cleaner, I am not sure that I will be able to use it.  However, a cleaner is a vital component of the hospital machine – making sure everything is germ-free and ready for patients and staff to use.



Sunday, 4 April 2010

The Gamekeeper

Visited Ashbourne in Derbyshire last night to photograph a gamekeeper.  It was just going dark, so I had a different kind of atmosphere which makes good use of the flash.  I think the top picture is the best out of the three I’ve chosen, in posture, expression and there’s no harsh shadowing on the nose like in the second picture.  Unfortunately, the water in the background is not visible (too dark), but I knew this was going to happen.  I love the way the flash has picked out the trees. I will definitely carry on using this system for future photographs.  It’s so versatile and portable.





Thursday, 1 April 2010

The Prison Officer

Visited a prison this evening to photograph a prison officer. The shoot had to be quick because the prison officer had to get back to work and also there was a short break in the heavy rain.


This image was chosen because he looked more authoritative than in the others.  I wasn’t entirely happy about the shadowing across his face initially, but I think it gives him a rather sinister air, which goes well with the Nosferatu shadow to the right of the picture (let me make it clear that I don’t think that prison officers are sinister in any way(!), but most people are afraid of going to prison and the shadowing generates the feeling of uneasiness).  His shirt is slightly bleached out on one side, but not too much that I’m worried about it.

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Monday, 29 March 2010

Final Photos

These are the details of the last photographs I will take for this project:
  1. I will be photographing the gamekeeper on 3 April.
  2. I will be photographing Bolton Hospital staff on 8 April.
  3. Forest Bank prison has emailed me today and they have a willing volunteer to be photographed, so I am awaiting a day and time to shoot, hopefully, I can do it this week.
Which leaves me to get on with writing my essay and finishing off the book design.

Saturday, 27 March 2010


I have contacted the Gamekeeper in Derbyshire, who is interested in participating and had a meeting at Royal Bolton Hospital yesterday and I will  photograph some of the hospital staff on Thursday 8 April.  I should be able to get 3 or 4 people there.

I also received a reply from Network Rail about the possibility of me photographing the railway staff at Piccadilly in Manchester, but I have to pay them a fee of £400, which I cannot afford, so I will have to shelve the idea.

My tutor decided that I photograph the Gamekeeper and hospital staff and leave it at that.  I need to concentrate on my essay and book design.  I still have an outstanding query from Forest Bank prison, so if they find someone for me to photograph, I will, of course, do it, but if they don’t, I won’t pursue it any further.

The Doula

Photographed a doula this week, a job I had never heard of before (all is revealed on the website).  I bounced the flash off the ceiling instead of using the umbrellas which seemed to work well.  I think, Beatrix, her daughter, adds a great deal to the picture.

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Tuesday, 23 March 2010

The Highways Agency Traffic Officer

I think this picture is too similar to the RAC Patroller and may not be used in the book because of this reason.  I don’t think I will photograph any more workers with vehicles because the images will all look the same.


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The Highways Agency Regional Control Centre Operator

I went to Newton-le-Willows last night to visit the Highways Agency North West Regional Control Centre.  Whilst I was there, I photographed two nightworkers.  I didn’t have a great deal of time to take each photograph, so only took a few shots, but I am very happy with the one, below.  The control centre was an amazing place and I learned a great deal about them from my visit.  The office, below, looks darker than it really was, as I was lighting the model, but I think it adds to the overall atmosphere of night-time.  I was glad to have shot an office environment as this is what my project was lacking and I am finding it hard to find a call centre willing to participate.

Friday, 19 March 2010

So far …

The nightworkers, sit well together.   This is the order they appear on the website at the moment, but this can change by the day.  The book images will appear in the same order as the website and vice versa.  The aim was to order the pictures so they get progressively lighter as the book goes along. Or maybe I should do it the other way around …
I have other nightworkers lined up for next week:
  1. Highways agency – Monday 22 March – 9.30pm.
  2. Birth partner – Wednesday 24 March – 7.30pm
To arrange:
  1. I am meeting with Bolton Hospital on Friday 26 March at 11.30am and hopefully I will have some dates arranged.
  2. I was supposed to photograph a funeral director today, but I couldn’t get hold of him – I’ll ring him again next week.
  3. I will ring back the bus company to see if I can photograph the bus driver.
  4. A prison has agreed for me to photograph someone, but only if I can do it outside, which is fine.
I would like to photograph airport workers, as well as those who work on the trains, and I have put the feelers out for that. A paramedic/ambulance driver would an important addition, as they are the only emergency service that isn’t represented.
There are a few people I still  need to contact, but I also have to think about time.  I need to take another look at the book design and sort that out, as well as writing the extended essay.  There will come a point very shortly when I have to STOP, although I could keep going forever…

The Night Cleaner/Operative

Visited the Trafford Centre on Wednesday night to photograph one of the night cleaner/operatives there.

Sometimes when you look at your pictures, one stands out and this is it.  I love the background of the Trafford Centre and the red of the model’s top stands out beautifully against it.  Before I looked at the pictures, I was worried that I hadn’t done a good enough job because I was very tired, but I am very pleased with this one.  He is holding a cloth in his hand, which gives a little away of what he does.  This was not requested by me – I don’t like directing the models too much in case something is lost – and I think it works very well.

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The Hotel Night Receptionist

I also photographed a hotel night receptionist at the Premier Inn in Bolton on Tuesday night.  I have decided that the Holiday Inn Manager picture was not suitable as:

  1. It was shot outside and as she works indoors, it doesn’t look right.
  2. I don’t like it – I think it’s the weakest image of them all.

The reception area was very small, so I got as much background in as I could manage.   I could have gone somewhere more grand, like the Midland Hotel in Manchester, but I feel that I shouldn’t just take photographs just because the background is exciting.  The background is secondary, it’s the person in front of me that is the most important part of the picture. Why give the impression that only the most visually-interesting locations matter? The places exist, the people exist, they are all worthy of being photographed.

I think the image, below, is the strongest of the three here – he has a stronger stance and looks more confident.  I also like Lenny Henry in the background which breaks the picture up and adds a surreal flavour.  I’m not keen on the refection of one of my flashes on the Lenny Henry poster/banister, but I don’t think it’s too distracting.




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The PCT Driver

Have been busy again this week.  On Tuesday, I photographed a PCT driver from St John’s Ambulance who drives the out of hours doctors around to their appointments.


The picture, above, used the strongest (primary) flash from the left, but I experimented a little.


The picture, above, used the strongest (primary) flash from the left, which lights the ambulance more, but leaves a shadow on his face, but I think this makes it more interesting.

Originally, I thought the image, below, was the strongest, but now I think it’s the top one. 


The vehicle with the lights flashing doesn’t work for this image.  I prefer the lights off.  Here the strongest flash was coming from the right, which lights the face up more, but to the detriment of the vehicle.


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Sunday, 14 March 2010

Road Maintenance Workers

I went on St Peter’s Way in Bolton last night and photographed three roadworkers.  They had shut the road off all night while the maintenance was being done.
The Gully Cleaner
The Potholer
Basically, a Potholer is someone who fills in the potholes in the road.  I imagine Potholers all around the country are going to be pretty busy for a while after the bad winter we had.
The Road Cleaner