Philip II of Spain originally planned to invade England at Margate in 1588 with the “invincible Armada” to gain control of the whole country. Throughout the whole campaign, the English lost no ships and only 100 men in battle. However, over 7,000 English sailors died from disease (dysentery and typhus mostly) during the time the Armada was in English water. Also those English sailors who survived and fought against the Armada were poorly treated by the English government. Many were given only enough money for the journey to their home and some received only part of their pay. John Hawkins showed concern for his men: ” The men have long been unpaid and need relief”. The overall commander of the English Navy, Lord Howard was shocked claiming that ” I would rather have never a penny in the world, than they (his sailors) should lack…”. Howard wrote to William Cecil ( 20 Aug 1588) ” … It is a most pitiful sight to see, here at Margate, how the men, having no place to receive them into here, die in the streets. I am driven myself, of force, to come a-land, to see them bestowed in some lodging; and the best I can get is barns and outhouses. It would grieve any man’s heart to see them that have served so valiantly to die so miserably…”. With this, he used his own money to pay his sailors.
An image taken underneath Brighton’s now derelict West Pier which was built in 1866 and closed in 1975. In the distance can be seen Brighton’s remaining open pier; The Palace Pier was built in 1891 and was renamed Brighton Pier in 2000 much to the locals disagreement.
“What I have always liked about Brighton is its impersonality. Since the 18th century, people have come, used the place and gone home again”. Lynne Truss
Down a side alley in Herat I came across a group of children playing with a ball. I framed this young girl who just stood there completely unfazed, smiled at me and I raised my camera and she just stood as she is in the image minus the smile.
She was about 10 years old and she must now be around 21. After the fall of the Taliban the people of Herat were full of a positive outlook with great promises being made by the West. Some said that nothing would change and in time the Taliban would make a return. Ive wondered many times what has happened to the children in Herat I photographed for Warchild.
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed” Dwight D Eisenhower
Image taken with a Rolleiflex 3.5f Planar TLR using Ilford HP5
The negative has been torn by accident. The image was taken on the beach in Tel Aviv. Down the coast on the left is Gaza and Lebanon up the coast is to the right. A ‘happy’ accident for the negative to be torn to create a spear? Destiny is shaped by mankind yet the path that is individually and collectively made has for thousands of years been mainly the wrong ones. I came across a poem by Max Ehrmann below and knew these were the words I wanted to put with this accident of an image.
“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love – for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment is it perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you from misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.”
Max Ehrmann, Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life
“Throw a stick, and the servile dog wheezes and pants and stumbles to bring it to you. Do the same before a cat, and he will eye you with coolly polite and somewhat bored amusement. And just as inferior people prefer the inferior animal which scampers excitedly because someone else wants something, so do superior people respect the superior animal which lives its own life and knows that the puerile stick-throwings of alien bipeds are none of its business and beneath its notice. The dog barks and begs and tumbles to amuse you when you crack the whip. That pleases a meekness-loving peasant who relishes a stimulus to his self importance. The cat, on the other hand, charms you into playing for its benefit when it wishes to be amused; making you rush about the room with a paper on a string when it feels like exercise, but refusing all your attempts to make it play when it is not in the humour. That is personality and individuality and self-respect — the calm mastery of a being whose life is its own and not yours — and the superior person recognises and appreciates this because he too is a free soul whose position is assured, and whose only law is his own heritage and aesthetic sense.” H.P. Lovecraft
It all seems so very long ago now. From 2001 until 2008 I walked the beaches of Brighton just getting lost in thought and taking the occasional image. It became and still is my meditation but now I walk in woods instead of on the beach. Gone are the lovers and seagulls and now its the time of the tree. Its funny how I’ve drifted creatively.
Looking through my work it has evolved (as it should) but I’ve got no idea where it’s heading right now. Im never happy with what I produce and find fault easily but thats my drive to create that one image that I get a shiver down my spine and think YES!
The Beach Lovers series was produced listening to 2 Pac (Picture Me Rollin), The Foo Fighters (Aurora) and Puddle Of Mud (Blurry). The woodlands project is being produced listening to Godspeed (09-15-00), Esmerine (Snow Day For Llasa) and Tool (10,000 Days). Musical taste moves with the creative journey I guess.. …