Llessa, Eastern Desert, Egypt

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be uploading a selection of portraiture that I shot in 2012 when I cycled through East Africa.
These portraits represent some of the remarkable people I met throughout the 5500 mile cycle adventure.

Ilessa. Photographed in Egypt, 2012.
The story of how I met IIessa is a fascinating one.
Awaiting the ferry to Sudan, I was based in Aswan for an extra 7 days, meeting locals, recovering from illness and preparing for the harsh Sudanese desert.
I decided to stretch the legs and cycled north along dusty tracks out of Aswan into the desert. After roughly 20 miles I came across a small oasis. It was a truly spectacular scene. No infrastructure and just locals on donkeys and the odd beaten up car. I remember it well, it was roughly 43 degrees and seeing this small Oasis was a god send. Standing drinking some lukewarm water, a young lad came over on his donkey. We chatted and he invited me to his house. Following a series of tracks I arrived at a small house deep within the Oasis. I spent four hours in the company of the family, meeting cousins, uncles and friends. They were incredibly hospitable people, providing me with fresh pita, meat and fruit.
During this time I met Lessa, a beautiful young girl who was happy to pose for a portrait.
I took her address (managing to keep it safe through the rest of Africa!) and sent her copies of the photos to her father.
I feel incredibly blessed to have had these interactions with such honest kind individuals.

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Egyptian Taxi Driver

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be uploading a selection of portraiture that I shot in 2012 when I cycled through East Africa.

These portraits represent some of the remarkable people I met throughout the 5500 mile cycle adventure.

I met this Taxi Driver on a side street in Aswan, Egypt, while held up in a hostel waiting for the ferry to Sudan. He was an incredibly charming guy, we sat, drank karkade and smoked shisha, talked about the elections and the uprising. His fears for the country after Mohamed Morsi (pictured on election posters) took power and what he wanted for the future.

He was deeply concerned about the country and his fears proved to sadly be correct.

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Geoff Stevens | Pathways Care Farm | Lowestoft

Geoff Stevens                   Pathways Care Farm, Lowestoft

Photographed in 2019 as part of the Water Mills & Marshes funded work, theportraits.co.uk – spoken in his own words.

“It’s about treating people with dignity and respect”

“I lived in London and have been a graphic designer all my life, I loved the art of the job, but disliked certain elements of the industry.
What I do now is great. It’s such a joy.
We don’t do therapy; the therapy is being here. Everyone wants to make an impact in life and that’s what we do here at Pathways.

My father-in-law had dementia and I remember thinking, there has to be something more than day care, going to a centre and playing bingo in a room with beige walls. As if by some twist of fate, the opportunity then presented itself to start Pathways.
When we arrived with spent the first 18 months pulling up brambles, literally trying to clear the site, a blank canvas really.
It’s the place and the people that do the therapy, we don’t plan the therapy it just happens.
We recently had someone come to the farm who had been diagnosed with dementia, he was a retired builder and said to me “that’s the end of my life”. That really struck home, I explained what we did and he got involved. Within a few short weeks he was building, working on projects and became part of team, just like his old job. It was a release and enabled him to continue his life, without the fear of sitting in a room, staring at a TV all day, or playing bingo!

We work with all manner of people, including ex-offenders, people with mental health issues and those in the community who may just need some company.  Every day is different at Pathways. Walking around the farm, you can work the land, wander around the pond, go to the bird hide, through the orchard, care for the animals, it is truly immersive.

It is about treating people with dignity and respect. Something that is lost in some parts of society”

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Portrait of Andrew King. Artist.

Portrait of Andrew King. Artist.

Photographed in 2019 as part of https://theportraits.co.uk/

Spoken in his own words
“I’ve always thought that I prefer the title of ‘painter’ rather than ‘artist’. Perhaps this is because any artistry that is involved exists purely in the eye of the beholder! On the same theme, I was once asked many years ago why I painted. I remember being a little ‘thrown’ by this, especially as the person asking the question was examining a painting of mine rather too closely at the time! I can’t remember my exact reply, but I think it was along these lines…’painting is one of the few things that makes any sense to me’. I feel this holds true for me today. Andrew’s approach is influenced mainly by the most recent followers of the East Anglian School of Artists, and in common with this group, the initial work for his paintings is completed on location. He has found inspiration for his interest in light and atmosphere in landscape in France, Italy, East Anglia and even Egypt. His work can be seen in many prominent galleries countrywide and has been purchased for public, private and royal collections, both at home and overseas, including the House of Lords’ art collection”

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Portrait of Miria | Uganda

Miria, photographed in 2018 during Give a Child a Camera workshops in Uganda.

I met Miria when she enrolled on the #giveachildacamera project.She lives in a small room with her mother near the border with Rwanda.

I was privileged to visit her home and able to learn to little more about her life and hopes for the future. Her dream is to become a lawyer.

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The Stunning Lake Bunyonyi

Arguably one of the finest views in East Africa – the stunning Lake Bunyonyi in Western Uganda.As well as running my photography project (www.giveachildacamera.co.uk) in Uganda, I get to enjoy fabulous views like this on a regular basis! Simply breathtaking #uganda#lakebunyonyi#giveachildacamera#eastafrica#lake#landscape

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Community Healthcare in Focus

Arguably the great work of our community healthcare providers has never been at the forefront of our thoughts as much as this year. The tireless effort, the patience of a saint, the ability to smile even when you’re under pressure and the passion to provide outstanding community healthcare.

I’m really proud to be able to shoot images depicting the hard work & tireless effort of the community healthcare teams at ECCH in Suffolk, during the Pandemic. A credit to UK community healthcare.

#photography#NHS#Healthcare#Nurses#Care#covid19#UK#Patient#Proud#Suffolk#community

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Returning to St Helena Hospice

I recently had the privilege of returning to St Helena Hospice in Essex, tasked with the brief of capturing imagery of the staff in their Covid Safe working environment.As you would imagine, since my last visit the world is sadly a very different place.

It’s testament to the passion, commitment and selfless nature of the staff at the hospice that they have adapted and continue to offer incredible personal care to those who need it.

#hospice#essex#photography#nikon#uk#staff#nursing#nurses#doctors#pandemic#care

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Portrait of a Norfolk Farmer.

From the Portrait Series… Meet Ivan – a Norfolk Farmer, near Great Yarmouth

Spoken in his own words in 2019.

“This is Belton Black Mill. I’ve had it since around 1994 when I purchased it. It was renovated by Norfolk Windmills Trust, but sadly it got vandalised, so the doors and windows were removed and instead metal sheets covered the entrances. Occasionally you can see Barn Owls near the capping.

I’ve been farming in this area since I was a boy, this particular farm is a lovely one, you’ll notice the lack of telegraph poles to spoil the landscape.

We supply a lot of hay, straw and the like as well as various other farming activities. It’s all I’ve ever known and although it’s a tough life, it’s also a good one.”

#portrait #greatyarmouth #norfolk #watermillsmarshes #windpump #breydon #uk #farmer #farming

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Hugh Crossley of the Somerleyton Estate

Adding to the portraiture theme, here is another portrait from 2019 and my ongoing project (if you know of anyone within Waveney that would make provide an interesting social history of the area, please get in touch!)


Hugh Crossley of the Somerleyton Estate


“Somerleyton is a charming run of land between the Waveney river valley to the west and the North Sea to the east, the green lung and ‘nature sink’ for Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. My family followed the path of many northern industrialists down the East Coast in search of the healthier climes and appeal of then booming seaside resorts such as Great Yarmouth. The Crossleys had made their fortune as entrepreneurs of the industrial revolution, taking a small family company and turning it into a global brand – as the slogan went ‘you can’t get better than a Crossleys carpet’
If they were intent of spending their newly won fortune, they found the ideal candidate in Somerleyton Hall, a fabulously extravagant example of Jaco-Victorian architecture – a fine seventeenth century Jacobean manor house, bejewelled with towers and extensive new gardens in the mid nineteenth century by John Thomas, favourite sculptor of Prince Albert and William Andrews Nesfield, the celebrated Victorian garden designer.
I took over the management of the estate in 2005 and have focused on regenerative farming practices and restoring natural habitats as well as strengthening our tourism business at Fritton Lake. The Welsh black cattle seen here are a nod to my mother and our Welsh heritage but were bought in to replace our commercial herd. They do well on extensive naturalistic grazing systems and live as a herd outside all year around allowing them to fulfil their own natural processes, such as wallowing and self-medicating as well providing apex environmental services to the wider environment through their dung.
The virtuous circle of high welfare livestock, living natural outdoor lives, the crucial environmental services they yield living this way and the obvious benefit to us having healthy pasture fed meat to eat is under exploited and deserves to be at the forefront of Government, farmer and consumers’ minds if we are to restore the natural balance that agriculture especially since the 1970’s has, unwittingly or not, done so much to harm.
At Somerleyton we are committed to show casing that profitable farming can co-exist with nature restoration in the hope the other join, for if we farmers don’t work collaboratively on a landscape scale, all is lost. After the war it was justifiably our duty to never go hungry again, now it is our profound moral duty, without incentive or handouts, to restore nature to levels of super abundance for future generations of all species, not just our own”

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