On 27th of May I will hang my photographs at the Strand Gallery in London for a week long exhibition that will mark the beginning of my career as a photographic artist.
That week will be my chance to speak to as many agents, galleries, critics, magazine editors and journalists as possible.
I have only four months to find the funds, print the photographs, get them framed and get the word out to as many people as possible.
And I will need your help to do all this.
My work and background
On my 18th birthday my father gave me a 24mm lens. That lens triggered a lifelong passion and to this day every photograph I take uses that lens.
For 22 years I have travelled the world, capturing precious moments and landscapes, all the while developing my own personal style and a significant body of work.
During that time the world of photography been transformed by the arrival of digital.
There are many advantages to digital photography, yet I remain unconvinced that it should ever replace the magic of the darkroom.
Despite the pressures to convert to digital my love and passion for analogue photography has continued to grow. The restrictions and apparent inconveniences of using film remain an integral part of my working style.
I still shoot in B&W, always using Kodak T-MAX 400.
I print my own photographs, never cropping them. They are gimmick free, relying purely on the strength of their disrespectful composition, strong subject matter and broody atmosphere.
So why exhibit now and what does the future hold?
With iconic brands like Kodak facing bankruptcy, I am afraid that film, along with all the excitement and wonderment I experienced as a teenager, is at risk of becoming obsolete. Photography students, for example, will often go through their entire course without entering a darkroom.
It is time to celebrate the power of film, and I intend to get my work out there and use it to evangelise about what I believe in.
During the exhibition I will invite students and kids to come and talk to me so I can share the skills, knowledge and passion I've developed over those 22 years. Seeing darkroom prints and speaking directly to the photographer will, I hope, inspire the students and increase the likelihood of them developing skills in analogue photography.
The plan is for this exhibition to be the first in a series of shows and projects across the UK and Europe - I have already been approached about the possibility of taking it to Milan.
Once the images are printed and framed it will provide me with a base from which I can evolve and adapt the exhibition for future themes, venue requirements and new work.
I am currently working on two major photographic projects: 'West of the Sun', a collection of landscapes and 'Festivities', a look at traditional celebrations and festivals, both secular and non secular from around the world. I will be able to use the frames, contacts and momentum from this exhibition to work towards completing these two projects.
On top of this I am running an online writing and poetry competition - using my images as inspiration - which I am hoping will culminate in another exhibition.
Now that I have started on this mission, I will not be stopped.
The costs of producing an exhibition, as you can imagine, are sizeable: Venue hire, framing, photographic and darkroom materials, PR, communications, posters, invitations, catering, storage, transport - they all add up. And while I can, and will, invest some of my own cash, I just don’t have access to all of the resources I need.
The entire budget for the exhibition is $15000 or £10000 so your contributions will make up half the budget and I will cover the remainder myself.
It is important that the target budget is reached in order to ensure the exhibition fulfils all of its potential and promise. If my goal here is not reached, however I will do everything I can to ensure a scaled down version goes ahead, so rest assured, your contributions will not be wasted.
If you like the photographs you have see here, the highlights of a 22 year obsession, and believe they should be shown...
or if you, like me, are passionate about the art of photography...
or believe that the purity and depth of film should be celebrated...
or want to make sure future generations have the chance to learn the craft of analogue photography...then please contribute now.
I have put together a whole range of fantastic rewards and benefits including prize draws, discounted original prints, sponsored prints, portfolio reviews and tuition sessions. They really do make it worth getting involved, so please, have a look.
This exhibition is not only an investment in my future as a photographic artist, but a celebration of the enduring power of film and photography - of a dying art as it attempts to resurrect itself.
I intend to play a part in this resurrection in whatever way I can and this exhibition is a perfect starting point and ideal platform.
I hope you decide to join me on this exciting journey
Thank you so much.
32 John Adams Street,
London WC2N 6BP,
28th May to 3rd June 2012
Opening hours: 1100-1900
Private view 31st May 1800-2000
As a measure of my seriousness I have put together an experienced team of producers, designers and assistants, who love my work and support my passions. They have agreed to work with me, to help make sure this inaugural event is a success and a springboard to an expanded programme.
Katz Kiely - Executive Producer
Katz is a highly experienced entrepreneur and producer. She has agreed to work closely with me, overseeing the exhibition and PR activity, providing me with invaluable advice and knowledge.
You can view her Linkedin page here.
Bakul Patki - Production Manager
Bakul is a creative consultant specialising in, producing and promoting arts projects. She is currently producing and curating the Sky Rainforest Rescue exhibition with Sebastião Salgado and Per Anders Petterson which has just moved from Somerset House in London and will open in the Gallery of Photography in Dublin in March.
You can view her Linkedin page here.
Jim Shannon - Designer
Jim is a creative professional, working as an illustrator, art director, copy writer and web designer - as well as a photographer.
He was the designer and programmer for my website and will be working with me on all the design and art work behind the exhibition, including invitations, posters and catalogue.
Brook Downton - Film Editor & Musician
Brook is a creative digital producer. He specialises in experiential and online digital campaigns, live event digital & multi-device, fully integrated products.
Brook was a huge help editing the material for the video - including trying to save the dodgy sound and picture quality - and provided the background music from his repertoire of beautiful compositions.
We will also be collaborating on a piece of music written specifically for the exhibition itself.
Combined Mind - Partners
Combined Mind is a creative media networking production company. They provide opportunities for career development, employment, training, investment and ultimately the commercial realisation of ideas.
They will be working with me on promotion and sponsorship.
You can view their website here.