Category Archives: Photographer

Featured Photographer – Peter Ydeen

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Peter Ydeen studied painting and sculpture at Virginia Tech, under Ray Kass, (BA), Brooklyn College under Alan D’Arcangelo and Robert Henry, (MFA Fellowship) and at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture with visiting artists, Francesco Clemente, Judy Pfaff, William Wegman, Mark Di Suvero and others.

Over the past several years, Peter has concentrated on photography where he is able to use the many years spent learning to ‘see’. Shown below are examples from his latest series ‘Easton Nights’, which are all night photos from the Easton, Pennsylvania area where he lives.

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Ydeen’s work from the Easton Nights series will be in an exhibition at Saint Joseph’s University, Merion Station, PA, from August 20th to September 25th, 2018.


For more information, and to see other projects by Peter Ydeen, please visit his website at http://peterydeen.com/  and view his work on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/peterydeen/

Featured photographer – Sandrine Hermand-Grisel

Sandrine Hermand-Grisel grew up in Paris, France and in London, UK. She studied in Paris International Law before deciding to dedicate her life to photography in 1997.

Hermand-Grisel has exhibited nationally and internationally, including exhibitions at the Carroussel du Louvre (Paris, France), Rayko Photo Center (San Francisco, USA), Maison de la Culture (Luxemburg), City Hall, SFAC Galleries (San Francisco, USA), Europ’art’, (Geneva, Switzerland) Espace Bontemps (Gardanne, France), Centre Iris (Paris, France), Fotofever Photography Art Fair, (Brussels, Belgium), Le Pavé d’Orsay, (Paris, France), Viewpoint Gallery (Sacramento, USA)…

Shown below are examples from her project ‘Sea Sketches’:

Sea Sketches

Influenced by her late mother’s sculptures and her husband’s paintings and films, she worked on several personal projects before her series Nocturnes was recognized in 2005 by Harry Gruyaert, Bertrand Despres and John Batho for the Prix Kodak de la Critique Photographique. In 2006 she moved with her family to the United States and began experimenting landscape photography with her series Somewhere and On the road.

from the series ‘Nocturnes’

Despite the diversity of her projects she has a unique, very intimate, relationship with her subjects. Photography provides her with a way to express her feelings, like in the series ”Nocturnes” where she photographed only close friends and family members peacefully abandoning themselves in front of her camera. ”Somewhere” is her dream of America, a road trip through her adopted country. And ”Waterlilies” is full of joy and love for her two children as she watched them jumping and playing in pools over and over again. Sandrine Hermand-Grisel not only photographs what she loves, she breaks free from her own reality in her poetic vision of the world.

In 2013, Hermand-Grisel created the acclaimed website All About Photo and now spends most of her time discovering new talents while still working on personal projects.


To see more work by Sandrine Hermand-Grisel, please visit her website: http://www.hermandgrisel.com/index.php

IG: https://www.instagram.com/sandrinehermandgrisel/
Blog: http://shgphoto.blogspot.com/

Featured Photographer – Leticia Batty

Leticia Batty is a UK based photographer originally from Worksop, Nottinghamshire and now resides in London. She has a number of London exhibitions and book publications to her credit.

Leticia is a photographic artist who specializes in medium format color photography, with the Worksop and Sheffield area as the biggest influence on her work. Her practice explores themes of identity, landscape, British politics and the self.

Shown here are samples from her project ‘Milano’, featured on her website along with several other projects and publications.


For more information about Leticia Batty, and to see more of her work, please visit https://leticiabatty.co.uk/ or
blog at:  shelanded.tumblr.com

Land – Sea : New Work by UK Photographer Andrew Mellor

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Andrew Mellor is a photographer based in Lancashire in the North West of England. His photography explores natural and man-made environments; and the interaction between the two with concerns over how we use the landscape and the social and political issues surrounding it. His work explores change and human impact.

Land – Sea : Artist Statement

For centuries Blackpool was just a hamlet by the sea. But by the middle of the 18th century, the practice of sea bathing to cure disease became very fashionable amongst the wealthier classes and people were making the journey to Blackpool solely for that purpose. Our current perceptions of the British seaside were formed during this Victorian period – childish innocence, the fun of the fair and the tranquillity of the sea itself; simple ‘old-fashioned’ fun – are all the stronger for having these Victorian roots.
Between the years 1856 and 1870, a Promenade was built along the sea front to prevent continual erosion and potential flooding and over many years the coastline witnessed significant geological and geographical changes.

It was built in several sections, which vary in height and profile, with the first completed stretch of sea defence being erected from Talbot Square to the site of where Blackpool tower was to be later built. All sections were subsequently designed by a succession of Borough Surveyors and landscape architects, which were also built in stages. This has resulted in different architectural compositions of varying construction and design. The visual stimulus created by the differing architecture is a fascinating feat of engineering and can be used to improve society, both socially and environmentally.

The marine frontage is approximately 12 miles long, from Blackpool to Fleetwood, and is in constant need of maintenance, as it is estimated that the average life span of a seawall is 50–100 years. Hard-erosion control methods provide a more permanent solution than soft-erosion control methods and because of their relative permanence, it is assumed that these structures can be a final solution to erosion.

There are many fabled stories, which provide a mythical backdrop to the seafront, with tales of bells tolling from lost villages and the revelry of the patrons from the penny o pint, which superstition says is supposed to signify a stormy night. Maps from before the late 1500’s indicate the North West coastline ventured out possibly a mile or two further than it does presently. Supposedly, several villages stood along this peninsula and were said to have been destroyed during a tidal flood, around 1554 or 1555; some archaeological evidence suggesting the existence of these villages has been found.

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To see more of Andrew Mellor’s work, or connect to him via social media, check out his website and links below:

Email: andy@andrewmellorphotography.com

Website: http://www.andrewmellorphotography.com

Instagram: https://instagram.com/andymellorphoto/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Andrew_J_Mellor

Also: Read about On the Fringe by Andrew Mellor

Here and Now: Street Portraits of Londoners by Niall McDiarmid

The photo exhibition, Here and Now, is now open at the Museum of London. It runs through till October 15th. The work of London based photographer Niall McDiarmid will be mounted in the Rotunda space outside the museum and is open all day and night. It features 34 large scale prints from across the capital shot over the past 6 years.

Brushfield Street, London — April 2012 © Niall McDiarmid

Two of McDiarmid’s long-term projects, Crossing Paths: A Portrait of Britain, and Via Vauxhall, were published in book format; in addition to publishing the work online in dedicated websites. Both projects are series of portraits made by McDiarmid in his encounters with people throughout the UK over the past six years or so, and specifically for Via Vauxhall in the area surrounding the Vauxhall neighborhood of London. “Individually these photos represent the moment that we crossed paths, but collectively they represent my portrait of London — a confident city, a city of the future, a city I call home.”

From Via Vauxhall © Niall McDiarmid
McDiarmid’s photographic style can be described as ‘straight’, ‘documentary’ or even ‘street photography’. But make no mistake, McDiarmid’s stylistic approach often plays upon subtle use of color or pattern that is never arbitrary; it functions in highly sophisticated ways to connect elements and patterns in his subject’s clothing with their surroundings. In this manner, the people in his portraits are woven into the scene they occupy — an integral part of their surroundings.
Surrey Street, Croydon – January 2016 © Niall McDiarmid
For more info on the exhibit, see the site for Museum of London. To see more of Niall McDiarmid’s work, please visit his website. To read an in-depth interview with McDiarmid, see this article in Vantage, Niall McDiarmid Captures the Faces of our Times

Reading Rebecca Solnit: 17 Photographers and Curators on Her Influence and Inspiration

Meghann Riepenhoff photo
© Meghann Riepenhoff (featured in original article)

In this article by Jon Feinstein at Humble Arts Foundation, the writing of Rebecca Solnit is highlighted and given affirmation from a number of photographers, curators, and writers. I share it here in Wobneb Mag because I always like to see how much influence can come from writing about images. The work written by Solnit transcends talking about pictures, into talking about life, and how one can speak beautifully about images through critical dialog.

I hope you enjoy the article: Reading Rebecca Solnit: 17 Photographers and Curators on Her Influence and Inspiration

Cary Benbow – Publisher

GenderQueer – Intimate and Genuine: An interview with Chloe Aftel

Chloe Aftel — ejlandsman

GenderQueer — Intimate and Genuine

Gender is a current topic of discussion and debate — politically, and socially. A political debate wages on in several states to decide who should use which restroom based on their assigned gender at birth, versus the gender with each person identifies themselves. Time Magazine’s cover story for March 27, 2017 is ‘Beyond He or She’; how a new generation is defining how they relate and interact with the world. This ‘non-binary’ sense of self-awareness is not just something one might encounter in psychology or sociology studies; It is literally front page news.Benbow-TIME Mag Bookstore shelf

Genderqueer, along with the alternate term nonbinary, are umbrella terms that address individuals who feel that the terms man and woman, or male and female, do not adequately describe the way they feel about their gender and/or the way they wish others to see them. Members of the genderqueer community generally try to distinguish themselves from people who call themselves transgender, because that term more closely relates to a different sense of self in a binary comparison. Generally, it means the individual identifies with a different binary gender than their gender assigned at birth.

For her series “Genderqueer,” Aftel photographed self-identified genderqueer individuals in their homes in an effort to explore a community that she says is too-often misunderstood. Aftel says that a few years ago, she and a friend were talking about the GenderQueer movement and she felt she wanted to explore it further on her own. Aftel feels her gender identity never fell neatly into one group or another, so she was curious what this discussion was grappling with.

She had shot three portraits in her project, when she was assigned to shoot Sasha Fleischman for an editorial piece in San Francisco Magazine. In the fall of 2013, Sasha was set on fire on an Oakland, California public bus because they (Sasha doesn’t use she or he as identifiers) wore a skirt with a men’s shirt. After this terrible event, more people were willing to be photographed and take a stand about the basic human rights that should be extended to any person regardless of gender identification. Aftel has photographed this evolving culture that consists of those living outside or in between the gender binary, refusing to define themselves as strictly male or female.

Chloe Aftel — rain

Q&A

Cary Benbow (CB): Beyond your project statement, please talk about the idea behind your GenderQueer portfolio. Does it relate to other work of yours?

Chloe Aftel (CA): Gender, identity and sexuality have always been subjects I enjoy exploring. Pieces of that permeate all my projects, I don’t think people fit neatly into boxes, nor should they, so I want to see what that looks like in real life.

Chloe Aftel — micha

Chloe Aftel — emma

CB: It has been a few years since you first started this project, is this an ongoing series? How much do you add to this project on a regular basis?

CA: Yes, I am constantly shooting for this series, until it is close to comprehensive, 1–2 times a month at least. I’ve been working on it since 2012 and it’s been interesting watching how the movement has grown and in what directions. I’ve never had a project that has been completed quickly, sadly! When I begin these, it’s with the knowledge it takes years to do correctly.

Chloe Aftel — emily

CB: As a photographer, what obligation do you feel to the people in your photos?

CA: I think my job is to portray subjects honestly, whatever that means. It’s not about a message or my intent, it’s about letting people be themselves and finding a way to shoot that.

Chloe Aftel — viola

CB: What photographers or artists do you take inspiration from? How does it affect how you work?

CA: I love a lot of the dead and older people, Arbus and Eggleston are favorites, as well as Gordon Parks, and Avedon, but there are so many who are still alive and awesome, like Steven Meisel, Alison Scarpulla, Joe Szabo, Matt Eich…. I don’t know if I am often inspired. I think I just like the work. I like problems and mistakes.

CB: Do you see your work as a way of documenting your life experiences in a way, or commenting on them with intent?

CA: I don’t discuss intent, as i want people to take from them what they will. Hopefully the images have enough structure to stay something and enough room for the viewer to take away what they will.

Chloe Aftel — sarah

Chloe Aftel — amanda

Chloe Aftel — sasha

CB: Is the GenderQueer series specific to a certain place or community or would it be applicable to anyone who identifies as non-binary?

CA: The people in it are from all over the country, from rural Ohio, to Detroit, to Seattle, and a million other places. I hope this series speaks to people no matter where they live and how able they currently feel to be themselves.

Chloe Aftel — lux

CB: What compels you to make the images you create — for this project or otherwise?

CA: Oh man, I love taking pictures, I love making shit, I love making the technical change the visual. I also love making a living. I just don’t want the say the same tired crap that’s already been said. If i can do that, it’s very gratifying. I want to shoot a million different subjects, and I don’t want all the images to look homogenized, so it’s much less about adhering to a certain genre and much more about understanding a subject, if that makes sense.

Chloe Aftel — chris

CB: From the standpoint of a working professional, how do you decide to take on new projects? What type of balance do you try to make between editorial and commercial clients?

CA: I think you always have to do both. They do inform one another, but you need to eat and you need to do work that really pushes you. Once in a while, ad jobs do that, but the personal work is where you just have to figure it out. I think that’s what makes you better in all aspects of the job. You make mistakes and can take some joy in what they teach you.

Chloe Aftel — aiden

CB: What are you currently working on? Any new projects?

CA: Yes, many! One on what it means to be a woman now, another on portraits of artists and intellectuals, and a few more. It’s the best work to do aside from making a living.

Chloe Aftel — edie

CB: What advice would you give to someone who wants to take on projects like GenderQueer?

CA: To be patient, it takes a lot of time and learning to figure out how to best do it and there will ALWAYS be problems and challenges that come up. One has to stay the course and remain focused while being open to changing as one’s understanding of the project evolves.


To see more of Chloe Aftel’s work, visit: www.chloeaftel.com


Originally published at F-Stop Magazine.

ECHOLILIA by Timothy Archibald – Artist Talk at Fort Wayne Museum of Art, April 8th at 10 am

17424841_10155068208997356_6715294596662139966_nECHOLILIA is an eleven-image curation from a larger body of work, a collaboration between photographer Timothy Archibald and his eldest son, Eli. Taken at their home in El Sobrante, California, these primarily unstaged images intimately narrate a tense but respectful artistic and personal relationship between father and child, when the two are learning to understand the meaning of autism and importance of awareness.

Acquired by the Fort Wayne Museum of Art in 2017, Timothy’s affecting and technically impressive photographic prints visualize a poignant message that is applicable to humanity as a whole: The indispensability of empathy when regarding the human condition allows us to understand that idiosyncrasies exist among us all. 

This exhibit is presented along with Sharon and Expressions of Existence, forming a triad of exhibitions exploring the impact of disability on the creation of art. They are made possible by the AWS Foundation.

Join us for an artist talk and tour with the creators of the ECHOLILIA photographs, Timothy Archibald, and his son Eli. Sign language interpreter will be present. Free with museum admission.

Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, Indiana – http://www.fwmoa.org

To see more work by Timothy Archibald, visit his website: http://www.timothyarchibald.com

After the Firebird – Magical images by Ekaterina Vasilyeva

Storytelling is something we humans have always been doing, to some degree. Telling all sorts of tales has been an important part of our lives for millennia. Themes that all great storytellers use; birth, growth, destruction, death, and rebirth are important aspects of what it is like to be human, and what its like to experience life. There are a number of Russian folktales that speak of a mythical firebird whose feathers glow and can even protect the person who possesses it, but the firebird can be both a blessing and a curse. Variations of this story include princes and princesses, magical creatures, omens of the future, immortality, and lessons that test the virtue of the people who encounter the firebird.   

Ekaterina Vasilyeva’s project, After the Firebird, uses these themes as a springboard to show us what life is like in the village where her family has lived for generations, and where she has been photographing for the past few years. Her selective use of color, light and environment set the stage for these scenes. The people she photographs include her own family members. Without romanticizing the lives they live, we can view their homes, their activities, and their village through the transformative lens of myth. Vasilyeva captures magical scenes of life – those little parts of common everyday occurrences that suddenly transcend into something more. Her scenes allow us to see a common object as a talisman suddenly made visible, or the relationship between two specific individuals as something that crosses over into a universal relationship for all of mankind… but only if we are watchful.


After the Firebird – project statement

The Russian village is rapidly sinking into oblivion. The sad statistics show that in Russia over the last two decades almost 25 thousand rural settlements disappeared within the map of Russia. Moreover, according to the sociologists, about the same number of them is on the verge of extinction.

My story begins long time ago when my grandmother and grandfather, both from the Pskov region (Russia), met in Leningrad (St. Petersburg now), got married and stayed there for the rest of their life.

But it could have turned out very different. I, now a modern city dweller, could have been born among those flowering fields and hard-working people.

In his village, my grandfather used to be called a gypsy because he could predict the approaching of someone’s death. As for himself, he always knew that he would survive two wars and wouldn’t be injured. And so it happened. With regard to my grandmother, he said that she would outlive him by exactly ten years. This prediction also came true.

Over the last five years that I have been documenting people from the small village Andrushino in Pskov region, I have been subconsciously looking for overt or covert manifestations of people’s magic.

I think that it is as much a part of our being, as history and geography. Faced with a fabulous world of folklore you soon realize that it is rooted in a totally real ground and that all the beliefs and superstitions, charms and rituals, tales and fables are not just a warehouse of archetypes of the collective unconscious, but an immediate response of the collective soul to the mysterious currents of the natural elements. 


Q&A

Cary Benbow: Why do you photograph? What compels you to make the images you create?

Ekaterina Vasilyeva: One can ask yourself this each year – and respond it every time in different ways. At the moment, I would say I do not take pictures in a normal, casual way, as much as I do it to visually study or research something. I consider photographing only in conjunction with the history, geography, mythology and literature on the theme of project. So, the photography becomes a reflection of the knowledge I’ve gained or its interpretation.

CB: Why did you become a photographer? What was your start into photography?

EV: My serious interest in photography arose in 2009 during my two years of residence in the United States, in Alabama. Simple, amateur pictures of nature became unsatisfying to me. I often remember one random picture I made at the beach of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. A couple was walking along the beach among a lot of birds, and the man suddenly raised his hands up and waved them like wings. At that time, I also realized that I wanted to change something in my life. Maybe even my profession. This time also changed my way of life essentially; I had more time to be alone with myself. Living in a foreign country, being quite closed off, helped me to find, I can confidently say now, my matter of life. I decided that after returning to St. Petersburg, I was going to study photography.

CB: How does ‘After the Firebird’ relate to your other projects?

EV: This project is the only one which is connected, though not directly, with my family and my ”roots”. I am dedicating the book I’m preparing, After the Firebird, to the memory of my grandparents who were born in the Pskov region. And, of course, it is the most mystical among my projects.

The connection of After the Firebird with other projects is the important subject of the relationship between people and nature. For creating my story I was inspired by Russian fairy tales and folklore, literature on Slavs mythology, paintings by famous Russian artists such as Viktor Vasnetsov and Ivan Bilibin, Palekh miniature (Russian folk handicraft of a miniature painting), and movies based on the books of Russian writer Valentin Ivanov (”Russ at First” and ”Russ Great”)

CB: In your opinion, what makes a good photograph?

EV: I think that first of all, in view of your one’s personal experience, it is an opportunity to surprise yourself. Second, the photograph should resonate with a viewer, regardless if he/she is the editor of a photo magazine or an ordinary visitor of an exhibition.

CB: Where do you get the ideas for your personal photography?

EV: Everything somehow connected with me and the place (territory) where I live, which I love to visit or that I want to explore.

CB: Is it relatively easy, or do you find it a struggle to be an artist where you live? Do you feel isolated in the larger artistic community?

EV: I do not think there is a lot of ”rivalry” among photographers in Russia who are engaged in contemporary photography (the example of contemporary photography for me is the ”Institute” Agency). And almost no magazines, galleries (except Moscow), or good photo competitions, or people who are interested in purchasing photos.

This market is very poorly developed in Russia so far. Therefore, I concentrate on foreign audiences and opportunities offered by the foreign photographic industry. Due to the Internet, and the fact that I occasionally live in Europe (thanks to my husband’s work), I can visit photo and art exhibitions, search and buy books on photography and art.

So there is a minus, but there is also a plus. You need to work harder to delve into all of this, and so you probably only get stronger. By nature I think I am an optimist.

CB: Do you keep a journal or do you keep notes or write about the places and people you see?

EV: Unfortunately, I do not keep a personal diary. For each project I just collect useful information from different sources: quotes, images for inspiration, excerpts from articles, books, etc. I write a plan and some words for the better understanding of what I do want to find for my project. All this is mostly working materials.

CB: Who are your personal photography inspirations?

EV: I am inspired by so many things. For example the movies of such film directors as David Lynch, Wim Wenders and Ingmar Bergman. So I love weird movies. As for photographers – I’m currently attracted to the energy and temperament of Cristina de Middel. And because of calm judgment and a nearly perfect photography narrative, I’m a big fan of Alec Soth.

Art plays an important role for me. Some of my favorites are Americans artists: Edward Hopper for his brevity, realism and melancholy; and Andrew Wyeth for his ”wind” in pictures, a singular style and fantastic sense of place and home.

CB: I would love to learn more about the “mysticism” in your work. What parts of your work are mystic, and how you wish the viewer to “see” the photographs?

EV: I like the idea of combining documentary photography and a certain mystique conditionally. Each viewer has to decide for himself where is the truth and where is fiction for him. Given the fact that I do not make the staged photos and everything happens as in reality, it becomes itself a strange and mysterious. If we want to see something unusual,  we will see it. I am convinced of that each time I work on a project.

After the Firebird talks about the mystery and magic of the hidden world and the amazing discoveries that can occur in front of everybody. You need only to look around carefully. With the documentary style of my work, I strive to endow each photograph with a sufficient degree of strangeness and mystery. I think this is the most truthful reflection of my inner world and attitude towards the life. Despite the quite rational mind, the analysis of things and actions, in my soul I also feel the presence of a child whose mother often told and read her tales.

I want to see something beyond everyday life, filled with encrypted symbols. Or maybe just something that brings back memories and the atmosphere of a unique place. More generally, I’m always looking around for magic.

CB: Also, I would like to understand how the relationship between man and nature is important to you? Many people do not live close to “nature” settings, and some people are very connected to the natural world… how does nature influence the way you create?

EV: For me the relationships between nature and people play a very important role . I think that without a clear understanding of its important role in our life, a person to some extent deprives itself of its support, and even health. All my projects are in some way connected with nature, with long hiking (10, 15, 20,… km) combined with deep attention to the environment around me.

I would like to believe that my projects could assist a new understanding and interest in the nature around us and respect for it.


Ekaterina Vasilyeva is an independent photographer from St. Petersburg, Russia, working at the intersection of the genre, documentary and art photography.

In most of her projects, she explores the theme of a particular place (space, territory, it changes in the context of time and historical landmarks, environment problems, interaction with human activity, personal relationship and the myths of the place. To see more of her work, please visit her website: http://www.ekaterinavasilyeva.ru/ 


This is an edited version of the interview published in Art Narratives in March 2017.

Small Town Inertia photo book project – J A Mortram

Surviving life and austerity on the margins

416d4c7a467bb808c27585fda580742d_originalJim Mortram is a photographer from Dereham, Norfolk, UK. He has been photographing members of his community who are on the fringes of society.  For the last seven years, Jim has been photographing the lives of people in his community who, through physical and mental problems and a failing social security system, face isolation and loneliness in their daily lives. His work covers difficult subjects such as disability, addiction and self-harm, but is always with hope and dignity, focusing upon the strength and resilience of the people he photographs. His long-form documentary photography and accompanying texts journal the lives of “people without a voice”.

Mortram’s work and projects have been featured by many, including the British Journal of Photography, as part of its “ones to watch” lists. And now, Mortram’s project ‘Small Town Inertia’ is being produced as a book via Kickstarter.

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The photographs also depict the scale of welfare cuts … of housing benefit cuts …health service cuts … and the constant failure of systems that should care for the vulnerable in the UK.

These people have a right to dignity, a right to be heard and not ignored. Jim is now publishing his photographs in a limited edition hardback book with highly regarded publisher Bluecoat Press.

Jim Mortram is one of Britain’s brightest talents. His long-term project about those on the margins of society has resulted in many accolades. The Guardian newspaper describes his work as having ‘a timeless character that invites easy comparison with the classic documentary work of such British photographers as Chris Steel-Perkins, Paul Trevor and Chris Killip.’  He was awarded in the Digital Camera : Photographer of the Year competition 2009 and 2010. He has exhibited internationally including Camden Image Gallery 2014 and Photoville New York 2013. His published work has appeared in The Guardian, British Journal of Photography (Ones to Watch 2013), Black and White Photography, Cafe Royal Books, BBC, Professional Photography, Flakphoto and aCurator.

The Kickstarter project has many levels of support available with various rewards for your kind support. Please consider supporting this project today.