St Therese – background

This is part of a proposal that I sent out to a few people about the project: my thinking about it’s changed since then, so this is mainly for background purposes. For the overall summary of the project, see here.

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Passwords

Client log ins will be updated and working before the week is out. Your password should be the same as it was before the change (if you had multiple passwords, the new single-folder structure will use the most recent one). If you encounter any problems, your password doesn’t work or you’ve forgotten it, please call or email and I’ll sort it out.

Website updated

Finally got around to updating the website, after far too long. Still trying to iron out a few bugs – if you see any issues, please email me, use the contact form or comment about them here. Thanks!

First shots

Some initial shots. I’ve been really affected by the stories of the guys that are talking to me. This is a critical time in their lives – literally a matter of life or death – and next to this, my project is completely insignificant.

Residents at the centre are not asked to stop smoking – with everything else they are going through, this would be a step too far for most people. There’s always someone on the balcony having a puff.

A was sent to live with relatives in London after falling into the drug scene in his native Portugal. Although he found a job and worked well for a while, he made some bad decisions and ended up on the streets. He got his life back on track after spending 18 months at the centre – he’s now helping to renovate one of the residential buildings. He’s standing in the room that he used to share with another man.

J came to the centre two weeks ago, leaving his partner and young family in Ireland. He’s very angry and depressed, and really not sure if the centre is the right place for him. But he feels he has nowhere else to go – and is determined to recover from his alcoholism. One tattoo is the birth date of his daughter, the other was a present from his sister on his 17th birthday.

 

The centre – first thoughts

For a long time, my major concern for this project on a Christian addiction recovery centre was getting access. In fact, getting approval from the guy who runs it and some of the guys who live there was only the very first step.

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The farm 2 – Earl

My time definitely wasn’t wasted, though – I got to spend a morning with James and Earl. I enjoyed taking Earl’s picture very much, and he was very patient with me…

The farm

My five-picture photo essay on Surrey Docks Farm was something of a failure.

I spent so long shooting around all the interesting things that happen there (the working blacksmith’s forge, education for adults with learning disabilities, the cafe that serves farm produce) that I ran out of time before I was able to capture the most important aspect of the place: people interacting with animals.

So I ended up with a set of pictures across at least two completely seperate themes, linked only by the fact that they happen to take place at the same geographical location. Here and in the next post are my attempts to turn them into two five/six picture edits – it’s not particularly edifying.

Friends and family

Kate, at home, tired and frustrated, and the family Robinson at (their) home in Turnpike Lane.

katerobinsons

Atheists and a theist

Portraits of two secularists – Barbara Smoker, one-time president of the National Secular Society, and Matthew St Clair, president of the Centre for Inquiry, both taken at Conway Hall in London – and my local vicar, Corinne.

barbara-smokermatthew-st-claircorinne

Canary Wharf

Always a challenge, never a chore – street photography around Canary Wharf as February’s snow began to melt, with no particular aim apart from trying to make some graphic, hard-edged black and white images.

I find this kind of ad-hoc exercise very difficult (unfortunately a recurring theme for me at the moment) – but it’s clear that you can start to make things happen with a bit of patience and perseverence.