Tell us about yourself.
I’m from Northern Ireland and currently living in Leeds, U.K. I worked at DIG BMX magazine for a long time and I’m now running the photography dept. at an arts University.
What do you like to shoot?
I really like social documentary photography. Photography is a fantastic medium for making & sharing stories. I have a few long term projects that I’ve been slowly working on over the last lot of years.
What camera do you use?
Currently I’m using a Fuji XT1 a Nikon F3 that I’ve had for a long time and a few point & shoot cameras.
What would you say the main narrative behind your images are?
It depends on what I’m working on. Each project has it’s own narrative. The Belfast Punk images offer a fly on the wall snapshot of D.I.Y. punk culture at a certain time & place in the city of Belfast.
What drives you as a photographer?
Taking & collecting pictures is a constant driving force. It’s almost like it’s part of my DNA. I wouldn’t want to change that.
Who do you look up to in the photographic world?
Too many to mention – Eggleston, Eugene Richards, Jim Goldberg, Tom Wood, etc. etc.
Which photo in your gallery is your favourite, why is that?
That’s hard to say. I prefer to look at whole bodies of work opposed to a single particular image. Now I’m just being difficult! Um, maybe ‘hamburger woman’ just because it makes me chuckle every time I look at it.
You have just blessed us with 176 pages of gold, in your new book ‘Belfast Punk’ can you tell us about this?
Thanks. Well, I have to start by saying it’s kind of strange seeing a book of photos come out with images that I’ve taken over 20+ years ago. I first got into photography in 1997 so a lot of the photos are some of the first ones I ever took.
Basically, all of the photos in the book revolve around a youth & community centre in the city of Belfast called the ‘Warzone Centre’ between 97’ – 2003. It was an all ages venue that originally opened in 1986 and was run by punks. It was a free thinking space that challenged convention and offered people a chance to create and present their own ideas, voice opinions and make real change that went far beyond the confines of the centre. Over the years it became infamous as being one of the most credible venues in Europe for D.I.Y. punk.
At the time I just snapped photos here and there without any real intention. I was more into drumming in bands than taking photos and in hindsight I wish I’d taken more photos. But in some respect I really like the naiveté that comes through in the pictures. Either way, it’s really nice to have a record of this time and place in Northern Irish punk history.
Any hairy situations whilst shooting this?
Apart from getting copious amounts of beer (and god knows what else) spilt over myself & camera I can’t think of anything particularly hairy. Apart from a few times when some skinheads tried to kick the door down when we were inside setting up a gig. We had to barricade the door. Thankfully they gave up and went away after a while.
Out of all the projects you have been a part of, personal and commission based, which has been your favourite?
I’ve enjoyed pretty much all of the different projects I’ve been involved with. Working at DIG BMX mag was without doubt a pivotal moment in my life. In 2001 I was commissioned to photograph the harbour commissioner workers at Belfast docks. This was a big deal to me back then and being thrown into that situation taught me a lot about my own approach to photography.
Any last words?
Tricky one to answer. Do you mind if I leave this one out? Maybe keep this in to explain why it isn’t answered. That way people won’t think that I’ve skipped the question.
Grab the book here