Originally from Beckenham Kent, I studied Fine Art (film video and sound) at Maidstone College of Art in the early 1980s, making a range of abstract, animated, and experimental films. In 1988, I moved to Bermondsey Street and shot the first of several videos of the area just a week after arriving.
Much of what I saw was in decay, and many buildings were no longer fit for their original purpose, yet each had a story to tell in a way that no new building could. At weekends, the area was all but silent, except for the exchange of tennis balls being hit across the nets in Tanner Street Park. On occasion, I took great pleasure walking the full length of Bermondsey Street in the middle of the road without passing a soul or at risk of being run down.
In 1997, I began what turned into a 15-year study of family research, which surprisingly led me back to Bermondsey Street in the 1830s. I’d been walking in the steps of my ancestors but hadn’t known it. This gave me another perspective of the area, and in 2012, I decided to begin a new record, this time using a stills camera.
Changes since my first videos have been considerable, particularly so around London Bridge, with the building of The Shard and the redevelopment of London Bridge Station. Renewal was inevitable at some point, and much has been an improvement. However, with virtually the whole of the area south of the River Thames now a development zone, the rush to demolish and build is gathering pace. For many, including me, it is getting out of control and all too often for no benefit to the people living there.
Inspiration for my recent work came from the Society for Photographing Relics of Old London, a group of Victorian photographers who undertook to record buildings at risk and places earmarked for redevelopment in the 1880s. The best of their work for me includes the faces of Londoners, often staring out at us from the past, via the photographic plate that captured the image. The society’s work is instructive in more ways than one, as it serves to remind us that London has seen the wholesale development of large areas before, often driven by the expansion of the railways. It’s ironic, perhaps, given the changes in the London Bridge area.
Recently, I have worked in a range of mediums, including photography, digital art, video, and sculpture. In 2021, I made three short films for Southwark Cathedral during lockdown.
Exhibitions, film screenings, and videos
2021 Southwark Cathedral Videos, Introduction, Stained Glass, and Architecture
2020 Rose Playhouse, Rally for the Rose, script consultant, and content contributor
2019 Borough Lights, Experimental Video shot from The Shard
2019 Cornerstone Carve Jiggity BOOOMG!! Video. Performance by Alua Nascimento, Percussionist, Body Percussionist, Austin Emery, Artist and Sculptor
2018 Solo Exhibition, Into the Blue, Shortwave Gallery, Bermondsey, London
2017 Solo Exhibition, A Portrait of Southwark and Bermondsey, Southwark Cathedral, Southwark
2016 Music Video, Cheat The Tide, Pinetop’s Boogiemen
2016 Music Video, Revolution Going Down, Pinetop’s Boogiemen
2016 Winner, National Portrait Gallery “South of the River” photo competition
2016 Joint Exhibition, Transmorfism, Guy Street Park, Bermondsey
2015 Joint Exhibition, Transmorfism, Tanner Street Park, Bermondsey
2015 Joint Exhibition, Camberwell Open, Camberwell
2015 Video Screening, Light Fantastic, Shortwave Cinema, Bermondsey
2014 Music Video, Get Me To The Church, Pinetop’s Boogiemen
2014 Solo Exhibition, South of the River, The Palmerston, East Dulwich
2014 Film Screening, The Scratch, Shortwave Cinema, Bermondsey
2014 Video Premiere, Save The Rose, The Rose Playhouse, Bankside
2013 Joint Exhibition, Bermondsey and Beyond, Tanner Street, Bermondsey
2013 Foyer Exhibition, Fashion and Textile Museum, Bermondsey
2013 Solo Exhibition and Video Screening, Bermondsey Street Odyssey, Tanner Street, Bermondsey