Interview with a Trampfire

I was recently interviewed by a lovely student at Huddersfield University about my photography. I never miss a chance to wax non-poetic about what it is I love and sometimes hate to do so here is what I had to say. 

How did you get into photography?
I got into photography when I decided on a whim to go to university after working a rubbish job for a few years out of college and wondered what course could I do that would teach me something I was interested in but never really saw myself working in that field. I skimmed through a prospectus and saw ‘contemporary photography arts’ and I put a portfolio together in a week and went for an interview and got in. I made the best of my three years by taking advantage of the access to cheap film and free processing, but like all creative endeavours, education can only do so much, it’s your own obsession that carries it further into your adult life.

What do you look for in a subject when taking photographs? 
My main focus is street photography, so the subjects in my photographs are usually everyday people interacting in a mainly urban environment. I try not to narrow myself too much when making photographs of people, I never set out with the goal of photographing a certain age, race, gender, class etc. It is a much more free-flowing almost meditative process. I walk with my camera and life unfolds around me, my senses are just heightened to it as I am purposefully looking to steal moments from it. Saying that it’s impossible not to be somewhat biased. I am drawn to individuals who stand out from the norm, the old woman with the bright pink hair, thick rimmed glasses wearing a fleece covered in kittens is always going to be more appealing to me than the cookie cutter teenager who looks like a JD Sports manikin.

What inspires you about Huddersfield that makes you want to photograph it? 

It’s hard to answer this question without sounding like I am just shitting on Huddersfield because the reason why I constantly try and document the town has a lot to do with how dystopic it feels. It’s really not fun to make photographs of paradises, i’ve visited them, they are overrated. The town is slowly crumbling as more and more high street businesses shut down and the streets slowly fill more and more with desperate people and the homeless, and the council don’t seem to care or do anything about it. At the same time the town has a beautiful charm to it, it’s a true multicultural melting pot, go down to the market on any Saturday morning and you can fall into a sea of ornate shalwar kameez mingling with two piece tracksuits, grandmas dripping in gold, the filthy and the suited and booted. The same can be said about most yorkshire towns, go to Halifax or Leeds and you will see the exact same patterns emerging, its just more evident to photographers because we are looking for it. I photograph Huddersfield because I am here and its my town, for now. 

Can you give me some hidden gems and areas you’ve found when taking your photographs that you feel aren’t appreciated enough? 
No they are all secrets… My favourite spots in Huddersfield to make photographs are specific stretches of streets. What I call Wilkos end, which runs from Max Spielmans to Home Bargains is my no. 1. I really like The Cherry Tree up to the Mcdonalds. The top road by the bus station and the top sainsburys are also good, as well as the market. I have walked down every back alley and side street in town at this point and the worst place to try make photos is the main street, it feels too dead and normal to me. 

And lastly what is your number one tip for taking photographs?
Consistency. Show up every weekend or free day you get, walk and don’t think. Press the shutter and steal your moments because there is only one of each and you’ll never get the chance again. There will be days you have no confidence and make 2 frames and others you will make a full roll easy, even after 10 years of practise. Try not to procrastinate and just keep making photographs, everything else will come in time.


I half stumbled over the Majikkon event at my local sports centre. I had been drawn to posters peppered around town, but essential information should as time and location had eluded me until I received the message “ you should see the fucking costumes outside the sports centre”. 20 minutes later I was in the foyer testing my internal M6 light meter coupled with new f2 50mm lens. It was gonna be tight. It would work at 1/60th give or take a stop wide open. Sick test for the new Zeiss, 10 bar was exchanged. A red wrist strap. 20 metre walk and my head blew up! I thought I was fairly informed on the subject matter of so-called geeky shit but the deep deeeeeep level that these people took it to was a whole different level. The niche of the niche. Manga characters brought to life, insane lifesize warcraft characters (researched post-event). A trackie bottom sporting outsider in a world of complete outsiders. Eye contact was a no go really, but making photographs was easy, every corner I turned was a treat for the lens. 2 rolls flew by faster than the 2 hours I was there. Roll on next year, maybe I can go as Peter Parker, but I feel that’s way too mainstream for these fuckers.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

The weather is depressed today, the sky is a soaked wet grey blanket with no movement, and it’s cold, about 2 degrees. Three layers, big hat and murder gloves kind of weather. So why exactly am I walking around Huddersfield slowly soaking in something somewhere between sleet and drizzle? To make some photographs, obvs.

I was on a roll; twins in pink coats and matching Disney umbrellas; a nervous man carrying a big book on evolution; a large asian woman with her hands down the front of her pants and lots more creatures lurking out of the rain in the market.

It was a good walk, until I hit the mysterious 18th frame. I had just seen the best Indian eccentric in town and had ran around the block through the square and dashed across the road to put myself right in his path. Today his outfit of choice, a red christmas jumper, brown flares with heeled boots and a large brown leather case he kept holding up in front of himself at a 90 degree angle every ten steps.

I stepped up and snapped him just as he put the case down on the floor for another inspection. Frame 18. I hit the wind lever just to hear the familiar crunch of film skipping on its wheels. This problem has plagued my Pentax for weeks, and I can’t find a fix. I even asked a guy in a camera shop, and he had no idea. Funnily he has no idea about any camera I ask him about. My tip would be not to trust young men who dress like old men to sell old cameras as if that’s the only validation they need to be good at this job.

I ran into another shotta, I saw him last minute as he was photographing the tops of buildings and I rarely have time to look up. His camera was extremely silver and even had an orange light. Maybe a contax G2 I thought, fancy I thought. He was tall and dressed well, and my camera is black with no lights. I thought it best not to attempt any kind of discourse.

I guess I might need a new Pentax body, doesnt matter, nothing is important, but then again everything is important.

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