'If I were just curious, it would be very hard to say to someone, "I want to come to your house and have you talk to me and tell me the story of your life." I mean people are going to say, "You're crazy." Plus they're going to keep mighty guarded. But the camera is a kind of license. A lot of people, they want to be paid that much attention and that's a reasonable kind of attention to be paid...' Diane Arbus

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Keep a diary for a day: 12th May 2012

On 12th May 1937, in it's founding year, the Mass Observation project called for ordinary people to write a diary of their day's events, it was the day of King George VI's Coronation.

This year on the 12th May, once again the Mass Observation project are collecting diaries of the day's events. Its not the day of a Coronation, so all the more reason to take part if you ask me!

I'm going to submit a diary, and if you want to take part, follow this link to find out how:

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


26th March 2012
Recently I was lucky enough to see some of Shirley Baker's original photographs at an event organised by Manchester Archives and Local Studies. In 1987 Shirley Baker was commissioned by the Documentary Photography Archive to photograph 'Manchester International Airport: A Typical Day'. Seeing the images that she produced encouraged me to take my camera out and shoot this photograph. I often see photographs which I never actually capture with my camera. They remain in my head rendered impossible to extract. Not this one though.

Monday, 9 April 2012

roger ballen inspired by roger ballen

31st March 2012
I took this photo at Manchester Art Gallery after a lecture by Roger Ballen about his work. The lecture was incredibly draining, it was intellectually and emotionally challenging to hear him speak about his work. After the lecture he was signing books in the atrium of the gallery, I asked him if I could take his portrait. So here it is.

You can find out more about his exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery here.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

2012 - diary weeks


I am starting a new project.

a development of last year's portrait a week series, this project takes inspiration from the Mass Observation Archive.

I am asking people to write a diary for up to 1 week. The entries can take any form - long, short, factual, philosopical, fictional, it doesn't matter. I would like a minimum of 1 entry for the week, but it could be as many as one each day. The diary could be written, drawn, a photo diary, a collection of newspaper cuttings - anything! Then I would also like to take the diarist's portrait.

I do not need to know the diarist, so if you come across this and would like to be involved please get in touch via my blog www.akindoflicense.blogspot.com

I am willing to travel (if I can get to you!) if not, there could be another way of taking your portrait so please get in touch!

all the entries will be published here on my blog.

if you know someone who would like to be involved please put them in touch!

the first entry will appear soon

salford shopping city

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

last chance february!

I decided to mark our extra day of the year (which happens to happen tomorrow not today) with a week or daily blog posts, there may even be the strange occurrence of some written posts, but lets wait and see - lets not go too crazy all at once!

So here is a not very romantic looking pic from the latest series that I have been posting, good luck to all you proposers tomorrow!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Diane Arbus in Zurich

And the even better news is that I will be in Zurich for an excellent exhibition of Diane Arbus's work, but if you can't make it, you can read about it here:


Diane Arbus and August Sander - in the same place at the same time!

Two of my most favourite photographers are currently being show alongside each other at the Edwynn Houk Gallery in Zurich. I really wish that I could see this show, but there is a great selection of images and an interesting perspective on the photographers here: