I was asked by creative director Simon Sworn of J.Walter Thompson -London along with Kat Thomas and creative producer Anna Henderson to travel the length & breadth of the UK and photograph everyday folk enjoying cycling in all it’s forms for a new national campaign launching July 2017. After a period of pre-planning I headed out alone at the start of June returning after 4000 miles and 20 days where I then spent another week or so completing the post-production
It was a wonderful opportunity to discover , organise and meet some great people who thankfully allowed me to photograph them despite my chasing them up the street armed only with a camera , model-release form and a letter of introduction from the agency .
I think the images deliberately benefit from the lack of over-production and the element of the moment of place, light, time and subject. Fortunately Simon, Kat and Anna at the agency recognised that too and I’m thankful for their trust and support.
Here is a small selection …
Amy Smith on her unique custom chopper was about to leave for the Glastonbury festival where she and her band ‘ Oh my God it’s the church’ were to perform that weekend . Then there’s young Lucas kelly looking cool in his RAF outfit . The wonderful ‘scrubbers’ that were Andy and Andy resplendent in drag at the Eroica Britannia cycling festival in the Derbyshire peaks national park as was the fabulous Gem Maynard-Watts on his stilts-cycle. Lastly there is Carl Jeffiries MBE cycling on the beach in Northern Scotland where he took over the fab ‘Betty Hill Hotel’ after retiring from the RAF three years ago ( he was the one who taught Prince Harry how to fly Helicopters )!
So last day for the entries into this prestigious award and we entered six prints .Over 60,000 entries from all over the world last year of which only 60 photographers were chosen ( and I was fortunate enough to be one of them ) and this year I think there will be even more. it’s a tough contest for sure but one of the best I feel for serious work.
Anyhow I rented a car from NYC six months ago and drove down to the Delta and here are three pictures from that weeks personal trip I selected for the this years Wessing awards I thought I would share. The Black & White is of a girl called ‘Storm’, she was picking Pecans in a near-by field and came into town for a soda , I was already set up on a street corner to shoot something else when she approached me and asked me to take her picture!. ‘Cindy at the crossroads’ is a local girl who works at a old Cotten Gin, she turned up in her work clothes as agreed and despite no experience in front of a camera turned out to be just great. Finally, The homeless man – Robert White , was living in a railroad shed around the back of this disused building in downtown Jackson Mississippi, again I was set up to shoot the urban landscape but he agreed for me make him the focus of the picture if I bought him a soda !. I would have bought him two but after the few minutes he gave me he just wandered off back to his ‘ home’ saying ” don’t worry about the soda it was my pleasure ” ! .. amazing.
This is a neighbour of my mother-in-law , Maria, I like Maria. She has a quiet air of affectionate wisdom and affability about her despite limited circumstances and personal tragedies that are, unfortunately, unique to poorer struggling countries like Romania. This was one of many images I made during the time I lived in Eastern Romania and forms part of a ongoing project as well as fascination I have for this fabulous country and it’s wonderful resourceful people – like Maria.http://www.darranrees.com/portfolios/projects#romania