On the Creative Process
"I got into journalism because that was my first calling - I wanted to make a difference. As soon as I realised that my pictures weren't going to make the kind of difference I wanted - I made a change. I still care desperately for humanity, but what drives my work is engaging with the audience. I want to get close to them and provoke them to ask questions. I want my work to drive them to see differently or question the world around them. Over the years, I've discovered you can do this by using different techniques and ways of storytelling - often the most simple things we can all relate to are the most powerful. Whether it's documentary storytelling, my cameraless work, or my passport project, it's always about pushing against what's expected. I'm tired of beautiful photographs and excited about pushing the boundaries.
With NFTs, I’m thinking about the possibilities for new audiences.
NFTs initially caught me off-guard. In general terms, I don't see any difference between work presented in a digital space, on a gallery wall or inside a book. It's all part of the ecosystem. Right now, I'm not thinking about the financial side of NFTs - I'm thinking about the possibilities for new audiences and how this could become a new facet of my practice. I'm interested in how the Capture App can offer some immediacy to the ideas an artist is exploring and it’s accessibility.
On Portraiture and Freedom
I worked in Jordan for the UN at the Zaatari, a camp where Syrians sought shelter from the civil war unfolding in their homeland. As part of my wider series, Discarded Fruit, I made a photographic collage of the refugees using UK passport requirements. It got me thinking about the idea of an identity photograph. It's the one photograph we all have - a democratic portrait - but one that gives different types of access to different groups of people.
On my second visit to Jordan, I took a passport camera and made a series of portraits. That was the germination of the Passport Photo idea. As time went along, I started thinking more about the concept, Instagram was growing, and it had shifted the dynamics of celebrity portraiture. Before Instagram, the paparazzi had control and financial clout over celebrity pictures. Instagram flipped that the other way, giving the provenance and monetisation back to the celebrity. I started thinking about what happens if you take all the control of an image away in a sense and you have this one direct portrait.