I've been making a film about Royal Papworth Hospital with Cambridge Filmworks, and today we found ourselves filming open heart surgery. It was amazing and is an example of the techniques pioneered at this unique hospital, now in its hundredth year, and on the verge of its move to a new state-of-the-art site.
Yesterday saw the launch of the Positive Faith project, a video resource to provide support to Christians living with HIV. Producing the videos was an extraordinary experience and extremely life-affirming to meet and work with all those who took part.
Been away for a week in St Lucia, making a short film about the lansan tree, a species that is tapped for resin and has disappeared from much of the Caribbean. Species like the St Lucia parrot eat its fruits and it is an integral part of the native rainforest. Link to follow...
I am due to start shooting a film for an interesting research project asking questions about migrant workers, testing the assertion that people come to the UK to exploit such things as social security benefits and healthcare. More to follow.
I photographed Stephen Hawking for the launch of the Cantab Capital Institute for the Mathematics of Information; the institute is researching among other things, imaging, which of course is right up my street.
I made a film about an educational initiative called Learning Together, where University students study alongside prisoner students. I produced it with 9 prisoners, most of whom had minimal experience of filmmaking - and as I had minimal experience of teaching, it was quite an experience for all of us! Sadly I can't share the film with you due to the regulations concerning publicity of prisoners, but it went down very well with the Secretary of State for Justice, and is now being used on the National Offender Management Service database, and is available to prisoners.
Here is the full film I made for the Model Conversation project, for the Cambridgeshire Alliance for Independent Living, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Again it was an enlightening and humbling experience to get a brief window on the lives of people with physical disabilities; I hope the film goes some way to increase understanding and empathy for their potential and the difficulties they face.
I'm well into the shoot now for a film about the changing lives of people with disabilities and long-term health conditions. I'm working with extremely interesting people, and once again, it is an education - including what it feels like to be hit in the fast-paced game of goalball, a sport designed for blind athletes. More to follow...
I've just started work on three new films for a very interesting ESRC-funded project called 'Leaving Prison In Faith' - on how faith communities can transform rehabilitation of ex-prisoners who have a religious faith. More to follow...
Bringing things up to date, since last year I've been working on a number of projects for different departments of the University of Cambridge - producing films for Fitzwilliam college, the Master of Trinity College, Graduate Admissions Office (links to follow), Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, Gates Cambridge, and photography projects for the Childcare Office's Playscheme, Faculty of Education and many others.
This week we had two screenings of 'Jogging with Jody', the documentary I made with Dr Ruth Armstrong about desistance from crime. The first was at the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse for the Festival of Ideas, and last night there was a special screening at the Institute of Criminology, with a Q&A with participants in the film - academics, ex-offenders and people involved in helping ex-offenders restart normal lives after lives of crime. We have high hopes to take the film further and I hope to do more work on the subject.
I am very honoured that the film I made with two close Anglo-Chilean friends, 'Hora Chilena' will be shown at the Museum of Human Rights and Memory in Santiago, Chile on September 23rd.
The film tells the previously untold story of exiles from Chile's brutal 1973 military coup, who settled in Cambridge thanks to the kindness of Cambridge people and institutions like the University, language schools and local council wards.
I am currently producing two new documentary films; one on the rehabilitation of prolific offenders, and the other on the Church's attitudes to HIV/AIDS. I feel very privileged to be working on these subjects; more details will follow as the films progress, and both are due to be screened at public events in October - so I'd better get down to some hard work on them!
I photographed the actress Frances de la Tour and her son for an article for Fauna & Flora International on how they support conservation. They were very friendly and gracious hosts, and I managed not to embarrass myself and her by mentioning her role in the classic TV series 'Rising Damp'!
Just back from a whirlwind trip to Singapore and Sydney to document Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands' trip for Fauna & Flora International, where she was raising awareness of marine plastic pollution, and raising funds for important conservation work.
For the last 8 months I've been working on a documentary with two close friends. HORA CHILENA (Chilean Time) is a film about Chilean exiles from the brutal 1973 military coup, who settled in Cambridge thanks to the kindness of Cambridge people and institutions like the University, language schools and local council wards. It's a previously untold story, both sad and funny, and we're very proud of it. I hope you like it too.
The film was produced thanks to the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, and premieres at the Arts Picturehouse Cambridge on the 11th December at 6pm, and then screens at Amnesty International in London on the 14th at 3pm, and Clare College on the 16th at 8pm. You can book tickets here.
It was an honour to film Sir David Attenborough, a legend of Natural History filmmaking, being interviewed by Radio 4's Libby Purves at an event held by Fauna & Flora International. You can watch the highlights reel here and the full interview here. I worked with the fantastic Cambridge Filmworks and Tom Aveling on this job.
Delighted to have made the cover with one of my first paid wildlife assignments - an article on biodiversity in Cambridge college grounds and how people are working to enhance it. I watched, and was watched by this wild-eyed sparrowhawk for some time as he methodically devoured his prey! You can read the article here.
Just about to start editing a very interesting film that's been in production for the last few months. More to follow soon.
It has often been thought that fish are somewhat lacking in mental faculties, what with old jokes about goldfish having 3-second memories and so on. Recent research is showing this to be completely wrong; Gates scholar Alex Vail has compiled evidence of cooperative hunting between grouper fish and moray eels, which involves sophisticated communication, recognition and memory of individuals. Watch the film here.
I've just finished a short film on Eduardo Machicado Murillo, a Bolivian archaeologist who is building a picture of the ancient civilizations that practised agriculture in areas now covered by the Amazon rainforest. His research is contributing to greater understanding of peoples that have previously been categorized as primitive, and greater recognition of the rights of their descendents. You can watch the film here.
I've had the rare opportunity recently to photograph wild foxes and badgers at a site close to home. It's been a real treat to watch, up close, the kind of animals that normally you only catch a glimpse of. You can see more pictures in the gallery under wildlife.
Despite the unseasonably cold weather, adders have been slithering out of their communal winter quarters (called hibernacula) to bask in the weak sunshine. I've been out photographing them, and found them to be very shy and retiring creatures, despite their dangerous reputation. They are quite poisonous though so I wouldn't recommend treading on or poking one.
I just finished filming a whole series of lectures on sustainable development for the University. They featured an impressive list of speakers including Tim Jackson, Peter Gleick and Peter Bakker. You can watch them on the Programme for Sustainability Leadership's vimeo pages.
It's about a young man's crisis of faith on the day of his return to South Africa, where the church remains highly homophobic. I hope you like it.
The Tohoku and Christchurch earthquakes, and hurricanes Sandy and Katrina all revealed the current vulnerability of critical infrastructure to natural disasters, and the inadequacy of current approaches to protect against their worst impacts.
I did the photography and filming for the Banking Environment Initiative Forum, which is aiming to get banks to support the sustainability goals of their customers - who, for example, want to remove deforestation from their supply chains. You can see the photos here and the videos here (NB not HRH/Unilever).