Shabby pastels

Boa Vista in the African island nation of Cape Verde is sparsely populated and sleepy – a paradise far away from the strains of European urban life.

Its main town, Sal Rei, is home to around 6,000 people, while the former capital Rabil is more like a village. Its houses are modest, built with blocks and colourfully decorated, although the paint quickly peels in the tropical sunshine. The homes around the main square in Sal Rei are a little more grand, but also with a charming air of dilapidation.

My hotel was newer and inevitably in much better condition, with rustic yellow and light brown walls, which caught the sun beautifully.

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Gallery entrance


            Refraction I   Refraction II

            Refraction III   Refraction IV

 Click images to enlarge

These four frames of multi-coloured light came about through a moment of almost inconsequential observation, on an ordinary morning.

I was in one of the bedrooms at my mother’s house in Essex, eastern England, and caught sight of a patch of light on the wall. It was like a rainbow had collapsed onto a flat surface. 

It took some time to discover the source of this prism – in another bedroom across the hallway, strong sunlight had caught a silver photograph frame and was throwing its refraction many metres into this mesmerising fallen arc of colour.

I took some shots of this as it changed form and threatened to disappear altogether. Back in London, I simply softened the frames to remove the texture of the wall, which blended the stripes of red, orange, indigo, violet, green and blue.

Just a small moment of colour caught for good…

The Photo Shop


Poppy banner

Daybreak, 100 years after the end of World War One. I went to the Tower of London, expecting few people to be there. But the area was packed with people.

They had come to glimpse at a spectacle which has captured imaginations. The moat of this famous landmark has been gradually filled with a sea of ceramic poppies – 888,246 to be precise. Each represents a British military fatality during the 1914-18 conflict.

On this chilly early morning, viewers were taking in the sight and almost universally taking snapshots. More than five million visitors later, this has been photographed from practically every angle. I found myself drawn to the people gazing at the mass of scarlet and the occasional tributes to fallen veterans.

As the removal of the poppies begins, I wonder whether visitors came to glimpse a landmark art installation or really did treat it as an act of remembrance. Either way, this has made a deep and lasting impact.

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Gallery entrance


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