I have always felt a compulsion to capture notable events with photography and I habitually keep a camera close at hand. I have taken many thousands of images over the years but I was not a professional photographer; what I captured were snap shots, usually taken without a great deal of technical skill and often on low grade equipment. In recent years I have made a lot of effort to understand the technical side of photography and, as my skills and understanding gradually have gradually improved, I have increasingly noticed the technical shortcomings of my earlier work. Never the less, I am conscious that I have, on a number of occasions, had a privileged inside view of events that will be of interest to some people. For the time being I have simply uploaded a few of those close at hand without a great deal of editorial control but I plan to gradually add more, thin out the weaker images and include comments where I think it might be helpful or of additional interest.
Berlin - New Years Eve 1989-1990
In November 1989 the Berlin Wall began to crumble and my sister made plans to head out to Berlin for the New Year celebrations and what she predicted to be 'the party of the century'. Needling little encouragement to join her, I borrowed a Pentax K1000 35mm camera from the Art College stores and grabbed a few rolls of film before heading out. The resultant images are grainy and poor quality in many respects but they remind me of an incredible evening which culminated in standing on top of the Brandenburg Gate and looking down on hundreds of thousands of people as they celebrated as fireworks screamed by. One of a few occasions in my life when I was conscious of seeing history in the making.
Bosnia Herzegovina 1992-1993
In 1992 I deployed as an armoured fighting unit platoon commander with the first British unit into Bosnia Herzegovina (The 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment). For the photography hacks out there I used an Olympus OM1 35mm camera with a 50mm lens.
Sierra Leone 1999-2000
In 1999 I was seconded from the Royal Marines to be an unarmed United Nations Military Observer (UNMO) in Sierra Leone where the country was in the midst of a civil war. When I arrived there was an uneasy stand off between UN battalions, The Economic Union of West African States (ECOWAS) and the rebel forces (The Revolutionary United Front (RUF)). My role was to establish contact with the rebel forces and persuade them to join the peace process; I'm not sure the photographs adequately capture the tension of what I can only describe as a true 'boy's own adventure'.
In 2007 I joined an Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) in Afghanistan. My role was to act as mentor and liaison officer to the Afghan Army Chief of Operations. Working under an American command structure I initially worked out of Kandahar Air Base and later at the Afghan Army 'Camp Shir Zai' (Camp Hero)! My role gave me a unique insight and opportunities to visit different parts of the country.