Inspiration is a funny thing. Where does it come from? I was inspired by this project in the for many reasons, the people involved, the chance to be part of something that has a powerful message, the challenge of less is more…


The challenges of this project remind me of why I love and value being a photographer. There were many constraints not least the budget. The big idea was to project a positive image of young people, the relationships that they have and what they give back. One of my most powerful memories was staring down at my first newborn baby and being overwhelmed with how much I could love someone who could offer me nothing in return. When you meet people whose job it is to work with young people you get a similar vibe when you see how they relate to often challenging, self destructive individuals trying to find their way. Even at a younger age, hanging around with young people you start to see the world through their eyes once more and regain that sense of wonder and by the time they enter their teens their no fear attitude and perceived invincibility certainly makes life interesting.

Shannon is a good example. She was very patient with me, or maybe she just like being photographed, she was volunteered to be our guinea pig for the test shoot. She needed to raise a £1000 so that she could be part of a trip to Morocco. She decided to put on a gig, hire a venue and arrange the bands, everything. At 16 there were a few raised eyebrows to say the least, not to mention the conversations trying to protect her from herself. She ignored them and did it anyway. I wasn’t there but just seeing the gig poster was impressive enough. She cleared £750 profit on the night despite wiser heads best intentions.


The challenge was two fold. To show that she wasn’t alone, and that there were many stories of how youth inspires the wise. We did look at using the city as the back drop but because there needed to be many faces to get the weight of the message across we decided on a simpler approach. Keep it simple. Strip it down, white background, a young face and a single word, chosen by the youth worker that had nominated them.


I think you’d agree, collectively the attributes of this collection of young people working together could change perceptions, and who knows change their world.


Tech stuff (for those who are interested)

Canon EOS1ds III

85mm F1.2L lens

Profoto D1 heads x4

Main light, Profoto Softlight Reflector white with grid

Profoto 4×3 softbox behind the camera

Disc refectors on white background.

Profoto Air remote.

Post Production.

Split tone user preset created in Adobe Lightroom, exported and blended in photoshop with  standard exported file. Artwork created in Photoshop.


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