Saturday, 27 May 2017

The Documentary Photographer Podcast—Episode 27: Mandy Barker—Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals

In this episode, you’ll hear Mandy Baker talk about her project Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals, which draws attention to plastic pollution in the environment—seas and oceans in particular.

From the project exhibition press release: 

Plankton form a diverse group of microscopic marine organisms living in the water column, not able to swim against the current; they exist in a drifting, floating, state. In this series by Mandy Barker, unique ‘specimens’ of this animal species relate to the pioneering discoveries made by marine biologist John Vaughn Thompson in Cobh and Cork Harbour during the 1800’s.   

Mandy Barker with of her photographs on display
at the Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh, Ireland,
27th May, 2017 
Presented as microscopic samples, objects of marine plastic debris, recovered from the same location, mimic Thompson’s early scientific discoveries of plankton. The work represents the degradation and contamination of plastic particles in the natural environment, by creating the perception of past scientific discoveries, when organisms were free from plastic. The enveloping black space evokes the deep oceans beneath. Presenting new ‘specimens’, created from recovered debris, serves as a metaphor to the ubiquity of plastic and the anthropocene, encapsulating in miniature the much larger problem of an imperfect world.

"Current scientific research has found that plankton ingest micro plastic particles, mistaking them for food, and at the base of the food chain they are themselves a crucial source of food for many larger creatures. The potential impact on marine life and ultimately humankind itself is currently of vital concern. In terms of plankton, and of action, we are ‘Beyond Drifting’, and must bring into focus these ‘Imperfectly Known Animals’.

Mandy's website:
Twitter: @plasticpieces
Instagram: mandybarkerphotography

Sunday, 1 January 2017

The Documentary Photographer Podcast—Episode 26: Gabrielle Motola—An Equal Difference

Want a free copy of Gabrielle's book? Read to the end of this post.

In this episode, you’ll hear Gabrielle Motola talk about her career path and her work, especially her book ‘An Equal Difference’. The book looks at Iceland’s response to the 2008 financial crisis and focuses on the country’s thinking around gender equality and gender identity. Central questions in the book are “Why did Iceland react the way to its financial crisis by calling for the feminisation of the banking culture? Why did it prosecute those who did not live up to their social responsibilities and acted in self-serving ways to the detriment of society? Why did no other country react in this way?”
For me personally, 2016 was a year that underlined starkly how women aren’t seen and treated as equals in many societies, actually probably most societies. I think a good example is that of the USA, which will soon have a president who has admitted to treating women outrageously, but that’s OK by a large share of the electorate—large enough to have him elected, without him expressing remorse or regret at his behaviour. Such an attitude towards women simply isn’t a problem for many people.
I have a daughter and to me, right now, it feels as if she is growing up in a world that is taking a lot of steps backwards—including in terms of gender equality. The world has some big problems to solve. It doesn’t strike me as a good idea to marginalise half of our creative and intellectual capacity at a time when our problems are huge and growing.
And like many of you, I live in a country in which the average citizens had to bear the brunt of the financial collapse, while most of those responsible (politicians and bankers) were never called to account. That’s how it feels anyway. The same politicians are in power and they still speak with stomach-churning self-importance about their great deeds and accomplishments, ignoring the hurt, stress and despair they caused.
So Gabrielle’s book and the story behind it stirred my interest. I hope it will yours too.
A thank you to Thomas Paris, who suggested that Gabrielle would be a good person to speak with. Thomas, if you have any other suggestions, don’t hold back. That goes for anyone listening to this now. Maybe you know someone who deserves a wider audience?
And now a little confession. For some reason, my audio track stopped recording during the Skype call with Gabrielle. So, in the interests of transparency, I should tell you that I had to re-record 95% of my share of the conversation. So what you hear is I suppose me in conversation with a recording of Gabrielle’s side of the original conversation. I hope that doesn’t spoil the episode for you.
Gabrielle has been generous and has 10 e-books to give away to listeners of the podcast. All you have to do to claim one is be one of the first 10 people to email me (Roger) at before 31st January, 2017, with the name of the man on the trampoline... You can find him on Gabrielle's website (link below). I'll email you a code that will allow you to download a free copy of 'An Equal Difference'.

Gabrielle's Website
An Equal Difference Website

Saturday, 24 September 2016

The Documentary Photographer Podcast—Episode 25: Damian Drohan—Relentlessness

In this episode of the podcast Damian Drohan talks about how to generate paying documentary commissions and explains how he has received commissions from public bodies. He also talks about keeping yourself going during lean times and during dark times.

You'll also hear why it's been a bit quiet on the podcast and blog since the middle of last year.

In the our conversation, Damian mentions the following links:

Damian's website
Damian's Twitter
Project 1916
WW2 Vets Project

Thursday, 25 June 2015

The Documentary Photographer Podcast—Episode 24: Jon Wilkening—The Courage to Follow Your Heart to Fulfilment as a Photographer

Jon Wilkening left a successful career in finance to become a fine art photographer. His whole life, he felt like he was different and couldn't shake a sense of not quite belonging. It's hardly surprising when you think he's an American whose childhood was spent in the Netherlands and India. He was 12 by the time he settled permanently in the US.

Jon speaks about his fascinating upbringing and about how he came to make a risky, yet fulfilling leap from finance to photography.You'll also hear about the influence AJ Leon and the force of nature that is Misfit Inc had on his life.A special mention goes to Jane Boyd, a mutual friend who brought Jon and I together for the show.

© 2015 Jon Wilkening

Saturday, 21 March 2015

The Documentary Photographer Podcast—Episode 23: Peter Cox—Self-publishing "Atlantic Light" Using Kickstarter

Peter Cox is a successful professional landscape photographer based in Co. Cork in Ireland. He is currently running  a Kickstarter campaign to help publish his second book, Atlantic Light. To say it has been a huge success so far would be an understatement—like saying the summit of K2 is a stiff walk.

Peter is no stranger to Kickstarter success. His previous book campaign was almost 400% funded and he is on track to repeat that this time round.

In this episode of The Documentary Photographer Podcast, Peter talks about what you need to run a successful Kickstarter campaign and explains what went into his latest book project.

Peter is also an early adopter of drone technology for his photography and his latest book will feature photographs taken exclusively from the air. He explains what drew him to drone photography and tells of some of the mishaps along the way.

If you have plans to run a Kickstarter campaign to publish a book of your photographs, Peter has some wonderful and useful insights for you.

You can see Peter's Kickstarter campaign here: Peter Cox Kickstarter for Atlantic Light.
His website is here: Peter's website.

Below is the secondary, supporting video that Peter talks about in our conversation:

Atlantic Light from Peter Cox on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The Documentary Photographer Podcast—Episode 22: Stephen Serio—Smartphone Photography & Changing Lanes

Can you make money from smartphone photography? Yes, you can. In this episode of The Documentary Photographer podcast, American photographer Stephen Serio talks about his Instagram photography and how it fits in with his career as a professional photographer.

He also talks about his recent switch from being a staff magazine photographer to a freelancer, along with the reasons behind the move. He tells how he is using the contacts he built up as a magazine photographer to build his freelance client base in and around Chicago.

Stephen also explains the "architecture of light", a principle he learned from one of his mentors, documentary photographer David Plowden.

You can see Stephen's work on his website ( and follow his smartphone photography on Instagram, where he is @phoned_it_in.

© Stephen Serio. All Rights Reserved. Reproduced with permission.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

The Documentary Photographer Podcast – Episode 19: Jonathan Desmond & Roger Overall – Pre-qualifying Your Clients for Documentary Work

In a change from the norm, Canadian photographer Jonathan Desmond takes the reins of the podcast and asks me questions about how I approach documentary photography. In particular, we talk about how to explain to both wedding and corporate clients what documentary photography is. We also discuss the importance of letting your passion for the authentic moment shine through.