The Ghost of Christmas past

My first advertising  commission was for the children’s charity  N.S.P.C.C. The national society for the prevention of cruelty to children. Saatchi and Saatchi London liked my portfolio so much they wanted me on board . Alan Midgley the creative head gave me an open brief as long as the photograph portrayed the neglect and despair that so many children in the UK were experiencing. This was a fantastic brief as it was relevant to my personal work and therefore I was comfortable. I felt the need to not only produce a hard hitting documentary style image but to be part in helping these children with their individual heartbreaking stories, unlike most briefs which require selling a product. Very sad that these charities have too exist.

Due to logistical and legal difficulties I cast children from an agency and then found an appropriate location to shoot. Alan was not present at the shoot. once he was informed of the exact location. By a derelict wall halfway up the notorious Railton Rd in Brixton, often referred to as ‘the frontline’ in the 70’s and 80’s by the predominant West Indian community. With its recent history of the Brixton riots along with its rough reputation, many white people finding the road intimidating. So our ‘model’ and Mum, Paolo- assistant and Dexi Garman the make up artist all met at my place just a short walk from the location in Spenser Road off Railton Rd. Dexi’s make up was to look like the boy had been battered, bruised, unkept and unloved. The boy who was probably no more than 6yrs burst into tears when his new look was shown in the mirror and took us time to convince him it’ll be removed straight after . My initial security concern with passing people while shooting had changed to embarrassment as we walked  down the road, the boy crying with people looking out of the bus looking understandably concerned, thinking I’d just beaten him up!  Once he was in front of the camera I wanted to be kind and humour him but thats exactly not what we needed in order to achieve the depressing look.

I then continued to work with Saatchi’s on various paid campaigns and the following year I photographed a girl in a room, to look lonely and abandoned,  based on a recent true story, shot in my agents house before the wallpapering . The atmosphere was somewhat chilling as the girl lay still, silent and looking so sad.

Wishing you all a happy Christmas. Especially the children.