I was born in Bournemouth, went to school in Bournemouth and I live there most of the time. I am, as they say, a Bawmuff Boy. There are a couple of other major seaside towns that also begin with ‘B’. Brighton is 94 miles along the coast and I have shot at least twice as many commissions there than in my home town in the last 25 years. Blackpool, on the other hand, is a long way from either Bournemouth or London and somewhere that I have only ever been sent to for party political conferences. Because of the distance I’ve never seen the place as it should be seen – without an overload of grey men in grey suits.
I really like Brighton – it is a photogenic place and it seems to be a really media-savvy sort of town too. On one occasion in the summer of 1995 I was even sent there to shoot stock images of the place to accompany general articles about the town (now a city I believe) and about the county of East Sussex. It was the first in a series of similar days when the diary was empty and I went to Cambridge, Oxford, Birmingham, Bristol and Norwich during that summer. It’s not very often you get quite such relaxed brief but it was actually quite a challenge – generic images in three hours and away again. Cambridge and Oxford were a lot easier but Brighton was the one I’d choose to do again. If I were given a free hand it would have to be Blackpool though. Every time I see it on TV I think to myself “so many pictures to be taken…”