Parikrama is the realisation of a dream for me, to not only sell my images on a platform but to also give back to some of the charities that have trusted me to create some of my favourite images as well as some of my favourite memories.
My Dad had always wanted me to be an astronaut, he even named me after the most famous one – Neil Armstrong, but since I was a child, I’d only ever wanted to be a creative. Through my schooling, maths and design were my strong suits and when I was given the choice of what to study at university, it had to be Product Design.
I loved university and took the opportunity to set up my own small design company. We did great, worked on exciting projects, looked after cool clients, and even won a few awards along the way. This was also where my fascination with photography began.
Fast forward a few years after university, working in web design as a project manager, feeling exhausted also unfulfilled, I decided I’d had enough, that I would give it up, all of it to chase the dream of being a photographer.
I found myself photographing anything I could, starting with nursery shoots getting paid peanuts, driving all over the UK, to parish’s and small community halls photographing children’s portraits. This was tough work, but I learned so much.
And then it came… While at a festival, I photographed a rapper performing on stage. Through the wonders of social media, an editor for a music magazine saw the photos and requested me to be the photographer for their upcoming features, the day after their call I was waiting in the lobby of The Dorchester preparing to meet an R&B superstar for our portrait session. This was unreal, and the next few years saw me working with some of my favourite artists. From Ed Sheeran to Bruno Mars, I got to spend time in recording studios, on sets during music video shoots, and even cameoed in one. With more exposure, my portfolio grew rapidly however I was constantly aware of how disposable my imagery was in this industry. My photos moved from magazines to blogs, and then to social media posts. I wanted my imagery to mean more.
I’ve since spent much of my photographic career helping charities create content, they may not have had budgets for. I photographed for Age UK having one of my images selected for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize and exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery. In 2018, a campaign I created for National Centre for Domestic Violence went viral during the football world cup and was displayed on billboards across the globe before each country’s game. In 2019 I was awarded Cannes Gold Lion Sports Excellence for my image 'The not so beautiful game!' and shortlisted for Cannes Glass Lion Award for Good. The image went viral again during the recent Euros. Seeing my photo have a genuine impact for the charity, the issues raised being discussed on TV really reminded me how powerful images are. This brings me to my latest project… Parikrama.
The idea is that 50% of the profits from selling my photographic prints will be donated directly to grassroots charities making an impact on the ground. So not only do you get to enjoy some beautiful photography, printed to the highest quality exhibition standards, but also know that you’ve also made a donation that will genuinely help organisations working here and abroad, from coding camps for women in Kampala to local food banks sourcing fresh ingredients for their members, this is art for the betterment of those less fortunate.
Thank you for taking the time to read through my story and the inspiration for my Parikrama project.
Creating opportunities for young girls and women in East Africa through education. They've built the only girls secondary school in the Masai Mara and set up coding camps for women in Kampala. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Burnt Oak Community Food Bank is a non-referral food bank that turns no one away. We operate every Friday from St Alphage Parish Church in Burnt Oak from 2pm - 4pm and cater to vegans, vegetarians, and halal diets as well. Contact email@example.com for more information.
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