I have recently returned from a trip to Cameroon where I spent three weeks working on a photographic project with women beekeepers in the North West of the country. The trip was funded by the Joan Wakelin Bursary which is administered by the Royal Photographic Society in partnership with the Guardian newspaper. I was fortunate to be awarded the bursary in 2013 and attended the award ceremony in London accompanied by Paddy, of course. I was honoured not only to have received the award but to have spent the evening in the presence of some great photographers such as Brian Griffin, Peter Fraser and Giles Duley. If you are not familiar with these names, I recommend taking a look at their work. While I was merely the recipient of a bursary to help me on my way, these photographers, quite rightly, were collecting awards for significant achievements and outstanding bodies of work.
It was my second attempt at applying for the award. I was shortlisted in 2012 but narrowly missed out on that occasion.
Putting a proposal together is both difficult and time consuming; writing can be hard work if you are not gifted with words. Photographers tend to prefer visual communication but are often asked to submit lengthy essays to accompany images. It’s also difficult to engage fully without knowing the funding is secure, asking people for help as I did with both my contacts here in the UK and Cameroon, to invest their own time and energy helping you develop your idea when it may never happen due to lack of funding requires commitment from all sides.
Thankfully on this occasion everything went according to plan, and I'm looking forward to seeing the work published soon.
So here's a photograph of me at the awards, for those of you who don't know me I'm on the far right hand side of the frame front row. Photographers don't usually enjoy being photographed, but I'm so pleased to have been captured here with a distinguished bunch of like minded and enormously talented people.