I have spent much of lockdown having a good look through my archives for interesting images for my website. As well as bringing back memories of a couple of decades' travelling with my cameras, browsing my hard drives and negatives has prompted thoughts about what we are all missing during the pandemic. This photograph, taken in Bakewell in Derbyshire a few years ago, reminds me how live music can transform a public space. I'm longing for the time when buskers return, and when we can enjoy folk music in pubs, orchestras in concert halls, and big stadium tours.
My eyes are often drawn to scenes that represent something "typical" about a place, although I have to be careful not to reinforce clichéd or overly-romantic ideas, and not to perpetuate myths by freezing just one moment in 1/125th of a second. But this scene, in the Derbyshire village of Youlgrave, was irrestible. The tea and home-made cakes were delicious, and the community warmly welcoming. I'm looking forward to enjoying more afternoon teas out and about, as lockdown eases.
Many of my favourite photographic projects focus on Ikaria, the Greek island which was home to my wife's father. Every year I put on an informal exhibition there, usually in a taverna, sometimes in the local town hall. It's a good chance to catch up with friends and family, and to put my mind to shooting and printing landscapes. The light there is magnificent, but unforgiving in the middle of the day, so I tend to explore with my camera and tripod very early in the morning. Here is the poster from last year's show, with one of my favourite landscapes of the village of Maratho. Perhaps the lockdown situation will ease enough to let us go there this year. But the island will always be there…
Lockdown has provided an opportunity to sort through and scan pictures from my archive of negatives and transparencies, dating back to 1992, when I started work as a photographer at The Independent in London. Just opening the boxes brought back memories of evenings in darkrooms processing films and printing pictures, hoping for a good publication across several columns the next day. I shot this portrait within a few hundred meters of the Oval cricket ground in South London in the mid 1990s, on assignment for the newspaper. Families in these ageing terraces at Oval Mansions fought eviction for many years, leading to some ground-breaking legal cases - hence the interest from the media. Now the area has been "gentrified".