Guardian Article – 21st December 2016
Some thoughts on the Guardian article. It doesn’t appear to have quite been received as I intended, which was a kind of retrospective of the ‘This is Sunderland’ project – something I put absolutely everything into for over ten years. The dreadful, inaccurate clickbait headline didn’t help – a Guardian thing – rather than from Karl, the writer of the piece, someone I’ve a lot of time and respect for.
I very reluctantly left the place I’d lived (and loved) for 30 years due to a really good job offer, coupled with a lot of frustration of there being limited creative opportunities or affordable studio spaces. And not exactly being overwhelmed with interest in what I was doing from the majority of cultural type organisations, or peers – honourable exceptions excepted. Yeah, Brexit hurt too, but that certainly wasn’t the *reason I left*.
I only ever wanted the very best for Sunderland – still do – otherwise I wouldn’t have expended such a huge amount of my life over this weird, obsessive project. Sunderland is always my home, where I’m from, no matter where I’m living. But I had to accept that I was never going to be able to achieve much of what I wanted here, at least in the short term. And I’ll pick things up where I left off, someday.
As for the photos and videos…I spent whatever money I had, risking a lot of everything I had dodging unsavoury characters in asbestos filled shells of buildings, battling gale force winds on crumbling piers a mile out to sea, or hanging off rusty ladders in various rat and pigeon shit-strewn industrial holes. And the rest…
I was privileged to see some really incredible things, too – the northern lights from Tunstall Hill, our weirdly beautiful riverside and coastline that’s never the same two nights running, the moon rising from the North Sea. And the rest…
Not to mention a lot of absolutely amazing people I’ve met and photographed over the years here. Those (you) were the best bits.
On the plus side I’ll never, ever be welcome in Sinatra’s. Every cloud, and all that…