Pitching Project to the MS Society

Iain Conn is a member of the Board of the MS Society and a friend. Iain introduced me to Nick Winser who had suffered a similar story to my own with his wife suffering from MS. His wife died in November last year and mine in January this year. Talking with Nick it appears possible there is some work that could be done to help the partners of MS sufferers by showing how challenging it is for them. Nick has put me in touch with Tom Shelston to see if there is a fit with a body of work for my MA and a strategic need of the MS Society.

Here is the text of my pitch sent July 18th, 2020,

Hi Tom,

Nick Winser gave me your name. I know Nick through us suffering similar stories with our wives MS and being put together by a mutual friend (Iain Conn). The reason for contacting you is to see if you have any interest in commissioning some work putting across the challenges the partners of MS sufferers face as the disease progresses. I would expect no remuneration for the commission. I have to deliver a professional photographic body of work by November this year for my MA in Photography at Falmouth University. A body of work in the form of a series of photographs and an article or a video could meet the Universities criteria.
My wife Karen had MS for 30 years and ended up almost completely paralysed. In January this year she went to Dignitas in Switzerland to end her life with Dignity. She was 65, we were married 40 years and she was my soul mate. She was the strongest and bravest person imaginable but as you know it is a relentless and cruel disease. In 2010 Robert Kyprianou and I walked 1000 miles in England under the banner 1000 MILES FOR HOPE and raised over £100,000 in donations which we directed towards Professor Franklin research at Cambridge. I tried everything to help my wife but it was against an unequal foe. I got to within two steps of taking my own life on three occasions over the last ten years and understand why that is such an attractive option. Therapy and friends helped me.
Here are a couple of draft pieces of work that may give you some ideas of the material I have. Take a look at it. We can talk and if we do something together it will need to work with your strategic objectives.

Video – MEN WHO WEAR PINK CRY
I have two curators of my work for my MA and a supervisor. I put this video together to try to get across to them what is behind my work. Nick and Iain have both seen this video.

Draft Portfolio – Draft submission for the International Emotional Rebellion Exhibition – November 2020
Portfolio

Let me know what you think. Don’t feel any pressure and we should only do it if it in some way can help the cause.

Best Regards

Len

Categories: Final Major Project, Project Development FMP

LEN

I am a Photographer. As well as taking many photographs I am currently studying for an MA in Photography at Falmouth University. I will direct my attention through the lens of my camera for the next couple of years and see what shows up. I see a photograph as a little bit of magic capturing a moment in time. If successful it surprises and engages your emotions. It tells a story about the wonders of being alive or tells us what we need to change to make it a better world to live in. That is enough for me to get going and then like walking a 1000 miles, which I did across the UK in 2010, or walking 200 miles across Cyprus, which I did in November last year, it is one step at a time.

I was a writer. The title of my unpublished book was ‘You Would Have Done The Same.' It is about a successful guy in love with his wife who lets her die when he discovers her in the process of committing suicide. The title gives a clue as to what I think you would have done. The book is 200 pages long. I found it cathartic to write it but after two years of work and reviewing with agents decided it probably needed another 2000 hours to get the whole book up to the standard of some of the pages. Writing is great but it is a lot of sitting down so I decided to get out and walk, play tennis, play bridge, go birding, watch football at Nottingham Forest, Arsenal and Valencia and anywhere else if I can, meditate, cook and eat. I was a writer who has so far failed to become an author.
I was a young man who loved Mathematics and thoroughly enjoyed getting a BSc at Liverpool University. While there I went often to Anfield and the Philharmonic Hall. I was all set on doing a PhD until I went for interview practice at BP and got seduced by the excitement of an International business career. BP was a great adventure building trading teams and businesses in London, Antwerp, Cleveland Ohio and Singapore. Fabulous people and some great challenges and also very hard work, constant jet lag and lots of fun along the way. I married Karen, my stunning wife, and had the most amazing time with her and our three boys Alex, Tom and Dan. She has multiple sclerosis and we have taken on many challenges together but somehow keep creating a new normal against the horrors thrown our way. She is the love of my life.

After BP I decided to coach senior executives and quickly realized I had a lot to learn
about what makes people tick. I had a fantastic 18 months on the International Programme of the Cleveland Gestalt Institute. A great faculty and a
wonderful group of people on the programme. We studied and worked in Dingle, Singapore, Holland, Cape Town and
Lisbon. This also got me interested in the way we think and make decisions so I studied for an MSc in Psychology atUniversity College London in 2010. The
Masters was in Cognitive and Decision Sciences and I found it fascinating what
we do know but also how much we don’t know about how we think and make
decisions.

I loved coaching and making a difference. I got a number of people to hear themselves, remove some of their own chains and free up the way they thought about the world. I remain fascinated by how people react to and engage with the world. My Masters thesis was why do two people given the same information make different decisions? Put simply, it is because each of us are unique in the way we are constructed.

Since returning from Singapore I found English winters tough so moved to Spain where I now live. The people are lovely, the scenery amazing, food delicious and the sun shines all the time. Almost.

All of these experiences will feed in to my time now as a Photographer. Three motivations I am lucky to have are enthusiasm, curiosity and a continuous interest in learning. All the time I look forward to meeting old friends and making new friends and experiencing this wonderful life together.