As my work progresses I continually ask the question ‘what is it about?’ The best current answer I have is it is about the emotional experience of someone, me, going through a traumatic time over the last two years. What I want my work to convey is that experience in its essence to connect with that part of other human beings that have gone through something similar. I was reminded last week of the powerful role of metaphor as a way to build an artistic work. This begs the question what is the metaphor for my work?

I reference Taxi Driver as an example. Scriptwriter Schrader says ‘The film is about a car as the symbol of urban loneliness, a metal coffin’ (Pelan). The car is the metaphor for loneliness. As Travis (Robert De Nero) says ‘Loneliness has followed me my whole life, everywhere. In bars, in cars, sidewalks, stores, everywhere. There’s no escape. I’m God’s lonely man.’ (Pelan).

Taking the car in Taxi Driver as the metaphor for loneliness was really helpful for me as a lens to look through watching the movie again.

I also watched Midnight Cowboy this week with the Cowboy being the metaphor for a wretched life. Jon Voigt plays the role superbly along with Dustin Hoffman in which their relationship shows how the wretchedness just gets worse and worse. In my own work I relate in one sense to Joe’s (Voigt’s) over cheerfulness and energetic optimism. Never giving up hope when it is clear he is on a bad path. I also see parallels with the death of Ratso (Hoffman) and the death of my wife. Only then does Joe find a form of release in a heartbreaking movie …As he concludes ‘“I’m not much of a hustler.” Bad luck follows him like a cloud. You want to shake him by those broad shoulders.’ (Daley). My hopelessness during the final stages of my wife’s illness and whatever I did things got worse looked like Joe’s experience. Ratso dying in the end is a relief for viewers of the movie as much as we love Ratso. Similar feelings are evoked following the death of my wife. A horrible illness is like a wretched life and someone supporting someone with a horrible illness is like Joe supporting Ratso.

We understand and feel for Joe and for Travis in Taxi Driver even if we have not lived their life. Both of these movies touched something in me in relation to my own experience. This has to be one objective of my work.


Pelan, T. Approaching Menace: The American Pathology of Martin Scorsese’s ‘Taxi Driver’ Cinephelia and Beyond. [online]. Available at (,people%2C%20yet%20has%20no%20friends. ) [accessed September 21st, 2020]

Daley, C. 2015. The film that makes me cry: Midnight Cowboy. The Guardian. [online]. Available at [accessed September 21st 2020).

Categories: Contextual Research FMP, Final Major ProjectTags:


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

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.