‘I would like my work to cover everything that I am, everything I have seen, everything I want, everything I remember, everything I know, everything that interests me, everything I have done, everything I haven’t done, everything I want to be.’ (Blaufuks, cited in Campany, 2018; 320)

The themes of my FMP are trauma, turmoil, love, existence and memory. The project arose from a simple question in the first module of the MA ‘do I have any pain in my life?’ Cemre Yesil as my tutor asked the question and I replied ‘boy do I have pain in my life.’ At the time my wife, Karen, was deteriorating rapidly from secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

Cemre’s point is that pain and emotion are attractive subjects for photography. They stimulate a strong response in a viewer initiated from the response of the photographer to what she or he photographs. As Don McCullin’s says ‘Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.‘ His reputation was established in the suffering and pain of war photography. Ivor Prickett’s ‘End of the Caliphate’ similarly focusses on the suffering of war. Jo Spence achieved acclaim in the 70’s with her self portraits of her fight with breast cancer.

Over the last two years I have gone through an extremely traumatic experience. My wife, Karen, became paralysed and chose to end her life in Switzerland. My project is a response to my experience. I have taken images through this period of myself or objects and places contingent to me.

In the early modules of the MA my project was entitled The Truth and Beauty of Me. In the first iteration I captured parts of me trying to express what I was going through. I was looking to find ways of expressing in a photograph the turmoil I was going through as the love of my life was living through chronic illness.

The Truth and Beauty of Me – Len Williamson (2019)

The second iteration introduced some staging of situations as I attempted to illustrate what I was going through. Both iterations were a steep learning curve. I was really interested in the reactions of viewers. I was curious about which photographs had an impact on people and what that impact was. As I look at these images now I can respond to them as a representation of existence at the time and as a form of a memory of something that happened to me. The work was live in the moment but is now a memory with which I can have a relationship. I do not feel like I did then and could not then imagine feeling how I feel now.

The Truth and Beauty of Me (2) – Len Williamson (2020)

The search continued to find ways of expressing what I was experiencing in a way that a viewer could relate to in their own lives. In Informing Contexts I explored objects and places contingent on my experience. I have disappeared from the images but to me I am fully inhabiting these spaces then and now. I see this set of images as building on the earlier learning and making significant progress in what an image can achieve in an emotional sense. Audience reaction suggested I am making progress to illustrating trauma, turmoil, love, existence and memory.

Alleviation of Existence – Len Williamson (2020)

The work continues to refine over 1000 images taken during the MA to a core set that represents what I want to say about my experience. Every Bird I See Will Be Part Of You is the current selection below. There are eight more weeks to go so I expect further changes. As I look at this set I feel I am making real progress to expressing the themes of my project in my work.

Every Bird I See Will Be Part Of You – Len Williamson (2020)

I keep redrafting in words what my work is about. My current attempt is ‘My work is an evolving memory my experience of trauma over 2019 and 2020. During this time my soul mate, Karen, became paralysed through secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. She then chose to go to Switzerland to die.’

I end by reflecting on the quote from Daniel Blaufuks at the start of this post. Work is always work in progress but I do feel all the everything’s Blaufuks refers to are now present in the images I am putting together.


CAMPANY, D. 2018. So Present, So invisible Chapter Daniel Blaufuks, loc 320. Robert Koch Editions. Rome.

MCCULLIN, D. 2020. Biography. [online]. Available at : (Accessed Oct 15th, 2020).

PRICKETT, I. 2019. End of the Caliphate. Steidl.

SPENCE, J. Biography. Tate. [online]. Available at : (Accessed Oct 15th, 2020)

Categories: Final Major Project, Project Development FMP


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.