I had previously worked as a medical representative and then for Central Television selling TV airtime to advertising agencies. I have no formal photographic training although I attended a number of short courses at Counter Image, Manchester’s film and photography workshop in the late 1980s.
In 1988 my first solo exhibition, Dead Arty: Photographs of Painters and Sculptors in Manchester, was shown at Counter Image. I also featured in The Art Mob, a TV documentary for Granada Television directed by Phil Griffin, about Manchester’s artistic community.
I won Salford City Council’s commission to document the city’s recent changes. The resulting exhibition, Salford’s New Era: Faces of Change, was shown at Viewpoint Gallery, Salford and later at The Anchorage, Salford Quays. I was subsequently nominated for the Fox Talbot Prize at the 1992 ICI Photography Awards and shown at the National Portrait Gallery and later at the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, Bradford.
I started a five-year commission from Hulme Regeneration Ltd to record the City Challenge project.
The City Shapers project completed its tour. This was a non-commissioned series of portraits of those involved in the redevelopment of Manchester and Salford. It opened as part of the Boddingtons Manchester Festival and toured ten venues across the city including a hotel, theatre, bank, office block, and shopping centre.
This year I was selected for the Annual International Print Exhibition at the Royal Photographic Society, Bath. An image of a Hallé Orchestra percussionist was used on the catalogue cover and exhibition poster.
I completed a three-year ‘artist in residence’ commission to document the building of a new indoor arena. Arena!, The Building of the Nynex Arena, Manchester, was published by Len Grant Photography.
My second book, Built to Music, The Making of The Bridgewater Hall, followed the three-year construction of the city’s new international concert venue.
I began a four-year commission from Manchester Airport plc to document the building of their second runway. A subsequent book, entitled The Long Haul, was prepared but its publication was thwarted by the events of September 11th 2001.
This year saw the production of The Big Move: an exhibition commissioned by The Big Issue in the North about the refurbishment of their new premises in Manchester.
I completed a five-year personal project about the funeral industry. A Way of Life: Portraits from the Funeral Trade, was shown at Viewpoint Gallery, Salford and later toured to the Midland Arts Centre, Birmingham. The accompanying book, with an introduction by Blake Morrison, was published by Len Grant Photography.
I was commissioned to record the rebuilding of the city centre after the 1996 IRA bomb culminated in the Rebuilding the City exhibition, New Cathedral Street. This was digitally output onto 92 4ft x 8ft vinyl panels and adhered to hoardings. Also featured on Granada TV’s Mending Manchester.
This year I also helped to set up Redeye, The Photography Network, for which I was the founding chair.
Making The Lowry was published by The Lowry Press. This 176-page book, with writer Jeremy Myerson, documented the construction of The Lowry, Salford. Images were also shown in a launch exhibition with architects, Michael Wilford and Partners.
I was commissioned by New East Manchester to photograph the redevelopment of New Islington, east Manchester, a Millennium Community Initiative.
The exhibition, Land Marks at the Imperial War Museum North opened. Large scale projections, sound recordings and display images documented the construction of Daniel Libeskind’s Imperial War Museum North.
The Mancunian Way, a new book about Manchester (with Jan Chlebik and Paul Herrmann), commissioned by Manchester City Council and published by Clinamen Press.
A retrospective exhibition and accompanying book, Making Manchester 1990-2003, were launched at CUBE.
I was commissioned to follow the demolition of Maine Road football stadium, and began to chart the refurbishment of the Ancoats mills.
Also commissioned by Oldham Youth Inclusion Project to project manage the production of Cuba ‘Innit, a book about a trip by young people to Cuba.
This year four new books were published: Space to inspire, Cardroom Voices, A Portrait of Manchester and Full Time at Maine Road.
In October, Space to inspire, designed by Hemisphere, won a Roses award for the Best Use of Photography.
This year I began working for New East Manchester and New Deal for Communities. With Axis Graphic Design I started to produce the magazine East, charting the regeneration in east Manchester.
The first edition of East was published in January. In October a double page spread from this issue won the ‘Best Use of Image’ Award at the 2005 SUN Awards.
This City Wall was opened in June as part of Architecture Week.
Also this year, consulting engineer Martin Stockley commissioned me to co-ordinate the production of a book about his involvement in Manchester’s recent regeneration.
The Reluctant Engineer and Other Manchester Stories, was published in March, which led to a commission to produce a book about the conversion of Carver’s Warehouse in Piccadilly Basin.
I also curated the Our House exhibition and book project about people’s experiences of regeneration.
I started two commissions for the British Council. I began curating the photography element of British Council’s OPENCities project, bringing together emerging photographers from eight European cities to produce work about immigration.
I also documented (on video as well as stills) the development of the British Council’s Future City Game, a new project that encourages participants to ‘vision’ their city in 20 years time, coming up with new solutions to urban challenges. A 30-minute film was made of the game being played in Oslo.
In October, From the Ground Up: New Islington 2001-2007 was published, the second in a series documenting Manchester’s Millennium Community.
During 2008 I continued my curatorial role for the British Council’s OPENCities project. I recruited emerging photographers from ten European cities to produce work around immigration.
In March the Carver’s Warehouse book was launched at the MIPIM property convention in Cannes.
East magazine won the magazine category in the McNaughton Design and Print Awards.
During 2008 I also began work on my project about social exclusion. I started to document the experiences of a heroin user, a homeless alcoholic, a failed asylum seeker and a young man who had been in care.
This year I was profiled in Ten, Manchester UK International Business Magazine.
I completed my role as curator to the British Council’s OPENCities photography project. The exhibition started its tour in Düsseldorf in June.
In east Manchester the tenth issue of the printed edition of East magazine was published in February and its online protégé, thisiseast.com was launched in June. The magazine was shortlisted in the media category of the Northwest Business Environment Awards 2009.
I also wrote and project managed a 48-page book celebrating the work of New East Manchester’s arts and culture team.
In the latter part of 2009 I compiled a ‘legacy’ book that chronicles the achievements of New Deal for Communities in east Manchester as it completes its ten-year programme in March 2010.
Reclaiming East Manchester: Ten years of resident-led regeneration, an 186-page book about the New Deal for Communities programme in east Manchester was published on March 26th.
Billy and Rolonde, a personal book about the socially excluded was published on March 29th.
I wrote and projected managed the production of Snapshot, a 96-page book about the work of Manchester’s Cultural Regeneration Officers.
Didsbury 100 and Shooting the Breeze were both produced over the summer.
Throughout the autumn I worked on a book about the inspirational Reclaim programme.
In February I completed some photography and creative writing workshops at The Dukes Theatre, Lancaster
The Reclaim Book was published in March.
From June I started two new book projects: one documenting the construction of The Co-operative’s new head office in Manchester, the other following the refurb and rebuild at Trafford Town Hall.
In October, 100 Years in the Making, a centenary celebration book for Cargill Manchester was published.
During 2012 I continued working on The Co-operative Group’s head office and Trafford Town Hall books.
The Her First Year blog developed and received critical acclaim including Best Personal Blog at the Blog North Awards.
I spent a week in Devon documenting the work of the amazing Brixham Yes project and subsequently wrote the Journey to the Edge blog.
I was commissioned by Paul Hamlyn Foundation to produce a blog about the lives of undocumented families and young people, and worked on a book for Forever Manchester about the Fair Share Trust programme in Greater Manchester.
Life Without Papers was launched and soon became a multi award-winning blog.
I Grew That was published on behalf of Forever Manchester and 1 Angel Square was published by Manchester University Press.
I worked with the Royal Exchange Theatre with students from New Charter Academy, Tameside.
All That is Good – the book about Trafford Town Hall – was launched.
My work with Mersey Forest in Birkenhead was published and exhibited at The Williamson Museum and Art Gallery.
Your Housing commissioned a series of resident portraits for their new head office.
Reclaim’s Ruth Ibegbuna commissioned portraits for her acclaimed On Youth book.
This year I began work on a new book for drug rehabilitation programme, Jobs, Friends and Houses in Blackpool.
I also started writing a new blog – Making a Scene – about an arts engagement initiative in West Yorkshire. As well as commissions for Kew Gardens, The Royal Exchange Theatre and Cornerhouse.
During 2105 I added sketching to my repertoire and won a couple of commissions to sketch stories.
Rock Bottom, my book for Jobs, Friends and Houses will be published in May. I’ll also start a new blog about a recovery house in Blackpool that will be illustrated with sketches.
My Making a Scene blog is a finalist in the UK Blog Awards. The winners will be announced in April.
Also, I am jointly running a workshop in July at the prestigious Urban Sketchers International Symposium which, this year, comes to Manchester.