Double trouble...the lovely Emily and Hannah getting in the "Christmas Spirit" at the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art staff Christmas party, University of the Arts London

Christmas and New Year Season Highlights

Double trouble...the lovely Emily and Hannah getting in the "Christmas Spirit" at the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art staff Christmas party, University of the Arts London

Double trouble…the lovely Emily and Hannah getting in the “Christmas Spirit” at the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art staff Christmas party, University of the Arts London

Emily hopes she hasn't been to naughty for Santa to come this year.... in the "Christmas Spirit" at the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art staff Christmas party, University of the Arts London

Emily hopes she hasn’t been to naughty for Santa to come this year…. in the “Christmas Spirit” at the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art staff Christmas party, University of the Arts London

Is it a bird?, is it a plane?...no, it's a man dressed as in a mince pie Christmas jumper at the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art staff Christmas party, University of the Arts London

Is it a bird?, is it a plane?…no, it’s a man dressed as in a mince pie Christmas jumper at the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art staff Christmas party, University of the Arts London

Cracking Christmas jumper with detachable candy canes at the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art staff Christmas party, University of the Arts London

Cracking Christmas jumper with detachable candy canes at the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art staff Christmas party, University of the Arts London

Stylish Maternity Christmas jumper at the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art staff Christmas party, University of the Arts London

Stylish Maternity Christmas jumper at the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art staff Christmas party, University of the Arts London

The magical lights of Christmas trees all around...I love spotting them as I travel around.

The magical lights of Christmas trees all around…I love spotting them as I travel around.

Christmas party with my highly cherished friends and family at Duran Duran, London

Christmas party with my highly cherished Duran Duran family/friends, London

Traditional Christmas Dinner....a veritable feast! Enough leftovers to last a large family a week! Duran, Duran, London

Traditional Christmas Dinner….a veritable feast! Enough leftovers to last a large family a week! Duran, Duran, London

Traditional homemade Sherry Trifle by the lovely Mairead, more desert than we knew what to do with! Duran Duran, London

Traditional homemade Sherry Trifle by the lovely Mairead, more desert than we knew what to do with! Duran Duran, London

Showing friends how to get into the "Christmas Spirit" by setting the Christmas pudding on fire with alcohol before eating it with custard, cream and repeated dollops of sinful yet delicious brandy butter,  Duran Duran, London

Showing friends how to get into the “Christmas Spirit” by setting the Christmas pudding on fire with alcohol before eating it with custard, cream and repeated dollops of sinful yet delicious brandy butter, Duran Duran, London

Secret Santa gifts including this fab "Murray Christmas" t-shirt displayed my it's proud new owner, my brother-in-law to be, Paul McCormack, Duran Duran, London

Secret Santa gifts including this fab “Murray Christmas” t-shirt displayed my it’s proud new owner, my brother-in-law to be, Paul McCormack, Duran Duran, London

Meeting Dave, co-founder of Brew By Numbers (BBNo.) in his rather jazzy Christmas cardigan...it must have been mating season for reindeer when this was knitted! Duran Duran, London

Meeting Dave, co-founder of Brew By Numbers (BBNo.) in his rather jazzy Christmas cardigan…it must have been mating season for reindeer when this was knitted! Duran Duran, London

Spanish and Italian influenced food at the alternative Freeborn Christmas party, Brixton, London

Spanish and Italian influenced food at the alternative Freeborn Christmas party, Brixton, London

Margherita Dell Piane, Queen of the Dancefloor, who won a ring in the first Christmas cracker she'd ever pulled, at the alternative Freeborn Christmas party, Brixton, London

Margherita Dell Piane, Queen of the Dancefloor, who could’t believe it when she won a ring in the first Christmas cracker she’d ever pulled, at the alternative Freeborn Christmas party, Brixton, London

Emma Pessato, Queen of the World, at our alternative Freeborn Christmas party, Brixton, London

Emma Pessato, Queen of the World, at our alternative Freeborn Christmas party, Brixton, London

Juan Rendon, King of the World, at our alternative Freeborn Christmas party, Brixton, London

Juan Rendon, King of the World, at our alternative Freeborn Christmas party, Brixton, London

Catching up with my old friend from agriculture college, John Graham, his wife Brid and their lovely new baby Judith, at their wonderful new business venture The Beehive Cafe, Sligo Folk Park, Ireland

Catching up with my old friend from agriculture college, John Graham, his wife Brid and their lovely new baby Judith, at their wonderful new business venture The Beehive Cafe, Sligo Folk Park, Ireland

Meeting Father Christmas in person and making his portrait...at Santatown, Sligo Folk Park, Ireland

Meeting Father Christmas in person and making his portrait…at Santatown, Sligo Folk Park, Ireland

Visiting the wonderful Goulden family and our grand aunt Ivy, who's still as bright as a spark at 90 years of age, Co. Sligo, Ireland

Visiting the wonderful Goulden family and our grandaunt Ivy, who’s still as bright as a spark at 90 years of age, Co. Sligo, Ireland

Christmas Lunch, Sunday 21st of December at The wonderful Sandhouse Hotel, Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal, Ireland...where we had a view of Donegal Bay and the Atlantic Ocean whilst enjoying top notch great value food.

Christmas Lunch, Sunday 21st of December at The wonderful Sandhouse Hotel, Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal, Ireland…where we had a view of Donegal Bay and the Atlantic Ocean whilst enjoying top notch great value food.

Post lunch Impromptu family portrait at The Sandhouse Hotel, Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal, Ireland

Post lunch Impromptu family portrait at The Sandhouse Hotel, Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal, Ireland

Santa is still coming to me bless him and me 35yrs old! I must be a VERY good boy ;) - Donegal, Ireland

Santa is still coming to me bless him and me 35yrs old! I must be a VERY good boy 😉 – Donegal, Ireland

My 96yr old Grandmother Eileen Black, Co. Sligo, Ireland

My 96yr old Grandmother Eileen Black, Co. Sligo, Ireland

Visiting old family friend Tommy Keirans, Co. Sligo, Ireland

Visiting a fine old family friend Tommy Keirans and chatting about his days farming, showing him photos and films of our brother Alasdair’s New Zealand farming practices, Co. Sligo, Ireland

Passing through the annual Boxing Day Hunt 2014 at Enniscrone, Co. Sligo, Ireland - I'm not pro hunting but I am highly intrigued by the traditions associated with hunting in terms of dress etc.

Passing through the annual Boxing Day Hunt 2014 at Enniscrone, Co. Sligo, Ireland – I’m not pro hunting but I am highly intrigued by the traditions associated with hunting in terms of dress etc.

New Year's Eve Fireworks all around the world bringing us from one year to another....I wish you health and happiness in 2015!

New Year’s Eve Fireworks all around the world bringing us from one year to another….I wish you health and happiness in 2015!

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Meet Zoe and Tim – The Talented Folk behind Brixton Blog and Brixton Bugle

Zoe & Tim at Brixton Farmer's Market

Zoe & Tim at Brixton Farmer’s Market

After meeting them initially on my Twitter, today I caught up in person with Zoe Jewell and Tim Dickens, founding editors of the fantastic Brixton Blog and Brixton Bugle at Brixton Market for delicious coffee from Wild Caper. We then went for a blissful foodie induced wander through the wonderful Brixton Farmer’s Market which runs every Sunday from 10am-2pm. It was great to hear about the history of their immense passion and energy which created Brixton Blog and Brixton Bugle. Both publications have become such integral elements of Brixton culture.

Some facts on their concerted work:

  • Nominated for “Innovation of the Year” in the British Journalism of the Year Awards in 2013 (runners-up to The Guardian) .
  • Average of 100,000 monthly page views on the website .
  • We print 10,000 copies of the Bugle each month, and we’ve printed 27 editions
  • We’ve got a combined Twitter following of 27,000.

They’re currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo for a part time news editor which I’ve just donated to. Whether you’re in Brooklyn, Berlin or wherever…feel free to share this good cause and donate if you share their passion and energy for high quality local news reporting!

Brighton Photography Biennial 2014

James a Brighton local, who told me "There's a great movie on soon...Frankenstein...you should go and see it!"

Eva, Market Worker from Nelson, New Zealand who now lives in Brighton and dreams of visiting her Italian family ancestral home in Sicily one day! – Taken in Diplock’s Yard

Juan Rendon playing in the JAWS of a Shark

Juan Rendon playing in the JAWS of a Shark

James told me "There's a great movie on soon...Frankenstein...you should go and see it!"

James told me “There’s a great movie on soon…Frankenstein…you should go and see it!”

Brighton Local James photographed outside Komedia on Gardner St.

Brighton Local James photographed outside Komedia on Gardner St.

Paul & Ellen outside the Vintage Fair at Brighton Dome

Paul & Ellen outside the Vintage Fair at Brighton Dome

Gentleman Paul Crompton, Vintage Dealer, outside the Vintage Fair at Brighton Dome

Gentleman Paul Crompton, Vintage Dealer, outside the Vintage Fair at Brighton Dome

Pompoko Japanese Restaturant in Brighton

Pompoko Japanese Restaturant in Brighton

Dub Attack - Entrepreneurial use of infrastructure, advertising events at Komedia

Dub Attack – Entrepreneurial use of infrastructure, advertising events at Komedia 

Circus Street Market

Circus Street Market

A Return to Elsewhere - Digital Brighton Photography Biennial Exhibition @ Circus Street Market

A Return to Elsewhere – Digital Brighton Photography Biennial Exhibition @ Circus Street Market

Rossena Petkova, Bulgarian Photographer enjoying Brighton Photography Biennials Photobook Show

Rossena Petkova, Bulgarian Photographer enjoying Brighton Photography Biennials Photobook Show

Saskia & Georgia measuring up for the very last event at Circus Street Market - BA Illustration students at the University of Brighton Exhibition

Saskia & Georgia measuring up for the very last event at Circus Street Market – BA Illustration students at the University of Brighton Exhibition

Graffiti that Fits the Inevitable Gentrification of Circus Street Market

Graffiti that Fits the Inevitable Gentrification of Circus Street Market

Graffiti that Fits the Inevitable Gentrification of Circus Street Market

Graffiti that Fits the Inevitable Gentrification of Circus Street Market

Walking the Dog

Walking the Dog

William Street Social Housing,Brighton

William Street Social Housing,Brighton

Taking the Dog for Ride

Taking the Dog for Ride

Lady Sheepskin Dealer, North Lanes

Lady Sheepskin Dealer, North Lanes

Jeweler Pete Modelling his Moustache on a Pumpkin

Jeweler Pete Modelling his Moustache on a Pumpkin

Young Brighton Busker

Young Brighton Busker

 

RIP David Redfern, Legendary British Music Photographer

My impromptu portrait of David Redfern

My impromptu portrait of David Redfern

The world says goodbye to one of it’s most talented music photographers after the recent passing of David Redfern, aged 78. It was deeply saddening to hear this news, knowing of David’s battle with cancer over the past two years. We met when David had given a talk about his life’s work, five decades of music photography including the British and American Jazz, Blues, Rock and Pop scenes. His speciality was photographing festivals such as Newport Jazz Festival, between Boston and New York, and documenting legendary music venues such as Ronnie Scotts in Soho, London where he photographed Ella Fitzgerald and many more greats.

In 1995 three of his photos-Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins, and Thelonius Monk-were chosen for U.S. postage stamps. His breadth of work went from being Frank Sinatra’s tour photographer to working with current coolest of the cool bands such as Arcade Fire. A number of decades ago David set up his own photography agency Redfern and then sold it to Getty Images in 2008, reserving rights to his favourite 1000 images for sale as prints. The talk was part of the Dobells Jazz Record Shop exhibition at CHELSEA Space, London, in May 2013.

The exhibition of an archive of items from the legendary record shop contained a number of David’s images of the Jazz scene and it’s musicians from the 60’s. After the talk we went to The Morpeth Arms pub and had a great chat with David about his life’s adventures as an international music photographer. He was joined by his charming and loving wife Susy Reed fashion entrepreneur who creates fabulous textile prints with David through his images.

David Redfern at CHELSEA Space May 2013

David Redfern at CHELSEA Space May 2013

These three image were made whilst we walked the short distance of one short street from CHELSEA Space to the pub. Later on David had told me that he hadn’t had his portrait made by many people. I was transfixed by David’s spirit just as he was by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Nina Simone or Johnny Cash when he photographed them. Shortly afterwards I got in touch to offer David and Susy some prints as a gift in return for the wonderful and inspirational evening we’d shared. We arranged to meet for lunch in west London near David’s home but unfortunately David wasn’t well enough on the day. I knew he was going through some very tough chemotherapy but was being ever so strong in fighting it always staying philosophical and positive.

David Redfern with Donald Smith, Director of CHELSEA Space & Chair of Chelsea Arts Club Trust

David Redfern with Donald Smith, Director of CHELSEA Space & Chair of Chelsea Arts Club Trust

We crossed paths again whilst David was showing his work at the Royal Festival Hall in London and I was struck by his determination for business as usual. Sunday lunch and the gift of my humble snaps was mentioned again but when I called to arrange it David had moved to his second home in France to take advantage of a better healthcare system there. It was there a few months after, in the gentle loving care of his wife Suzy that David lost his fight with cancer, but he lived his life to full right to the end. It’s clear from David’s summer newsletter on his website that he was still enthralled and electrified by his beloved music scene and the gift he had bestowed upon him as a photographer.

He spent four days at the Vienne Jazz festival, in the front of stage pit, shooting the great Buddy Guy and many more. Then two days in Juan les Pins, with Imelda May, Joss Stone to name but a few. David was planning travel and exhibitions right to the end. To quote him “Keep the faith and live every day to the full,  you just never know…….”

This week sees David honoured in many of the top international media including a Rolling Stone gallery where you can see his greatest photos of 1960s rock royalty, The Guardian gallery and the Under the Radar Mag feature. You can also have a look at David Redfern’s website which includes Suzy Reed’s fashion brand. You can also purchase David Redfern’s book.

CHELSEA Space at Chelsea College of Arts, Millbank, London is run by the very talented artist, curator and more, Donald Smith, also Chair of Chelsea Arts Club Trust. Thanks to Donald for organising this and many other great shows which bring such splendid culture together for celebration. My memories of the high spirits shared that evening will last forever.

Gabby

Dr Gabrielle Lynch @ Dalston Street Feast, Hackney

Dr Gabrielle Lynch @ Dalston Street Feast, Hackney

Gabby and I were flatmates for a few years when we both lived in Leeds some time ago. She worked as an academic for Leeds University whilst I worked for Leeds Metropolitan University close by. Those days we only had to walk across Hyde Park or Woodhouse Moor as it’s also called in Leeds, for 20 minutes to get to our respective offices.

Since then our lives have taken us across the world, with my documentary photography adventures and Gabby who is now living in Nairobi whilst working for the University of Warwick. As she is an expert in tribal politics, Gabby follows truth commissions around Kenya. She is also writing yet another interesting book on the subject.

I currently live and work in London and always look forward to seeing my old flatmate when she visits. We always meet, celebrate and enjoy ethnic food in places such as Brixton Village Market or Dalston Street Feast, where I made Gabby’s portrait above. I loved how the blue shipping container we ate beside acted as the perfect impromptu backdrop for her splendid and vibrant outfit.

 

London Fashion Week Musings

Faye Dinsmore, London  ©Gavin Freeborn

Faye Dinsmore, London
©Gavin Freeborn

With the recent buzz of London Fashion Week I was inspired to share some portraits I made earlier this year. Faye Dinsmore, one of my neighbours from back home in Donegal, in the Irish countryside, dropped by for lunch one day last spring. She had flown over for modelling work, from Dublin, where she is based, after graduating there in French and Classics at Trinity College. Faye is on the books of agencies in London, Paris and Barcelona and is looked after by Distinct Model Management in Dublin. She also recently landed a contract at Ford Models agency in New York which has seen the likes of Elle Macpherson and David Gandy on it’s books.

Faye was interested to hear about my photojournalism travel blogging and I was in turn interested to hear about her life adventures. I wanted to take Faye somewhere authentic and chose one of my favourite cultural delights in Victoria, Costa Coffee Boutique. Far from the regular Costa Coffee chain outlet, when you step inside this cafe you genuinely feel as if you’ve been transported to 1980’s Italy with beautiful ornate tiling and a glass topped bar where you can view a selection of coffee beans whilst you sip on that perfect brew!

Fitting that it is, the owner and his wife emigrated to London in the 1980’s and have never looked back since. The owner’s manner is so charming, as he slowly potters around making your coffee and food with a relaxed latin style. In central London this is a real treat, considering most people move at breakneck speed! The original retro decor matches the ambience and flavour of this wonderful little haven of culture! It’s fair to say we had a grand ole time of it chatting at a rate of ninety whilst soaking in the sunshine on that crisp cool bright day. We’d both been in touch with each other’s lives from Facebook but there’s no substitute for conversing in person. True Irish craic! A term that I explained to the world last March on Humans of New York or HONY as it’s often referred to. More on that in another blog post soon.

Faye Dinsmore, London  ©Gavin Freeborn

Faye Dinsmore, London
©Gavin Freeborn

Coming from our respective family farms and ending up in the creative urban environment, Faye living in Dublin and me in London, through our creativity we have travelled the world, but our hearts will always have a place in Donegal. Both passionate about our homeland, we chatted about Ireland’s development over the past few decades. Most interestingly we’ve seen it evolve into the tech capital of Europe, with numerous international IT companies basing their European headquarters in Dublin, including Google, Facebook, Paypal, Microsoft, Yahoo, eBay, LinkedIn, AOL and Twitter. Apple have their European HQ in Cork.

The existence and rapid growth of this industry has been one of Ireland’s major economic saving graces. Faye’s equally talented entrepreneurial fiance, Wicklow-born Paddy Cosgrave has brilliantly promoted Ireland through international networking. He is the man behind Europe’s top tech event Web Summit which brings over 20,000 of the international IT community to Dublin for a three day event. He also runs a more curated event for 200 guests called F.ounders, which brings the founders of major tech companies to an exclusive event which runs alongside the Summit. 

A lot was said in one lunch hour but of course we’re Irish so rapid conversation really wasn’t an issue for us. Faye and I are also both major fans of Irish craft especially Donegal tweed and woollen products. It’s refreshing that current fashion favors them considering the 70’s folk wear which has made a major return to the scene in the last few years alongside folk music. The international renowned Magee business is based only a few miles from our families home now run by Paddy Temple, who I photographed last summer at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh.

Faye Dinsmore, London   ©Gavin Freeborn

Faye Dinsmore, London
©Gavin Freeborn

On a recent trip home I visited Foxford Wollen Mills in Mayo, which has a fascinating history, started by a nun during famine times to help support the community. No matter how far we go from home it’s good to know that just like our old Italian friend, we will always value and celebrate the traditional roots we come from.

In a world of increasing consumerism and fast fashion I would encourage you to buy local products where possible. Most importantly buy good quality which will last and always recycle the clothes you no longer need as someone else will be glad to have them. As a child on the farm in 1980’s Ireland which was then a developing country, I certainly got excited when my older family members handed me down the clothes they grew out of…think local, think quality and think sustainability!

I made a few quick portraits of Faye at Chelsea College of Arts, coincidentally home of UAL’s TED (Textiles Environment Design)…experts and industry leaders in sustainable textile design.The first image was taken inside in the magical space that is the Old College Library. The building was previously the Royal Medical College built at the turn of the last century and opened in 1907. Considering Faye is usually seen on the cover of the Italian Vogue, Cosmopolitan and the likes it was really nice to make these natural portraits and see her pure Donegal beauty radiating on that crisp spring day. Later in summer the press reported that Faye and Paddy are so busy they hardly have time to make their wedding plans. Isn’t it great to see two such beacons of nouveau Ireland light shining out of the economy. I’m glad we got to catch up that day and who knows where in the world we’ll next cross paths!

Read more about London Fashion Week

Explore Donegal and Ireland

Follow Faye’s adventures on Instagram, Twitter and her blog

Follow Paddy on Twitter and read about the Web Summit and Founders

Shop at Magee or Foxford

Explore the Royal Highland Show, Edinburgh

Learn about Textiles Environment Design