Marjorie & Me

So I’ve been travelling at a fairly rapid pace these past few months, through Japan, Singapore, England, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Ireland. I’ve been zipping across the British Isles visiting family and friends. Of course, throughout this time I have continued to take quite a few photographs which I will be blogging here retrospectively.

Japan was a phenomenal cultural experience, a truly alien experience and yet wonderful! I made some fantastic friends for life there and hope to return one day. I’m working on a photo essay of Japan which I will post a link to soon.

Eastern Europe was great but my time there was short, taking in three countries in one week with my younger brother Stu who I absolutely love travelling with. We spent two months travelling SE Asia together at the very start of this blog. You can look back to the archives for November and December if you haven’t already seen this.

It’s been quite the experience returning to the UK and Ireland with refreshed spirit and eyes. I have some beautiful moments to share from this time too.

I’m currently staying on Amhurst Road, Hackney in a friend’s apartment for three weeks whilst she’s on holiday. I’m living on a 44p reduced IKG Sourdough bread and using my friend’s girls vintage Olympics bicycle to explore the creative and edgy East End with a view to living here for a while.

The other evening I cycled up to Homerton Hospital to the NHS walk-in centre to see a doctor as my recent chest infection morphed into a sinus infection (all part of travelling fatigue..typically you get sick as soon as you rest for a while)…afterwards I cycled through Clapton, Stamford Hill, Stoke Newington, Church Street, Clissold Park and Dalston and it’s certainly quite the neighbourhood here!

As I was cycling round Dalston I spotted a characterful old lady and stopped to chat with her. During the hour I spent in the bus shelter with 86yr old Marjorie (my new girlfriend) we talked about her life here over the past 50yrs in London, travelling from Trinidad on a boat and living in a basement with 20 people, pregnant and in her early twenties during the race riots, going dancing in Stoke Newington Town Hall and watching shows in the famous Hackney Empire Theatre, plus raising a family throughout all of this!

I had stopped and asked if I could make Marjorie’s portrait using Instagram on my iPhone and was pleasantly surprised when she suggested we sit down and have that chat. Afterwards I asked if I could return to make Marjorie’s portrait with my SLR camera one day and next time I intend to do her full justice with a fully professional image which I will share here and hope to make part of The Freeborn Travelling Portrait exhibition one day.

Although I am back in England and some would say I have finished travelling however I would disagree because I feel I can continue to travel every day. It’s people like Marjorie who are the reason I started this blog and the reason the project will continue now that I have wifi and I’m “a little” more settled.

So watch this space and pass on my blog to everyone you think might be interested. I intend to share my travels retrospectively and give you highlights of London’s most interesting people, places and culture!

My presence…in Festival and Portrait Heaven!

“You Should Consider Having Sex with a Bearded Man!”

So, I’m in Japan and crazy busy touring but my absence from blogging has been because of many hosts and many festivals plus little access to wifi! Check this festival out that I made a photo documentary of in Australia recently…Right I’m dashing off out in Osaka heading towards Kyoto for the day but I hope you can take the time to have a cup of tea or a beer and sit back to experience this amazing festival in it’s 20th year in Apollo Bay. Press Slideshow on the top right and enjoy. Please feel free to feedback and I have a number of other documentaries and hosts to blog about once I emerge from being completely emerged in Japanese culture!

For the amazing band of brothers The Beards (who I ended up merrily leading in Christmas Carol singing on the street in Apollo Bay)…it’s HILARIOUS!

Sam Brown

Samantha Brown (Sam), is a friend from Leeds where I used to live. When we both found out we’d be in Sydney at the same time as she was relocating to work as an Accountant, we’d said that we’d catch up for a drink. Little did we know that she would be living less than a minutes walk from where I happened to be staying with Don. She came round and I made us all Chai and Don cooked the most wonderful curry…photos to follow. It was lovely to be able to introduce Sam to one of her new neighbours so she’d have a friendly face in the area.

A Jumping Portrait of the Brave and Adventurous folk who took part in Sydney No Pants Subway 2012!

"JUMP!"

“JUMP!”

Karen and Judy, Cantabrians in traditional Red & Black in front of one of Christchurch’s many containers

As Nick and I walked towards a cafe I spotted this eye-catching pale blue shipping container and had an urge to make a portrait with it as the background. I quickly looked around and spotted two ladies walking up the footpath. I could instantly envision their red & black Cantabrian colours in contrast to the blue container so I stepped back and asked them if they’d mind standing in for a portrait. They were more than obliging and I thought it made the perfect finish to my day documenting the anniversary of 22.2 a year on. I will spend another week in the area and hope to continue meeting inspirational people and hearing their stories. The people of Christchurch are quite remarkable in terms of the spirit in their community. An Irish blessing on them! May they grow in strength from day to day! If you are thinking of visiting please do…you will be astounded by the city and it’s inhabitants…

If you want to gain a further appreciation of the events of the past 18 months you should watch this movie by the very talented and adventurous Gerard Smyth http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIlxoV6uG3Q

Cracks in a damaged building by Hagley Park, Christchurch

A river of flowers in remembrance on the Avon

Finding the balance between remembering the past and looking forward positively