The Sunday Times ran a feature on Project Natick at the weekend, with my photography.
Project Natick is Microsoft’s research into the feasibility of an underwater datacentre
A sealed vessel on the ocean floor does not have any of the issues that the equivalent land datacenter does, with corrosion from oxygen and humidity, temperature fluctuations, and bumps plus jostles from technicians who monitor and replace broken components.
Project Natick also supports Microsoft’s sustainability goals with the vessel in Orkney consuming no water for cooling and being powered by renewable energy sources.
Photobanks was assigned to photograph, film and drone the retrieval of the underwater vessel.
I was presented with the 15th Annual Black and White Spider Awards honourable mention in two categories at this year’s Winners PhotoShow, receiving the official email today.
The live online gala was attended by industry leaders and the photography community from around the globe who logged on to watch the climax of the world's premier event for black and white photography.
Bernardino Castro, Director at Portuguese Center of Photography (CPF), Porto said "The amazing quality of the images in the competition made it very difficult to select the winners. I would like to reinforce the relevance and impact of Black & White Spider Awards as a mobilizing agent in promoting the production and dissemination of excellent photography at an international level."
"It's an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 6,378 entries from 69 countries we received this year" said Basil O'Brien, the awards Creative Director.
BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS is the leading international award honouring excellence in black and white photography. www.thespiderawards.com
Earlier this year I was assigned to photograph Project Breathe for Microsoft. Project Breathe is a smartphone-based solution which allows people with cystic fibrosis to monitor their health at home with devices that measure key indicators such as lung function, blood oxygen levels and activity. That data is then stored in the cloud and can be accessed by clinicians on a dashboard using Power BI, Microsoft’s data visualisation platform, to look for trends and determine when patients are becoming unwell. By tracking their own data, patients can intervene earlier and potentially head off serious, lung-damaging infections.
The solution was developed through a consortium involving Microsoft, the U.K.-based Cystic Fibrosis Trust, the University of Cambridge, Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, Microsoft Research and Magic Bullet.
I wanted to capture the human side of the project and show how the tech was improving people’s lives. The problem was that as we were discussing the photography the world changed and the UK went into lockdown. How do you photograph during a pandemic which is shielding the most vulnerable, when the assignment requires photographing people with cystic fibrosis in various locations including hospitals?
There was an initial thought that we should postpone the story but then realised that the lockdown was not going away and that Project Breathe became even more important to capture. The fundamental concept of the idea was to reduce hospital visits and try and have each person monitor, understand, and manage their condition.
The pandemic meant that there was a new risk to anyone visiting a hospital with cystic fibrosis, and hospitals were now under great pressure to reduce visits that were not Covid 19 related.
I spent time talking with everyone involved to learn as much as I could about how they were part of Project Breathe, and in the cases of those with cystic fibrosis, how they were using the tech.
It was an incredibly inspiring project to photograph and I enjoyed spending time with everyone involved. I have also been pleased at the initial response with a great retweet and comment from Satya Nadella
To read the full article -
I am often asked “How many photos does it take to capture a “good” one?” As though the more photos you take increases your chances of capturing something iconic. Some would argue that in a way the more photos you take the more experience you gain, the more technically competent you become, and the more creative you push yourself.
I would agree that by taking more photos you are honing your craft and therefore working harder to capture something special. However, I don’t believe that the above question is asking how you develop your creative side to capture an award-winning image. I understand it as a statement about a monkey and a typewriter. This is of course the old theory that if you take enough monkeys and typewriters and set them to work, eventually one of them will produce the complete works of Shakespeare.
In the run up to the Siena International Photography Awards I thought it would be interesting to show the images surrounding my award-winning photo.
I am often ‘in the moment’ when photographing so it is only afterwards that I understand how I arrive at the final image.
I always favour photos that when I look at them there is no formula. There is no algorithm to construct what I am seeing whether that is the raw emotion of a person or the aesthetic “balance” of the picture.
The photo was taken in Liberia for the peace organisation “International Alert”. I was awarded “Photographer of the year” in 2019 by Siena International Photography Awards. Whilst the award ceremony has been cancelled this year, winners will be announced on the 24 October 2020. Good luck to all the shortlisted photographers.