Many thanks to Feng Gu at The China Photography Association for featuring my work in their magazine. Here is a translation of the interview : 1 Could you tell me your experiences in photography? I studied photography at Salisbury College of Art before moving to London to work for four years as an apprentice, mainly to the music and portrait photographer Mike Owen; he introduced me to the legendary surrealist photographer Angus McBean whom I also had the pleasure of working with. I set up on my own in 1990. 2 Introduce your job of commercial photography? Do you take documentary photography now? How do you deal with the relationship of commercial photography and documentary photography? Most of my commercial work comes via A&R Creative Agency – a wonderful team who have represented me for 25 years. I am regularly commissioned for fashion, beauty, lifestyle and portraiture assignments - recent clients include NBC/The Bi-Life, Triumph, Elle Germany and Stella Telegraph magazine. I am also known for my portrait photography. My work has been selected for both catalogue cover and poster campaign for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize at The National Portrait Gallery London; and I have won the AOP best in category award for portraiture at the Association of Photographer’s Awards. Recent sittings include the Olympian athlete Tessa Sanderson CBE, the MP Dr.Rosena Allin-Khan, Buddhist nun Emma Slade, the girl band Bananarama, and Ayda Field Williams. I am considering working on a new documentary project, but nothing has been decided upon yet. 3 What is the Greenham Common Peace Camp? Could you introduce it to our Chinese readers? Greenham Common is a former British RAF (Royal Air Force) base. During the Cold War period in the 1980s the British government allowed American nuclear missiles to be installed there. Many people were outraged at this act and a group of women demonstrators made a peaceful protest by walking 100 miles from Wales to Greenham Common. The number of protestors eventually grew into thousands and Peace Camps were set up encircling the base and became women-only. Their mission, to peacefully disrupt the movement and deployment of nuclear missiles. 4 Did you join it? Tell some stories about it and you? I was a photography student during the mid-1980s and visited the Peace Camp for my final year project. I stayed at Greenham for a couple of weeks during a very cold winter - sleeping under tarpaulin, eating donated food and wearing donated clothes. Every morning police and bailiffs would evict us from the site, and as soon as they had left we would return to relight the campfire for warmth, tea, talk and songs; and some women would plot and plan and eventually by nightfall would cut through the wire fence that surrounded the base, and often be arrested found sitting alongside a nuclear missile. 5 When you shot these photos of COMMON PEOPLE did you you think there will be an exhibition of your work 30 years later? No, not at all, the pictures have been stored in my negative files until only last year. 6 What do you want to convey through these photos? My pictures mainly show quiet, domestic life at the Peace Camp. I realise now that this vision is possibly unique, as by excluding all men from the camps would have also meant excluding most photographers, as photography at that time was very much male dominated. 7 How do you think the photography experiences affected your later photography career? As a student I was interested in both documentary and fashion photography. As a professional photographer I fell into working in the fashion industry as I was inspired by the photographers, mainly fashion photographers, whom I had assisted. In recent years I have been working towards more portrait commissions as I like to show a reality and truth in my work. Re-visiting my Greenham pictures has made me reconsider my early thoughts on documentary photography and I am now looking for new ways I can take this forward in my career. 8 What do you think about as a woman photographer in shooting beauty, fashion,lifestyle photography? I believe that whatever genre of photography I choose to work in – beauty, fashion, lifestyle, portraiture, documentary etc - my creative style as a photographer is as individual and unique as the personality of any photographer, regardless of gender. 9 How many years do you take photography as a career? And How do you keep your passion alive in photography? Next year I will be celebrating thirty years as a professional photographer. The advent of digital cameras was definitely a moment that boosted my passion for photography – I often prefer to work with daylight, so the extra film and shutter speeds combined with auto-focusing allowed me to push the boundaries of my vision. 10 Could you give some advice to our readers about how to take a nice photo? A ‘nice’ photograph doesn’t have to be technically perfect, but I think it does have to convey something of a message to it’s audience. There is usually a reason for taking a photograph so it is important that your audience understands the message or story you are trying to convey. Photography like art is only ‘nice’ if the viewer believes it to be so. I always question my own work by asking myself “Is it real..?” “do I believe..?”. COMMON PEOPLE can be seen at the Greenham Common Control Tower until this Saturday 9th March.