I recently took part in a photography workshop called Dare and for our Christmas project, the participants were challenged to photograph someone they had never met before to show a ‘slice of their life’ and then portray it in 15 frames. I agreed to do it as the prospect terrified me and that was kind of the point. Charles Heslett is a reporter for BBC Radio Leeds and yesterday he very kindly allowed me to photograph him at work in the newsroom. The idea of photographing a radio journalist really appealed to me, as it’s someone with a public presence that you rarely actually ‘see’.
Although I absolutely loved the atmosphere in the newsroom and in another life I think I would have liked Charles’ job, as a photographer it was very far away from what I normally do and I found it incredibly difficult. The lighting was horrible, I felt really conspicuous as there were a lot of people wondering what I was doing there and I didn’t really know what I was and wasn’t allowed to photograph. I should have been a lot bolder than I was – I should have asked Harry Gration if I could take his picture rather than sneakily trying to do it as it walked past for the hundredth time (I even think he might have wanted me to!), I should have maybe stood on a desk to get a better shot of the whole newsroom and I should have pushed Charles to pose for a proper portrait (again, he would have, I just didn’t like to ask!). But I suppose the fact that I did something so outside my comfort zone was daring enough for me and while if I ever get to do something like this again, I have learnt some lessons that I can use then, I really enjoyed the experience. My grandfather was a newspaper photographer and journalist – he would have been a lot more comfortable yesterday than I was!
As well as doing a few vox pops on the street, Charles was working on a piece that was to be today’s lead story. It was about a pioneering operation that is being done at the Leeds General Infirmary to help children with cerebral palsy walk more easily. One of the first children to benefit, a five year old little girl, was coming home from hospital today in time for Christmas. You can hear the results of Charles’ work here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02cwfzv The piece is at 02:09:01
Massive thanks to Charles for being so sporting about having my lens pointing at him while he was trying to work. Here’s my take on what he does.