Two years ago I was made redundant from the large advertising agency I'd been working at for the previous 14 years. It wasn't a surprise, clients had been leaving the building in droves as they took their work in house or to smaller and therefor cheaper agencies. Redundancy was also something I'd been holding out for. I'd wanted to make a new start as a photographer for a while and I knew that the pay off would help cushion that move.
I'm lucky enough to live in a basement flat in Brunswick Square, on the seafront in Brighton (Hove actually). Its a stunning Regency development of Grade 1 listed, stucco fronted buildings, all of which are painted in a shade of yellow known as Hove Cream. With a cursory glance, you'd think the buildings were identical but the frontages were designed in groups of three or four, with subtle changes between them all.
Having lived a commuter's life for all my time living here, I hadn't had the chance to meet many of my neighbours. Now I was working from home, I wanted to remedy that. I was brought up in villages and I had romantic notions of being able to say hello to everyone I met.
Piggybacking on a Facebook group that had been set up for the Square, I sent a call out for a new portrait project using a picture of David Hockney's "Mr and Mrs Clark with Percy" as visual reference. Three people initially responded and as I posted pictures back on the Facebook group, more people quickly got involved.
I've now shot 35 portraits in the series, made many friends and picked up a few commissions on the way. There are roughly 350 flats in the square so although my dream of being able to say hello to everyone is a long way off, I certainly feel like I belong here.