black and white

From the archives

New York 1989 -Ladder 24

In 1987 while photographing in NY, I came across the tail end of a fire. Having missed the action, I chatted with the firemen.

Back in London, I contacted the brigade and arrange to document the daily life of ‘Ladder 24’. Everything was secured for October 1989 as I was already flying over to cover election night at the Smithsonian where vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle was scheduled to appear.

Now what are the odds of spending days and nights with the NY fire brigade and not be called to a fire? Apparently, it was unheard of, only false call outs and minor incidents! I was seen as a lucky mascot personally keeping New Yorkers safe for those few days!

I think it could be time for a re-visit!

The photographer at work!

13th Annual Black & White Spider Awards

A great way to start 2019 with the news that two of my images from Bosnia/Croatia have won awards! The images were taken yonks ago…way back in 1998, two years after the war had ended.

In this year’s Black & White Spider Awards there were 6,404 entries from 77 countries so very honoured to have been selected!

Blood pressure

Honorable Mention in the Photojournalism category. “The Aftermath of War” Medic’s (MSF) helping the elderly & vulnerable, Croatia. Two years after the War had ended, 1998.


Bird woman

Nominee in the People category. “Bird woman” Feeding the pigeons, Bascarsija square in the old town, Sarajevo. 1998.

To view other images from the series CLICK here

The live online gala was attended by over 17,000 photography fans around the globe who logged on to watch the climax of the industry’s most important event for black and white photography.

“Once again, another stunning collection of high quality entries both professional and amateur. It’s always inspiring to see this classic medium being stretched into new and interesting directions.” Said juror Marcel Wijnen, Creative Director at Anthem Worldwide/Marque Branding in Sydney. Cultural Heritage Consultant Andrea de Polo from Fratelli Alinari Photography Museum in Florence added “The quality of work is incredible and for the jury selecting the best images is very hard work.”

“It’s an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 6,404 entries we received this year” said Basil O’Brien, the awards Creative Director. “Jacky Chapman’s images entered in the Photojournalism and People categories, represents black and white photography at its finest.”

BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS is the leading international award honouring excellence in black and white photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honours the finest images with the highest achievements in black and white photography.

‘A picture’s worth a thousand words.’ The British Life Photography awards.

Last night saw the opening of the 2nd British Life Photography awards at the Mall Galleries, London. The Gallery was packed and the photos, which celebrated British life in all of its many splendid ways, looked fantastic!

‘The British Life Photography Awards is a showcase for contemporary and imaginative images that capture the essence and spirit of British life, documenting real life through original, illuminating, thought provoking, humorous and poignant imagery’. Maggie Gowan BLPA Director.

I’m delighted to say that my image below was highly commended and hung on the gallery wall. All of the images are in the book (British Life Photography Awards Portfolio published by Dewi Lewis Publishing –Book).


Highly Commended in the Historic Britain Category.

City boy London 1989

A Future so bright…Young professional donning braces and shades. Photographed in 1989 towards the end of the ‘Yuppie’ era. The 1980’s saw the growth of the middle class and the creation of a large group of young urban professionals. I took this picture because of the play between the young confident male and the iconic image of John Wayne in the background. London, 1989.


Ascot Ladies Day

During 1986, I documented Britain’s diverse social classes. Royal Ascot (dating back to 1711) and the Royal enclosure were obvious candidates. I attended on the third day (traditionally Ladies Day) where fancy hats, formal day dresses, top hats and tails are the order of the day.

In the Portraiture Category

Father and son

This was one of the final images from the photo-shoot. I sought to capture the simplicity of two forms, showing tenderness and a loving bond between father and son, with no faces for distraction. Once shot, the image reminded me of Bill Brandt’s dynamic Nudes on the beach. As Brandt once said “…the lens produced anatomical images and shapes which my eyes had never observed”.

Jeremy John Irons (born 19 September 1948) English actor

This was one of those nail-biting photo shoots where the journalist and I were given only a few minutes with Irons during his lunch break whilst he was in rehearsals. The result? A hand full of frames and an awful lot of praying! (Shot for the Times Educational Supplement). London, 1996.

BBC News online coverage

The exhibition showing some of the best work runs from 7 – 13 March 2016 at Mall Galleries, London. Mall Galleries


10th Annual Black & White Spider Awards

Delighted to be a nominee in not one, but two categories of the 10th Annual Black and White Spider Awards 2015.

In the ‘People’ category, an oldie, taken way back in 1987, but still amongst my all-time favourite images – the solitary businessman walking purposefully across Brooklyn Bridge, New York. Since my background is embedded in graphic design, I feel that this image sums up everything I strive to achieve in my photography — strong composition, the play with light and the use of shadows.

Brooklyn bridge, New York, USA

Brooklyn bridge New York USA

My second image Shooting, Oaxaca, Mexico shot almost 10 years later in 1996 was nominated in the category ‘Photojournalism.’ This was taken while I was in Mexico shooting for a charity working with street children in Oaxaca. It’s probably my most haunting image I’ve taken. Paul Hill in his book “Approaching Photography” second edition 2004 used this image in his photojournalism section.

“The sensitivity  and compassion displayed by photojournalists whilst under physical and mental stress has been the hallmark of the best exponents in this field. In this picture of a fatally sot man in Mexico, the photographer not only records the tragic event, she harrowingly reflects the cost of a senseless act to his grieving family” Quote by Paul Hill

Murder, Oaxaca, Mexico

Murder, Oaxaca, Mexico

Black & White Spider Awards

Blast from the past. Part 1

Second blog posted …..very exciting!

In-between commissions, invoices, accounts, twitter, submitting images to stock libraries, personal projects…endless cups of tea, you know… the normal everyday life of a freelancer…I’ve also started scanning in all the millions of b/w negatives that are piled high in the attic filing cabinets.

First day of scanning I felt quite positive…3 weeks later now it feels like a mammoth undertaking and one that I may never finish!

Anyway taking it in tiny baby steps,  I have just finished archiving a commission for a children’s charity in 1994.

Staggering, please don’t remind me that it was 21 years ago!!

The job took me to St Petersburg, a fascinating city, steeped with history and culture. But it was here that I also witnessed real poverty and economic hardships. Empty shop windows displayed only a few items; massive communist blocks loomed on the horizon – where lifts were constantly out-of-order. The streets, especially around the train station, were lined with beggars and crime rates soared.

Even so, St Petersburg made a monumental impression on me. The people I met, often struggling against all odds, welcomed with open arms, a young photographer from London.

Click to see more

Begging on the streets near railway station  St Petersburg, Russia

Begging on the streets near railway station.
St Petersburg, Russia 1994

Hospital for abandoned children. St Petersburgh Russia

Hospital for abandoned children. St Petersburg, Russia 1994

Milk queue Not because of lack of milk but because its fresh from farm and cheaper than in shops. Comes everyday.  St Petersburg, Russia

Milk queue.
Not because of lack of milk but because it’s fresh from the farm and cheaper than in shops. Deliveries everyday.
St Petersburg, Russia 1994

Street scene St Petersburg, Russia

Street scene, Communist blocks.
St Petersburg, Russia 1994

Child poverty. Single baby sitting alone. St Petersburgh Russia

Child poverty. St Petersburg, Russia 1994