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!

2019 International Photography Awards

I’m a happy bunny! I’ve just received an honorable mention in the International Photography Awards 2019 for my set of images on ‘The Great Strahov Stadium – architectural remnants of Prague’s Communist past’ (Categories: Architecture, Historic).


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!

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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.


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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.

Rebuilding life in war-torn Bosnia and Croatia 1998.

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Bird woman, Bascarsija square in the old town, Sarajevo. 1998.

In January 1998, I was fortunate to accompany a small group of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) – Doctors without Borders, as they carried out their work in Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia. Despite the fact that this was two years after the war had ended, the images still depicted a country ripped apart by war.


Throughout the war in the former Yugoslavia, MSF ran surgery programs, distributed medical supplies and drugs to hospitals and clinics, operated mobile clinics and worked in refugee camps.


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The Médecins Sans Frontières mobile team at a make shift doctors surgery in Ostrovo, Croatia.

MSF provided health care to elderly and vulnerable populations in approximately 12 remote villages in the region until March 1998. The patients were mainly elderly Serbs.


A Catholic Croat, praying outside his bombed out home, Ostrovo, Croatia. He describes his place as “not fit for a dog to live in” 1998.



The Balkan conflict left its mark on the town of Vukovar — nicknamed ‘Croatian Stalingrad, the martyred city’. The nickname originates from being devastated by Serb-dominated army forces in the early days of Croatia’s war for independence from the ex-Yugoslavia. It suffered a three-month long siege before being captured by Serb forces in November 1991 (AKA Battle of Vukovar).

Vukovar was once proud of its ethnic diversity.  In a 1990’s survey from before the war, statistics show that roughly 23 or so ethnic groups then lived in the town. Mixed couples made up 34 per cent of all marriages. From my recent online research (2018) it is a different story, it’s a divided city. Croats and Serbs now live separate social lives.  Schools, cafes, restaurants, sports clubs and even radio stations have been re-established according to their ethnicity.



Living in a mixed family.

Vukovar, Croatia,1998




Vrbanja Bridge, Sarajevo. Re- named the Suada and Olga Bridge. On April 5, 1992 two anti-war protesters, Suada Dilberović and Olga Sučić, were killed on this bridge. They are believed to be the first victims shot at the beginning of the Siege of Sarajevo.


Romeo and Juliet Bridge, Sarajevo.

On 19th May 1993, Admira Ismić and Boško, were also killed by snipers while trying to cross the Vrbanja bridge to escape the war torn city.  Boško (Bosnian Serb) was shot by sniper fire, and died immediately.  Despite being wounded, Ismić (Bosniak Muslim) managed to crawl over to Boško before dying next to his body.

Their story was told worldwide as Serbs and Muslims argued over who was responsible for shooting them and which side should venture out on to the bridge to recover them. The couple’s bodies lay side by side on the bridge for eight days, until finally the Serbian side went in under cover of night to drag the bodies away. Muslim prisoners later claimed they were tethered by their Serbian captors and forced to go out on the bridge to drag the decaying bodies back.

Snow covered cemetery, Sarajevo, 1998

Snow covered cemetery, showing mass killings in 1993, Sarajevo, 1998

Exact figures of casualties during the Siege of Sarajevo (1992-96) are still disputed, but it is estimated that approximately 19,000 people died, 10% of them children.  Some 18,000 Serbian troops, stationed in the hills surrounding city, besieged the 340,000 citizens with constant artillery, mortar, sniper and heavy machine-gun fire. Aside from the human cost of war, the cities infrastructure also suffered greatly – buildings, roads, waterworks, power supplies. A recent report suggests that the Serb forces caused an estimated $18.5billion of damage.

Workers re-cobbling the pavement near Bascarsija square in the o

During the 1992-1995 war, Grbavica was occupied early by the Army of Republika Srpska (Bosnian Serb Army) and remained under Serb control throughout the siege. From the tall residential buildings, Serb snipers targeted the Sarajevo populace along Sniper Alley. The neighbourhood was heavily looted and destroyed.

A country destryed. A man strolls by bombed out buildings near the front line, Grbavica, Sarajevo.

Grbavica, a neighbourhood of Sarajevo was one of the most traumatised neighbourhoods in the city.



Land mines were used extensively during the war by all sides in the conflict: about 1.5 million were laid across the country between 1991-95.  In 1997, more than 600,000 refugees still remained outside the country; landmines have impeded the return of many.  Those who do return often find that their land has become a minefield.  These returning refugees have little mine awareness and having been away from their communities, they do not know the location of minefields. There are thought to be still between 51,000 and 100,000 mines covering a 310-square-mile area across the country. At least 509 people have been killed and another 1,466 wounded by the devices in Croatia since the war ended.

"Danger-Mines!' Tape warns that homes are still booby trapped with mines. Many refugees have been killed by landmines and booby traps after returning to their homes in Bosnia and Herzegovina

It is feared that the minefields will never be cleared.

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March For Our Lives. Washington DC, USA

24th March 2018

'Please don't shoot'. Three female students holding protest signs. March For Our Lives rally against gun violence  on March 24, 2018 in Washington, DC.

It’s time for change.

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Panoramic view of Pennsylvania Avenue from the rooftop terrace of The Newseum.

The older I get the faster time seems to fly.  It’s been a very long time since my last post and I’m ashamed to say that I’ve now only just got round to posting about an extremely important event that I covered at the beginning of this year in Washington DC.  March for Our Lives took place on 24th March 2018. The main event was in DC, but many other cities across the US and abroad participated.  It was estimated that some 800,000 protested in DC and a total of approx 1.2 and 2 million people demonstrated in other parts of the States, making it one of the largest youth protests in US history since the Vietnam War.

Young boy with homemade protest sign. March For Our Lives rally against gun violence  on March 24, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Events leading up to the mass protests:

  • 1st October, 2017: Mass shooting. Music Festival, Las Vegas, Nevada. 58 people killed 851 injured.
  • 5th November, 2017: Mass shooting. First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas. 26 people killed 20 injured.
  • February 14, 2018: Mass shooting. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida.  17 students/staff killed 17 injured.


America had had enough. Following these latest four mass shootings in as many months, a huge number of American’s were demanding greater gun control, including universal background checks on all gun sales, a ban on the sale of high capacity magazines and bump stocks, and raising the federal age of gun procession and ownership to 21. The horrific massacre at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School inspired student survivors to launch ‘The March For Our Lives’ campaign with the intent to convince lawmakers to address the issue of gun violence and school shootings.

On 14th February I submitted a sculpture into the Royal Academy Summer Show. Entitled  ‘Eleven years under’ it represents the 732 children (aged between 0-11) killed or injured by guns during  2017 in the USA.  As I pressed the submit button the horrific news came in of a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.  Unfortunately my piece wasn’t accepted but it did fuel a further drive within me to fly out to Washington DC to document the every growing protest and be a part of history.


The power of silence.

When Emma González, 18, (prominent activist and survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting) took to the stage, the crowds grew silent. Her speech took just six minutes and twenty seconds – the exact time it took for Nikolas Cruz to shoot her schoolmate

“Six minutes, and about 20 seconds. In a little over six minutes, 17 of our friends were taken from us, 15 more were injured, and everyone, absolutely everyone in the Douglas community was forever altered. Everyone who was there…..  understands.

Everyone who has been touched by the cold grip of gun violence understands. For us, long, tearful, chaotic hours in the scorching afternoon sun were spent not  knowing……..

For those who still can’t comprehend, because they refuse to, I’ll tell you where it went. Six feet into the ground, six feet deep. Six minutes and 20 seconds with an AR-15, and my friend Carmen would never complain to me about piano practice. Aaron Feis would never call Kyra ‘Miss sunshine,’ Alex Schachter would never walk into school with his brother Ryan, Scott Beigel would never joke around with Cameron at camp, Helena Ramsay would never hang around after school with Max, Gina Montalto would never wave to her friend Liam at lunch, Joaquin Oliver would never play basketball with Sam or Dylan. Alaina Petty would never, Cara Loughren would never, Chris Hixon would never, Luke Hoyer would never, Martin Duque Anguiano would never, Peter Wang would never, Alyssa Alhadeff would never, Jamie Guttenberg would never, Jamie Pollack would never”.  

Transcript Of Emma Gonzalez’s March For Our Lives Speech.



Emma González then fell silent for six minutes twenty seconds. The power of that silence was deafening.





“Since the time that I came out here, it has been six minutes and 20 seconds. The shooter has ceased shooting, and will soon abandon his rifle, blend in with the students as they escape, and walk free for an hour before arrest. Fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job.”  Emma González


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Following the demo, the March For Our Lives Movement embarked upon a national tour across America to educate and encourage young people to register to vote. Now, seven months later, and with the US midterm elections swiftly approaching, has the March For Our Lives movement had any effect? We will just have to wait, see and pray.


Enough is enough!

To see more images click here

March For Our Lives




“Today we remember with sorrow, with grief, with tears” Grenfell memorial service at St Paul’s.

Remembering those who died. An emotional memorial service held a

“Today we remember with sorrow, with grief, with tears. Today we ask why warnings were not heeded, why a community was left feeling neglected, uncared for, not listened to. Today we hold out hope that the public inquiry will get to the truth of all that led up to the fire at Grenfell Tower…and we trust that the truth will bring justice.” Graham Tomlin, Bishop of Kensington,


On 14th December, exactly six months after the catastrophic fire that destroyed Grenfell Tower, mourners gathered on the steps of St Paul’s after attending a memorial service. Some held white roses, other clutched onto photographs of loved ones who had lost their lives.

Armed police outside St Paul’s Cathedral


Raymond Bernard, known as Moses to his friends, died in the fire aged 63. IMG_0227“Gone but not forgotten, you are so dearly loved by us all and will be sadly missed by many. May you rest in eternal peace, with love always” Raymond Bernard’s family



Held together in collective grief.


“In this service we come together as people of different faiths and none, as we remember before God those whose lives were lost, and pray for them to be at peace; as we are alongside brothers and sisters who have lost their homes and their community and those they love; as we commit ourselves to care for each other and to be united in the face of suffering and sorrow; as we seek each other’s help and resolve to build on our hopes for a future in which the tragedy that struck the people of Grenfell Tower will never happen again,”   David Ison, Dean of St Paul’s