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!

Let us remember……14.2.18

February 14th, 2018.

As we all go about our daily lives today, let us remember the 17 lives lost in the tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida.

March For Our Lives, Washington DC, 2018

March for Our Lives, Washington D.C. (March 24, 2018)



March for Our Lives was among the biggest youth-led protests since the Vietnam War era, with an estimated 800,000 turn out.

It is now time to end this violence and to stop all the unnecessary deaths caused by guns. 

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




Rejected AGAIN! Royal Academy Summer Exhibition


732 children (age 0-11) killed or injured in the USA in 2017. Source:  Gun Violence Archives

Data sourced from  the Gun Violence Archive and the Guardian. Photo and sculpture ©Jacky Chapman

This year’s theme for the Royal Academy summer show is ‘Art Made Now’.

“Fellow artists! 2018 marks the 250th anniversary of the Royal Academy, so the Summer Exhibition will celebrate a quarter of a millennium of artistic innovation. As coordinator, I have decided that the theme of the show will be ‘Art Made Now’. I want to champion the democracy of the exhibition and show off the diversity of art being made in this moment, so I encourage you to submit works that you have made in 2017/18″. Grayson Perry

My piece was submitted just hours before the horrific news came in of a mass shooting  at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on 14th February 2018. Seventeen students and teachers were killed and seventeen more were wounded, making it one of the world’s worst school massacres.

732 children (age 0-11) killed or injured in the USA in 2017. Source:  Gun Violence Archives

Data sourced from the Gun Violence Archive and the Guardian. Photo and sculpture ©Jacky Chapman

Despite my sculpture being very much of the moment, it was still rejected by the ‘great and the good’ tasked with judging this years entries.

The inspiration for the piece came from two sources. So my thanks go out to them:  firstly, to the Gun Violence Archive  — a not-for-profit corporation formed in 2013 to provide free online public access to accurate information about gun-related violence in the United States; and secondly to Aliza Aufrichtig who wrote an article in 2017 for the Guardian Mapping US gun murders at a micro level: new data zooms in on violence .

Entitled  ‘Eleven years under’ it represents the 732 children (aged between 0-11) killed or injured by guns during  2017 in the USA. This isn’t about drugs, gangs or mental illness, but about gun ownership and guns ending up in the hands of the innocent.

732 children (age 0-11) killed or injured in the USA in 2017. Source:  Gun Violence Archives

Data sourced from  the Gun Violence Archive and the Guardian. Photo and sculpture ©Jacky Chapman



It’s not just an arm…

The Arm of John S Motley 1894

The arm of John S Motley, Motley Cemetery, Mesquite, Dallas Co, Texas USA

Ever so often one comes across “odd” things to photograph – how about the grave of an arm and a foot?
Now don’t tell me that’s not intriguing!
Far from being earth shattering award winning images, they do however have an interesting story to tell….
Whilst photographing in Dallas Texas, I was guided around the 150 year old Motley family cemetery in Mesquite, Texas.

In 1856, Zachariah and Mary Motley moved their family of 10 children from Kentucky to Texas. They led a convoy of 37 wagons and were one of the very few families to bring slaves with them.

The Motleys were one of the founding families of Mesquite and until the 1950s -60s the old homestead was still occupied. The house however was destroyed by fire through vandalism and the land was then apparently donated/sold and in the early 1970’s Eastfied College was built.

The cemetery can still be found on the college campus. Within it there are unmarked graves believed to be slave graves but what’s really intriguing are the graves of an arm of John S Motley and a foot of G. C Motley.

The graveyard containing the remains of the right arm of John Motley, who at the age of 17, apparently severed his arm in gin machinery in Reinhardt, Texas. The arm was amputated by a local doctor and then placed in a box and buried in the family cemetery. “One armed John” proceeded to then experience what doctors now call “phantom limb syndrome” complaining that ants were stinging his amputated arm. In an attempt to appease him, the family exhumed the arm from the plot and indeed witnessed the arm engulfed in crawling ants. The limb was re-sealed in an airtight box from the blacksmith shop and was buried for a second time. The phantom limb experience ceased and John Motley died in 1925 at the age of 48.

The Foot of G.C Motley Texas, 1911

The Foot of G C Motley, Motley Cemetery, Mesquite, Dallas Co, Texas, USA

Now the foot… Grover Cleveland ‘Cleve’ Motley, another grandson of Zachariah, lost his foot after it was entwined in the stirrup of a runaway horse in 1911. Another amputation and another unusual gravestone!