On the road in Big Sur

"Sur La Route de la Liberte” for Marie Claire, France

These are the women who’ve thrown in the towel on the nine to five, hitched trailers shaped like silver bullets to their pickups and headed west. Here they roam the range like later day cowgirls, searching for something. Not least liberte, sororite et autonomie......

Amie Sykes quit her job as a para-legal in Austin, Texas fifteen years ago and puts it like this, “As I drove north, I knew that the city never looked as good as it did at that moment … in the rearview mirror.

.......I had been like like a bird in a cage. I bought a huge pink pickup truck which I called “Large Marge”. Then I began to comb the flea markets of Texas with a trailer on the back. I didn’t plan it but I started dealing in junk. I just bought stuff and fixed it up to sell.”

Rolling along in “Large Marge”, Amie and Jolie lived a dream and in doing so built up a business that turns over more than a million dollars a year.

“There’s a romance to the road. To wake at dawn in the cold, pull on a parka and warm gloves, listen to the roar of the motor and feel the tremble of the caravan. The world belongs to you and you’re free.”

The People's Vote March, London 2018

The People's Vote March, London 2018

The People's Vote March, London 2018

Protest! Exhibition at BW5 Gallery, Netherlands.

It began like this. One day in January 2015 a funereal black block flatly stating “Je Suis Charlie”, began to displace all those little icons of hope and aspiration as the profile pictures of my Facebook friends. As a response to the attack on Charlie Hebdo it felt somehow futile. But it didn’t stop there. On the 13th of November that year, inexplicably, the profile pictures were changing again to the Tricolor, as fast as wildfire, as fast as a computer virus.

The protests were visceral. La Place de la Republic resembled a Delacroix and the killings at the Bataclan was an attack against us, an attack against the kids, an attack against innocence. Even if France has an enduring tradition of public protest, only rarely do the “bourges” hit the streets (‘pace’ soixante-huitards). But they protested across the country that night and across the country during the following days.

Now it seems the middle classes are rarely off the streets, and like the Anti-Trump Women’s march which I photographed in Amsterdam these protests are often organised worldwide.

A school shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida on 14th of February triggered one of the largest protests in US history when an estimated 1.2 to 2 million people turned out for 800 rallies countrywide for March For Our Lives, which I also covered, to make the seemingly modest demand that background checks be conducted on gun sales and the restoration of the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban.

The People’s Vote March, and the focus of this exhibition, brought 700,000 people on to the streets of London to demand a further referendum following the June 2016 vote which mandated the UK to quit the European Union. As the crowd gathered, the atmosphere was gentle, more like that of a very big village fete than what is was in reality; a red in tooth and claw attempt to wrench the levers of power from prime minister May. Clearly these well-mannered family people, these teachers, lawyers, doctors and nurses were not the usual protesting type. An unspoken thought reverberated through the air, “If I’m protesting, then things must be really bad!”.

March For Our Lives, Portland 2018

Anti Trump Women's March, Amsterdam, 2016

City Bikes, Portland

The Woodman's, Portland

Doug Fir Lounge, Portland

"Portland - Un Autre Style de Ville", for Marie Claire Maison, France.

Portland is a place where you can get an avant-garde donut, dusted with pepto-bismal, go zoobombing ....and you’ll probably end up with a tattoo. It’s a magnet for musicians and sucks in chefs from around the country.

" ....it is an effervescent experiment which all urbanists on the planet should visit. Green, festive, creative almost self-sufficient...... if tomorrow's cities resemble this one we’re going to be ok." (Marie Odile Briet)

Tattoo parlour, Portland

Antique store, Portland

Food Truck, Portland

"New Portland Revisited"

”Portland Oregon, used to be the place 25 year olds went to retire, the New York Times once claimed, but as Zia McCabe, key board player for The Dandy Warhols, explains, “Before you had all the time in the world to be a hedonist, but that’s more difficult now in the new more polished Portland”.

As the final episode of Portlandia aired in April 2018, I travelled to the city as guest of TravelPortland, wondering whether the new more upmarket Portland still had its mojo now that the young dudes have had to buckle down – I needn’t have worried. Reeling with jet lag just off the afternoon flight from Amsterdam, Zia rendered me speechless when she brightly suggested a visit to a sex club – right now, this evening, “I’ll put your name on the door”, she says, like she’s inviting me to go ten pin bowling. “But don’t worry, I’m the DJ”, and “the Sanctuary’s vibe will be pretty much Burning Man, sex positive, consent based, and with no shaming”.

Portland is a quirky frontier town and survival in a place where every barista has a masters can be tricky. One option is to become part of the city’s thriving community of makers and creators. I spent a few days in their company – the poets and musicians, the potters and cooks, the kombucha brewers and comedians who are bringing the future to new Portland.

The Grilled Cheese Grill, Northeast Alberta Street

Custom neon, Portland

Portland food truck

Sign writing, Portland

Aberavon Beach under the Port Talbot steel works, Wales


“….. Aberavon is not the sort of place you would expect to find a thriving surf spot, Close under the chimneys and the smoke stacks of Port Talbot’s steel works, a stone’s throw from the “Sandfields” one of Britain’s most deprived housing estates it was less California Dreamin’ than Blade Runner. But in the 70s we found a fast left hand wave there that, at high tide and on a SE wind, usually in winter, broke towards the pier. We added it to our repertoire of surf spots, and frankly included it as part of our birth right as members of the “Gower Bays Surf Club”. Our zone of operations stretched from there to Freshwater West in Pembroke. With some justification, since the only other surfing population at the time was in Cornwall.

So, it was with some surprise, in the 90s that I heard that anyone from Langland, our beach near Mumbles had been barred from the break. At the time, I was living in Ireland, so it didn’t have much practical effect on me, but still as I say, I was surprised. The dilapidated Aberavon seafront, had by then won the nickname “Little Beirut”, because it had become more a forlorn concrete dystopia, than an aspiring holiday resort. The ban, however, was placed firmly at the feet of “Beefy”, who, it was said, had claimed the beach as his fiefdom. Such behaviour is not unheard of, in surfing. Famously the Hawaiian black shorts don’t allow haoles surf their waves. Many years later, during one of my visits to Wales I wondered what had happened in the end, whether Beefy’s embargo held and whether Aberavon was still a no-go zone.

Beefy had disappeared. No-one knew where to, but bits and pieces of the story were known. Beefy was a bare-knuckle fighter, who it was known, fought for money behind the Avon Lido, the Olympic sized swimming pool that had been built in more optimistic times. These were skills that obviously came in handy to marshal his beach. But Beefy’s downfall came after the “great ice cream van” heist.

The story goes like this; Beefy and an associate approached the ice cream van and demanded the takings. The ice cream van man, aware of the bare-knuckle issue, made no overt complaint but promptly handed over the money. However, as the get-away car took off he did manage to note down the number. Beefy had used his own car.

A few days later, five policemen came to arrest Beefy. All accounts mention that the weather was cold, even for February, and that Beefy successfully fought off the five policemen on the banks of the river Neath. He then dived into the river, at the time spectacularly polluted, swam across the freezing river, and made his escape.

The trail then goes cold, for a number of years. Until word come back to South Wales that Beefy is bare-knuckle fighting for a Gambian warlord, like "Nicky Chevotarevich” in The Deer Hunter. Unfortunately, this can’t last and Beefy falls out with the warlord and is compelled to return to Britain, where he is arrested on arrival at the airport to serve his three year sentence for the ice cream heist and battering the policemen.

And then the trail goes cold again. Where’s Beefy….?

Looking out to sea from Port Talbot, Wales

Aberavon beach, Wales

Tata Steel, Port Talbot, Wales

Looking towards the Sandfields Estate, Port Talbot, Wales

Pendleton Roundup, Oregon

"5 Bonnes Raison de Decouvert Oregon"

I've shot a number of travel stories - from New Zealand to the Basque country - here's Oregon for Marie Claire, France.

Devil's Lake, Oregon

Shrimp fisherman, Newport, Oregon

Devil's Lake, Oregon

Pendleton Roundup, Oregon

Newport, Oregon

Ocean Beach

Pictures for OB Creatures by Eddy Rubin, San Francisco

“Things happen at Ocean Beach. And Ocean Beach is different, a little forgotten, even sometimes a little unloved. Behind it, out of sight, over the hill, sweeps the grand amphitheatre of The Bay Area. Home to seven million people, one of the most densely populated places in the USA and the hub and driver of the latest iteration of the industrial revolution, the information revolution. At San Francisco’s city limits Ocean Beach turns its back on the great conurbation and resolutely faces the sea..." Eddy Rubin

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach

El Colacho

El Colacho

In Castrillo de Murcia, Burgos, Spain, at Corpus Christi, grown men dressed all in yellow leap over tiny babies, in one of the lesser known Spanish fiestas. The yellow man, El Colacho, represents the devil and it is believed that when he jumps over a baby it will be cleansed of it's original sin. The festival probably has pagan origins, but one thing is sure, in order to qualify, as an infant, you must be less than twelve months old.

Prior to the baby jumping, El Colacho, parades the streets of the small village accompanied by phalanx of worthy men, "the confraternity", who adopt a sombre manner. El Colacho meanwhile, strikes doleful poses before suddenly beating bystanders with his whip made of horsehair all the while clacking an oversized pair of castanets.

El Colacho chases

El Colacho jumps

El Colacho chases

El Colacho jumps

El Colacho in doleful mode

El Atabalero

Relief surges over the runners as the escoba pass them by.

Running with the bulls, Estafeta, Pamplona, Spain

In Estafeta, at first, although nothing can be seen, fear jolts through the crowd like electricity. Rapidly the mass parts like a shoal of predated baitfish, as people press themselves to the sides of the narrow medieval street. Suddenly they’re here, the big shouldered thick necked black fighting bulls, advancing at speed on the cobbles, strings of mucus flying from their nostrils, heavy hooves clattering. One man stands out; running closer to the bulls than anyone else, upright and with some elegance dressed in a buttoned dress shirt...

Then it’s over. Instantaneously. Eight hundred and seventy-five metres takes only two minutes and thirty seconds from the firing of the first rocket to the fourth siren, announcing the arrival and the corralling of the bulls in the arena.

PETA protesters in the Plaza Consistorial, Pamplona, Spain

Close to the bulls in Calle de la Estafeta, Pamplona, Spain

Running with the the bulls in Calle de la Estafeta, Pamplona, Spain

4am in the Cafe Iruna - Hemingway's favourite bar

Below a selection of news pictures

May Day Protest, Amsterdam, Netherlands

PETA protest against the running of the bulls, Pamplona, Spain

Sex workers protest in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Sex workers protest in Amsterdam, Netherlands


Role reversal as police protest in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Sadiq Khan, People's Vote March, London


King Willem-Alexanderand Queen Maxima, Rememberance Day, Dam Square,Amsterdam, Netherlands

SAIL - the tall ships festival, Amsterdam, Netherlands


Istery Basque, St Jean de Luz, France


The ecarteurs (dodgers) and sauteurs (leapers) of the Course Landaise have no weapons, but use their agility to avoid the charging bulls. There are many ethical questions to answer, but at least the animals are not killed during the event.

Red Haired day Breda, Netherlands

Pride, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam's canals freeze, Netherlands

King's Day, Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Quikpro France is a key event during the ASP professional surf ccontest circuit - surfing's world championships. Here Hawaian John John Florence takes the honours

Keti Koti festival, Amsterdam, Netherlands

King's day - the morning after the night before when the whole city turns in a huge flea market

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