PODCAST: A Photographic Life Episode 199 Plus: Photographer Mike Abrahams

In episode 199 UNP founder and curator Grant Scott is in his shed reflecting on creativity, working as a photographer, and if NFTs are the result of a perfect storm or just a passing squall.

Plus this week photographer Mike Abrahams takes on the challenge of supplying Grant with an audio file no longer than 5 minutes in length in which he answer’s the question ‘What Does Photography Mean to You?’

Born in 1952 in South Africa Abrahams moved to Liverpool in 1955 and grew up there. Aged 12, he discovered the magic of the darkroom under the stairs in a friend’s house and became hooked on photography. In 1970 after failing to get into medical school he enrolled on a dentistry course in the hope that he could switch to medicine but he was expelled after just two terms. In 1972 he enrolled on a photography course at the Polytechnic of Central London and discovered Henri Cartier Bresson, Don McCullin, Leonard Freed, Robert Capa and Marc Riboud who had visited the course to show his work which Abrahams found transforming. In 1975 he began working as a freelance photographer with the Times, Sunday Times, Sunday Times Magazine, The Telegraph, The Observer Magazine, and started to work with international magazines and newspapers, covering stories in Southern Africa, Gaza, Cyprus, Israel, Eastern Europe, Northern Ireland, the UK as well as portraits of those in the arts and literature. In 1981 he was a co-founder of Network Photographers the internationally renowned picture agency. His work on Faith – A Journey with Those Who Believe, published in 2000, was the culmination of five years work, documenting the extremes and passion of Christian devotion throughout fourteen countries. Other important assignments have included coverage of the division of Cyprus, the Intifada in the Occupied Territories, the Berlin Wall, the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe, the rise in the influence of the religious in Israeli politics, the Cult of Assad in Syria, The Jews of Damascus and Bradford’s Muslims and The Troubles in Northern Ireland. Awards for this work included the World Press Photo Award in 2000, the book Faith was a finalist in the Design Week Awards and the work has been widely exhibited throughout the UK and Europe. Cafe Royal Books have published six books of his work in 2022 and his work from Northern Ireland was published as Still War – Photographs From The North of Ireland in 1989. His work has been widely exhibited and is held in the Museum of London and Science and Media Museum, London. Abrahams current landscape work has been exploring the relationship between structures and their environment and he is based in London. www.mikeabrahams.com

Dr. Grant Scott is the founder/curator of United Nations of Photography, a Senior Lecturer and Subject Co-ordinator: Photography at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, a working photographer, documentary filmmaker, BBC Radio contributor and the author of Professional Photography: The New Global Landscape Explained (Routledge 2014), The Essential Student Guide to Professional Photography (Routledge 2015), New Ways of Seeing: The Democratic Language of Photography (Routledge 2019).

Grant’s book What Does Photography Mean to You? including 89 photographers who have contributed to the A Photographic Life podcast is on sale now £9.99 https://bluecoatpress.co.uk/product/what-does-photography-mean-to-you/

© Grant Scott 2022

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