A life on the road


It has been my home for almost seven years. 

But every year, it becomes harder to live like this.

Running from immigration laws.

Society does not want perpetual travelers.

Walls are going up. Roads are closing down.

I am tired. 

I want to stop running and leave the road alone.

And yet I also want to get back on the road and escape. 

It is a strange push/pull relationship.

This Life On The Road.

Rumble In La Rambla

Photography & Text by Derek Clark

They arrived on the Barcelona metro with bedsheets tied in massive bundles, crowding platforms and filling trains. At La Rambla they struggled to pull the bundles through the turnstiles and drag them up stairs to street level. Some had already spread out their goods inside the Metro, a prime spot possibly.

I took the escalator to the street and stepped out into the evening heat. The sun was low in the sky and Saturday night and all that it brings, had already begun. I had never seen so many counterfeit items in one place. The bedsheets now laid flat on the ground and the goods for sale placed neatly on display. The usual (fake) Rolex watches, Beats Pill speakers and Ray-Ban sunglasses were all available, but the obvious favourites were Michael Kors handbags and Nike shoes. 

I made my way down La Rambla, watching the bartering and both sides were giving as good as they got. Money was exchanging hands in every direction, but the sellers were all looking nervously in one direction. 

Further down I could see the bright yellow of police shirts, then bedsheets being hurriedly stuffed full of goods and moved rapidly in my direction. As I got closer, the crowd became denser and the noise levels were rising rapidly. One voice stood out more than most and very quickly became the dominant one. A group of police officers on scooters were trying to make their way up La Rambla, but the protesters had blocked the way and refused to move. It was an awkward scene and no doubt embarrassing for the police involved.

A middle aged woman was shouting in Spanish, screaming at the police above the roar of the crowd. The police looked at each other, they seamed unsure how to handle the situation, After a while someone made the decision to move the police scooters off the pedestrian area and onto the road next to it, pulling back to avoid escalating the situation, at least until backup arrived. The protesters cheered as the police rode their scooters out onto the street, no doubt seeing it as a victory.

It looked as though the protest had developed in the heat of the moment, but more people started to arrive with handmade banners. For them at least, this was not about selling counterfeit goods, but about race and the persecution of migrants. There were banners saying 'Stop the war against migrants' and 'No more refugee's in prison' . While others claimed that violence was a legitimate defence.  Further up La Rambla the sellers were cautiously setting out their goods for sale again. 

Meanwhile, two Catalunya police vans had arrived full of cops armed with handguns and riffles at Plaça De Catalunya. They reversed both vans behind a large fountain and awaited instructions. But the standoff had been diffused to an extent and the sellers had decided to call it a day and pack up their counterfeit goods and gather near the entrance to the Catalunya Metro.

One eager entrepreneur opened his bundle for a couple of tourists that showed an interest, but the sale didn't develop and he was reprimanded by another seller, who looked as though he may have had some authority among the group. 

In the end the situation was diffused and what could have developed into something more serious turned out to be an embarrassment for the police and lost revenue for the sellers. The protesters may have scored a victory, but I'm sure faces were noted and even photographed for later collection.  

Missed encounters

by Charlene Winfred

I’ve spent most of my life riding buses and trains, and they have been a remarkable window through which to observe the rhythms and rituals of daily life. 

Back when I had a permanent home base, it was about the possibility of connection. If circumstances permitted, and we found ourselves in conversation, how much would we have in common? What stories would we ultimately end up sharing?

These days, in constant motion from one temporary abode to another, these photographs are mostly about the possibilities of disconnection. Windows frame narratives held at bay by glass, so I look at what I will probably never get to see, not knowing what I don't know. How much can I discern about what people are thinking by simply looking at them? And ultimately, if leaving is the end game of this life in perpetual transit, does it matter?

The Crib

The Crib

In my family, we play cards.

Not full time, obviously. But, when we get together at my parents' place on Georgian Bay - a glorified shack, really, with limited solar power & no TV or internet connection to speak of - that's when the games begin.

My parents have had an ongoing cribbage rivalry for as long as I can remember; they stay at the cottage for up to four months a year, and spend many of those evenings locked in crib battles.

Decompression on Wheels


However fast airplanes can go, it never feels like traveling, it’s nothing but just moving fast. In a car on the other hand, I always feel like a traveller. Whether it’s a long drive to the South of France or a twenty minute local commute, my heartbeat slows down and I enjoy the ride. Nobody invades my personal space, my thoughts can roam free and I can sing my heart out without disturbing anyone. Things get put into perspective, new ideas flourish and dreams come naturally.

Simple Movements

By Patrick La Roque

The Road. Two words that sing to us like an incantation, conjuring rapid-fire contact sheet images of 60s motel rooms, sun-drenched landscapes and long evenings with nothing but oblivion ahead of us. We know the myth, we've read the words and felt the zen fury of mad altered poets living that transient life, moving incessantly, riding the snakes that meander through the peaks and valleys of the world.

But few of us ever experience "the vastness of old tumbledown holy America from mouth to mouth and tip to tip"*. The road we know is small and crowded and connecting point A to point B. It's tedious and infuriating, a prison far removed from the odes to liberty that haunt so many pages in so many books. We're not heroes here, we're not vagrant iconoclasts...we're cogs in a machine, longing to come home.

But there's still beauty if we look for it. If we raise the volume, ever so slightly, if we close down the almost film-like quality to kill the doldrums.
The simple vastness of living.


*Excerpt From: Kerouac, Jack. “On the Road.”





After the album had been rehearsed and recorded (see part 1), Tommy wanted to do the shoot for the cover and inner sleeve at Craignethan Castle.

The day of the shoot was a very cold, but dry February morning. We didn't have a set plan, but would have to work fast as the castle was hired for just one hour. I took a shoot through umbrella, a single Yongnou 560 IV flash and a 560 TX trigger. I knew there would be some dark areas of the castle plus being in Scotland, there is no guarantee of enough light. 

The castle has a bridge near the entrance, which was as good a place as any to start. I shot a few portraits of Tommy using the flash and umbrella to keep the sky from blowing out. Then we moved on and shot a few pictures around the inside of the outer wall of the castle. Tommy is no stranger to being photographed and has a good idea of what he likes and what he needs to do to get it. I was shooting with two X-T1's and even with the rubber grips, my hands were getting cold. Tommy was holding his saxophone and had nothing to grip except bare metal. 

We moved around the outside of the castle and shot more with the flash, which added drama to an already dramatic location. Craignethan Castle is only open to the public from April to September, so we had the place to ourselves, which is just as well due to our timescale. At one of the rear corners of the castle I lay on the ground and shot up. I exposed for the sky and lit Tommy with the flash, trying to stop the umbrella from falling over.

A tunnel runs below the castle from one side to the other with rooms leading off at each end. There is only a tiny amount of light inside and none at all as you go further in. Shooting without flash would be impossible so the umbrella was essential. I placed the light stand just behind me and as close to the tunnel ceiling as possible. Tommy changed into a few different positions and I took some shots, but it was when he relaxed between shots that the best picture was grabbed, which is often the case. This is the shot that was used for the cover. We also shot in the rooms, but mostly using the little amount of light coming in through the small windows.

Tommy opted to design the CD cover himself. He's a man of many talents and as is often with musicians, has a great eye for composition. He's also an X-Pro1 user too. 

I'm really happy with how the CD cover turned out. When you hand over your pictures for design, you never know what the end product will be like. But I think Modern Jacobite will look fresh for many years to come. 

But it doesn't finish here. There was another shoot to come for promotion and a backup just incase the castle pictures didn't work out. This project has run through every type of light, from ambient at the rehearsal/recording session, then a mixture of ambient and flash at the castle and finally a studio type shoot with 100% flash

Jazz wise magazine (in the UK) has a full page ad for modern Jacobite in the August edition, which is on sale when this post was published.

Click HERE to buy Modern Jacobite. Click HERE for part 1 of this series and click HERE for part 3.

My Photographic Midlife Crisis - TemporarILy Living the Dream


I’ve just reread my article about “the blank canvas”. Written two months ago, I have admit that so far I haven’t finished everything that was on my list and new items have been added. But I have allowed myself a temporary blank canvas anyway. I just needed to see if the kind of life and work that I want, is possible. 

In the last six weeks, I’ve spent two weeks in a cabin in the South of France, I’ve been on a hunting trip to the UK, I went camping in Belgium and tomorrow morning I’ll be leaving for a week in Holland. I’ve hardly slept in my own bed but I still managed to get some work done. 
I’ve enjoyed amazing close moments with my kids, deep conversations with my girlfriend under the stars, I’ve experienced the thrill of harvesting a roebuck (twice) but I’ve also shot three weddings, corporate jobs, personal work, wrote a magazine article, conducted a workshop and started vlogging.

The vlog has been a very important outlet for me. It may seem incoherent to you, but it’s starting to show me a clear direction. I’m not yet able to write down the right words or completely catch the feeling in the vlogs. So far, every episode may seem completely different but the more videos I make, the more direction I’m seeing for myself in the ensemble of the series. 

If you’re up for some experimental vlogs, feel free to take a look at my YouTube page

The last week of August, I’m going to tie down the loose ends of this ideal summer and evaluate how I did. It sure feels like I’m on the right track. I’ve combined work with life pretty well and I’m feeling creative again. There will still be some of that unfinished business but having a sense of direction should be a big motivation to catch up completely. 

Next month I’ll be back with a game plan.

Book Review | Afghanistan 2012 by Giles Duley

Text And Pictures by Derek Clark

On a cold morning in Feb 2011 Giles Duley was a documentary photographer covering the conflict in Afghanistan. While embedded with the American 101st Airborne, he stepped on an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) and is now a triple amputee. Remarkably, Giles went back to Afghanistan in 2012 to face his demons and keep a promise he made to an Italian surgeon. This book tells the story of his return and is split into two halves, Words and Images.

Shar Madani has done a fantastic job in coming up with an original design for this book. The tan soft cover reminded me of an old school jotter. This is not an expensive production by any means and the book is actually held together by three staples down the main spine (on the images side) and two staples down the other spine (on the words side). This is not a negative though as the hand-made craft design gives the impression that you have something really special and unique in your hand. It's hard to describe the design in words, but the pictures included with this review will do the job for me. Basically you open the book to the right as you would any other and then open the words section to the left.

The Words section tells the story of Giles brave return to Afghanistan after stepping on an IED and losing multiple limbs. Giles was ironically due to start a project to document a hospital funded by the charity Emergency, a promise he made to Italian surgeon Gino Strada and a promise he kept by returning in 2012. The courage Giles faced by returning to the place that changed his life in such a dramatic way is absolutely astonishing.

The Images section of the book feature a selection of black and white and colour photographs of victims of war, especially IED's. Each picture is printed alone on the right hand page, while the corresponding number is printed on the left hand page. This is just as well as the paper is not the thickest stock, but the quality of the printing is still high. His pictures are from an Afghan hospital and some people might find them a little too graphic. One such picture shows a hand being held over a trash can to catch the blood. Only three fingers remain intact in what is clearly a fresh blast wound and all the more powerful being a colour shot.

These pictures would have been difficult for any photographer to capture, but to think that Giles was himself a victim of an IED just the year before, doesn't bear thinking of. Giles had nothing to prove to anybody by going back to Afghanistan, but obviously he had something to prove to himself. The courage to make this journey back to the place where he lost both legs and his left arm is almost beyond imagination.

Giles was kind enough to sign the book for me and also included a signed postcard too. A really nice personal touch and something else that make this book just that little bit more special. my copy is a first edition number 409 of 1500. I'm not sure if there was a second edition produced or if the book is still available, but if you are interested in purchasing Afghanistan 2012 you should contact Giles through his website at