“All photographs – not only those that are so called ‘documentary’…can be fortified by words.” – Dorothea Lange

Graeme Chesters

I’m a writer and academic, with a long-standing interest in photography. I am a published author, journalist and photographer and have spent twenty years as an academic working in Universities in the UK. I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Geographical Society.

My expertise is in the field of Peace and Conflict Studies, Political Science and Government and Social Movement Studies. I have authored a number of books and articles in these areas and have worked with a range of NGOs, Government and International organisations.

In February 2020 I was awarded the Amateur Photographer Magazine / MPB inaugural ‘Rising Star’ bursary for my photographic work documenting life in the high Arctic.

This website

One of the most celebrated photographs of the 20th Century is Stuart Franklin’s photograph of a lone protester, standing defiantly before a row of tanks during the events of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. Franklin coined the term the ‘documentary impulse’ in his book of the same name, which eloquently describes the history of photography in modern society, and reflects upon the compulsion to document our lives, and the ways in which this allows us to reflect on both ‘moral and ‘material’ truths.

Franklin’s work has been an inspiration for me, alongside Robert Cappa, Don McCullin, Tom Stoddart, Vivien Maier, Bruce Davidson and many other street and documentary photographers.  However, whilst my academic work focuses on issues of peace and conflict, and I have an interest in the role images play in these areas, my own photographs are mostly of the everyday, of places and people that are close to me, of journeys and personal projects, things that I find interesting, challenging or inspiring in some way.

This site then, is a space for reflection on some of the reasons we might be driven to document our lives, and those of others, and hopefully a place to discuss the role of photography and image making in the current moment, and how it might reflect or represent the unique and everyday places we inhabit and the people we meet there.

Occasionally academics call this everyday-ness the ‘quotidian’ , which makes the regular stuff sound that little bit more important.