I was born in Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England in 1966, and grew up on the Greatfield council estate. During the Second World War, Hull was the most bombed city outside of London. My mother, Maureen and her mother, my grandmother Olive May Jordan (née Bertholini), survived four years of bombings. They never fully shared their story, and now they are gone.
Perhaps this family history and a need to understand, shaped my decision and desire to document women’s lived experiences during and in the aftermath of war; that extraordinary resilience, strength, and a hope and belief that one day life will be better.
My career in journalism began in 1989 as a freelance features writer and photographer. In the early years I wrote and photographed regularly for national newspapers, magazines and books including The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Scotsman, The Express on Sunday, CNN Traveler, BBC In Pictures, AA Publishing/Frommer’s, Geographical etc. Commissions and self-initiated assignments have taken me to 62 countries so far.
In 2007 I visited Freetown in Sierra Leone and returned several times. Since then I have devoted my documentary photographic practice to working directly with women survivors of war, conflict and genocide to record their personal narratives – from the Second World War, the Holocaust, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Cambodia, Vietnam, Palestinian Occupied Territories, Israel.
In 2012 I began working collaboratively with resettled women refugees in Hull and East Yorkshire, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Sudan, Iraq, Somalia and Syria.
Work exhibited at: UN Headquarters New York; Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta, USA; Hargrett Library University of Georgia, USA; The British Council Freetown, Sierra Leone; International Slavery Museum, Liverpool; University of Cambridge; Royal Commonwealth Club, London; Horniman Museum, London; The Senedd: Welsh National Assembly; Museum of Liverpool; York Army Museum; The Ferens Hull; Hull UK City of Culture 2017; Brynmor Jones Library University of Hull.
Received several Arts Council England awards and the St Hugh’s Foundation for the Arts award.
In 2012 awarded an Honorary Degree by the University of Hull.
In 2012 became Honorary Research Fellow at The Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation, University of Hull.
In 2018 completed an MA Journalism by Research, School of Journalism, University of Lincoln.
In 2019 awarded a three-year PhD Studentship with NECAH (North of England Arts and Humanities Consortium) University of Hull.
Two images are held in the New Hall Art Collection, University of Cambridge.
My mother and grandmother, Maureen and Olive May Jordan (née Bertholini) taken in Hull during the Second World War