Jim Fenwick: Fight or Fish

At Locate we have the privilege of working with some of the world’s most interesting and experienced creative professionals. We want to shine a spotlight on some of the brilliant people we partner with on shoots and campaigns.

Jim Fenwick is a photographer based in Notting Hill, London and has been a friend of the Locate family for over 15 years. He has worked with Locate on a range of productions – including clients such as Nike, Vodafone and HSBC. However, he also loves using his commercial photography skills to give something back to under-privileged communities.

We spoke to Jim about one of his most recent personal projects: photographing young boxers from the Bukom neighbourhood of Accra, Ghana. Titled ‘Fight or Fish’, the project captures a tiny community that has produced more boxing world champions per square metre than any other place in the world.

For generations, the main vocation in Bukom has been fishing. This involves high intensity work with little rest over a prolonged period of time – it is perhaps no coincidence that boxing demands the same sort of physicality. In a deprived area like Bukom there are very limited employment opportunities, young boys are left with little choice: fish or fight. As a consequence there are over twenty boxing gyms in an area the size of four football pitches, and most of the men are connected to boxing in some way.

Jim became interested in this small neighbourhood back in 2013 and says:

I searched out and met the Ghanaian lightweight boxer Richard Commey. At the time he was the African champion and had a perfect record of 17 fights and 17 wins by KO. He will fight for the World Title again one day soon and I will be there. Richard Commey gives hope to many in Ghana. Hope that one can find a better future.

It is this hope that is important to both Jim and the Locate team. Being able to use our professional experience and expertise to give back to communities like Bukom brings an added depth and meaning to our day to day work.

Jim describes how his photography work evolved into community involvement:

My project started out as purely documentary in nature but as I got to know Richard and his manager I crossed a line and became more and more involved. I learned about the business of boxing and saw how crazy it all was. Fighters avoiding Richard, promoters not letting him fight, you soon learn that being able to fight in the ring is only a small part of becoming a champion. I hated the injustice of it all. Utilising the tools and tricks we use daily in our commercial lives I decided to help get Richard noticed. I pulled in help and we created a logo, then one of Locate’s freelance stylists Lisa Dredge made his ringwear and custom designed fight gloves. We worked on his marketing and PR, making fight posters, press packs and image libraries we made it as easy as possible for the press and public to access Richard.

We also got involved with the wider community in Jamestown. With the help of Locate Productions we were able to run an art workshop at the orphanage school and feed the young children for a month. The child boxers of the town were also a concern to us as their equipment was so worn out and threadbare. Thanks again to our supporters we were able to donate quality new boxing gloves, head guards, gum shields and clothing to help protect the young boxers of the town.

Working with creative individuals like Jim, who lets his personal ethos overflow into his professional life, is one of the perks of the job at Locate. We have found that developing mutual creative partnerships, based on common values, is what produces our best work.

Luckily, Jim enjoys working with us too!

What I love about working with Locate is that you feel like you’re talking to a human being. They have a particularly ethical side to them that you don’t normally see in this industry. They’re keen to give back. They’re hard working, and they expect others to work hard too – it brings the best out of people, I respect that. At the end of the day we’re all human beings, and if we can somehow put back into situations like the one in Bukom, then that’s fabulous!

We are proud that we work with so many creative, adventurous professionals who are leaders in their fields. It challenges us to think differently, and maintain the high standards and quality of work we adhere to.

Take a look at more of Jim’s work on his website: www.jimfenwick.com

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When the AOP approached Angus, producer and co-owner of Locate Productions to ask if we wanted to be featured in one of their weekly newsletters, we jumped at the chance. A big thank you to the AOP for this opportunity to share some of our insight, ways of working and thoughts for the future.

As news begins to trickle in of the industry preparing to open up to a different working world, we were pleased to hear our friends at Locate Productions are busy prepping for jobs in June. Following the post-pandemic production guidance, Locate are well positioned to provide safe production services for all your needs. We caught up with Angus Light to find out more about their services as well as their stance on sustainability in the industry.

Can you tell us more about what services Locate Productions provides for professional photographers?

For both photographers and moving image clients, we have two ways in which we can help; location solutions and/or full production services. Often, a brief starts with the need for the location (and sometimes that’s all our clients require) but frequently develop into the wider production needs of casting, styling, transport, crew, equipment and more.

We started out in the late 90’s and are now a team of 15 location scouts and producers, based in London, Brighton & the South West. During this time we’ve worked in all corners of the UK and more than 40 countries; from global campaigns on the busy streets of London, to shooting simple backplates on frozen rivers in Scandinavia or deserted islands off the coast of Brazil. Safe and smooth production management is at the core of how we produce shoots, with no project too big or too small.

China DarioMitidieri © Dario Mitidieri

What can you offer over other production companies?

We have an ever-growing library of over 10,000 locations both in the UK and abroad. This complements our wealth of production knowledge gained from over 20 years of ‘on-set’ experience shooting around the world, across both stills and moving image. Ultimately, our skills come from working as a team, sharing ideas and collectively finding solutions.

Grass NadegeMeriau    © Nadege Meriau

Having been a speaker at our recent sustainability event can you talk about the actions Locate Productions have taken to be more sustainable and what advice can you offer to others to make a difference?

Sustainability as a whole can feel quite challenging and unwieldly so here at Locate we’ve broken things down into smaller, more manageable situations, which are based on three key strands within our working environment. When presented in small bite-size portions hopefully people will feel the solutions are more achievable, aligned with a general shift in the mindset on how to move forward.

On Shoots & in Production:

  • We use bicycle couriers and carbon negative taxi companies
  • We recycle our waste and have our own water bottles and keep-cups and have started trialing Voltstack batteries as replacements for portable generators
  • We promote vegetarian, seasonal and locally sourced menus to our clients
  • We use public transport wherever possible including train travel rather than car or plane where possible (if safe, given the present situation)
  • We have a network of international production partners to service shoots locally which can reduce the need to travel

Behind the Scenes:

  • We use Good Energy as our as our office energy supplier and our website hosting company, Erjjio, runs off renewable energy
  • Our staff and crew have completed carbon literacy training through the BAFTA/Albert initiative and we use Albert’s carbon calculator to work out how much carbon we produce on our shoots and then explore ways we can reduce or offset this
  • We add an optional ‘1% For the Planet’ to our invoices which, at present, goes directly to a scheme in Romania called Forests Without Frontiers, reforesting the Carpathian mountains

Wider Culture of Sustainability:

  • We are members of organisations who promote a sustainable film, TV and photographic industry; Albert, AdGreen, Purpose Disruptors
  • We support smaller organisations who need content to spread their message
  • We attend events and contribute to the ongoing discussions on how to achieve a low-carbon economy and what that looks like for our industry

 

Rooftop Trigger © Trigger

What is the most obscure location you have shot in?

Possibly Western China where we searched for a remote mountain range, which involved the final leg of the trip on a donkey. But obscure can also be closer to home; once we needed to find a location with a very specific grass length of about 12cm for a fruit drink campaign, but also things like a cityscape helipad for a car shoot and a zumba class in Manchester for This Girl Can.

ZumbaClass AdamHinton © Adam Hinton

What’s next for you?

In the immediate future; starting to shoot safely again. We’ve started working again on projects and are devising ways of delivering the content required by our clients, in a safe manner, following the Covid 19 industry guidelines. Longer term; to continue delivering the high quality of production on new and interesting projects, whilst working towards a zero carbon industry.

Published with the permission from the AOP. The original blog can be viewed here – https://www.the-aop.org/what-s-on/news/post/2020/05/29/focus-locate-productions

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