Alys Tomlinson – 19th October 2018

Alys Tomlinson - The Shot I Never Forgot - 'The Family, Coney Island 1998' Black and white photograph of a family walking past ferris wheel in Coney Island

Alys Tomlinson – The Shot I Never Forgot – ‘The Family, Coney Island 1998’ (image of original print)


‘The Family, Coney Island 1998’

I was 22 and living in New York, finding my feet as a photographer. I would often take the F train down to Coney Island where I’d wander up and down the Boardwalk, too scared to approach anyone but happy to observe what was going on around me. I had my Dad’s old Pentax 35mm and got through roll after roll of b/w film. I could have picked many images from that year in NYC. I was sent all over the place to take photographs for the Time Out Guide to New York. A dream job for an aspiring photographer just starting out. There were many memorable moments – photographing a crazy gay club in Chelsea, spending hours trying to track down an Italian fruit and veg seller in the Bronx, an evening in a smoky Latino jazz club…but this image always stayed with me. Although I loved being in the darkroom, I’ve never been a great printer and I remember getting frustrated trying to print this well. It reminds me of a specific time in my life when I was discovering the joy of photography. When I look at it, I see the innocence of the kids’ expression, the fact that there’s no Mum, just a Dad with his family on a day out, dressed in the Hasidic Jewish way with the Wonder Wheel in the background.

> You can see more of Alys’s work at

> Alys’s new book ‘Ex-Voto’ is to be published by GOST in Spring 2009, if you would like to support this wonderful new work (and get your hands on a copy of the book first), please visit:

Stuart Pilkington – 3 October 2018

Stuart Pilkington - The Shot I Never Forgot - portrait of Tim Andrews sitting on the promenade in Brighton

Stuart Pilkington – The Shot I Never Forgot


At the time of contact, Stuart was in hospital, but kindly agreed to participate with the help of his Mum Linda, who said of this image:

Stuart has chosen this photograph from when he first met Tim Andrews in Brighton. Tim suffers from MS and wanted to meet Stuart because he is trying to get a number of photographers to take his portrait . Stuart and he got on very well together and spent an enjoyable couple of days. Stuart is in a wheelchair post stroke (2015). This left him with no use of his right side and no speech. However they managed to communicate really well.

More of Stuart’s work is available on his website:

Tim Andrew’s collaboartive project ‘Over the Hill’ can be seen here:

John Spinks – 14 September 2018

John Spinks - The Shot I Never Forgot - photographic enlarger covered by dust sheet

John Spinks – The Shot I Never Forgot

My interest in photography started at secondary school.
There was a cleaners cupboard that had been converted into a darkroom, a darkroom that didn’t work.
There was no paper and the chemicals were rotten, years out of date.
The wonderful thing about this place however was that it meant that I could hide, that I could spend an hour every day, in those last few months of school away from everyone else.
without the least exaggeration, that tiny room was my salvation.
Because of this when I started at the local technical college the following September I opted to do a photography course.
This picture is one of the enlargers I used in those first few months of learning all about photography.
I made this picture around eight or nine years ago, I went back to the technical college, back to that darkroom just before they tore it down.

i spent countless hours in that room, it was the place where I started becoming me.

Mimi Mollica – 10th May 2018

Mimi Mollica - The Shot I Never Forgot - portrait of girl in Belfast

Mimi Mollica – The Shot I Never Forgot

Mimi Mollica – The Shot I Never Forgot

20 years ago I travelled to Belfast on my very first assignment. I was sent to Northern Ireland from a german magazine to photograph the socio-political divide and complex relationship between two girl friends, one catholic and one Protestant. Although, I never been to Belfast before, I felt at home most probably because both Palermo and the Northern-Iish capital share the same tormented past and a deep inner conflict. Falls road reminded me of the most deprived areas of my beloved Palermo and it’s there that I found this young girl playing on the streets against the backdrop of an abandoned building bearing the signs of a traumatic past. She remained for me a symbol of defiance against the social injustice.

Julian Ward – 26th April 2018

Julian Ward - The Shot I Never Forgot - Peru 2006 - portrait of boy in landcape

Julian Ward – The Shot I Never Forgot – Peru 2006

Julian Ward – The Shot I Never Forgot

‘Peru, 2006’

“This photograph was taken on a trek that I embarked on in 2006 to raise money and awareness for Cancer Research UK after the loss of my father. I travelled with a group of people who I’d not met before but who shared the experience of the loss of a loved one. My companion for the trip was my Mamiya 7 II camera and over the 10 day trek I took a lot photographs of my journey. It was a joyous and emotional experience and gave time for reflection.

The boy was from a small village we passed through on our way to Machu Picchu. Perched on a rock he sat watching us inquisitively as we walked by. I was struck by his looks and his clothing set against the subtle tones of the landscape. I was usually at the back of the trekking group due to taking too many pictures and on this occasion I was able to communicate with the boy to take his portrait. I managed to shoot a frame with him before he ran off hastily.

The picture brings together elements of photography that I enjoy and is a simple reminder as to why I like to make pictures. I’m aware that I’m drawn to the image because of its sentiment but I’ve learnt to realise that its ok to incorporate this into your work which remains part of my practice.  The image is a moment of calm and more importantly connection in what I recall as quite a chaotic & very emotional period of my life.”

Alex Ingram – 11 April 2018

Alex Ingram - The Shot I Never Forgot - boys in blankets after New Year Sea Swimming

Alex Ingram – The Shot I Never Forgot – ‘Kids on Beach, 2016’

Alex Ingram – The Shot I Never Forgot

‘Kids on Beach, 2017’

“This image was taken on New Years day 2017. It’s taken from a short story I shot on the 50 or so people that every year brave the icy waters and freezing temperatures to partake in the New Years Day swim at Whitesands Bay, Pembrokeshire.  

I shot about 10 rolls of TriX that day, but unbeknown to me, my Hasselblad had a light leak and as a result a number of portraits where damaged. Thankfully this was one of the survivors. As soon as I got to the beach, I was immediately drawn to these 2 children huddled up under a mountain of blankets trying to keep warm whilst their dad partook in the swim and the whole world seemed to carry on around them. As I approached to take their portrait they didn’t move an inch, just sitting there staring straight at me with their eyes piercing down my lens. I took just one frame and then moved on.

It was a fleeting moment, but one that has stuck with me ever since and is an image that I have found myself returning to ever since.”

Simon Carruthers – 20th February 2015

Simon Carruthers - The Shot I Never Forgot - four men chat in roadside lay-by cafe

Simon Carruthers – The Shot I Never Forgot – ‘Hot Food Next Lay-by’

Simon Carruthers – The Shot I Never Forgot

‘Hot Food Next Lay-by

Looking at this photo now it seems hard to believe that it is one of my own – there are so many elements here that are now redundant to my practice. I haven’t carried a 35mm camera for the best part of a decade. I rarely, if ever, shoot in black & white and people are almost always absent from my more recent work. But the real reason that this photo has stayed with me for so long is not nostalgia; it is because, like all the photographs that intrigue me, this photo has an air of ambiguity.

I more of less know the back story to this photo but somehow the facts don’t quite fit with the image. The Shepherd Neame ashtray and Sun newspaper, placed on the coffee table, offer some clue to the location but the space isn’t your typical café and the characters within don’t belong to the Sussex coast. The scene is theatrical but who or what is being picked out and why? Is this some kind of a club and are those posters of military vehicles significant? The photo throws up more questions than it seems willing to answer, inviting the reader to decipher the clues and draw their own conclusions.

Alex Bamford – 9th October 2014

Alex Bamford - The Shot I Never Forgot - light wand image forming samurai shapes in field at night

Alex Bamford – The Shot I Never Forgot – ‘Samurai’

Alex Bamford – The Shot I Never Forgot

‘Samurai’ 2009

This was late one night in September 2009, my first test using a light wand that I’d put together from pound shot parts. Standing in a field, with only the moonlight to see by is quite a spiritual experience, and the level of concentration and the smoothness of the moments involved in this shot reminded me of a martial artist practising. I ended up pursuing a different strand, where I walkied through the shot spinning the wand as I went, but I always hankered back over this one.

Adrian Turner – 30th September 2014

Adrian Turner - The Shot I Never Forgot - girl carries doll through the streets of Oldham in 1970

Adrian Turner -The Shot I Never Forgot – Oldham 1970

Adrian Turner – The Shot I Never Forgot

‘Oldham, 1970’

Everything is changing. The streets are being demolished, the mills and factories are closing. Families and friends who grew up together are being split apart. This is the third of a sequence of photographs, in the previous two, the little girl is unaware of me and is walking along happily talking to her doll. I’ve obviously scared her. It’s a shot I wouldn’t take today. Someone recently pointed out the similarity of their eyebrows. I hadn’t noticed that before.

Mark Power – 21st September 2014

Mark Power - The Shot I Never Forgot - coal miner working in colliery looking towards camera

Mark Power – The Shot I Never Forgot – ‘Rufford Colliery, Mansfield. 1992’

Mark Power – The Shot I Never Forgot

‘Rufford Colliery, Mansfield. 1992’

This picture is from a series made in 1992 called The Dignity of Labour, for which I photographed some of the more ‘challenging’ professions in Britain.

I’d always wanted to visit a working coal mine and this was probably my last chance; Rufford Colliery, situated about five miles northeast of Mansfield, was one of the last surviving pits in Nottinghamshire, not to mention Britain. The men knew their mining days were numbered, and there was much anger and disappointment in the rank-smelling air at the coalface.

In the preceding weeks I’d been reading the complete works of D. H. Lawrence and my mind was full of the romance of it all. But my day at Rufford Colliery put paid to that; this was a tough job, probably the toughest of all those I photographed throughout the project.

That said, only last week I met a man in Stoke-on-Trent who had spend thirty years as a miner, before losing his job in 1991. Without hesitation he declared he’d go back tomorrow, if only he could. Coincidentally, a few days before, in the same city, I chanced upon this poignant quote from John D Rockefeller, engraved into a modest monument to (former) Stoke steelworkers: “I believe in the Dignity of Labour, whether with head or hand; that the world owes no man a living but that it owes every man an opportunity to make a living”.

Matt Johnston – 5th September 2014

Matt Johnston - The Shot I Never Forgot - Church sign in New York glowing under night lights

Matt Johnston – The Shot I Never Forgot – ‘New York Church, 2008’

Matt Johnston – The Shot I Never Forgot

‘New York Church, 2008’

This image was made in New York, 2008 round the corner form a hostel I was staying at just off the Northwest corner of Central Park. For me it feeds my curiosity with the power and limitations of the photographic image and with North America. The bright neon lights seem at odds with the railings, locked cabinet and humble lettering that details the various weekly activities taking place at the church. Similarly this selection of events is both inviting and inclusive at the same time as serving as a reminder of American history. It would be disingenuous to suggest this image was carefully considered, in fact I am often frustrated to recall my eagerness to make the image above experiencing the scene in person.

As I continue returning to this image it continues to confuse me, gradually becoming alien – perhaps this is why it has never found a true home in any collection or grouping of images.

Kyoko Hamada – 3rd September 2014

Kyoko Hamada - The Shot I Never Forgot - A plate with two Mackerels sits on a table under a portrait painting of a man in formal suit

Kyoko Hamada – The Shot I Never Forgot – ‘Two Mackerels’

Kyoko Hamada – The Shot I Never Forgot

‘Two Mackerels’

The image was made the day before I was moving to a new home in North Brooklyn. The old apartment was pretty much all cleaned up, with only a few pieces of furniture left. My boyfriend came to help me move and we ate the mackerels for dinner. The next day, we started living together. If this story is boring, people should make up their own story. It can be whatever they like.

Erica McDonald – 3rd September 2014

Erica McDonald - The Shot I Never Forgot - Portrait of a girl holding flag during Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York

Erica McDonald – The Shot I Never Forgot – ‘Emily. NYC, Puerto Rican Day Parade 2008’

Erica McDonald – The Shot I Never Forgot

‘Emily. NYC, Puerto Rican Day Parade 2008’

I often come back to a photo I took of a young girl named Emily. It was after a parade in the city, and we were in Central Park and she was walking with her family, transitioning from the activity of the day and the public realm back to the a more private frame of mind. We met there, psychologically, and the photo happened very quickly. It was a quiet but real connection and was one of the first times I felt successful in communicating the honest quality of the moment. Maybe I see myself in her, or perhaps it is just that the photo combines many elements that I appreciate in photography, but somehow the memory of the meeting, and the image, stay with me as one in the same.

Erica McDonald runs DEVELOP, an organisation that provides resources for the enrichment of the photojournalism, fine art and documentary photography community.

Watch the DEVELOP Tube Photography Video Channel at or

Jim Mortram – 9th May 2014

JIm Mortram - The Shot I Never Forgot - Black and white image of girl playing with cat on window sill whilst TV plays

JIm Mortram – The Shot I Never Forgot

Jim Mortram – The Shot I Never Forgot


I’d been working on a story for Small Town Inertia dealing with young families and social housing. After a couple of visits, getting to know the family, as often happens, they were suddenly moved and contact unfortunately lost. This photograph, of the families young daughter feeding a stray cat, really stayed with me, these two young lives looking after one another, whilst both displaced, searching for a place to call home.

Jonathan Cherry – 29th April 2014

Jonathan Cherry - The Shot I Never Forgot - Purple Fleece, Falmouth, 2009

Jonathan Cherry – The Shot I Never Forgot – ‘ Purple Fleece, Falmouth, 2009’

Jonathan Cherry – The Shot I Never Forgot

‘Purple Fleece, Falmouth, 2009’

 While in my last year at University College Falmouth I spotted this woman in her purple fleece sat outside my house. I was on my way home at the time in the middle my final major project and wondering if I would ever be happy with it. Upon seeing this woman it suddenly felt right to run and get my camera asking her if I could take her picture. She agreed so I set up my 5×4 Wista Field camera on the pavement. The sun was blazing straight onto her face which is why she could barely keep her eyes open but I didn’t mind that. I was simply inspired to take her photograph and that feeling hadn’t happened for a while since I was trying to force creativity upon my University work. From that point on I changed my project’s direction to photograph some local fire fighters rather than continuing with a project about people on the night shift. This was certainly a turning point for me and there is no doubt that this woman in her purple fleece was the catalyst for it. I often refer back to this image in my mind and although I haven’t looked at it much over the years I have thought about it a great deal. So if you are in the middle of a project that you feel is going nowhere or maybe you are yet to start then find a woman in a purple fleece to photograph.