ABOUT ME & MY KIT

LEE FENNINGS

Street Photographer

I was born in 1971 in Chatham, Kent, UK—the town known for the Royal Dockyard that built and launched the HMS Victory. My parents raised me in Gravesend, Kent—the resting place of Native American Pocahontas—where I attended school until the age of sixteen. Just before my seventeenth birthday, I began my career in London working for an asset management company with my elder brother.

 

At the age of twenty-one, unsettled and in and out of different jobs, I decided to travel solo to South-East Asia and later to North America with friends. This paved the way for my love of travel. My travels have taken me to almost every continent with the exception of Australia. During this period, I spent nearly five years living and working in Spain, eventually returning to the UK after separating from my wife. I remarried in 2012 and began to develop a promising career in financial regulation. However, plagued with mental health issues and a tempestuous relationship with alcohol, I eventually fell afoul of the law, thus bringing my career aspirations to an abrupt halt. This was the wake-up call that I needed, and in October of 2014, I made the life-changing decision to stop drinking alcohol…forever.

 

This change saw me hungry for a new creative passion, whereupon I soon reconnected with my lifelong interest in photography. This new creative direction, coupled with my dual fascination with street life and the human condition, saw my distinctive work quickly recognised. I have spoken openly to the media about my battle with mental illness and alcohol dependency and about how this battle nearly cost me my life.

 

In December 2015, I published my first street photography book, Pulse, with all profits donated to the registered mental health charity, Mind. One year later I published Being Human, bringing together a compilation of my finest work whilst questioning our own human characteristics and the meaning of being human.

 

My latest endeavour took me to Nepal, where I volunteered to teach English in a monastery to young Buddhist monks. This was the perfect opportunity to immerse myself in my interest in Buddhism, witness Nepal's diverse culture first hand and document it using my passion for photography. My latest book, A Peace Of Nepal, showcases my incredible experience, with all proceeds from the sale of this book donated to help the young Buddhist monks of two monasteries in Kathmandu, Nepal.

OLYMPUS PEN-F

M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm 1:1.8

In July 2016, I swapped my bulky DSLR for the PEN-F, a compact system camera ideal for the street. The easy handling, craftsmanship and timeless design make this camera an absolute joy to shoot with...this beauty is a beast.

OLYMPUS TRIP 35

D.ZUIKO 40mm 1:2.8

I rarely shoot with film, but when I do I use the stylish Trip 35 (pictured, circa 1983). Over ten million of these cameras were sold between 1967 and 1984, undoubtedly helped by the 1970's advertising campaign that featured popular British photographer David Bailey.

 

You may well be thinking..."who does he think he is - David Bailey?"

MEDIA INTERVIEWS & mAGAZINE PUBLICATIONS

MAY 2017

Read my article 'Being Human' in Street Photography Magazine, the premise of a project and subsequent book by the same name.

MARCH 13, 2016

Read my second interview with the Kent on Sunday newspaper, where I talk about mental health and how street photography, for me, is a great source of therapy.

AUGUST 27, 2015

My interview with Kent on Sunday was also published with an affiliate newspaper, The Reporter, headlined 'Life through a lens'.

AUGUST 2, 2015

Read my interview with the Kent on Sunday newspaper, discussing how a battle with mental illness led me, a former City worker, to a new artistic direction in photography.

EXHIBITIONS

PHOTOMONTH PHOTO-OPEN 2015, NOVEMBER 5-29

I was selected to exhibit my work at the Photomonth Photo-Open 2015 exhibition at Rich Mix, London curated by Alternative Arts and sponsored by The Printspace and the World Photography Organisation. For the theme of Telling Stories on any subject, I submitted The Sunbeam Trilogy (above) with the caption "Lighten Our Darkness, We Beseech Thee, O Lord..."

 

Photomonth celebrates photography in galleries and venues across East London. The festival aims to demonstrate the diversity of contemporary photography and reach the widest possible audience. Since 2001 Photomonth has become one of the largest and most inclusive festivals in the UK - bringing innovation and inspiration through the Open Call for exhibitions, giving the opportunity for emerging artists to be appreciated in a variety of interesting and unusual spaces alongside leading internationally renowned photographers.

Comments

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  • Molly (Tuesday, March 29 16 05:28 pm BST)

    I write for a Kent-based newspaper, and I'm very glad that I got the opportunity to interview Lee about his first street photography book, Pulse, and the story behind its creation. Lee's photographs
    are very striking and learning more about his personal journey and the inspiration for his work was extremely inspiring. I particularly like his photograph called Leap of Faith, which was taken in
    Gravesend. The fact that he is supporting mental health charity Mind with the sales of his book, and being open about his own struggles, is very admirable. Lee is an artist with real talent and a
    great deal of compassion.

  • Amanda Lane (Sunday, January 24 16 06:41 pm GMT)

    Lee, Thank you for sharing your visions of life and your personal journey with us - it's a compelling story and the candid images you have captured are poignant windows into the lives of your
    subjects.

  • Maria (Wednesday, January 20 16 12:08 pm GMT)

    Beautiful photography with each picture unlocking the world to countless stories. Thank you for supporting Mind.

  • John Robert Young (Monday, November 02 15 06:50 pm GMT)

    Vibrant photography - delightful eye which has control over the subject.

  • jan lewis (Friday, September 25 15 10:49 am BST)

    A great selection of work and I love that it's real. I think I might blog about you!

  • Claire from Club Soda (Monday, September 14 15 12:19 pm BST)

    Lee was so kind as to share his recent story with us through the interview he did in The Reporter. It was an intimate portrayal of personal struggles which struck many cords with our members at Club
    Soda. His use of photography to see him through difficult times is inspiring, as well as showcases an incredible talent for the beautiful everyday. Thank you Lee for your raw & honest openness,
    an inspiration to us all!

  • Maria (Friday, September 04 15 11:27 am BST)

    As a journalist, I enjoyed interviewing Lee about his striking photography, and the journey that led him to it. I first came across his photos on Twitter, and was so impressed by his work I contacted
    him to see if he was interested in having a chat. The paper published a fantastic spread with his work. A very inspiring artist.

  • EMULSIVE (Monday, August 31 15 09:19 am BST)

    We recently had the fortune of being able to interview Lee about his thoughts on the medium of film photography.

    A thoroughly enjoyable experience, which we hope we'll have the opportunity to do again in the future!

    Great work, Lee. There's something about the way you capture your images that makes us feel as if we're looking through a window to the past.

  • The Nameless Gallery (Saturday, August 29 15 09:12 am BST)

    Lee produces brilliant candid photography that manages to capture our every day lives and tell a story in each image. Brilliant to work with and an excellent talent.

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