As part of Let Us Eat Cake, each participant worked with Anthony to photograph a Collaborative Self-Portrait. To pre-empt any snags, the mise-en-scène of each portrait was discussed and planned well in advance. After much thought, I decided on the theme of the positive contributions which individuals make to society, the role of the LGBTQ+ workforce within this, and how LGBTQ+ people take on many roles, playing just as an important contribution as any other non-LGBTQ+ person does in making our communities better, safer places in which to live. To reflect this, I decided that it may be a good idea if we were to capture an image of me in various uniformed guises. Which, although I was excited about at first, I quickly decided against as I was concerned about looking too much like a bad parody of ‘YMCA’. In the end, sense prevailed, when this idea evolved into one of a metaphoric image of me surrounded by various uniforms for sale in a retail store.

All went to plan on the day of the shoot. The owner and staff of the ‘Wear to Work’ store were very helpful and accommodating. We borrowed uniforms for nurses, chefs, mechanics, and other various professions from all over the store, and arranged them in the staged scene. Once we were happy with our display we set up the lighting, placed me in the frame, adjusted the focus, and I used the cable shutter release to take photographs. I was surprised to find that the most difficult thing about the whole process was trying to hold my expression for the camera. This felt very unnatural and counter-intuitive, as usually when you know you are going to be photographed you wear a smile in anticipation.

Near to the end of the shoot a wee Belfast woman shopping in the store asked if we would like to take her picture. Once she introduced herself I explained to Anthony who her son, Carl Frampton, was. It made me think how the world would be a much better place if all mothers (and fathers) were to show even a tiny bit of the pride about their children that this mother openly displayed for all the world to see about her world champion son’s work.

– Paul