I like trains

I know I have said it before, I really like trains. When I was a teenager I worked on a miniature railway and learnt to drive a steam engine before I could drive a car.

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited back to the railway, The Great Cockcrow Railway, where I grew up to take some photos of their gala day. It was a real pleasure to ride the trains again and get covered in a rime of smuts and dust. The smell of the smoke and the warm oil made me nostalgic for when I was a teenager and all I wanted to do was drive a steam engine.

I took lots of photos, which I will post later, however I also made a short video of the day and I was rather pleased with it, so am posting it here for everyone to see.

I should be trying to sell you video services, however I enjoyed making this video so much that I won’t try and chase you for business, although if you are looking to get some video done, give me a call.

Bye Bye 2018

Its been a rock and roll year for the UK and for me. I think that I have shot more photographs that I have ever have in the past despite more than several trials and tribulations on the personal front.

I thought that as 2018 has dragged to a close, or is dragging to a close. It was the right time to have a quick retrospective of my photos.

So join me in trying to find the one photo that sums each month of this wierdly, terrible and strange year.


Burlesque Idol Jan 18

This is a comped shot from the first Burlesque Idol of 2018. I loved the basic shot of the performer Athena Thrillme. Then I wondered what would happen if I copied and pasted her across the shot. This is one of my fave shots of the year.

You can see the whole of this particular Burlesque Idol by clicking here.


February is my birthday month, I wasn’t really feeling very festive, but still managed to take a few photos. It was blooming cold and I got locked out of a hotel in a snowstorm, which was interesting experience.

One good thing that happened, was that I was able to pursue my interest in daylight portraits. In order to improve my skill and experience, I went on a photography course with Weekly Imogen where I was lucky enough to shoot the eponymous Imogen and work with Mark Wilkinson. If you get the chance to go on one of their courses, do it. Its def worth the money.

A photo course with Imogen

You can see the whole set here


March was one of the busiest months of 2018 for me, I went to Germany, I went to Scotland. I got around. Looking at my Flicker list I took loooooooooots of photos.

The highlight of the month was a family trip to Aberdeenshire. For those that know me, will have observed that I have a Scottish surname. My grandfather emigrated from the North East of Scotland to London in the 1930s. He maintained strong links with his hometown – Huntly. We took a trip to see the family seat and frolic a little in the snow.

One of the places that we visited was the now derelict Tarlair Lido in Banff. As a child my grandparents took my sister and I there and I remember how cold, cold, cold it was. It was abandoned by the local council as it was too expensive to keep open, and there is now a campaign to restore and reopen it.

While I would like to see it reopen – it has an excellent derelict quality. It is eerie, wild and silent. I would make a great place for contemplating the world. If there was time in the day for contemplation.

Anyway, I realise that I have really wobbled on. Let’s go to the picture.

Tarlair Swimming Pool

As usual you can see all the pics here and here


Surprisingly, I remember April as being a super wet month, despite 2018 being one of the hottest years on record.  I wasn’t very well in March and April and I don’t appear to have taken that many photos. But I did manage to squeeze the Lady Luscious cabaret in to my month. If you have never been to a cabaret, go to Lady Lush. Its amazeballs.

Onyx Fatale

This is a pic of Onyx Fatale, all round super woman and winner of the 2018 Burlesque Idol. She is an astounding performer, if you get the chance to see her perform – just do it.


So having gone from pissy rain weather to super warm and that start of a famous heat wave. I also felt better and back to myself. I was on my travels again, Germany and the US but it was closer to home where my fave pic of this month was shot. Indeed, I liked this shot so much that I have it in AO paper size on my wall at home. If you like it too, I can print you and sell you a copy too.

Vaisakhi Reading 2018

This fine gentleman was celebrating Vaisakhi with other members of the South Asian community in my current home of Reading. It was a fantastically warm day, and the colour and the noise of the procession, which went on for about 4 hours had to be seen to be believed. You can get a flavour of the whole thing by clicking this link here


I haven’t published many pics from June on my Flickr site. I am not sure why that it, my memory of June that I was super busy taking pictures, perhaps it was because I doing paid work for other people and didn’t want to post them.

What I did do was take some self-portraits. The pic itself is a tadge stark now I look at it.

Self Portrait Test

It shows a tubby bloke, who is a bit Burly ( get it). The pic also says something about the sort of pics I like to take. I shows a tubby bloke, with bags under his eyes. He looks careworn but defiant. This fits with the way that I want to take pics, I hope that it is true to life, not airbrushed but real. This is me, the way I am, struggling through, biting bullets and trying to be the best me I can be. The awesome Tempest Rose has a lot to say about being yourself, and one of her key expressions is #Fuckthatshit. I like to think that this a picture of a bloke as he is, broken, weak, defiant, surviving and able to say #Fuckthatshit at the appropriate moment.


Ok I am going to cheat and put two photographs up. My blog my rules…….

I went to three major demonstrations in July. The famous Anti-Trump Demo to welcome the great man to London. Lots and lots of people, possibly around 500,000 marched to Trafalgar Square. The day after a much smaller number of demonstrators had a greater and more violent impact as a small number of demonstrators tried to demonstrate their support for Donald Trump and the then jailed Tommy Robinson.

The pro-Trumpers and pro-Tommy Robinson’s were angry, violent dangerous and a bit fat. I mention this as one of the insults that they threw at me was that I was a bald, fat cunt. When you see the pics you might see the irony. See all the pics here

One of the protesters punched me in the mouth towards the end of the demo, but things were already wound up when one of them, I think also the man who threw the punch also pushed my camera back into my face when I was taking a picture.

Pro-Trump Demo This was some of the chaos caused by the Pro-Trumpers Pro-Trump Demo

And these were some of the fine gentlemen who felt strong enough about their own sexuality and personalities to call me names.

Pro-Trump Demo

Just another cheeky shot from the same day, this time with the Anti-Fa demonstrators trying to create their own chaos.

Anti-Fa Demo July 18

Have a look at all the pics from the demos here or here  or here or here


I had a fantastic August taking photographs. I shot a wedding in Germany and spent a fab couple of days taking photographs in a small village to the North of Berlin.  Went to the Notting Hill Carnaval and took lost of photos for people.

But, the picture that I want to highlight is one I took on my way back from Berlin. I saw smoke rising from a wood next to the motorway. I went to investigate and found an informal migrant camp like the old Jungle Camp in Calais, but less fun.

I decided to have a look to try and understand a bit more about the refugee problem. It was a Sunday afternoon and social workers were in the middle of food distribution. The residents were doing Sunday sort of things and I found this man giving his son a hair cut. They had travelled from Syria and were hoping to cross to England. They were proud and dignified, but lived in shit and squaller instead. I like the way that the man stares in to the camera as does the son. I can see their human pride and dignity. Are they still there? I don’t know.

Dunkirk Migrant Camp

You can see all the pics here .


Again, I took had lots of commissions, but the pic that I am happiest with is a portrait of trainspotters at the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway in Cheltenham. The observant amongst you, if you have struggled down this part of the page is that the spotters are still there despite the locomotive having already departed.

It seems like it is a metaphor for Brexit Britain. The trainspotters are all gathered round a train that has already been departed and they are looking at an element of the past. They are looking backwards into the future.

Glous and Worcester Railway


As a photographer I thought it was important to shoot at the Peoples’ Vote march in London. There were around 700,000 people marching in favour of a 2nd Referendum. But, and this is a big but the picture that I want to feature is of the most photogenic man on Instagram. Paulus – he is the amazing MC of Little Lady Luscious Cabaret at the Albany.

Little Lady Luscious Oct 18


I am the Burly Photographer, I am a bit Burly and I take lots of pictures of Burlesque and Cabaret shows. Infact you might say that Burlesque is my passion, you might say that but you can definitely say that my real passion is steam railways. I could drive a steam engine before I could drive a car. In November I spent a fine weekend in Swanage and luckily enough the steam railway was working. So I was luck enough to take a fine pic of a steam engine at Corfe station. You’re welcome…….

Swanage Railway


Lots of commercial shoots, 3 Burlesque shows, 1 conference, a saxophone orchestra and a few other things.

So I can’t show you those pics, but I can show you the burlesque book I published.

So that’s my year. What will 2019 bring – who knows?

And Now for Something Completely Different – Vaginas

Yes I did say vaginas….not so long ago, I made a short teaser video for the Beside Ourselves Collective theatre company who produced a play about the hypocrisies of the way girls are taught about sex in evangelical churches. The play was outstanding, I have actually seen it a couple of times, first at the Reading Fringe and second at the Peoples’ Theatre in Camden.

Both times it has had me in stitches.

If you go to church and have young people who attend, this will def be something to show. It certainly puts what I got taught about sex at the churches, I have attended (Yes The Burly Photographer can be found in church sometime) in some kind of context.

So here’s the video, I put together. – Enjoy- BTW those ARE vaginas

Beside Ourselves Collective Promotional Trailer from Theburlyphotographer on Vimeo.

Dancing in the moonlight

I rather like salsa dancing. I know its a bit of a cliche, but its such fun. If you haven’t tried partner dancing you really should give it a go, you won’t regret it – honest. Last week I was at a dance workshop trying to Tango and this week, I was at the amazing Salsa Bachata Social Club in Reading, for their monthly Salsa and Bachata party.

If you are in the Ding, you should shuffle your dancing feet there immediately, well immediately when their next evening is on, in March. Find out more about their next salsa party here.

I wanted to make a video of the evening and here it is. It seems to be proving popular on Facebook. You exclusively you can see what salsa dancers get up to on a Friday night.

I also create videos for all sorts of organisations and you can see some of my handiwork here.

Rememberance Photos

More Video

I have been working on some video with a colleague and we have tried to produce something that was a little bit more rich than a standard “talking head” video of which I have been make more than a few recently.

Let me know what you think. If you want something like this give me a bell.


I have been creating a few party videos, for various events I have been working on. Its a different discipline making video and I really enjoy trying to show the excitement and energy that you get a party.

I love parties.

I have also been creating “talking head” videos for a commercial company, where they are using their salesmen as a speaker and spokesman for their products. This is different again and you have to try and show them as sober sensible people.

So here’s the videos:

LASS Latin Party Reading University


The Salsa Bachata Club Reading


Talking Heads