I was recently interviewed by the writer and photographer Colin Pantall about my new photobook Dragons & Snakestones which is about the life and work of the fossils hunter and palaeontologist Mary Anning of Lyme Regis.

The book is currently in crowdfunding, click here to see a film about the project and buy a copy:

When did you get interested in Mary Anning and why?

I first found out who she was in spring 2014 when I was at Lyme Regis for a day out. I was walking on the beach and saw a big group of people all looking at the floor which made me curious. I spoke to some of the people who told me they were on a fossil walk and pointed me towards the group leader. I started asking a few questions…


Revised from personal notebooks, Spring 2020

In the spring of 2017, was at a crisis point with a project I’d been pursuing for several years. The work — concerning the story of Mary Anning, one of the most significant and undercelebrated field palaeontologists and fossil collectors to ever live — had spent three years being developed as a fairly straight body of documentary photography. However, influenced by new works I had been looking at, such as Sanna Kannisto’s ‘fieldwork’, Richard Misrach’s ‘Pictures of Paintings’ and the photographies of Ester Vonplon and Awoiska Van Der Molen, I had begun to take a different approach; drifting from objective…


The edge of The Garden — Lille, 2020

During the televised debates in the final days before the general election of 2019 Boris Johnson warned voters that Jeremy Corbyn had ambitions to dismantle capitalism. Whilst most of the population are irrationally frightened of such an ambition, I’m beginning to feel that the latest and ostensibly most threatening global crisis, COVID-19, is going to go some distance to persuading the global populace that ‘living locally’, working collectively and compassionately as opposed to competitively, and equalising the living standards of all global citizens will provide us with a coherent strategy for prolonging the life of our evidently declining species.

Over…


5:30pm — Thursday 12th December — Weston-super-Mare

The left took a heavy hit this week with The Labour Party losing seats and the Conservatives making gains all over the country, most notably along the ‘red wall’ which have been traditional labour heartlands for decades.

As we reflect on this defeat — and the scale of it — we must resist calls for labour to return back to the centre ground of British politics; a breeding ground for political careerism and the dilution of core labour values.

In the coming weeks we must resist calls for a Blairite leader of the Labour party. We must remind ourselves of…


Thoughts on the ethics and economics of photographing suffering

Over recent years working as a photographer and educator I have found myself increasingly entrenched in ethical debates concerning the production of photographs. Well, good, so I should be. As should everyone involved in any form of art and photography education, at any level.

I cannot help but think that many other writers are overlooking or underplaying a significant area which requires further analysis. …


Thoughts on Photography, Education and the Art Market

As a committed sceptic of the gallery space as a site for the meaningful and ethical publication of photographic works, I have become increasingly interested in alternative methods of dissemination and audience engagement. I have found that putting this into practice as an HE educator first requires some analysis of what brings people to higher education.

Working with students publishing final year degree projects I try to encourage them - with mixed success — to engage more with the people and places that their work is made about. An example of this was a collaboration between a film and photography…


My usual response to watching kids’ films is one of frustration so my default position is to anticipate that frustration, and look for it everywhere.

This could be about the way female characters, regardless of age always appear to be wearing make-up. It could be gender stereotypes or the aspirational hierarchical organisation of society and celebration of monarchy, amongst many other things. Regardless, I’m on high alert and in preparation for a high state of anxiety.

Whilst Wreck-It Ralph is one of the more tolerable kids films I’ve see of late and would certainly get through my ‘suitability for my…


Written on 4th August 2015

I am holding a photograph. It’s a picture of my grandmother taken by me, aged around 12, in the home I grew up in. She’s looking directly at the camera, through the lens, and at a past me. There is something about looking at this photograph that affects me greatly though it isn’t looking back at an image of my much missed grandmother who died about five years after this picture was taken.

She is wearing a green Nike T-shirt and a spotty cardigan, both items that I recall precisely with the aid of the…

Jamie Dormer-Durling

Lecturer at UCW, writing about politics, art, photography & culture.

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