Internationally acclaimed photographer Marcus Lyon has agreed to become Blesma’s latest high profile ambassador.
MARCUS LYON a British artist and photographer of international renown. He has taken portraits of HM the Queen and the last four British Prime Ministers, as well as some of the poorest people on earth in slums and ghettos worldwide. His work is held in collections from the Art Institute of Chicago to the Arts Council of Great Britain, and he is founder of the award-winning multidisciplinary art studio, Glassworks. Marcus recently became a Blesma ambassador, and plans to help Members increase their enjoyment of, and ability in, photography. He explains how…
What does photography mean to you?
The truly fabulous thing about life as a photographer is that you’re given a red carpet into whatever field you’re interested in. If you want to take woodland pictures, people in that world will invite you in. If you’re fascinated by disability sport, you can find connections and get access. It’s one of those golden careers that lets you follow the passions that resonate with you emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.
What are you working on now?
I’m engaged in three big themes. One is the continuation of the work I’ve done in three projects – Brics, Exodus and TIMEOUT – which explore global mass behaviours. I am also stretching what I do as an artist by building collaborations with third parties, like Rambert dance. The third is a project exploring Brazilian national identity through portrait, DNA and sound.
How did you get involved with Blesma?
I’ve had experience photographing disability sport, and been to the last five Paralympics. My family has a military connection, so I was familiar with Blesma. I have also had the great fortune to become friends with [Blesma Chairman] Sir Cedric Delves, and that led me to the inner team of the charity.
What attracted you to getting involved?
I’ve always been attracted to people who are, in some way, disadvantaged or who have not been dealt the best cards. Watching people overcome problems is incredibly inspiring.
What are you aiming to do for Blesma?
As much as I can. My role is undefined. It’s about finding meaningful ways for us to engage, but I want to be a strong pillar of support for Members who wish to pursue photography – whether as art, reportage, portraiture or landscape. I can support them through mentoring and being present for an exchange of ideas, as well as being on hand for competitions and exhibitions.
Can Members’ experiences give them a unique perspective as photographers?
I think so. A military background sits very comfortably with photography; both involve endless hours of getting your kit right before going into action. The patience of military process also crosses over, and the experiences Members have been through offer a different perspective. Photography is all about finding a new way of saying something that has already been said before. I want to support Members in finding their own voices.
What inspires you about Blesma Members?
I relate a little. It’s not at all comparable, but I was a relatively decent sportsman, and I had to stop because of injury. Then I saw some disabled sport. I wasn’t even a tenth as affected as these guys, but they were outperforming me by a million miles. It made me want to photograph people with disabilities doing amazing things.
Find out more about Marcus, his work and his career at www.marcuslyon.com