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Between February and July 2015, I lived on Pitcairn Island, a tiny, craggy lump of volcanic rock in the middle of the South Pacific.

Pitcairn is the last remaining British overseas territory in the Pacific, and measures just 2 miles by 1 mile. It is home to fewer than 50 people, most of whom are descendants from the Bounty mutiny of 1789.

Though famous for its association with the Bounty mutiny, Pitcairn is perhaps better known now for the string of high profile sexual abuse scandals involving girls as young as eight that took place ten years ago. As a result of past scars, locals were reticent about engaging with me, and I had a difficult three months on the island.

My aim was to photograph each and every resident on Pitcairn in 2015, with a view to drawing parallels between my own seafaring childhood and the fragility and physicality of the Polaroid film that I use. The project changed drastically during the course of my journey, and the most emblematic pictures were often found images that reflected the intense experience of living amidst this isolated community.

The first image here features one of the girls who testified in the sexual abuse trials of 2004. It was the only image or reference of her that I found anywhere on the island, most were unwilling to acknowledge her existence, including her own family. This was discovered stashed in the back of an album destroyed by water in the last remaining traditional dunnage house on Pitcairn.

Her face has been obscured and distorted, as though the physical environment of Pitcairn itself has slowly destroyed her, or erased her. In a sense this may be the most powerful image of my trip, drawing the parallel between Pitcairn's particular geography and some of the lasting effects on its people. When I left Pitcairn, I too felt emotionally destroyed - to leave the intensity behind was the greatest sense of freedom I have ever experienced.

During my time on the island, I also made a Radio 4 documentary (in association with the Royal Geographical Society), called Journey of a Lifetime. You can listen to the documentary on iPlayer here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06j144b

You can also read my blog of the trip here and see my Instagram images here.

With thanks to all of my supporters, including those on Kickstarter, GoFundMe, the RGS/BBC, Quondam, and Eftec.

For image requests, please contact me.

 
 
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