You can run but you can’t hide

Tuesday April 20th, 2010 03:14 PM

El Puerto de Santander, Cantabria

Somewhat surprisingly, I received a call yesterday from one of my old bosses at the Guardian, asking if I was free to do some reporting from Santander on the Cantabrian coast. With British airspace closed since before the weekend due to the Icelandic volcanic explosion, thousands of holidaymakers have been stranded in Spain for days trying to find a way back home. Many hundreds found a stand-by place on the Pont Aven, a ferry which left Santander last night bound for Portsmouth.

Stragglers continued to trickle in even after the ship had left harbour. One man I spoke to had been stuck in Málaga since Thursday. He had driven 12 hours hoping to get yesterday’s ferry but missed it by minutes. Santander is such a beautiful city that – though I didn’t tell him at the time – it seemed like a blessing in disguise. He’ll be able to enjoy its not inconsiderable charms today while waiting for the next sailing tomorrow.

The report I contributed to is here. I only had time to snatch a couple of quick pictures as I had to file my copy to the paper. Note to self: go back to Santander soon.

El Puerto de Santander, Cantabria, España

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself

Sunday March 21st, 2010 08:38 PM

James Hislop, un director de noche, Guardian, King's Place, London

James Hislop, el editor de noche, cambiando paginas. Guardian, London

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Roosevelt’s phrase was very much on my mind when, at the end of last year, I was in a “Where next?” and “What next” frame of mind.

Our seven years in London have been good ones. We’ve had a lovely home and neighbourhood in Brockley; been married and had two charming kids. And I’ve been proud and privileged to work at The Guardian.

A reporter for the past 12 years – a third of my life – and it is truly engrained in who I am. I’ve been fortunate to have an employer whose world values are not that different from my own. Every day has been different and saying good-bye last week was not easy. I’ll miss the access to those who make decisions which affect people’s lives, and trying to hold them to account. And I’ll miss many of my often-inspiring colleagues.

But I’m also lucky as, by having a Spanish wife, I’ve been aware for some time that there are other worlds out there. Places without seven million neighbours; where’s there’s always time for a glass of Rioja, and you don’t need to drive or take a train to escape the smoke.

And so it’s time for a change. Our move to rural Spain, not far from Logroño, will give me the chance to learn again. There’s the challenge of a new culture, improving my Spanish and working for myself as a photographer.

However, to me, my documentary style photography is not that different from my journalism. It’s telling a story through images rather than words.

Here are a few photos from my last week at the Guardian.

Meeting editorial de mañana, The Guardian, London

Reunión editorial, The Guardian, London

Prensa vieja, The Guardian, King's Place, London

Prensa vieja, The Guardian, King's Place, London

Edificio de The Guardian, King's Place, London

Edificio de The Guardian, King's Place, London

Edificio de The Guardian, King's Place, London

Edificio de The Guardian, King's Place, London