Jim Fenwick: Fight or Fish

At Locate we have the privilege of working with some of the world’s most interesting and experienced creative professionals. We want to shine a spotlight on some of the brilliant people we partner with on shoots and campaigns.

Jim Fenwick is a photographer based in Notting Hill, London and has been a friend of the Locate family for over 15 years. He has worked with Locate on a range of productions – including clients such as Nike, Vodafone and HSBC. However, he also loves using his commercial photography skills to give something back to under-privileged communities.

We spoke to Jim about one of his most recent personal projects: photographing young boxers from the Bukom neighbourhood of Accra, Ghana. Titled ‘Fight or Fish’, the project captures a tiny community that has produced more boxing world champions per square metre than any other place in the world.

For generations, the main vocation in Bukom has been fishing. This involves high intensity work with little rest over a prolonged period of time – it is perhaps no coincidence that boxing demands the same sort of physicality. In a deprived area like Bukom there are very limited employment opportunities, young boys are left with little choice: fish or fight. As a consequence there are over twenty boxing gyms in an area the size of four football pitches, and most of the men are connected to boxing in some way.

Jim became interested in this small neighbourhood back in 2013 and says:

I searched out and met the Ghanaian lightweight boxer Richard Commey. At the time he was the African champion and had a perfect record of 17 fights and 17 wins by KO. He will fight for the World Title again one day soon and I will be there. Richard Commey gives hope to many in Ghana. Hope that one can find a better future.

It is this hope that is important to both Jim and the Locate team. Being able to use our professional experience and expertise to give back to communities like Bukom brings an added depth and meaning to our day to day work.

Jim describes how his photography work evolved into community involvement:

My project started out as purely documentary in nature but as I got to know Richard and his manager I crossed a line and became more and more involved. I learned about the business of boxing and saw how crazy it all was. Fighters avoiding Richard, promoters not letting him fight, you soon learn that being able to fight in the ring is only a small part of becoming a champion. I hated the injustice of it all. Utilising the tools and tricks we use daily in our commercial lives I decided to help get Richard noticed. I pulled in help and we created a logo, then one of Locate’s freelance stylists Lisa Dredge made his ringwear and custom designed fight gloves. We worked on his marketing and PR, making fight posters, press packs and image libraries we made it as easy as possible for the press and public to access Richard.

We also got involved with the wider community in Jamestown. With the help of Locate Productions we were able to run an art workshop at the orphanage school and feed the young children for a month. The child boxers of the town were also a concern to us as their equipment was so worn out and threadbare. Thanks again to our supporters we were able to donate quality new boxing gloves, head guards, gum shields and clothing to help protect the young boxers of the town.

Working with creative individuals like Jim, who lets his personal ethos overflow into his professional life, is one of the perks of the job at Locate. We have found that developing mutual creative partnerships, based on common values, is what produces our best work.

Luckily, Jim enjoys working with us too!

What I love about working with Locate is that you feel like you’re talking to a human being. They have a particularly ethical side to them that you don’t normally see in this industry. They’re keen to give back. They’re hard working, and they expect others to work hard too – it brings the best out of people, I respect that. At the end of the day we’re all human beings, and if we can somehow put back into situations like the one in Bukom, then that’s fabulous!

We are proud that we work with so many creative, adventurous professionals who are leaders in their fields. It challenges us to think differently, and maintain the high standards and quality of work we adhere to.

Take a look at more of Jim’s work on his website: www.jimfenwick.com

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