A photographer has set out to explore the meaning of home for people from the black British community living in Suffolk.
John Ferguson, who lives in Ipswich, has previously photographed a number of famous names including singer Michael Jackson, actor Benedict Cumberbatch and model Naomi Campbell.
“This theme will creatively express and explore people’s experience and interpretation of what exactly is home,” says Mr Ferguson. “The idea is to connect with the notion that we are home, both metaphorically and physically. Our lives are inextricably attached to where we live, our homes, and Suffolk.”
His latest project focuses on 16 people, including a wedding celebrant, an ex-Premier League footballer and a ballet dancer.
Ruel Fox, fitness instructor and ex-footballer
Ruel Fox is an ex-Premier League footballer from Ipswich who played for Norwich City, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur. He retired at the age of 33 after a spell at West Bromwich Albion.
Twenty years on, home for Mr Fox, who is half-Montserratian, is still Ipswich.
“Ipswich is everything to me, I mean especially my Whitton estate,” he says. “My career has taken me all over the country.
“I’ve flown to some fantastic places. I’ve met fantastic people over the years. I’ve just always been drawn back to here, Whitton.
“It’s part of me. I like the people round here – everyone’s just so humble here. And I just love it.”
Michelle Taylor, mayor and Harry Potter fan
Michelle Taylor is just a few weeks into her new role as the mayor of Manningtree, in Essex.
She is also a huge Harry Potter fan and a wedding celebrant, who writes and conducts ceremonies for people.
“I’m known as The Funky Celebrant because I turn up with my bright red, 50s dresses, petticoat and Doc Marten boots so people know when I’m in the room,” she says.
Originally from Birmingham, Ms Taylor is now based in Manningtree but works extensively in Suffolk. She loves her dogs and is getting a new puppy.
“Home is… it’s cliche, but it is where the heart is or where the dog is, as far as I’m concerned.
“It’s where you feel comfortable, where you feel settled and where you feel free to express yourself and I’ve been let loose in my home. Every room has got something Harry Potter related in it.”
H E Ross, sailor
“I’ve lived on boats for, I guess, two-thirds of my life,” says H E Ross, “so I’ve always basically been living on boats since I was about 21.”
Mr Ross, who has previously worked in San Francisco and the Caribbean, moved to Woodbridge 10 years ago to continue his work in marine heritage.
“I don’t see the boat itself as the home, I see still me – I’m the home within the boat,” he says.
“Added to that would be my wife, after that, would be my first child, second child and I have two other children and if they are ever near me, they’re at home and if they’re at a distance, they’re still at home.”
You might also be interested in:
Kanika Carr, ballet dancer
Suffolk has been Kanika Carr’s home since the age of five, although she was born in Baltimore, in the United States, and has worked in London for many years.
“I definitely see myself more British than American. I would just say I’m America-born but I’m not really culturally American.”
“Whenever I say, ‘I’m going home’, I mean Suffolk.
“I think Marlesford is just so picturesque. It’s got so many beautiful pink cottages and little narrow country roads.
“And it’s just a very quiet village,” she says.
Ellisha Soanes, diversity inclusion lead, and daughter A’niah
“For me, it’s so important for my children to understand their own identity,” says Ellisha Soanes, the diversity and inclusion lead at West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds.
“So when Black Panther came out it was fabulous, but especially for my daughter A’niah.
“When it came out, her little face just seemed to light up to see somebody that looked like her but be a superhero.
“It’s just about having that identity, being able to be at home and research and looking and asking questions and going, ‘wow, I’m amazing’ and sometimes, on the outside world, we don’t always have that.
“So within our home settings it’s making sure that they feel empowered and making sure they have positive affirmations in the house.”
Mervin Henry, aka DJ Daddy Turbo, ex-footballer, journalist and DJ
There are two sides to Mervin Henry.
The first is Mr Henry, the second is DJ Daddy Turbo and his great love for music.
He’s built up a name for himself in the local Ipswich music scene, hosting Soundsystem events and setting up a pirate radio station, before joining BBC Radio Suffolk in 2003.
“My brother inspired me because he used to have a collection of artists like John Holt,” he says, “and every Friday he used to go, and he used to bring back vinyl.
“I used to sneak up into the bedroom and then go into the brown bag which they used to come in, lift it out and play it there and listen.”
After that, in my head, I’m thinking, whenever I get a job and start working, I’m going to get the biggest collection of vinyl you’ve ever seen.
“And that stuck in my head all the time.”
The photos from the exhibition will be mounted on outdoor cubes on the Cornhill, Ipswich, from 31 July as part of the Aspire Black Suffolk six-month programme of events, celebrating the contributions of the black British community.
“I’m hoping this exhibition will be a bit of an eye-opener really. It’s meant to entertain and enlighten and hopefully educate as well,” Mr Ferguson says.
All photographs by John Ferguson