The Today Programme has commissioned internationally renowned photo journalist Nick
Danziger to capture Britain at 6am. Each week we will bring you a new theme, from a Belfast mosque to a London meat market. Be sure to return regularly to watch this stunning exhibition unfold.
Sheldon, West Midlands
Sheldon is the busiest fire station in the West Midlands. The only certainty is they won’t get a full night’s sleep. Many of the fires they are likely to get called to are those started deliberately, often by joy riders - youngsters who having had their ‘high’ racing a stolen vehicle, set it alight, or by others setting abandoned and boarded up houses, shops and industrial units on fire.
These firemen are regularly ambushed by youngsters; they throw bricks or place obstacles in their path. Nowadays they have to stop the fire engines when they leave the fire station, to lock the doors behind them, as in the past these youngsters have called them out on a false alarm so that they can get into the fire station to steal their personal belongings.
Nick was born in London but grew up in Monaco and Switzerland. He developed a taste for adventure and travel from a young age, and, inspired by the comic-strip Belgian reporter Tintin, took off on his first trip to Paris aged 13. Without passport or air ticket he managed to enter the country and travel around, selling sketches to make money.
Nick’s initial ambition was to be an artist, and he attended art school, got an MA and representation from a gallery. But his desire for travel remained - he applied and was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship in 1982 and used it to follow ancient trade routes - he travelled on foot or traditional local transport from Turkey to China and documented his adventures in diaries.
The diaries formed his first book, the best selling Danziger’s Travels , and he never looked back. He has since travelled around the world taking photographs and in 1991 made his first documentary in Afghanistan, War Lives and Videotape, based on children abandoned in the Marastoon mental asylum in Kabul. It was shown as part of the BBC’s video diaries series and won the Prix Italia for best television documentary series.
Nick has since travelled the world taking photographs and making documentaries about the people he has met. He has published four books, including his latest, The British, for which he returned to his roots.