The first picture I ever took was of my mother. I sat her on a blue kitchen chair in the middle of the road outside our house in Guildford, it was Christmas day and it had snowed. If that wasn’t strange enough I told her to read the newspaper….! If anyone has any idea why I did that, please let me know as I have no idea what I was thinking… I was 11 years old and that may have had something to do with it, plus my Christmas present that year was my first camera, an Exakta RTL1000 SLR and I just had to photograph something!
Later the following year and after taking over the family bathroom as my makeshift darkroom, I got my first professional commission! I was asked by my Art teacher, Miss Syderway, to photograph her private collection…. Sorry, no Mrs Robinson stuff going on here, she really did need her art collection photographed and she paid my £50, which was a lot in 1978! This is when I learned my first lesson, that you can do anything you want and set your mind too, just as long as you are a 13 year old kid, as all the pictures where complete rubbish, but she never said a word! Hot on the heels of lesson one above, came lesson two, get the hell trained if you want to do something properly and right!
When full time professional photography finally came into my life and my hobby was now my income, I decided to spend a lot of time training and getting industry qualified with the main photography organisations “British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP)” and the “Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers (SWPP)”, after all I wasn’t 13 anymore and didn’t expect my clients to be so forgiving as Miss Syderway.
I always spend a good proportion of my time on self-development, albeit professional training or research into techniques, trends and industry changes. I have now re-aligned my photographic sights on developing my own style of classic camera technique and digital postproduction in the fine-art domain, which I am looking to influence all the work I now do. I agree with those who say “you never stop learning”, and in photography I think this to be particularly true. Society evolves and image fashion trends force change on my industry constantly…. this is why I love it!
With the introduction of the phone camera and Facebook selfies, professional photography could follow the path of Tyrannosaurus Rex! It’s important to me that I get right the balance of; why clients use/hire me as a professional photographer, what makes me different to the other 1000s and why image quality and artistic composition still-the-hell rule.
I am looking to do this with a careful blend of classic camera and lighting technique and digital post production. While I do not want to lose the in-camera classic photographic skills I developed years ago, I do feel seduced by digital fine art techniques of today and the fusion between photography and other art media such as portrait painting on canvas and the use of brush strokes for texture. I hope that my style evolves in this direction… I wait with interest.
…… You can still tell me to photograph whatever you want by the way, in whatever style or brief you want it of course….. a guy has to eat!