I love to photograph people when they are having amazing moments in their lives. When they make the biggest promise of there lives, when they reach for that high note, get fully dressed up for carnival, or a child makes its first steps I think the world becomes a better place. To photograph people at these special moments of their lives is a real privilege. I find magic in that moment. And I believe that magic is good for our souls.
I am relaxed around people, nothing is too much trouble. Underneath all of this is good solid planning and attention to detail. I listen to what people want from the photographs and work to deliver more than they were expecting (in a good way :0).
I like taking photographs
I enjoy taking photographs of almost anything. I love photowalks...chose a route and take pictures on the way...keeps you fit and walking with your eyes open.
I am a real fan of the craft of photography
I love the physicality of the camera, the joy of the craft, realising that how I see the world could create my art and craft. I look back at my original prints and I am right back as a teenager with my friends and the Dartmoor landscape. They are my memory of the moment made real. Today it is all still true. Though my cameras have changed and I have not loaded a film in years, it makes no difference. I am still in love with the photograph. I still love that moment.
My Dad gave me my first camera. A battered, pull out bellows, manual 35mm film camera, (I've seen one in a museum!). I had to guess the exposure which, though a pain in the bum, is actually is a really good way to learn about light.
It all felt rather wonderful and very modern (Shows what I knew...I had to manually set the shutter with a lever!) and as the shutter released the moment froze and something inside of me changed. I have never been without a camera since. You name it, I will photograph it.
I have used many cameras over the years, including a Konica TC, a classic, glorious, wonderful Nikon FM2 (using the equally glorious Fuji Velvia slide film). That was my golden age of landscape photography and a bad day when I lost it in a river).
I moved on to Bronica ETRSi and Fuji GA645 medium format cameras. They were gorgeous cameras that produced some stunning still lives for me. Though I loved them dearly this was ultimately an expensive lesson that taught me I prefer the immediacy and intimacy of 35mm cameras. One day I will go through all my prints and slides and produce digital copies.
I went digital in 1999 with an Epson PhotoPC 650z 2.1mb camera that cost £650! It came with a "free" 16mb memory card. How things have changed. It was a wonderful day when I moved up to the classic Canon 5d full frame digital camera. There is something about Canon that just works with portraits and I was finally able to really follow my passion with people photography.
In over 40 years of photography I have learned that the the eye behind the camera and the viewers emotional connection with the subject in front to the camera makes the photograph. In many ways the kit you use is irrelevant....up to a point...when you are being paid to take photographs quality counts, and I have invested in that quality.
My amazing work buddies are now a Canon 5d Mark 111 full frame camera fitted with Canon 24 - 70mm F2.8 L series wide angle and 70 - 200mm telephoto L series lens (extremely good lenses, I have bought cars that cost less!). I love the quality of the portraits the full frame sensor produces, especially in low light.
My "carry it always" camera is a Panasonic GF1 micro 4 thirds sensor with a 20mm F1.7 ( a very special little lens) and 45 -175mm lumix lenses.
I grew up using slide film and rotary projectors, I had my own black and white darkroom and watching a print appear is truly magic, though in truth I don't miss the smell of the chemicals. I shoot in RAW and process images using a Ezio ColourEdge CS240 monitor and Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop CC
Why am I a part time photographer?
Quite simply I have a job I love, just as much as photography and have done so for the last 12 years. I work for NDVS (North Devon Voluntary Services) as a Project Manager for the Devon Access to Services Project (DASP). We are a team of two, both part time, who work to help isolated and vulnerable people access the services they need. A big part of our work is with more than 50 Community Car Schemes across Devon to help them provide their fantastic service. Their volunteer drivers give lists to people who need help with transport to get to medical appointments and social activities. We provide advice and support, collect statistics, help distribute small grants and raise the profile of the work they do, which is mostly provided by volunteers. If you would like to know more about the work of Community Car Schemes and the amazing work they do please see the PDF Social Kindness report.
I have also been involved with National Trust Working Holidays for over 30 years and for the last 20 years have been a Driver Assessor Trainer for Working Holiday leaders who drive volunteers around in minibuses. As part of the volunteer team we train and assess the leaders to MiDAS standards It's a great privilege to be involved with such brilliant work, and helps me be who I want to be.
The other reason I am part time is, quite simply, family. I missed my kids growing up by being married to my job and career. I now have a grandchild, and I will not miss her growing up. Time goes so fast and you are a long time dead.