This blog is a visual journey through my evolving career over more than thirty years of earning a living and travelling the world as an image creator.
It’s a bit like a regular coffee table photo book with a career biography framework, that has a few anecdotes and stories thrown in as well.
In so far as a photographer’s life can be encompassed by his work, this is my life through the lens. Well the first thirty years anyway.
I firmly believe that the best solution for a great life is to arrange to get paid to do what you love doing anyway. If you can achieve this then the whole concept of ‘work’ becomes meaningless, as doing what you love to do cannot really be described as work.
Luckily (some would say stubbornly), I have been able to achieve this aim almost continuously within the world of image production by being flexible and forward thinking in the areas I have chosen to work in.
Photography is a multi-faceted profession and, along with so many other things today, is rapidly changing as technology leaps forwards.
What works today will probably not work tomorrow. To survive in this business you need to keep evolving – not only to maintain income but also to maintain your own interest and enthusiasm, without which it is impossible to produce good work.
This blog, which started as a casual bit of nostalgia, completely took over my work output for about three months.
First I had to get all my old Kodachrome and Ektachrome transparencies out of their storage place in my loft. Then I discovered that they were not sorted properly at all as some of the agencies they had been out with, prior to the digital revolution, had badly mis-filed them. So I had my whole studio full with twenty years worth of images for several weeks. Five days to sort and file them all correctly before even starting the edit for the blog.
I then did all the scanning myself with a Canon 5d MkII – essentially by photographing each slide on a lightbox with a macro lens. After a bit of tweaking with camera profiles I got a result which was a lot better than any of the commercial scans I had used on previous occasions.
Only after all this could I think about starting to plan the layout of the blog.
One of the nice things about this whole project was that it enabled images which were seldom, if ever, selected for the magazine edits to see the light of day. Sometimes these were my best images. That’s the way editing for magazine publication goes where story telling considerations are paramount.
The Sudanese kitchen would be a good example, as well as the opening spread of my Suakin layout and the teenage lovers in Taiwan – all never published and amongst my favourite images in this blog.
The layout is pretty much in chronological order, as far as I can remember, as my career has changed from early attempts at underwater photography through magazine reportage, annual reports, advertising, stock travel stills and 3d generated concepts to timelapse and realtime motion footage for television, advertising, corporate and cinema.
Sometimes, especially with the earlier reportage material, the image quality may be a little less than perfect. Some images are scans from the original 35mm Kodachromes that had already been scanned multiple times during their earning lives. Others are copies of the actual magazine pages showing how the images were used.
In the reportage section I have tried to keep the text content to a minimum which means the original articles which would have accompanied the images, some written by myself, some by others, have not been included. I have tried instead to get over the feeling of the story using just images and captions.
I have not really discussed technique much at all for fear of boring the reader. Needless to say technique is very important and I have had to adapt and learn afresh with each major change in career direction. I am not a great believer in photography courses as I feel the only real way to learn is to get out there and do it yourself. Trying to emulate challenging images produced by other photographers is a great way to learn.
This book is not a sign that my journey has come to an end, as it is still moving forwards onto ever more exciting areas……