I think if I was to describe my own photography, I would say I was a documentary street photographer who is drawn to contemporary issues of society and communities.
Over the last 40 years, to earn a crust I have photographed all sorts of things, from being a staff photographer on a local newspaper in the late 1970s, and a freelance photographer working for Fleet Street titles earning handsomely from mainly The Sun, The Express and the Sunday Times in the 1980s, although if you end up coming on one of my workshops or talks you will probably hear why I walked away from the latter after a few years, here I will simply say it is because I have empathy for my fellow humans.
From the 1980s, for twenty years I continued earning a living from photography by being a GP Photographer, photographing commercial projects such as a range of drinking glasses, whose photographs were destined to be on the walls of London’s Harrods, events such as horses running around fields and many thousands of weddings and portraits.
As much as I enjoyed the years as a GP photographer I think of them now as my ‘desert’ years and it is only in the last decade I have found my way out of a the ‘sandy existence’, although even today I still find myself in the studio photographing products or shooting a wedding for nice brides and grooms.
Nearly ten years ago I joined The Royal Photographic Society and saw a side of photography that was unknown to me, and became engaged with the organisation as a distinction’s advisor and regional organiser. I then decided to study, and completed a degree, a master’s degree and a post graduate PGCE in teaching, and I am currently considering a PhD.
Throughout the studies I returned to a documentary press photographer approach to photography, using street photography to observe, document and try to understand contemporary life around me. All my academic output began with street photography. This is how I continue to work today, and I shoot street photography based projects, and some of them lead to books about aspcts of sociaty and community that raise questions for me.
Some students and tutors called me a ‘back to front student’ when they discovered I had sustained a lengthy career in what I was now studying, but I thought that gave me an interesting approach to study, and if academia is about a collaboration to develop knowledge for all, what better thing is there to reflect on what you have done to help others do better than you, and that is what I set out to do when I do talks or teach in universities and colleges, or during workshops, things which in 2019 fills a lot of my time now.