Full time dad-at-home, whilst also working professionally as a fine-art, portrait and photostory photographer, when I have the time. I've just had my first exhibition of new work in well over a decade. My previous exhibition was of my degree show, wo Read more...
Here's the short version:
Full time dad-at-home, whilst also working professionally as a fine-art, portrait and photostory photographer, when I have the time. I've just had my first exhibition of new work in well over a decade. My previous exhibition was of my degree show, work that is now almost 18 years old, so it was a big deal for me.
If you want to know the long, overly verbose version, read on:
My first camera was given to me when I was 6, and I always recorded my life as a child, but the big decision to become a photographer came when my dad gave me his lovely Canon AE1 for my 18th. It, and a serendipitous friendship with a lecturer at Inverness college, eventually got me onto the - then prestigious - Derby University photography degree when I was 24, where I was lucky enough to be under the wings of the likes of John Blakemore, Paul Hill, Karen Knorr and Jean Baird amongst other great contemporary fine art photographers.
20 years on, I still see it as the best time of my life. My friends there were the closest bunch I've ever had, and it's a great pleasure to me that the web has - over the last few years - enabled some of the closest of us to get back in touch. That has made me very happy indeed, and is a further spur to push my photography.
I assisted a pro for a while, in Edinburgh, after the degree. We did lots of interesting shoots, for Kwik Fit, portraits of some VERY rich and important folk, tourist board shoots with some amazingly beautiful, and surprisingly supersmart models. But he was disillusioned with the professional scene in Edinburgh, and disillusioned me too. So I jumped on a multimedia technology masters degree, and he followed me in.
I became a web, graphic and multimedia designer for well over a decade. I led my own small team; I actually taught at Napier for a year; took time out to be home-dad (a fateful move, but one I'm eternally thankful for ) when our wonderful kid arrived. And then I became an interface designer for a local technology firm. It was nice enough, but being the only designer amongst many tens of developers, was trying. User centric design can be a hard argument to have in that environment, and I ended up making hundreds of crappy little 16x16 icons for a horrible interface. for about 5 years.
It put me off design for life.
Eventually, when all the hundreds of icons were redesigned, I got made redundant. And had some thinking to do.
At the same time, I googled an old alumni of mine. Turned out he had been working in London for the entire time, getting gigs for GQ, Dazed and Confused, even The Times. To say I was envious, was an understatement. Underpinning that was the feeling that I'd completely wasted the intervening decade and a half. He recently got shortlisted for the Taylor-Wessing prize actually.
It was a spur. I felt I had to push my photography onwards and make up for lost time. So in the intervening years ( thanks to my partner, Rachel, who is beyond understanding about it and has and is supporting me in ways that I never thought possible ), I've tried to become the photographer I feel I should be.
I'm still nowhere near where I want to be, but I'm closer, and I'm no longer envious of my old alumni. In the past year or two, I've overcome a lot of hurdles, both psychological and health based to get myself started. Blip helped me knock LUMPS of rust of my skillset, and the wonderful community helped me gain confidence, when there were few other sources of strength available to me.
I've proved to myself that I can be a professional portrait photographer, and now have people asking me for my services based on my portfolio. Much of which was built on blipfoto. Biggest deal of all though, is that my Bridges project, which was started and developed on Blip, with YOUR feedback, got funded by Creative Scotland (via Fife Creative Arts and Crafts ), printed on bare aluminium and was exhibited in September.
I now have the beginnings of an artist's cv which I can use to get myself even closer to where I want to be.
Photography has always been my saviour. I missed it terribly when I wasn't "doing" it. Returning to it, collaborating and talking about it. Bouncing ideas off my old friends... I feel like I have my life back. For that I'd like to thank Blipfoto.
I think some folks just don't get this.
I believe Blipfoto isn't just a grey or white or black background. It's the community. And the good people at blipfoto have that at their hearts. I'm still learning, all the time, and blip is my testbed and sounding board. There are so many inspiring photographers out there, many enthusiasts who produce far better work than many pros I've seen. I can't think of a place that /connects/ those people better. That's what it's about, for me at least.