I took my very first photographs with my ninth birthday present, a cassette-loading Kodak Instamatic camera. It became my most treasured possession, and opened up my mind to a world of images.
In my early twenties I progressed to a Canon AE1 to shoot events, fairs, markets – I guess what we call reportage photography these days. I always had a darkroom at home – in the spare room, the loft, the basement – anywhere I could process and print my own film. There was a real science to it, and every time the images first started to appear it was a thrill. Before long, I started assisting and learning the skills to become a professional photographer.
But it wasn’t until I started working for Tony Stone (now Getty Images), that I was able to establish my own style. They would have a list of subjects to choose from, and I could shoot whatever I liked within that theme. This gave me the freedom to develop my own technique of creating light and airy images that leave plenty of space for the art director to place text.
Best of all, it awakened my desire to capture the real thing, which is what I do to this day.
Working with sitters to show their approachability is the part I most enjoy. Like they’re the kind of people you want to go to the pub with, and their workplace is somewhere you would want to hang out.
As corny as it sounds, the real challenge for me is to get into my clients’ heads, discover what they want, and deliver their vision.
Then I’m right back to being that excited kid with the Instamatic again.