How it all happened…
Normally this is the section of a website where we tell you how fantastic we are and list all the highly dubious but incredibly ego-inflating accolades we’ve gained in our career in a tirade of self-righteous bull.
Let’s just not. Here’s how I got where I am.
Picture a 9 year old at a wedding, drooling over his rich cousins SLR sat on the table with a long lens on, desperately wanting to have a look through to see if it really does look like it does in the films on the telly. My excitement when I was allowed to look through and play with the focus and zoom, but not push any buttons, was the moment when I decided that, one day, I would have a proper, big expensive camera. 8 years later I bought a 35mm Zenith for £45 in a local second hand shop, got some lenses from a friends’ dad and borrowed some books from the library to see how it all worked. Cue years of taking really bad photos of my mates and our bikes.
In 2010 I was given a Sony DSLR for a birthday present and learned digital photography was much easier than film. Born in South West Devon I have Dartmoor on my doorstep and the coast 15 minutes away so I’m perfectly situated for landscape photography. After about a year I discovered I was quite good at it so decided one day I’d give up the day job and go professional. How hard can it be? I’d find out soon enough.
Around the same time, I had my eyes opened to the wider world. I’m a Devon lad, had never been further north than Birmingham and had only been abroad a few times (to America when I was 7 and France a couple of times, and one of those was driving through to Spain as part of work as a bike tech) so when a camping trip to the Lake District was suggested I was, in a word, terrified. I was told I was going, no ifs or buts and nervously got into the car. That trip awoke me to the beauty of our own country and I wanted to see more of it. I discovered a desire to explore, no matter where I went. I think it was always in me; it just needed a nudge to dig it out.
In 2013 I found myself out of work so this was the ideal time to give it a big push. I’d had a few publications and was supplying a local calendar company with images so had a small income from photography, but not enough to pay bills. I was attending a camera club and found out pretty quickly that I was actually respected for my work. They had a couple of speakers so I asked if I could do a talk for them. It turned out that I actually really enjoyed it, being a bit of a show-off. That opened up a whole new direction and possible income stream.
At this time my partner was supporting me financially. I was getting fairly regular income from publications and from craft fairs, but only enough to run a vehicle. In 2014 however, they left meaning I had to go back to a ‘normal’ job to pay the bills. It also meant fewer trips away and less time for photography. The momentum I’d built up stuttered and the photography work dried up.
In 2015 I met Phil Starkey, a landscape photographer based in Penryn in Cornwall. We hit it off and I spent the next couple of years dividing my time between Devon and her home where she showed me around her patch. In 2017 she moved up with me and has been the driving force behind us as a landscaping couple. She has been the one promoting us to companies and saying ‘yes’ to any shout-outs opening opportunities which has seen us both become Kase Filters UK Pro partners, give presentations together, get published in magazines again and also become friends with some of the people who inspired us in the beginning; something we never dreamed would happen!
So where am I now? I’m a respected member of the Kase Filters UK team, am giving talks at clubs around the country, have amassed a sizeable following and have gained many good friends in the industry. I may not be a full-time ‘Professional’ but I consider my current position successful.