I am fortunate, I have spent my whole life pursuing my passion. Not many people can say that even at the age of 12 they were already engaged with an activity that would be their life’s interest but also their profession.
In the last 20 years I have seen my business as a photographer change and mutate in ways I might never have thought possible. The range of work I now undertake has slimmed down to the commercial, I no longer do weddings except for family, nor do I take family portraits. My work is exclusively for business, organisations and the University and the colleges so important to Oxford.
I photograph people, products, events and services. My pictures are used in brochures, college prospectuses, magazines, newspapers and of course on the web. My portraits are in college halls sharing space with oil paintings of past masters and the famous. I work with images describing and advertising and promoting the services and products of my many clients. I have photographed the Queen 4 times for different colleges, most of the royal family, presidents and ministers. I am regular in many colleges but have probably photographed in all Oxford colleges since I became a photographer.
My skills are consummate in that I have experience in most areas of photography, I have done it all before and know how to get the best from any situation or person.
I said I have been lucky to pursue my passion and that is true, it drives my desire to get the best that I can from my camera for my clients, it continues to challenge me to improve and to learn the new techniques that digital offers.
In 1982 I started The Photographers Workshop, it was a darkroom and studio hire centre, the first of it’s kind in the UK. The purpose was to provide colour and black and white darkroom facilities to anyone interested in photography. To attract professional photographers the quality of equipment was of a high standard and this also meant that amateur photographers could enjoy using professional level equipment.
I recognised that many people who were interested might not know how to develop their films and make prints so as part of the service I provided free tuition and later added a series of courses. The darkrooms were large with more than 20 enlargers so it was often a busy and lively place with many people making friends that exist to this day.
The location in St Mary’s Road Oxford was our home for more than 25 years but then property developers bought the site and forced a move. This was about the time that digital was starting to make inroads into photography so the move to Cave Street in St Clements came with a reduction of darkroom size and an increase of digital facilities. About 7 years after that the same happened, developers wanted to turn the studio and darkrooms into flats so the move this time to Collins Street saw the demise of the darkrooms which had become increasingly redundant. Although there is a small resurgent growth of interest in darkrooms work there is not enough to support a business.
I have been in Collins Street since about 2008 and it is a perfect location, close to the city, easy parking, a small studio for me to use in my commercial work and a larger office space that doubles as a teaching area.