I believe it is vital to record memories for ourselves and for future generations; and I believe professional photography is important in our lives - alongside the stream of social media images which we all take in this digital age.
My goal is to bring a practised professional's eye: understanding people, recording relationships, capturing expression and light; and to create beautiful finished products which will bring memories to life long into the future.
I’ve been photographing people since the 1980s, and undertaking commissioned work for the last nine years.
For over a decade I took publicity photographs of world-class classical musicians at work, which have been used for CD booklets and national newspapers. I worked extensively photographing children through school and community projects; and I developed a photojournalistic style from street photography as I travelled around the world. I learned to grab motion quickly (and silently!) when working with projects for professional theatre companies like Donmar Warehouse and Creation Theatre.
My enthusiasm for portraiture was reignited when I realised how important it is to record the childhood of my own son – and how much fun we could have doing it. I went on a quest to develop a natural, simple style. I was influenced by the extraordinary photography, workshops and personal coaching of leading American childrens’ photographer Cheryl Jacobs Nicolai. Her natural style is captivating. I’ve also been mentored by some of Europe’s top children’s photographers.
When others were going to digital, I went in the other direction, selling my digital camera and honing my technique with an old Leica film camera for a year or so … before finally admitting that darkroom work is less smelly on a computer.
Beyond portrait photography
Between photography assignments I have been (and occasionally still am) many things – a musicologist, a computer scientist, a tympanist, a strategy consultant, a company director – and I have travelled or worked in 40 or so countries. My photography clients enjoy working with me and I enjoy my time with them.
I now work primarily with children and families, although I am also happy to photograph at private functions, special events (eg Christenings), stage and corporate work.
Clients often ask about equipment. Equipment does not matter. Really. Light matters; expression matters; darkroom technique matters. Equipment comes further down the list. Nevertheless:
All my work now uses Leica equipment, which is very unusual for professional portrait photographers because it requires tricky technique that does not sit well with fast-turnaround jobs. I prefer to take my time and to enjoy Leica's beautiful image quality. Leica makes the world's finest lenses, with a famously characterful quality.
The Leica "M" has been the tool of the photojournalist and street photographer for decades, its compact size giving fluidity and focusing precision to the user. Also (and this is important to me) the little M camera lets me get up close and build a relationship with the people I am photographing – rather than have a huge camera in the way. But there is a downside: it’s all manual-focus, and usually manual-exposure. And no zoom lenses either. So give me a little extra time!
I also use the professional Leica SL system, and the amazing little Leica Q, for particular tasks.
But then again, equipment does not matter. It really doesn’t.