I finished my secondary schooling with a dozen o-levels and two a-levels in Chemistry and Physics. Continued studies at the Polytechnic of Central London (now Westminster University, I believe) where I studied for a BSc in Photographic Science.
I did not complete my studies, and left to join the Civil Service as a trainee computer programmer. I was posted to the Metropolitan Police in London, working in their IT unit, staying there for 10 years. From there I moved to Armitage & Norton as a computer audit consultant.
Armitage & Norton became part of KPMG some 2 years after I joined and I have been with KPMG since that time. Within KPMG I have moved internally a number of times, working initially as a computer auditor, then moving to their management consultancy practice where I specialised in computer security and finally I joined their, at that time, fledgling Forensic practice to bring IT into Forensics. I have been specialising in Forensic Technology from that time. My work in KPMG has taken me to many countries around the world – most countries in Europe and Scandinavia, the Eastern block and former Russian states, the Middle East and the USA.
Interests (outside of photography)
These are many and varied. In my early years sports were very much central to my life and in my twenties I continued playing club rugby until a series of injuries, in particular a knee injury, finally led me to retire. Following on in the sporting theme, I took up windsurfing and continued this for many years, particularly in competitive windsurfing. From windsurfing I moved on to yachting, and again competitions were central, competing in Offshore races including the Fastnet. Sadly, participation in these sports dwindled with time.
Since my early boyhood, I had a passion for aviation and this continued throughout my life. After a number of false starts, I finally qualified for my Private Pilot’s Licence in 2007. My interest in aviation is reflected in my photography, which has been dominated by aviation subjects, aircraft, airshows and so on for over 30 years.
Interest in photography started at the tender age of 7 or 8 when I was allowed to play with Dad’s “Box Brownie”. This continued with being given my first proper camera in my early teens – a range finder “Petri 7S”. At school, I started a Photography club, with encouragement from my Physics master. Here we were given free reign to dabble in making up our own photographic chemicals, though these mostly based around Kodak’s D-76 as the formula was freely available.
At home I took to converting the kitchen into a darkroom, using a second-hand Gnome Alpha enlarger. This went on for many years, but it was rather limiting as I could not do home colour printing. However, for many years I processed my own slide (reversal) film as well as black and white. In my late teens I worked at Agfa-Gevaert’s lab in Morden during school and college holidays, primarily on the reversal line, with responsibilities (and pay) increasing when I undertook tasks such as getting all the lines started up in the mornings, monitoring chemical quality and working on silver re-cycling.
Eventually I was allowed to dedicate a room at home as a darkroom and this was fully configured for colour processing centered around a Durst 605 enlarger. By that time I had also explored screen printing, including the use of photographic emulsions on screens. This I pursued over a few years on courses and I was also given the “keys” at weekends to the labs at Brunel University enabling me to pursue screen printing activities by myself.
Regarding cameras, by that time I had migrated from the Petri 7S via the Praktica Super TL to the Pentax Me Super. I also had a Pentacon 6 as my foray into medium format, though I only had a single lens for that camera.
With the need for spectacles, I moved to the Canon EOS, tempted by their auto-focus, investing in the EOS 10. By that time I had married and moved home, so my darkroom and related activities ceased to exist. As digital photography came into being and the first DSLRs appeared, I ventured in that direction starting originally with the hugely expensive Canon D30 when it was released. This was followed by the 10D which I used until it died in 2008. My current cameras are the 50D and the 5D II. Lenses include (all Canon):
- 16-35 f2.8
- 24-105 f4
- 28-300 f3.5-5.6
- 50 f1.8
- 100-400 f4.5-5.6
Regarding subject matter, whilst continuing with the aviation theme, I have, over the last 12-18 months started photographing other subjects again – landscapes etc. This is as I felt that my photography was getting very stale.
My desire at present is to improve and embarking on this course I see as one of the ways which will help me achieve this. It will also provide me with a structure as I am getting frustrated with simply going out to take some photos without a real plan and objectives as to what I want to achieve. What I do wish to avoid, however is to become so regimented that I cease to be enjoying myself.
Longer term, I would like to be in a position to start taking on some part-time commercial work and for this, I also believe that this course would be essential in helping me improve the quality of my work. Ideally I would like to pursue the modules / stages through to achieving my BA, and also a successful submission to the RPS.
Having said all of that, I want to go out and enjoy taking, printing and displaying my photographs. Improving quality I hope will lead to greater enjoyment and fulfilment.