It may sound a little pretentious to some but I consider myself ‘an artist who uses a camera’ rather than a ‘commercial photographer’.
My interest in photography extends further than the false notion of the ‘Real Spain’. The real Spain encompasses the darker side of life. You’d be as likely to find me at the roadside photographing road kill or wandering a city seeking out the harsh realities of everyday life as you would to find me photographing old folk sat around quaint villages, flamenco dancers or some of the countries glorious landscapes and seascapes. That’s not to say I don’t have a love for the prettier side of the country; I just like to dig deeper than a picture postcard view of the world.
Of course I do commercial work to help pay the bills, but I only accept commissions that really interest me. I’m in the lucky position of not having to accept every offer of photography work that comes through the door; I have an understanding wife and we have other interests that keep food on the table and the wolves from our door. I’d rather stick needles in my eyes than photograph a wedding or do studio portraiture of cute kids or scantily clad young (or not so young) ladies to make them feel or look better than they actually do. Set me off on the road doing travel photography or the editorial photography I’m doing at the moment and I’m much more in my element.
In these disruptive days of digital photography many people seem to assume that photography costs next to nothing to produce. That's far from the truth! Setting aside the cost of quality gear - time is money - distance is money - my style of photography is an investment of both against future rewards.
This is why I'm here...There's a simple equation to explain my motives...
m = t+d ∴ ∝p
Where m=money t=time, d=travel, and p=photographs
Joking aside, your support will provide me with more opportunity to travel, and therefore increase my photographic output! My style of photography needs me to be on the move, it's where I draw my inspiration from. I'm not here looking for money to buy 'stuff', I have more than I need kit wise already. Any funds received from patrons will be used for travel expenses (mostly fuel as I'm not above sleeping in my car - despite my wife hating me doing it) and production costs in exhibiting future work.
"When you work to please others you can't succeed, but the things you do to satisfy yourself stand a chance of catching someone's interest."
I'm hoping, that with your help, this will provide an opportunity for me to get away from the 'day job' from time to time and dedicate myself solely to producing the photography I love to create.
My BackstoryI’m now in my early 50s (how did that happen?); I have a degree in fine art photography and have also taught the subject at a number of colleges since completing that way back in the 80s. I’ve also done commercial and press work over the years too (though never weddings - as I mentioned earlier, I'd rather stick needles in my eyes!). I think I can safely, on that basis, call myself a ‘photographer’. The truth of it is though, it’s not always been my priority although I have kept my hand in part-time. After finishing my degree, I drifted in and out of photography as a career due to many distractions: beer, women, work, travel, kids, marriage, divorces, money – you name it, there’s been a million of them.
Several years ago (perhaps you could call it a mid-life crisis) I decided there was still time in my life to reconnect properly with that side of myself and I’ve fallen in love with photography as an art form all over again. In doing so I’ve rediscovered a part of myself. In fact, photography was one of the reasons for us moving to mainland Spain from Lanzarote in 2012. As pretty as Lanzarote and the Canary Islands are, I’m not a ‘picture postcard photographer’. I needed a hefty dose of reality to get my teeth into.
At the risk of coming across all ‘TV talent show sob story’ I’d like to tell you something more personal to me. Since I set off on this path again something happened elsewhere to confirm I was doing the right thing – something that touched me deeply. On the 16th of November 2014 my Mum died. Some people who know me well may not even have known this until now as I’m not the fishing for sympathy on Facebook type, I’m quite a private person. My Mum didn’t know all that much about my day-to-day life and living overseas I hadn’t seen her for longer than should have been the case. In the aftermath of that I spent three weeks over in the UK with her husband helping him with practicalities and just being there for him.
We talked a lot in that time, as you might imagine, and during one of those conversations he told me that only a couple of weeks earlier my mother had told him she was disappointed I hadn’t fulfilled the (photographic) ambitions I’d talked to her about thirty plus years ago. It wasn’t that she was disappointed in me; it was that she was disappointed FOR me. I was amazed she’d even remembered those discussions, and never realised she knew how much it mattered to me. I wish she’d known I was back on this track. I wish she’d known that at age 50 I had decided there was still time to get where I wanted to go. She’d have been so pleased. Watch this space.
A note about the Flickr reward: Whilst my website content is focussed on black and white fine art photography, you'll find the work on Flickr a lot more colourful and cheerful. Among other uses, many may be ideal for illustrating articles or providing inspiration for Spain related blog posts.