I've always dabbled with photography since a kid, I'd always take along my little 110 film camera with me on days out. At college I got my first 35mm and set up a little darkroom and I'd go out on my bike and take shots of just about anything. Getting a job kind of nailed photography on the head for a good number of years and it wasn't until quality DSLRs came out at a reasonable price that I got my first Nikon D70. For a few years I took it a bit more seriously, always trying to get the best shot possible but people were always avoided! Always tended to be landscape and architecture and limited travelling meant I got pretty bored shooting and I kind of became a bit of a gamer addict for a few years :)
2011) This was the turning point for me. I think I'd upgraded my camera to the Nikon D90 but I still wasn't sure what to shoot. I just happened to see a little advert on Facebook advertising a local camera club in London saying anyone was welcome to turn up. When I did turn up I was surprised by what a welcoming bunch they were and I really enjoyed shooting around the nature reserve that we'd met at. Just before leaving someone told me about a professional photographer who was starting a meetup group. At this point I'd never heard of meetup.com but looking into it I found a wealth of camera shoots that I could attend, most being in London. I started going to the recommended group which set tasks around London and you were given a few hours to shoot and then the host of the group would rate three of your images as though he was the client and you were providing your work to him. The format of the shoot really brought out my creativity so rather than just shooting things I was used to I was being set a task that I had to meet. After doing this a few months I felt that I wanted to try something that I'd never done before...shooting people! I had another look on the meetup.com site and found a London studio with professional model for £45 for an hour. I had no idea that model photography was within my price range to do, I always imagined it was a professional or camera club only area. The plan would of been to start with basic portrait shoots and work my confidence up to doing something like art nude but the first shoot was an art nude shoot so at that price I decided to jump in at the deep end. The results I got from the studio really surprised me, the images were so sharp and clear and to top it off the model was so impressed with one of my shots that she used it on her portfolio, not a bad compliment for my first studio shoot :) So, that got me interested in more studio and model shoots so I continued to do some group shoots and the occasional one-to-one shoot.
2012) Up until now all the shoots were arrange by someone else, it was time to take the leap into arranging everything myself; booking the model, studio, coming up with a concept and handling the lighting. I had found an amazing model that I wanted to work with and when I approached her she gave me a link to her gallery. While viewing it I saw the original inspiration shot that I had used on my very first shoot! It was destiny, I had to shoot with this model! The model was Zoi (see www.dreamingofzoi.com) and fortunately for me she agreed to the shoot. So there was I, my first solo shoot almost exactly a year after my first studio shoot and I was shooting with the model that had inspired me on my very first shoot. Pretty cool :) I only got a few shots that I used on that shoot but they did me very well and got a lot of interest and features on various sites and set me off on my solo path.
2013) I had set myself a new years resolution to try and get published and to shoot some males... Most of my shoots were in London which was adding a lot of fuel costs to shoots, what I really needed was a local studio which at the time there was a serious lack of. But then a bit of fortunate luck as a local photographer who'd seen my work on Flickr told me he was setting up a studio just 10 minutes away. Not only did this studio turn out to be close but also one of the best studios I'd been to, lots of space and a really comfortable homely feel to it which helps bring out your creative side. By the end of the year I'd reached my goals with a few male shoot under my belt and also a few publication, including a full page in Bizarre which was very cool to see.
2014) This was going to be the year to push myself a bit harder and I started doing a lot more TF (=collaboration) shoots. I probably ended up doing too much work which took away a little bit of the enjoyment of shooting. I was still enjoying it but no matter how much I like something I'll end up getting a little bored unless I can change things up a little and having no free time was throwing a bit of a spanner in the works.
2015) The plan at the moment is to slow down shooting and be more about quality than quantity. When I look at what I've done over the last few years I'm really happy with my progression and hope that I can continue to improve year on year. I'd like to be able to grow in popularity so that more people can appreciate my work. Although I really only shoot for myself it's always nice to know that your work is being appreciated by others. Being able to sell some work and get more publications would be cool so we'll see how it goes .....