I was born in Rochford Hospital, in the English county of Essex, long enough ago that I know that you can realise your dreams. I Studied Design Technology and Technical drawing to A Level, and during this time I also took Art night classes at Southend technical college, a 16 year old “boy” sitting in classes where the average age was 60, such fun! But, I learnt that I have a natural eye, and can “see” something finished.
My love of design and problem solving meant that I was “destined” to teach, according to my careers master, “Honest Joe” Heald (who could argue with a nickname like that!) and after leaving sixth form I headed off to study Design Technology and Technical drawing at Shoreditch Teacher Training College. After having the time of my life for 3 years, I started my working life teaching both subjects at Spencer Park School in Wandsworth – sadly no longer there. After 3 years of poor pay, I left and started work on a building site, doubling my pay and ruining my hands for the next 25 years.
The biggest influence on my early life was my father. His big passion is hobbies, and at every opportunity he had my brother, Patrick, and I trying everything! So it is no surprise that he got me interested in photography at an early age, (in the darkroom at the age of 3!) My father is a part time artist, very creative and talented and has always pushed me to continue having “hobbies”. So very much later in life, here I am, finally getting to be creative with photography again.
This project is for my father, Bob, to know that his son has carried on that artistic and creative side, which is his legacy.
So, how did I get back into photography after a 30 year break? Well, after selling the family home to downsize, I decided to treat myself and bought my first Digital SLR Camera, a Canon 450, in 2007. I had SLR cameras for years, but apart from a spell when I was in my early twenties, I never really “got into” photography as such, believing that I would never be able to afford to do it to the level that I wanted to. My other passion is Music. Which means that my photography studio also doubles up as a recording studio, sounds grand but it was a garage, so maybe not that grand! But it has allowed me to combine music and photography, the images I “see” are often generated by song lyrics and you may well see song titles in my collection. For me photography is a tool I use to create the images I see in my mind. Photoshop is the tool I use to put those images together, it is the canvass that allows my images to come together.
Two turning points, since buying my DSLR have led me to the Imaginarium concept. The first was that I joined Stevenage Photographic Society in 2009. Camera clubs are a great way to improve your camera skills, and mine certainly improved rapidly and yes, they probably all are full of retirees, but think of all that experience on tap. However, they tend not to be the place to extend your fine art photography skills, but there will be someone there that will help you on your way, for sure.
The second turning point came in September 2012 when I bought tickets for the Lincoln Steampunk Festival at the Asylum, and the day that I met Julie Walton and Laura Bradley gave me that eureka moment, the moment when I knew I had found my niche………..
The idea of “The Imaginarium” was born from that meeting, and the fantastic bunch of people that form “the Cast”. Late night phone calls, secret facebook groups, clandestine meetings, trips to New York, clambering through old buildings, jumping out of the car camera in hand, because I have spotted just the right tree and hours of work by the genius that is Pete, designing and making the Necessitti and that is just the start……..