I inherited my love of photography from my father, Mike. I cannot remember a time when he was not carrying a camera and, likewise, I can’t remember when I did not either. My earliest memories are of him with his twin-lens Rolleiflex and me with a Kodak Pocket Instamatic. Mike didn’t teach me how to shoot and develop photos, using cameras and a darkroom were ordinary things that happened in our house. I absorbed it.
When I was 15, we moved to Miami, Florida. Mike bought himself a Nikon F1 and gave me his Pentax Spotmatic 1000. We both of us owned a variety of other cameras over the following years but right to the end of his life, he insisted that the Pentax was the best camera he ever owned. Certainly, for me, it was a game-changer. That, and the Florida light.
Photography at school
I studied photography in high school and worked after school in a photo processing lab. In the two years we lived in Florida, I learned about cross-processing, black and white infrared and I shot and processed about a million miles of Kodachrome and Ektachrome.
Photography at college
At the University of St Andrews, I studied Experimental Pathology and my thesis was a study of the non-centriolar nucleation of microtubules in the ommatidia of Drosophila melanogaster. This involved transmission electron microscopy. I took black and white photographs of incredibly thin slices of the eyes of fruit flies. It was a whole new world for me up to the point at which the film came out of the microscope, then I was in very familiar territory.
Photography at work
After university, I become a journalist. Working on a variety of magazines and as a motoring journalist for around 13 years, I shot and directed thousands of photos. I then moved into design and production as desktop publishing went fully digital and then freelance as the internet arrived in full force.
In 2003, I became a freelance writer, designer and project manager in business communications and marketing. I also became an actor. That is another story but I mention it here because my study and training in video post-production took on another aspect when I started working in front of the camera as well as behind it. It is a demonstration of how photography has been and continues to be, an integral part of whatever I do, and I thank my father for that. ◽