1Can you introduce yourself and talk about how you got into photography?
I live in the North East of England and have been a photographer for over 20 years. I initially became interested in photography to capture the memories of each location I visit. I loved the pictures that Joe Cornish took and wanted to take similar pictures but with my own twist.
2Where did you study photography?
I never formally studied photography. I am self-taught using research, trial and error with some help from my great friend David Bond.
3Do you remember your first shot? What was it?
It was a shot of Buttermere. I was over the moon with it, a flat surface on a dull day. Looking back, the picture was awful.
4What equipment do you use?
I currently use a Nikon D750, Kase filter system, Formatt Hitech filters, Nikon 50mm, Nikon 24-120mm, Irix 15mm.
5What do you hope to achieve?
I hope to achieve improvements on my photography and new ways of taking pictures, pushing the envelope outside of my comfort zone and trying new branches of photography.
6What compliment inspired/touched you the most?
I am not good with reacting to compliments, being too much of a self-critic but I had a picture printed and framed to go over my mantelpiece. I had to pick it up at lunchtime and have it in the office prior to taking it home. A colleague exclaimed how much they loved the picture and whether they could buy it from me. I sold it within hours of picking it up so had to arrange another print.
7What inspires your unique storytelling?
What inspires me is being with nature, being in the wild, away from mobile phones, mortgages, phone calls etc. Forgetting about the woes of modern life and remembering the good times, especially with my pal who is no longer with me. We would spend ages trying to get the perfect shot but the weather was never on our side - it was a running joke.
8What THREE (3) words describe your photography style?
Clean, natural, colorful.
9Congratulations! As the winner of the London Photography Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?
There is a lot of competition with landscape photography these days. Never easy to stand out amongst such superb amateur photographers. I don't enter a lot of competitions so to win this means a heck of a lot, and to get Gold is just a brilliant feeling!
10Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2022 London Photography Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?
I am proud of my home region. I wanted to show nature matched with some future technology at a place steeped in history. I decided to visit a place called North Gare on the North East coast which was close to the famous blast furnace in Redcar, now closed. I wanted to emphasise the waves and make them look bigger next to the offshore windfarm. I crouched low to the water surface with a telephoto lens and waited for the sun to appear. I took this shot shortly before I became drenched by a wave.
11How has winning an award developed your career?
It gets me noticed for what I'm proud to do. A career in landscape photography is difficult but it will help me explore other photographic avenues.
12Name 1-3 photographers who have inspired you.
My friend David Bond who took some amazing pictures in Yugoslavia during the war.
13What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out, by a mentor or your role model?
Concentrate on framing the shot first.
14What advice would you give someone who would like to become a photographer today?
Don't expect fantastic shots straight away, it can be a confidence knock but take your time and learn from your mistakes.
15What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
Rather than feeling down because the photographs you took weren't that good, look at them and find the reason why. It may have been weather, the location or the settings but use it in the positive. Remember, even the professionals will take the odd bad shot, they just will never show them.
16How do you stay in that space of being receptive to new information and knowledge?
Technology is always improving and new techniques come with it. Don't let it intrude but know that it is there to call on when you need it.
17Anything else you would like to add to the interview?
To those who are nervous about showing their photos, show them off. Be proud. The more you take, the better you get. Take criticism as a positive and improve. It really does work. Even if the weather/location turns out not to be ideal, just be with nature.