Professional photography and me

On this page I provide an insight into how I ended up in the wonderful world of digital imaging - Professional photography and me:

Photography and me - main image - old film cameras from my collection

In the beginning, there was travel and film photography...

My earlier career was in building services, which is where my interest in buildings, and their associated services and equipment developed. I was fortunate to be able to ply my trade in some pretty amazing locations: Jordan, Saudi Arabia, The Falkland Islands, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Europe. In short, I have enjoyed my work and my travels!

My interest in photography grew while I was in Jordan. In those pre-digital days I opted for a Minolta 9000 camera (find out about this camera here…), and also established my own darkroom. As my career took me to new locations my interest in photography grew alongside my engineering career.

Which photographer would not welcome an opportunity to visit the Falkland Islands? Elephant seals, penguins, albatross, all just waiting to be photographed. Again I did my own development, but this time using the local camera club darkroom.

And along came digital...

Photography and me - Dubai cityscape at dawn

After the Falklands I found myself back in the Middle East; penguins were replaced by camels as the local wildlife attraction, but the region was starting to develop, and nothing signified this more than the evolving architecture of places like Dubai. Any photographer with an interest in architecture would naturally feel right at home there. And, of course, digital cameras were taking over from their old analogue forebears…

My years working with buildings naturally led me to photograph them. I’ve sat in on many project meetings with architects and often wondered which planet they were from as they articulated their visions. The result was, of course, that I was learning to perceive structures from a more creative perspective than an engineering one. Research will often reveal the architect’s design philosophy or intent. This presents an opportunity to capture that intent in a photograph. At other times, I will set out deliberately to create fine art architectural images, often in monochrome. For commissions, my mission is always to satisfy the client’s brief.

I’ve always been ready to change my career direction and it was while in Dubai that I decided to move toward photography as my next career option, as I prepared for my return to the UK. I signed up for an MA in Photography degree with Falmouth University, which I successfully completed, and added this to my other awards. I was also determined to become an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society (ARPS), which I have done.

My Final Major Project for my MA was “Fruits of their labours”, a project that confirms the contrast between the haves and have-nots in the United Arab Emirates, by exploring the local date industry. You can visit the virtual exhibition here.

Photgraphy and me: A UAE date farm worker harvests dates
Birds in Flight - An Intermediate Egret [Egretta intermedia] flies over water at Dubai's Ras Al Khor wildlife sanctuaryEgret

Although my passion for architectural photography still burns as bright as ever, I also enjoy wildlife photography, particularly birds in flight (BIFs). This is at the opposite end of the photographic spectrum from architectural photography. Buildings don’t really move much (some building facades do move, and the top of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa does actually sway…), so slow shutter speeds are possible. Birds in flight on the other hand, particularly the small ones, move and change direction at astonishing speeds. Familiarity with equipment is essential. Why not take a look at my Nature gallery..

I am happy photographing architectural interiors and exteriors, cityscapes, wildlife, environmental portraits, products and food. I also occasionally manage to get out and do some travel street photography.

Street photography - A fisherman prepares his baskets on board a dhow - Sharjah - UAE

As a Chartered Engineer, and Fellow of the Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Estate Management (IHEEM), I have a solid understanding of building engineering services and associated plant, and a good appreciation for the buildings themselves. 

As a Chartered Manager, registered with the Chartered Management Institute, with an MBA in Leadership and Sustainability from the University of Cumbria, I have an independently verified and proven track record in business leadership. This is why my aim as a professional photographer is to deliver optimal return on investment (ROI) to my clients. Their success is my success. 

And my old Minolta 9000? I traded it in, many years after I had stopped using it, for my first Canon digital camera. I did manage to get my full initial investment back…