Saturday, 10 February 2018
I Am a Professional Photographer! ....Honest!
I am a professional photographer!
That title doesn’t sit right with me even though it is how I make my living but after years in the building industry to suddenly become something that had been a dream for so long still seems strange.
The history of my full-time career as a professional photographer only goes back two years, Purbeck Footprints as a business goes back four years before that, but the seeds of what has become not just a way for me to earn a living but also a way of life go back much further.
Wildlife has always been of interest to me as has history, especially the history of how man has worked and lived within the landscape we occupy. Photography fits in very nicely with this and with the digital age making it easier and cheaper to take photographs of where I live it became the norm for me to carry a camera around wherever I wandered. And I wandered a lot! Every spare moment was spent out and about along the many footpaths that crisscross the Isle of Purbeck and the wealth and variety of its wildlife was an obvious distraction. Getting close to the wildlife that we have here quickly became a passion, with the goal being to take photographs of these creatures without impeding their day to day lives. No photograph is worth upsetting or stressing the animals that live here and that is something I always keep in mind.
Over time my collection of photographs increased as did the number of stories, myths and legends that I found: my interest in the people that have lived and worked here runs alongside my love of wildlife and the two are regularly intertwined. Now let me make it very clear that I am no academic and have no formal qualifications in any of the subjects that I mention here but over the years I have either taught myself, picked up snippets of information from here and there, watched, listened, learned and somehow managed to retain a few bits and pieces. I can’t remember when I was invited to give my first talk but since then I have been invited to speak to photographic societies, rambling groups and charities both on the Isle of Purbeck and further afield. The talks that I give are usually accompanied by my photographs and I use these to illustrate the landscape and wildlife of this little part of Dorset. I do not use a script for these talks, but the stories follow the photographs and I find it easy to talk about things I feel passionate about.
A couple of exhibitions followed and it was after a particularly successful ‘Ten Days In May’ at the wonderful Durlston Country Park in 2015 that I started to seriously think maybe, just maybe, I could make a go of this photography lark! After much soul searching with my wife and family and with a huge amount of support we decided that I would leave my relatively well-paid job within the building industry and make Purbeck Footprints and my photographic career a reality. Six months later, on April 1st 2016 (April Fools Day…) I became a professional photographer and my life would change completely.
The main change is that I am now part of a collective that runs The Old Stables in my home town of Swanage where I have a gallery to show off and sell my photographs, this can only work with the help of the rest of the collective and I am massively grateful for that. In fact, I am very appreciative of the support that I receive from so many people without whom I would not be where I am today.
The Isle of Purbeck sits at the youngest end of the Jurassic Coast and geology plays a big part in its history, so I became a Jurassic Coast Trust Ambassador. I enjoy giving teaching sessions to Duke of Edinburgh Award groups about The Trust and this incredible coastline and use my knowledge of Jurassic Coast in the talks and walks that I give.
So in short, I will never become a millionaire but then that wasn’t the goal to start with, what I have is a chance to explain to people, through my photographs, guided walks and talks, what an amazing place the Isle of Purbeck is and how happy I am to call it home.
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